Freelance writing can be a tough gig. Heck, any freelance business has its ups and downs.
When I started out writing, I was so happy to get my first couple of clients, I didn’t care that I was only being paid $10 to write 500 words. Ouch! Not a highlight in my freelance career.
When you’re starting out or going through a quiet period in your business, it’s tempting to take on any work you can get. But, you should not be charging peanuts for your work – you’re worth way more than that!
There may be a few reasons why you’re struggling to find clients. You might be familiar with a few of these scenarios – don’t worry, there a few easy ways to fix them!
The Problem: You’re not pitching enough to freelance clients
Pitching is the process that’s going to guarantee you freelance work. Ideally, you should be sending at least 10 pitches per day. Yeah! that may seem like a lot, but considering you may only hear back from a handful of clients you pitch to, you need to become a one man pitching machine!
As a full time freelancer, regular pitching ensures I have a steady stream of work lined up.
You may get lucky and have the opportunity to take on more work than you can handle – don’t be afraid to turn down jobs if you’re busy. A stressed out freelancer isn’t the best recipe for producing quality work or meeting deadlines.
If you’re wondering where you can find jobs to apply for check out 15 places to find your first freelance client.
The Problem: Your pitches aren’t very good
If you’re not landing jobs, you may have a pitch problem. Most of us have sent at least one crap pitch in our time – Let’s face it! When you’re starting out, you don’t have a clue about these things!
If you’re pitching to freelance jobs sites, check out my free email course below for tips on how to pitch!
What makes the difference between a good and bad pitch?
A good pitch should be;
- Concise and straight to the point. You don’t need to send a long pitch to a client.
- Related to the job post – you can use a pitch template but direct it to the genre of work you’re applying for.
- Send writing samples related to the job. For instance, if you’re applying for a job writing automotive blog posts, don’t send samples of nutrition content.
- Say how your work is going to benefit the client.
- Be polite and friendly.
- Act desperate – never a good look.
- Use long chunks of text.
- Use one sentence pitches.
- Use bad grammar or make spelling mistakes.
Problem: You’re not applying for the right type of jobs
Applying for jobs can be tricky when you have limited experience. But, when you’re starting out it helps to have a specific niche or range of genres you can write for.
Thousands of applicants are potentially applying for the same job, so you need to ensure you stand out.
#Scenario: You’re applying for copywriting gigs, such as writing product descriptions and web copy, but you only have experience in writing articles.
When I started freelancing, I only had experience creating articles and blog posts. I landed my first web copywriting gig (rewriting product descriptions) because I had experience in the same niche (beauty) and I could demonstrate my passion for the genre (via my personal blog). If you’re in the same situation, apply for jobs in the sectors where you have the most experience.
It’s tempting to want to apply for every job going, but your time will be better spent crafting quality pitches for jobs where you have experience.
The Problem: You’re overpricing your services
I’m not saying you should be charging $1/£1 per 100 words. Fuck no. But, overcharging for your services can result in a lack of work coming your way.
I recently did some hiring and you’d be surprised at the range of proposed fees that came my way. I had figures suggested from £7 to £300, and interestingly, the candidate requesting the largest amount had a weak proposal and no specific experience relating to what I required.
You’re potentially applying for jobs with thousands of other candidates, so as well as creating a kick-ass pitch, you need to consider your pricing.
Pricing your services;
- Consider your service range.
- Are you going to charge hourly or per project; for instance, if it takes you an hour to write an article of 500 words, you could base an hourly rate on 500 words of content.
- What do you intend to earn per year (this will also help you to set an hourly rate)?
- How much experience do you have in your genre?
- What are your overheads?
Some clients will try to knock your fee down, but stick to your guns. Once you’ve set your fee, try to stick to it. You don’t want to undersell yourself either, so make sure you’re charging what your worth!
The Problem: You’re not promoting yourself!
Promote the shit out of yourself! That’s one piece of advice I’d give to budding freelance writers.
Get on social media and Linked In and start bigging yourself up!
Promote content you’ve written, your services, ask around for freelance work etc.
Having a website also helps – if you want to start a blog, check out my post here.
You don’t need a fancy website, but aim for a cleanish design and, of course, excellent copy and content that will really show off your skills. Potential clients may be checking out your work so link your services and portfolio too – you can find out how to write a services page for your website here.