Thoughts & Advice

What’s Most Important When Starting a Freelance Business

Starting a freelance writing and editing business, but don’t know where to start?rsz_home-office-336378_1280

Whether you seek to freelance full-time or as a way to make extra money, your first task is to get clients. But don’t start by reading job listings.

Instead, let your contacts help you.

You have a better chance at making your freelance business a success if you start the process with your contacts rather than responding to freelance job listings.

Finding connections

How do you connect with people?

First, think about everyone you’ve working with before. What are they doing now? Would they have the need for a freelancer? Are they an avenue to other freelance opportunities?

Let your contacts help you.

Reach out to these connections. Tell them that you’re freelancing. Ask if they have anything or know of anyone looking for freelancers.

If you have a specialty, make sure you to pitch that to these potential freelance clients.

Next, head over to Linkedin. Review all of your connections.  Look at all the people you forgot! There’s that guy who you quoted in an article two years ago. There’s the woman who you worked alongside for six months years ago.

Do they need your services? Do they know someone who might need your services?

Also, use personal social media like Facebook. You likely have old friends who have nothing to do writing and editing. Post to Facebook that you’re freelancing and looking for gigs.

That Facebook friend from third grade, who you haven’t thought about in years, may have a cousin who is looking for writers. You won’t know unless you ask.

After you reach out

If you find a possible lead, reach out that person. Don’t worry that you aren’t close anymore  — or ever. Don’t fear that they’ll ignore you.

Don’t let a “no” or someone ignoring you knock you off track.

As a freelancer, you’ll need to get used to being ignored and told “no.” You are now your own business and your own marketer. Don’t let a “no” or someone ignoring you knock you off track.

Move forward. Focus on those who say “yes.” They are investing in you. Don’t let them down.

Remember that a freelancer is only as good as his or her last article or editing job. You want to provide the highest quality for each piece.

If a client doesn’t like one article, you might get a pass. If you keep sending him pieces that need a lot of work, he’s going to go elsewhere.

Connections are most important

Connections are more important than responding to job postings. Plus, job postings is mostly about rejection. You’ll likely only get a couple of bites each month from job listing responses.

You have a much better chance if you connect with people who know you and respect your work.

I’ve found people want to help others — whether it’s holding a door, helping track down a loose dog, or even giving them freelance work.

Let your connections help you.

What do you think? What was most successful for you when you were just starting out as a freelancer?

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