Finding writing clients can be hard work. Hiring a sales team might work… but why not MAKE a sales team that’ll work 24/7 for you instead? (And you don’t even have to pay them!)
Back in the dark ages, freelancers could rock at finding writing clients without having a website of their own. I know, because I did it. I had no website, no portfolio, no client list, and no paid experience. Still, I reached the $5k per month revenue goal that seemed completely unrealistic when I set it. That was 2005.
You know, back when we had to walk uphill both ways in three feet of snow, carrying nothing but a baked potato for warmth and to eat at lunch while using Starbucks as a home office? (All that “back in the old days” stuff sounded so much better when my parents and grandparents used to say it!)
Back then, building a website was hard. There was Dream Weaver, Front Page, and X-Site Pro, which is the program I cut my website building teeth on. They broke easily. You kind of had to know some coding. There were no plug-ins or apps, so every feature and function you wanted on your site, you had to build. After brushing up on your coding skills, if you had any… which I did not. See exhibits A and B.
Now, You NEED a Website to Get Great Writing Clients
Even with these ugly old sites, I managed to create a full-time income. That’s probably because not many writers had sites. Plus, the way I landed most of my original clients, it didn’t matter that I didn’t have a site. (The strategy I used back then still works, but there are easier ways to find clients now. I give in-depth training on this in the Working Writer, Happy Writer course.)
Theoretically, you could still try finding writing clients without a website now. But that leaves you ACTIVELY looking for gigs to fill up your pipeline. Kind of a pain, right?
By building a good freelancer site, you can build an inbound, PASSIVE-ish client-getting machine.
To be perfectly clear, I’m NOT saying, “If you build it, they will come.” That movie line has probably tanked more businesses and ruined more lives than most. Ever seen a new business pop up in your town and then the next time you drive by, it’s boarded up? I’d bet you a slab of thick-cut bacon that the now-despondent former owners bought into the myth that just hanging a shingle and selling something at least somewhat awesome would be enough. They probably thought word of mouth would build and make their business flourish. It happens All. The. Time.
You can’t rely on your freelancer website to attract and convert as many writing clients as you need, all by itself. However, it’s worth building a great site anyway.
Build Your Site, Build Your Biz (and help your clients grow, too)
Huddle up for a sec here. What I’m about to tell you will help you build YOUR freelance business and make finding writing clients a snap. But now’s a great time to drill an important perspective into your brain as well.
See, there are like a gajillion freelance writers out there. Most of them kind of stink, to be honest. Some are even crooks (trust me on this, as an agency owner!). You want to do whatever you can to stand out from the crowd.
There are practically infinite ways to do that. You could stand out by choosing an unusual niche. Specializing in a certain type of writing is another way. Education, certifications, and training are other differentiators that could help you nail clients.
But the ONE thing I can tell you that’s helped me keep some clients for more than a decade (even though my firm is nowhere near the least expensive option – not by a long shot)? It’s that I am always on the lookout for ways to help my clients more. Not even always stuff I charge them for, in fact, it’s less tangible than a deliverable. It’s more along the lines of developing a fascination for learning and passing along what I learn to help my clients. Especially when it comes to marketing principles, tactics, tools, and tips.
As you learn how to market YOUR business, you’re also gathering info and data that could help your clients grow THEIR businesses. See? I look at every new tool and tactic that I learn in light of how it could help my clients.
With that mindset, building your writing website takes on a whole new significance. If you can build yours, you can learn to build sites for clients (if you want to add that to your offerings). Build your writing site yourself, and now you can build other sites for yourself, too – especially helpful if you want to get into affiliate marketing or info marketing.