Yes, these people are out there– but you will not find them by scouring Freelancer; many people there are looking for writers to put together masterpiece articles for a dollar or two apiece. There are some great clients, but it takes a lot of weeding through junk offers to find good ones. I should qualify these statements by saying that if you do happen to luck upon a good client on a site like Freelancer, ODesk, or ELance, they are likely to be quite loyal if you write great content for them!
Remember: Writing and online marketing skills are in extreme demand , and there is no reason to settle for pennies.
You have to get outside your comfort zone and go after the work and the clients you want! The alternative to online sites is to get busy marketing your business. I can hear the groans now, and I know the comments I will get. “I’m a writer! I don’t do marketing!” Really, what you are is a business owner– and you must wear a number of different hats. The good news is, as writers we make great marketing professionals because we already have such awesome super writing powers!
Here are a few good places to look for awesome clients:
Linkedin: If you have been ignoring the business and career site since you are a freelancer, you are making a big mistake! After all, Linkedin is all about business; none of the other superfluous “stuff” that is all over Facebook and other social networks– and that is what makes it a great place to do business! Be sure to fill your profile out fully and use those keywords that people in need of a writer would use. Interact on groups and answer questions pertaining to writing and freelancing. Check out the people who view your profile and contact them if they seem like potential prospects. Check out the jobs list too, and contact those companies— they obviously need a writer! Linkedin also just launched a micro-site for small businesses that helps with info on business pages and other questions you might have about it, so you can more effectively market your business on the platform.
ProBlogger: Darren Rowse has been writing for over a decade about how to make money with writing skills. I have learned a lot from the great articles he writes for all of us. What is more, he also offers a job board where writers and companies that need writers and bloggers can hook up.
MediaBistro: Media Bistro offers lots of information about writing, marketing, and social media, and they also provide training courses in the different areas. Aside from that awesome content, they offer a job board filled with awesome and relevant jobs in the writing niche.
Many writers totally neglect their natural market that is all around them, and this is a big mistake. If you help a local business gain traffic, revenue and sales, not only will it make you feel great, but it will bring you loads of referral business! It is well worth $10 to get some business cards that you can pass to people you meet on a daily basis that need your services.
Restaurants/stores: Ever been to a restaurant or shop that was really awesome, but did not have much business? Look them up online– chances are they don’t have a website or a Facebook page– or if they do, it has not been updated since 2011! Ask to speak with the owner or manager and offer your services right then and there.
Chamber of Commerce: There are many, many more businesses in your town than you will ever come in contact with. The Chamber of Commerce is a good place to find some (but not all, only those who have joined) of those businesses so that you can contact them and offer your services.
Newspapers/Magazines: Print publications still need writers all the time, so get in touch and see if you can help. Likewise, if you happen to be reading one and notice errors (this happens ALL the time lately, it seems!) send them a gently worded letter or email mentioning that you can provide writing, proofreading and editing services.
Networking groups: Join local business networking groups and get involved. Do not do a hard sell in these places, but mention what you do and offer free advice when someone is struggling with their content writing or marketing. You will soon find people asking for further assistance and help. Remember, most people are busy running their business, and writing and online marketing is outside their realm, plus they just often don’t have the time to do it! Step up and step in! They will love you for it.
What other tips do you have for finding amazing clients? Please share so that we can all benefit!