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Freelance Writers: Here is the Secrete to Landing Freelance Writing Clients
By Freelance Writer and Author, William Ballard
When I launched my career as a freelance writer over five years ago, I imagined that all successful freelance writers had a secret.
Why did I imagine this? I was thirsty for work, but could find nowhere to drink. I’d walked to the middle of the desert, looking for an adventure, having been told there was an oasis of great possibilities over the horizon, and my water bottle had run dry.
There was no oasis in sight.
Successful freelance writers, knew exactly where to find the oasis in the desert. They knew a secret location, a well-spring of gigs paying lucrative flows of wealth. Only they wouldn’t tell me, because the water supply at the oasis is limited. If they shared the location with any Tom, Dick or Harry, the work would quickly run out.
So anyone who had found the oasis was bound to a conspiracy of silence.
What I’ve described is a common problem for newbie freelance writers, taking their first step into a new profession full of desert beast waiting to attack. All around, newbie freelance writers see established pros earning a good living from their writing career. Meanwhile, they can’t find a single client that’s willing to pay them the same amount.
New freelance writers are left wondering: “What’s the secret of successful freelance writers?”
It’s a good question, and we’ll come to an answer in a moment. First, a warning.
The truth is, there’s no risk-free way to be a freelance writer, just like there’s no risk-free way to take a hike in the Sahara. Even the most successful freelance writers have times when they wonder where their next month’s pay check will come from.
All that said, you can anticipate the dangers. You can go into the desert prepared. You can pack plenty of supplies, and take a map of the terrain with you. You can read the guidebooks of the people who have walked the road before you.
That’s one of my aims here at my Freelance Writing and Business Blog. I would like to think of my blog as a guidebook to the freelance writing pilgrim. I’m here to help you find places to quench your writing thirst, and earn money doing so. I’m here to show you where the common drinking wells are. That way, you can get started right away. Beyond that, you’ll have somewhere to go when your throat is parched.
The common well is a special place. I know it’s been a life saver for me in the past, and it was the only place I could find early gigs. But there’s one problem. There’s a lot of competition for the water at the common well. Moreover, if work is openly advertised online, it’s for one of two reasons:
But when you’re starting out, what else can you do? Is there any way to find more lucrative work?
The full answer to this question brings us back to the secret of successful freelance writers.
My assumption when I started out in this business was that somewhere there is a secret location overflowing with well-paid writing gigs, I was wrong. Either that, or it’s so darn well hidden that even after a five year writing career, I’ve yet to find it.
However, a secret that most freelance writers have enables them to find work. The only trouble is, most freelance writers won’t tell you this secret, because they don’t really know it themselves.
Most freelance writers won’t tell you how they really get clients, because they don’t really know how they did it themselves. For them, it just happened. Someone in their network approached them with an offer of work, they accepted, and it went from there.
You’re different. You’re taking a proactive stance to launch a freelance writing career from scratch. As of yet, no work has fallen into your lap. Correct?
So how can you find these hidden streams of work?
The answer is simple, and its twofold:
First, let your friends and family know that you’re in the market providing writing services. It takes courage to reach out, but you’ll find most people are happy to help in any way they can. It’s possible that someone in your immediate circle of influence will need help with writing tasks, and you might be surprised at who takes you up on your writing services. But more likely is that you’ll come across a friend-of-a-friend who’s got just the writing gig for you.
There’s a chance you’ll find nothing, at least not right away. But you’ve let your friends know what you need, and they’ll start looking for it on your behalf. You will have a big group of people, all looking out for writing opportunities to send your way. And send them they will.
Second, let the wider world know you’re in the market providing writing services. In other words, just start writing. Write and publish your own blog. Reach out to guest post on other blogs. You won’t always get paid for these types of gigs, but you are doing something far more important than earning a paycheck. You’re building an online footprint. You’re establishing your reputation as a high quality writer. Sooner than you imagine, you’ll find people start emailing you with the message “I’ve read your blog posts, would you be interested in helping me with this?” Sometimes it will actually feel as if writing opportunities just fall into your lap.
There is no secret place in the desert, or in cyberspace, overflowing with lucrative writing gigs
But all freelance writers do have a secret. They’ve carved their own well in this freelance writing desert. They’ve created their own source of drinking water (substantial income). And that’s far more valuable than being part of a conspiracy.
I only properly discovered this secret when I took a second look at my writing business from another angle. When I first started this writing thing, I’d kept my writing career mostly to myself. I’d scraped by mainly with work I found online. But this time in my writing career, I have discovered the great secrete.
The BIG secret is not keeping your writing business to yourself. To me, that’s the secret drinking well I spoke of. You can’t be afraid to tell people you are in business as a writer.
What’s another name for this drinking well? Word-of-mouth and reputation. Most freelance writers won’t tell you this is how they really get clients, because to them, it just feels like clients walk in the door.
Soon enough, it will feel that way to you, too.
Now Over to You...
Do you have a story of how a lucrative writing job just fell into your lap? Please share with us in the comments below, and don't forget to share this post with everyone you think may benefit from it.
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About the Author
William Ballard is the proud author of, "The True Writer's Life: Discovering the Author and Finisher of Our Faith".
He has been writing professionally for over 10+ years and has much experience within the industry, both in publishing and in freelance writing. He has successfully self-published over 10 books and eBooks. Visit his Amazon Author Page to see list of his most recent projects.