Are you having trouble landing freelance writing clients but you don’t know why?
Do you feel like you’re doing everything it takes but you find yourself stuck within the claustrophobic walls of content mills and low-paying gigs?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone and I’m here to tell you that there is a way out.
The key is knowing what you’re doing wrong, so you can make it right.
Today we’re going to discuss the top 5 mistakes you may be making that could be destroying your chances of attracting freelance writing clients.
You’re Not Confident Enough
When replying to job ads or pitching new clients, the No. 1 mistake I see freelance writers make, time and time again, is to let their lack of confidence show.
Now I’m not saying you have to be confident to get the job. I’m simply saying you have to act confident.
When I hire writers, there are a few “desperate red flags” that make me want to throw out the application immediately:
- Red Flag #1: They make it personal – Never ever talk about “how much you need the money” or “how great this would be for your career.” Phrases like this are an immediate turn off and will make clients feel uncomfortable. Bottom line? Keep it professional and talk about how your skills as a writer would benefit their company or make their life easier in some way.
- Red Flag # 2: The plea – Never use phrases like “please give me a chance”, or “I’m willing to learn.” Phrases like these scream desperation. Clients are looking for experts in their fields with a lot of experience. Even if this is your first gig, you have to portray yourself as an expert, not beg for the position. In other words, fake it til’ you make it!
- Red Flag # 3: Using words that imply uncertainty – Phrases like “I think I am the right one for the job” or “I feel I may be able to contribute to your website” will land you a one-way ticket to the virtual trash. Replace the “I thinks” and “I feels” with “I will”, “I can” and “I know.” This will ensure you exude the confidence that clients are looking for.
I had NO confidence when I started freelance writing, trust me it’s not uncommon. I built confidence as my career grew and I learned how to overcome my fears. If you struggle with this at any level, I want to help. I put together a Free report called “Freelance Writing Fear Smashers.” In it, I detail exactly how I overcame my fears to become the successful freelance writer I am today. Download it here now.
Errors in Your Emails
You sent that email but you forgot to proofread it. Yikes!
One misspelled word or misplaced apostrophe and you can kiss that gig goodbye!
When composing your emails to clients, perfection is key. There are dozens of competitors applying for the same jobs you are, so why would clients settle for anything less than perfect? The answer? They won’t!
Proofread every email you write … and then proofread it again!
Whether you’re so busy you forgot to edit, or you’re distracted with other things and made a one-time mistake, a client will see a grammatical or spelling error as pure laziness or lack of attention to detail, and it will leave them wondering how you will ever produce high quality content if you can’t even write one correct email. You’re a writer! No excuses!
You’re Neglecting Your Online Presence
Creating and maintaining a strong online presence is essential to attracting freelance writing clients and portraying strong freelance client management skills.
It’s part of having The Right Branding, which is one of my 5 pillars to success. A strong online presence includes:
- A website with a stunning homepage, about page, portfolio page and testimonials.
- Social Profiles such as: A Facebook business page, a Twitter profile and a LinkedIn profile.
- And a blog geared towards your specialty that you post to once a week or bi-monthly.
When a prospective client searches online to find out more about you and sees that you have a strong online presence, he or she will know that you mean business.
Even if you are new to freelance writing, displaying your work online is great way to “show em’ what you’ve got” and will position you miles apart from the competition.
With social media, you have the power to connect with prospective clients casually by liking and commenting on their posts.
Remember, when you have friends or connections on Facebook and LinkedIn, whatever you post will show up in their newsfeed. Posting links to your latest blog post or a recently completed project is a great way to show prospective clients that you are a professional, working writer who’s in high demand.
You’re Not Staying Up-To-Date
Once you’ve created your online presence, you must maintain it.
I see this mistake frequently and it can mean the difference between being taken seriously as a professional writer or looking like an amateur.
Here’s what I mean: If a prospective client sees a link to your blog on your website, but goes to it only to find that it hasn’t been updated in months, they’re going to think one of two things:
- You’re lazy and you may have a habit of starting things you don’t finish.
- You are no longer in business.
Neither of those things will get you the gig! So make it a point to update your website, portfolio, blog and social profiles on a regular basis. It won’t take long if you do it routinely.
If creating or maintaining your online presence is intimidating for you, I understand. And believe me, I can relate!
Posting, liking, poking and tweeting were not always in my vocabulary! There is a learning curve.
If you’d like more information on how to get your online presence up and running to attract even the hardest-to-reach freelance writing clients, check out my popular blog post “Setting the Stage: Freelance Writer Tips to Creating a Strong Online Presence” There you will find some quick and easy-to-apply tips on how to create a strong and profitable online presence.
Your Messages are too Generic
When clients receive an email for “To whom it may concern” followed by a flat general message with little to no detail regarding the job, they will most likely throw it in the recycle bin before they’ve even finished it!
Be specific when composing the body of the email. Address the client by name if you know it and don’t just say you’re “right for the job.” Show them why. Woo them with your knowledge and detail of the position.
Look at the job ad and assess which requirements you can fulfill, and then address each requirement one at a time and discuss how you can meet them. This will show clients that not only do you possess the qualifications they are looking for, but that you also pay close attention to detail, which is always something I value when I’m hiring.
Don’t forget to include links to your website, social profiles and samples of your work, especially if they relate to the subject matter of the project you’re applying for.
Think about these mistakes and assess whether you have made any of them in the past. If so, start fresh today with some new habits that will have freelance writing clients lining up at your virtual door! Now wouldn’t that be nice?