By Joe Dyton
A year ago, I started this blog to keep track of my progress as I tried to build a successful freelance writing business. Unfortunately, things did not go as well as I had hoped. I reached out to hundreds of publications, web sites, marketing firms, ad agencies and businesses, but somehow only came out of it all with one steady client. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to have landed steady work and this client kept me busy throughout the year, but my goal was to have added six steady clients to my company’s roster in 2014.
In August, I really concentrated on my marketing efforts and aimed to make a combination of 200 calls and emails that month to see how many clients I could get out of it. I did hit my target of 200, but only picked up one potential client. I’m not going to lie, I was very discouraged. I did very little marketing after that, which I know wasn’t going to help me build a client list. I had just gotten so frustrated; out of the 200 people I contacted, only 20 even bothered to respond and 19 said they didn’t have a need for freelance writers. The other one was the potential client I mentioned an earlier; a local marketing firm that has an assignment that could use a commercial real estate writer; a subject in which I have experience. Unfortunately, the firm’s client is dragging its feet a bit, so the firm can’t get to work on the project, which means I’m stuck in limbo. Not good times.
OK, enough with the negative stuff. After the failed 200 email/call experiment, I wondered if I was cut out for this. I decided not to throw in the towel just yet though. I want a successful freelance writing career very badly and it’s not going to come to me, I have to go out and get it. It’ll be hard, but that’s OK. It’ll be worth it when I get to where I want to be. It’s like Tom Hanks said to Geena Davis in “A League of Their Own”, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would be doing it. The hard is what makes it great.” Sure he was talking about baseball, but I like to think it could be applied to anything of life’s challenges.
So here we go, back in the marketing saddle. The Aspiring Freelancer, Take Two.
Leslie Jordan Clary shares how she built a steady stream of writing clients in nine months.
Celine Roque offers tips on how introverted freelance writers can ask for referrals.
Corina Manea shares the story of how she left her day job to pursue a freelance writing career.
Freelance business not making as much money as you’d like? Erin M. offers some tips on how to overcome that.
Joe Dyton (@dyton99) is a freelance journalist and copywriter in the Washington, DC area and co-host of The GD Podcast. He may be reached at email@example.com