The bane of many freelancers is how to find clients. We all have our niche, and we all have our skills and abilities, and rarely do those skills and abilities include things like prospecting for more clients. After all, if we were good with sales, then we would not be in our current industry. As a writer in Billings, Montana, I have struggled with finding clients that will pay me what I want (or really what I need) to be paid. However, over the past 8 years of writing, I have learned a few things about finding clients.
Avoid the Content Mills if You Want to Find Clients that Pay Well
This is a little tricky, because I have written quite a bit for content mills. So while I want to say that you should avoid them at all costs, they do have one perk: a lot of steady jobs. However, they pay so little that you will need to be working constantly in order to make any real money.
If you remember my post about learning what to charge, you will realize that you will never make that kind of money writing for a content mill. Sure you could make $15/hr, but if you figure out all of your expenses, you would be better off working for someone else for minimum wage. Maybe that way you would at least get free food while at work.
Avoid Craigslist if You Want to Find Clients that Will Respond to Your Email
In fact, avoid all the job boards. There rarely comes along a job posting that is legitimate and pays well. More than likely you will end up emailing someone who is collecting email addresses (your spam folder will be packed within a few days), or you will find someone who wants to pay you $1-$2 per 500 words.
Now there are some diamonds in the rough. When I first started as a freelance writer I was able to land 2 clients that paid well and had a lot of work for me to do. By making sure to have my time value set at a minimum of $50 per hour, I was able to earn a decent side income by writing for these clients. The problem with landing these types of clients is that it is all luck. They are flooded with so many email responses that unless you happen to be one of the first to apply, you will never even get noticed.
Learn to Network if You Want to Find Clients that like You
Instead of wasting your time on the content mills, or browsing ads where you will never find clients, you need to learn to network. Now for the longest time I hated anything that had to do with networking. I dreaded it. It made me want to curl into a ball and cry. And that is because I was going at it the wrong way.
There is a right and a wrong way to network. For several years I went to networking events with the mindset that I would meet a dozen people there, and they would all hire me and pay me top dollar for what I was doing. What really happened was I would show up and know about 2 people in a group of over 100. I would talk to them for a few minutes, and then stand by myself the rest of the time. I did it wrong not by standing alone, or only knowing a couple people, but rather my attitude was wrong.
The right way to network is to go to the event, socialize with a few, meet a few, and have a good time. Don’t expect to earn one bit of business from the entire evening. If business comes along, that’s great! But that should not be your goal. Your goal of networking should be to get your name out there, and soon people will start to recognize who you are and what you do.
Approach Business Owners if You Want to Find Clients that Need You
You know who they are. They are those that you wish you could write for. You likely have the same mental roadblocks I do as well: they already have a writer, they wouldn’t want my services, I’m not good enough, and on and on and on. It’s all rubbish. Even if they do have a writer, they now know of another one in case they lose theirs. Even if they don’t want your services, they might down the road. But more than likely, you will talk to them and they will be impressed (because you took your time to prepare and prepare and prepare) at what you have to offer.
Join a Biz to Biz Group if You Want to Find Clients that are Referred to You
Biz to Biz is something new to me. I have been a part of networking groups before, but this isn’t just networking. This is a lead generating group. Here is how it works:
You meet each week with the sole intention of learning about everyone else’s business. You have a little training, a little coaching, or something that everyone can use. Then you share leads. You give hot referrals to everyone else, and they give hot referrals to you.
How effective is it? I have been a part of the group for about 1 month, and I have generated several thousand dollars in annual contracts. The best part is that only one person from each industry is allowed in the group, so as a web content developer in Billings, Montana, I am the only writer or website guy allowed in.
The Best Ways to Find Clients
I am by no means a prospecting expert. In fact, I still hate prospecting. But I am getting better at it, and the best things I have learned is where NOT to look for when I want to find clients.
Of course, the best are still the ones that come to me. If you are looking for a writer in Billings, Montana, to help create custom content for your website, email me or call me at 406.860.4407 to learn more about what I can do for you.