Being an online writer and entrepreneur can be an incredible experience. In addition to being your own boss and setting your own hours, you might have the opportunity to work from home much of the time, which can cut down on gas and other expenses.
While there are benefits to having your own business, there are also some inherent challenges. While many traditional jobs have a steady stream of work for their employees, freelance writers often have to drum up business on their own. The following tips can help you take the business bull by the horns and attract more business and projects:
Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn
One of the best ways to get word out about your work is through word-of-mouth, notes Your Freelance Career, a site that helps people run their freelance businesses. In addition to encouraging friends and family to share your work, don’t be shy about contacting others to tell them about your services. For example, if you are a freelance writer, reach out to editors of local publications and let them know you are available for hire. If you are trying to grow your social media management business, speak up when a friend mentions her daughter’s company is looking to expand into social media, give her your business card, and say you are available for a consultation.
Sometimes, you’ve gotta shake the bushes a bit
Instead of waiting for clients to come to you, you might want to take some proactive steps to get more work and projects coming your way, suggests Rock the Next Stage, a life-coaching website. While cold calls can be daunting and overwhelming for many people, a cold email is a much easier and effective way to reach new customers. If your specialty is building and updating business websites, use Google to research local companies you might want to work with and introduce yourself and your services via email. Explain the type of work you do and include links in the email to some of your successful projects.
Granted, not every company owner will respond to your email, but even if one out of 10 replies and asks to meet with you, it is a worthwhile and effective approach to try.
Treat your existing clients like gold
One of the benefits of working with a freelancer like yourself is that you can offer your clients more personalized attention. You can use this fact to your advantage in a variety of ways. For example, promptly responding to your customers’ emails and phone calls, and getting to know them as more than just a client will not only encourage them to use your services again and again, but also to recommend you to their friends and family, notes Entrepreneur, the magazine for those running their own businesses.
Once your project is over, try to stay in touch with your clients — send them a friendly email every so often to check in, or give them a call and invite them out for coffee. Even if your current workload is pretty busy, you never know when the projects will dry up for awhile. By maintaining regular contact with past clients, you can remain on their radar and probably get hired again for future work.