One of the biggest challenges a person faces in the freelance world is finding new clients. This holds true whether you are a freelance writer or a freelance web developer and designer. Having repeat customers is a nice way to ensure you have steady income, but if you want to increase your income you have to constantly be on the look-out for new clients. Many freelancers become overwhelmed at the thought of pursuing new clients. They realize they need to generate more income to make it in this business, but all too often they’re afraid to take a chance at landing a new client.
We must overcome this obstacle if we are to ever make a decent living or see our by-line in major publications. Writing and developing websites for the internet are fabulous ways to earn some income and gain experience, but eventually you may want to step up and play with the big dogs. If you want to see your name in print in a big publication or your name as webmaster for some of the major firms in the business world, you’ll have to step out of your comfort zone on a regular basis.
The best place to start is to know your market. You must study your market and keep up with all the new changes. With the inception of the internet and a high tech world, changes are not only inevitable but they come at you with lightening fast speeds. Spend at least one day each week studying market trends; find out what’s hot, what’s new, what’s in and what’s out.
If you want to write for the top magazines on the newsstands, by all means get a subscription to them and study them. Learn the ins and outs of the publications. Compare each month’s topics and sections to the previous months’. If you’re a web developer, visit sites that are up-to-date on the latest technology and stay abreast to what major firms are doing to their websites.
Keep an eye open for signs where freelancers contributed articles to a magazine or a website. Find out if they are in-house writers or hired as a freelancer. This will give you an idea of which magazines or websites will allow freelancing. It will also give you some insight as to the kinds of work they accept from freelancers.
Do your homework and always go the extra mile. It can be fine to write up short articles for web or blog content, but if you want to land some top paying gigs, you have to be the best. Always go the extra mile and deliver more than a client expects. This goes for sending out new material on article boards and repositories as well. If you aren’t happy with something you’ve written, do not just throw it up at a freelance writing board. You may think you’re working for peanuts, and maybe in the beginning you are, but your writing should always reflect professionalism and perfection. You really never know who will be studying the freelance market looking for new freelance writers. Studying the market goes both ways. Clients do look for freelancers.
Join writing groups and developer groups. Why? Because many seasoned freelance writers and web developers will help guide you in stepping out of your comfort zone and going for bigger gigs. If you honestly want to improve your skills and start applying for the bigger money, those who know the ropes can be a wealth of information. Not all seasoned freelancers are as friendly, but most of them will give you some tips to help you find your way. Just remember to be genuine in making friendships with fellow freelancers. They’ve been in this business and can spot a fake a mile away. People do not take kindly to feeling like they’ve been used. Treat fellow writers and developers with respect.
Searching the job boards. It takes a lot of time each day to search job boards for freelance opportunities. If money is tight this generally means you have to do the leg work yourself and then take on the task of applying. One key tip here is to not spend too much time on these job boards. It’s something you need to do but be careful of your time, because time is money after all.
If your finances allow, it may be wise to pay for a subscription service. There are many services out there that will search the job boards each day and email you the best results they find. The drawback here is those jobs are also sent out to every other subscriber on the list. The benefits of using a subscription service are time saving and money well spent. The first job you land will usually pay for the subscription service several times over, making it a good investment.
Conduct interviews. This may sound a little odd at first, but it can land you some new clients. Many people love to talk about themselves and doing a casual interview through email usually fits into anyone’s time crunch. How can this work? Well first it gives you exposure to someone in the niche you write in, or even in the same freelance field. It can also get more traffic to your blog or website so your name is in front of more readers and quite a few of your readers could be potential clients. It helps to establish you as an authority in the freelance world as well. It may also get you in touch with people you may not have been able to otherwise. If the person you interviewed finds your article on them compelling, they may very well share that interview with their friends.
Breaking out into the freelance world can seem very overwhelming and lonely at times. Most days it’s just you and your computer screen staring at each other all day for days on end. It’s not always as glamorous as some people make it out to be, but if you’ll start networking with others in your field and begin to look at everyone as though they could be a potential client, you’ll start finding more and better paying jobs. It just takes time, patience, a lot of writing and stepping out of your comfort zone.
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