Freelance writers tend to be homebodies. I’m sitting in my home office right now with a cat on my desk and I’m wearing blue jeans, a t-shirt, and Chaco sandals. It’s the perfect setting for me to work and be productive. Of course, not all writers are introverts like me, but even if you’re an extrovert and love going to meetings, all writers will benefit from understanding how to find potential clients from home–or anywhere.
1. LinkedIn. Everyone says this is a good networking took and they’re right. However, be sure not to fall into some traps, like using “resume-speak” on your profile. Since you’re a writer, make sure your profile is easy yet catchy to read. Make sure you explain what you do in every field you support. For example, I write books, I write for magazines, and I also write for businesses. I touch on each of those things in my profile. To make the most out of LinkedIn, post your blog posts there and also join some of the discussion groups. Don’t join groups for writers, other writers won’t hire you (unless you offer services for writers). If you specialize in finance, join some finance groups. If you specialize in environmental topics, join groups focused on different environmental issues.
2. Professional organizations. Are you a technical writer specializing in software? Join some professional organizations dedicated to your field (or fields) and participate in discussion forums and online boards about your specialty. Join some Facebook groups for your specialty and get to know some of the other people who actually work as engineers in your field. For magazine writers, join groups dedicated to the topics you most enjoy writing about. When you participate in discussions, don’t market yourself, provide useful feedback and ideas, and you’ll become known as one of the resident writers. You can then approach other group members individually if you have a specific idea for an article or for suggestions on how to get hired on as a freelancer for a company.
3. Cold emails. Don’t overlook how easy and effective it can be to send prospective clients an email simply introducing yourself, explaining your skills, and asking if the company needs a consultant or freelancer. Many companies do hire freelancers, especially when they’re in a crunch period, or if a company is somewhat small and needs to supplement existing staff with an occasional freelancer. Just don’t be spammy with your emails, like sending a bazillion follow-ups if you don’t hear back. Follow up after a month, and if you don’t hear back, forget about that particular lead.
4. Social media. If you’re looking for new clients, beef up your presence on social media. Look for people on Facebook and Twitter who are in your field, follow them, and comment on some of their posts. After a few interactions, if you have an idea for how you can help the company with your skills, send a message asking about working together. I know a surprising number of writers who find new clients on Twitter!
These are just a few ideas to get you started finding new clients without leaving your home. What other ways do you know about to find writing clients?