I make it no secret that I’m a fan of the query-free freelancing approach of attracting clients rather than pursuing them. You do that by building a solid professional network, increasing your visibility via search, and building your writer platform.
But that’s far from the only approach to finding freelance writing gigs. How did you land your most recent new client? Did you query them? Did you meet them through someone in your network? Did they find you online?
My last new client came to me through a referral from another client — a marketing firm I’ve been subcontrating with for years (mostly ghostblogging and press release writing for their clients). It was actually one of their own clients. Normally you wouldn’t directly contract with a middleman client’s own clients (that’s poaching), but in this case it was with their permission because the client wanted a longer report written — something the firm didn’t usually take on, and something they didn’t want to play middleman for.
Do you have any client-finding tips to share with other freelancers who might be looking to try something new?
It’s a client I reached out to with a letter of introduction. So far, I’ve done about six projects for him in about as many months.
Then there’s the magazine assignment. I queried the idea, however I knew the editor for years. We met when I was on staff at a magazine where he used to be on staff but where he was freelancing at the time. We’ve hung out at trade shows, talked on the phone, had dinner with others, attended hospitality suites, etc. In fact, when I lost my job at the magazine, he was the first one to give me work the very next week.
My advice is to treat each connection as potential opportunities, even those who aren’t ever going to hire you. I remember sitting through three days of a temp job with this man who was like the Road Runner on speed. I thought I’d lose my mind. Instead, I was cordial. A month later, he introduced me to a client who became a long-time client. That in turn became another referral.
Leave a good impression wherever you can. It does pay off eventually.