If you’re struggling to get your first writing client, and you want to start building your career as a freelance writer, then this article is for you.
Today I want to talk you through how to get your first clients. Now this can be a bit of a milestone for new writers, and it does not have to be a long drawn-out process at all.
In fact, it’s actually pretty simple once you know what people are looking for when they’re looking to hire a writer. Let’s get into it!
Create your writing samples
First, you’re going to need to have a few writing samples. Clients are not going to hire you if you can’t at least show them that you can write. So make sure you’ve got your samples sorted first.
Get some testimonials
The next thing to have in your pitching toolkit is some testimonials. If you’re just starting out you’ll want to have at least one or two, ideally three, testimonials from people to show your prospective clients that you’ve done work before and you’ve done a good job.
So how do you get these testimonials?
Personally, what I did is I just tapped into my own network. So I talked to my family and friends. I did a couple of very small, very easy writing jobs in exchange for a testimonial. I didn’t ask for any money, all I did was ask if they could put a couple of sentences together and talk me up.
So that’s how you get your first couple of testimonials. So once you’ve got your samples, you’ve got your testimonials, the next thing you’re going to do is you’re going to start pitching.
Personally, I have hired writers before. And what I really don’t like to see is a copy-and-paste pitch.
Now I can’t speak for a lot of clients, but I know that whenever I’ve tried that approach, it has not been successful.
What I do find works much better when I’m pitching new clients is to make the pitch very short, very sweet, and show that you’ve actually read the job ad.
In your pitch, show that you have a genuine interest in working with this person. Don’t just copy and paste your pitch, show that you actually want this particular job and tell this person why you want the job and why you think you’re the best fit. I find that to be a much more successful approach to pitching.
Be transparent about your profile on Upwork
What I did when I was first starting out and I was trying to get my first few clients is I set actually said in my pitch, please excuse my sparse profile. I’m new to the platform. That’s why I don’t have 50 testimonials.
Notice I didn’t say I’m new to writing or I don’t have any experience. I simply said I’m new to the platform, which was completely true.
What you’re doing when you’re pitching is you’re trying to overcome any sort of objections in a person’s mind when they’re hiring you. It’s helpful to put yourself in the client’s shoes, what would you look for if you were going to hire a writer?
You’d look for someone with relevant samples, someone with good testimonials. And someone who seems genuinely interested in working with you.
Create a custom sample
So if you follow those three steps, then you are giving yourself a much better chance of getting the work.
Another thing that I did when I was first starting out as a freelance writer is I would actually send a custom sample to the client I was trying to land.
So when I was just starting, I didn’t have a lot of clients. I had time.
And while I wouldn’t do this now, it can be a very powerful way to land your first few clients. Let’s say you’ve come across a job ad for a skincare company that wants to build a new website, and they need all the copy written for their website.
So what you could do is you could create, say 200 words of custom copy written especially for them. That’s one way to show them that you really want this job. Here’s 200 words I’ve written especially for you. You can use it if you like or you can throw it away, but this is what I can produce for you.
And that’s a really, really powerful way to get a client to say yes to you, even if you don’t have any experience. Provided of course that what you’ve written for them is actually good and they actually want to use it.
Don’t be afraid to hop on a call
Now a lot of clients will actually want to get on a phone call with you as well before they hire you just to check that you’re a real person and you know you are who you say you are.
These don’t need to be scary. You don’t need to feel like it’s a job interview or anything like that, even though it kind of technically is sort of like a job interview.
Just keep it super relaxed and make sure that you’re presenting yourself in such a way that you’re confident and that you can deliver the work that’s all they’re really looking for.
So don’t be scared to hop on a phone call and just have a chat with the client – it doesn’t need to be scary.
Okay, so that is how you get your first writing client!
If you have any more questions about this process, please feel free to leave a comment.