freelance writer

How to Get Clients That Are a Good Fit for You


How to get clients that are a good fit for you

Carving out a career as a freelance writer can be liberating, exciting, and affirming. It can also be frustrating and at times, terrifying. No one else is in charge of making sure you get paid, and a regular salary is not a given. In the early stages of your freelance career, you’re hungry for work, and it can be tempting to take on any project that comes your way. Due to the ubiquitous work-related advice that everyone needs to “do their time” before ascending the ranks, you might be blind to how this attitude can actually hurt you.

One thing to keep in mind is that people often find a freelancer, and then stick with them, no matter what company they are at. As your clients start to move around, you will actually grow your business, so make sure they are someone you want to work with.

Don’t waste your time on figuring out how to get clients who aren’t right for you. It may be hurting you in more places than just your pocketbook. Especially because:

You’re less likely to get the work anyway.

If you do some research on a potential client and don’t feel strongly that you’re a good match for their needs, subject, style, and values--stop right there. Even if you get the job, it will be a burden on you to deliver a product the client can actually be happy with. Let a better fit take on this job for good karma points.

The work is a dead end.

Money is not the only thing you should takeaway from a good client relationship. When you work for someone who isn’t a great match, the experience is less likely to provide you with meaningful professional growth, a body of work that will strengthen your portfolio, or connections that will advance your career.

You’ll never get the time back.

The time that you spend researching prospective clients, writing cover letters, compiling writing samples, and interviewing for a job is time you will never get back, so don’t waste it. Spend time on these activities solely in pursuit of great clients.

It’s taking time and energy from better leads.

You could send out ten or fifteen okay pitches and maybe hear back about one. Or, you could spend the same amount of time sending out five great, focused pitches for jobs that you really want where you know you’d be a great fit. Quality certainly is not equal to quantity, so don’t confuse a barrage of pitches with true freelancer productivity.

Ok, it’s not hard to see the benefits associated with saving your time exclusively to pursue your ideal clients, and ignoring opportunities that aren’t a good fit. But though it may be easy to identify imperfect prospects, it may be more difficult to recognize the perfect client.

Take charge: Create a client avatar

Creating a client avatar is a way for any freelancer to narrow their focus and refine their efforts.

Think of your client avatar as a fictional business that represents your ideals. This is not dissimilar from a marketing persona, which identifies fictional but detailed descriptions of an ideal client. When developing your client avatar, feel free to write about them in a story format. The following questions can help develop your idea more completely:

- Do you want a client who provides ongoing work, or do you prefer one-off projects? - Would you rather work for a company that routinely hires writers and has detailed process and expectations in place, or would you be more excited to jump in on the ground floor of a new company? - What industries and subjects do you want to write about? - Do you want to write under your own byline, or would you prefer to make more money as an anonymous ghostwriter? - Does your ideal client expect to be in touch with you daily, weekly, or only when necessary? - Is your ideal client invested in developing your skills, or content to maintain a comfortable status quo with a hands-off approach?

The purpose of the exercise is to clarify what you want from your work as well as the types of clients that can provide that and how to identify them. Working on your client avatar is only productive if it helps guide you in the right direction, so don’t waste time on vague descriptors.

The point is not to search the world of freelance writing for a real-life copy of the avatar you came up with, but to use this mental approximation to guide your search. When you look at the website or LinkedIn profile of a potential client do you see the avatar’s general values and characteristics reflected, or does it seem utterly foreign?

Big picture considerations like what you’ll be writing about and the type of company or client you’re working for are easily identified. Other features may become clear in the initial application and interview process, while some will be a mystery until you’re already working for your new client. At every stage, your client avatar is a metric for judging how invested you should be in a prospective or current client.

How to get clients you won’t get tired of

If you feel stuck in a rut with your freelance work, take some time to create a client avatar, or check in with the one you have already. Ask yourself:

- Is it really your perfect client? - How do your actual clients stack up? - Most importantly, do you keep that avatar and all that it represents in the back of your mind when you look for work?

Creating and sticking with a client avatar customized to your preferences will help you to find the work that works for you.

What are your best tips for how to get clients that you won’t get tired of? Tweet @Sorc’d with your thoughts, and we’ll share our favorites!

Tips for writing: Five (5) Ways to make sure your article stands out


Tips for Writers

Imagine you were searching the internet for something specific, you find a few links related to your search, but none of them really helped you. In fact, each link you click on is basically the same information you just read, but in different words. When you’re creating content, it’s important to write in such a way that will solve a problem. People scour the internet all day long looking for information, and the last thing they want to find is surface-level information. So, how can you differentiate yourself among several other writers? How can you provide solid content that readers will appreciate? The following are five areas to remember each time you write content.

