Finding new clients is a big part of freelance business development. Most of us think of it as a series of one-time activities we string together and call it a “strategy.”
Cold emails. Warm emails. Guest posts. Networking. Referrals. Email newsletters. Partnerships. All of this takes time to set up and use, even if you’ve tied portions of it together through automation tools like Zapier or CRMs like Pipedrive. Besides, all the automation in the world won’t help you get a new client or project if they’re not ready to hire you. Not everyone has a project they need help with right now or the budget available to hire you today.
There’s got to be a better way to attract high-quality clients that are easy to work with and easy to land. And there is.
Whether you’re a new freelance writer or a freelancing veteran who has trouble pursuing new writing clients, here’s what you can do.
Ask a Different Question
Do you want to “always be hustling” for new clients? Do you see other successful freelance writers actively pursuing clients and work? Do you want to be one of the thousands of writers competing for the same client base on a freelancing platform?
Probably not, and I don’t blame you. No one wants that as it’s not a sustainable way to run your freelance writing business.
You’d much rather have clients contact you with new projects you can help them with. You’d rather have new leads email you asking if you have time in your schedule to work with them. You’d rather have people with exciting projects and healthy budgets reach out to you regularly.
If that’s the way you’d like to run your business, you’ve got to flip your mindset.
Instead of thinking of ways to attract clients to you, start by thinking about how you can be more visible to clients who are already looking to hire a writer like you.
Don’t ask, “How do I find more writing clients?”
Ask, “How can I help more people find me?”
How Does That Change Things?
The difference becomes apparent when you think about the actions you take in response to each question.
When you’re searching for new clients (“How do I find more writing clients?”), you might:
- Scour job boards and sign up with online platforms.
- Find out where potential clients hang out online and network with them there.
- Write a ton of blog posts and guest posts to get your name out there.
- Network with other freelancers in your industry or market.
- Work for free or on spec in the hopes of getting future paid work.
These are the one-time activities mentioned earlier. Each one works for that moment in time, and that’s it. It’s why you have to continually do these things to find work and never really see a good return on your investment.
When you flip your mindset and make yourself more visible to clients who are already looking to hire you (“How can I help more people find me?”), you might:
- Create your own website.
- Optimize your website for search (SEO).
- Identify your ideal clients and revise the copy on your existing website to speak to them.
- Set up social media accounts that match your ideal clients and ditch the ones that don’t.
- Showcase your portfolio on your website and relevant portfolio sites.
- Create an Editorial Calendar and maintain it across your website, blog, and social media profiles.
All of these activities are things that will make you more visible and trustworthy to clients and prospects online. When they search for you, they’ll find an up-to-date website that speaks directly to them. They’ll see that you care about clients just like them and have the expertise and knowledge to serve them.
What Else Can You Do to Be More Visible to Clients?
When clients and prospects are ready to start a new project, they’ll usually do a quick online search. A prospect will do an online search for whatever they think they need, like “freelance B2B writer,” “freelance copywriter,” or “B2B email writer.” If they’re a previous client, they might do a quick search on your website or send you a quick email.
That’s why it’s essential to update your website and social media profiles regularly with relevant keywords people search for. This breaks down to searches based on a skill they think they need (B2B writer or copywriter), the type or title of person they think they want or need (freelancer or email copywriter), or the geographic location they’re in (“freelance B2B writer near me” or “NYC content writer”).
Use this to update your online presence with the words you think people are searching for. Take a look at the emails they send you to see how they talk about their needs and match the language you use to that. Sprinkle the words in your blog posts and newsletters.
There’s no magic formula that will help you get more clients. Flipping your mindset from “finding clients” to “being visible to clients” is as close as it gets. How you change your business development and marketing activities to achieve that depends on you, your target market, and what you want to achieve with your business. Do it diligently, and over time, you’ll see a difference.