The barrier that keeps most dreamers from taking the leap into freelance writing is the sometimes miserable task of finding clients that will consistently pay their bills. For those of you who don’t have the privilege of a deeply connected family through which you can network, what other options are there?
Networking doesn’t come easily to everyone, and most people don’t like spending their entire evening pitching prospects and rapid-fire tweeting the companies they’d like to work for.
After finishing this entire blog post, you will finally be able to retire that cardboard slab with “will write for food” scribbled across it.
Join a Community
Remember how that one group of grandmas would always show up to the high school football game, even though none of their grandkids were on the team? Or maybe you’ve run into that one guy who coaches the little league team without pay, even though he has no children of his own?
These characters are recurring in most places where a real community has been established. A bunch of people standing in the same place is not a community. But when the individuals involved all share a common interest, that group becomes a community that only wants to see its members succeed.
A community can provide much needed support and most importantly, connect you with potential clients.
There are many avenues you can take to find a community that suits your needs as a writer:
- Social Media. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, even Reddit (Facebook groups are especially handy)
- Blogs. Your blog, my blog, any blog related to your niche.
- Your family! By telling your family what you are doing and what you need help with, you open yourself up to the highest quality of lead. A reference from a family member. Can’t beat that!
Joining a community is a great way to connect with like-minded individuals that can point you in the right direction and bolster your confidence when hunting new paying clients.
And while joining a community may be a totally awesome way of cultivating valuable relationships that are fulfilling and will effectively help you grow your business, there is another option that makes it look like child’s play.
Building your own community.
By building your own community, you take all of the perks of joining a preformed and throw yourself at the top of the tower. Instead of joining the crowd of people looking up to a group’s main sponsor, you can become the one that everyone looks up to. As your community grows, so will your business. I guarantee it.
Of course, this is all easier said than done.
How exactly does one go about organically building their own community to support their freelance career and offer support to their peers?
Past clients and current clients – If someone trusted you enough to offer you paying work, why wouldn’t they be interested in connecting with you in your community? The value you brought to their company is proof enough that you definitely have something to offer.
While every client won’t be interested, if you have done quality work for them in the past, there is little reason for a client to refuse becoming a member of your tribe. Remaining on good terms with a client never hurt anyone, and it could easily lead to future work and referrals.
- A great way to share with your clients that you would like them to become a member of your community is the email newsletter. Email has become a great tool for soliciting real relationships from strangers, imagine using it to do something as simple as getting someone who already likes you to opt into your community.
- Apart from promoting yourself via email, you can simply ask. Call that client up and ask directly if they would like to be a part of your community. Rather than letting your clients pay you and run away, keep them interested by offering them the opportunity.
- Businesses also love having more customers. So refer them more work and they will be keen to do the same for you. Having clients support you relies on meaningful connections.
Other freelancers – As freelancer, it can sometimes seem like you are alone and most of the people surrounding you just can’t relate to your circumstances. The fact of the matter is, there are tens of thousands of freelancers across this world. Some of which relate to your struggle and will be more than willing to support you. The only troublesome part is finding them.
The best way to connect with your colleagues?
Network, network, network. Did you meet another freelancer online or in person? Ask him who he knows and if he’d be willing to introduce you to some of his colleagues. Rinse and repeat. At the point that someone actually says no, you should be able to just go to the next person you’ve built a relationship with and see if they can refer you. Though, you shouldn’t interact with people solely to generate business and build your group. You should be aiming to build quality relationships in the same way that you would with your actual clients.
Inbound marketing takes time to configure, especially if you want the best results. Though you won’t see much change immediately after implementing these tips, over time your freelance business will see more referrals and higher paying work with clients that you trust. This is the value of community for a freelancer, so don’t take this lightly.
Categories: Freelance Writing Advice