1. Start with a compelling headline

A headline is important to tell a reader what type of information they can expect. Headlines that are more appealing and compelling will receive more traction than others. For example, let’s say a reader is trying to search the internet for tips on marketing. In the search engine, they see an article with a headline “Improve Your Marketing Skills,” and another is “10 Tips to Skyrocket Your Marketing Strategy” – Which one do you think they will choose? They will likely choose the “10 Tips” because right away they know the article is going to benefit them in 10 different ways. The other headline is okay to use, but it may not receive as much traction, compared to a well thought out headline.

2. Get to know your audience

Before you write any type of content, you need to make sure you understand the audience. Think about the message the company is trying to send. Based on the business, is the audience more laid-back and will appreciate the slight humor in the content. Maybe the audience is completely professional, and only a serious tone would work. It’s important to know what will drive your audience to keep reading your content. Although humor works for some businesses, it’s not meant for all, and it could jeopardize the size of your audience.

3. Use original ideas

Search engines are filled with similar content. A reader looking for an article is not going to benefit from reading the last ten articles she found that are the same. When writing content, make sure you provide original ideas. Successful content comes from developing creative, original, and solid angles. Do more research if you must, so you can dig deeper than previous writers.

4. Narrow your topic

Narrowing down your topic is beneficial to your readers. A reader is going to want content on a particular matter. For example, if your content involves marketing, narrow your topic down to one type of marketing. For example, instead of writing about “Comprehensive Marketing,” you could write about “Email Marketing: How to Get Started.” The second title shows the article won’t just be about marketing or just about email marketing, but it narrows it down to “How to Get Started.” By narrowing your content down, readers will be able to find what they’re looking for faster.

5. Can your content help?

Before publishing your content, make sure to ask yourself if the article you just wrote can help. Does it solve a problem? You can write any headline you want, but does the body of the content resemble the headline? It’s important to make sure that while you’re writing the content, you figure out what type of problem your reader will have and what will lead them to click on your article. Next, you’ll want to ensure that you help them solve the problem. After all, that’s why they’re reading your content.

By following the above tips, you will notice more traction on your content. Go beyond the typical surface-level content and develop content that your readers can use. Don’t waste your readers’ time; make your content stand out by offering them the help they need.

How to become a freelance writer: 4 easy steps to getting started


Four easy steps to getting started as a freelance writer

Emily Vanda

I jumped into the world of full-time freelance writing because I wanted to pursue my passion - writing, and find out if I could make it financially feasible. I’ve dabbled in all types of writing, but nothing could quite prepare me for sending that first pitch, landing my first client, and negotiating a fair rate. How do you go from no published clips to having an article in a national magazine? How do you go from writing for fun or just a hobby to making it a habit? How do you sell yourself and your writing like a product? Well, here are just a few important things to consider before you send that first pitch.

Find Your Niche

I thought I was a versatile writer. And to a certain extent flexibility and versatility will go far in the freelance world. But if you don’t nail down a few topics or industries that you would be happy to write about for the rest of your life, sending those first pitches is going to be much more time consuming than it needs to be. Here’s a great exercise that helped me. Get a pen and paper, or open your word processor and write down 25-50 articles you could type up immediately with little research or hassle. When I did this, I realized I was most comfortable writing about coffee, freelance writing, and travel with a local flair. Focusing on what came naturally to me landed me a project with a national coffee magazine right away.

Get a Space

I cannot stress enough the importance of making a space for yourself. You don’t need anything extravagant. As much as a seaside villa with a mahogany writing desk sounds appealing, a desk and chair in your one room apartment or your house is all you need. It’s just helps instill the idea that this is something you are taking time and space for.

Don’t Underestimate Your Writing Samples

When I started, I had zero published clips. Imagine how depressing it was when every freelance gig included the caveat, “Send 2-3 clips.” I did, however, have a travel blog that I started to share my experiences and pictures with friends and family. Technically those were published online, just not through a third party or recognized website or magazine. But at least I had something to attach to my intro cover letters and resume. Chances are, if you want to pursue writing, you’ve done some writing and have something you could send along as a sample piece to give a feel for your style and voice.

Reboot That Resume

My resume was immaculate, that is, it worked for the world of the 9-5. I had the format nailed and was able to highlight my skills. But, a writing resume is a little different. It’s not about job experience, it’s about your writing know how. Which on paper, with my nearly zero published clips, was less than glowing. I had to figure out how to translate “years of writing and editing experience” to an actual writing resume. Potential clients want to know if you have the chops to do the job and even if you may not have a million published novels and articles, you probably have the chops. Check out other writing resumes and take a long look back at all your experience. For your first resume, you may have to get a little creative. Here are some resume templates for writers to get you started.

Just like any job, getting into the groove and gaining success is going to take time. But the key difference between getting a paid client within a month versus six months, is making sure you are fully prepared. Instead of blindly crawling around the internet hoping, with fingers crossed, for someone to take a chance on you, these are a few ways to amp up your credibility and get into the game quicker.

Do something you love, and you'll never work a day in your life.