I’ve got to be honest. I haven’t known what to write about lately. In my Google Drive, I have a long list of blog post ideas and topics. But I’m getting married in 10 days, and it felt weird to write about sleep habits or career development or relationship challenges when I’m living in a vacuum that is all things BIG DAY. My life right now is guest counts, final invoices, printing hashtag signs, and checking my weather app 27 times a day. (Fingers crossed for anything below 78 degrees in a week and a half.)
I never thought I would be a stressed-out wedding countdown kind of girl, but here we are. Identity crisis for one, please. So, that’s precisely why I’m writing about something other than wedding things. While I am so thrilled for the day itself and the many fun activities surrounding it, everything lately has revolved around planning. I need to think about something else.
And I’m sure you’d like to read about anything else. I know I’m not the only person to ever have a wedding (in fact, we are going to another couple’s wedding tomorrow in Dallas!), yet, somehow, this preparation feels so immense. We are simultaneously planning the biggest party in the history of us planning parties (the second largest was Piper’s first birthday, with a whopping 6 humans and 3 dogs…) AND getting ready to commit the rest of our lives to each other.
That’s heavy, man.
Anyway, moving on from all of that.
Let’s talk, instead, about freelancing. Since transitioning into full-time freelancing at the beginning of the summer, I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I got into freelance writing and editing and how I find clients. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a few tips that might be helpful. I’ve posted about my freelance approach before, so this will be a sort of continuation from that blog post.
I wrote about how every freelance job I’d gotten up until that point was from pre-existing relationships and connections. That’s a super valuable way to find clients still. If you have friends in public relations, media, publishing, start-ups, marketing — they all need content writers, preferably ones that they know and trust. (You!) Reach out, put some feelers out in your network, and be bold with communicating your interests and aspirations. The worst that could happen is that they say they’re not looking for contributors currently, but they’ll keep you in mind.
Networking is truly as easy as sending an email, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. And — I also have a new freelancing resource that I just adore.
Upwork is a platform that I’ve used for a few months now to find clients to write content for regularly. If you don’t have contacts that work in media or publishing, then this is a fantastic place to start to become a freelancer. You create your profile, set your hourly rate (I charge $50 per hour), and “apply” for writing jobs with companies all over the country and world.
I call it Craigslist for freelancers, and it’s a game changer. Once you get one job on there, it’s much easier to snag even more, since your profile will show some Upwork experience and a review from a client (aka, showing you are trustworthy and a good worker). Eventually, clients will even invite you to apply for their jobs.
The only major bummer is that the platform takes 20% of your income at first, so you might want to adjust your rates accordingly. But! After you make $500 through Upwork, which doesn’t take long if you find one or two clients, the fee drops to 10%. After making $10,000 (which’ll admittedly take quite a bit more time), they only take 5%. Think of it as a finder’s fee — I wouldn’t have found half of my existing clients without Upwork, even using my connections and social media. And they want to reward freelancers for longevity, which is kind of nice, if you think about it.
Although I use Upwork to find copywriting and editing clients, it hosts freelancers of all kinds. From graphic designers and website developers to resume writers and even engineers and architects, if you’re in a creation field of any sort, you can freelance through Upwork.
Another idea to consider is having a place to show ideal clients your experience. Not even necessarily a “portfolio” — a blog or LinkedIn articles can do the trick a lot of the time. Since I’ve changed my website into more of a life blog, rather than a lifestyle/fashion blog, I write a lot about personal and career growth. Over the last two months, I’ve gotten three new clients in the career development and leadership strategy fields.
I didn’t have “portfolio” experience in this direct field to point them to, but I could say, “Hey, the things that you’re trying to help clients with are the things I’m wildly interested in, too. Take a look at this personal blog post I’ve written about finding a fulfilling job or this LinkedIn article I wrote a couple years ago about tapping in to curiosity.”
That personal connection to their mission, followed up by some palpable and applicable resources, is often more meaningful than slapping a link to a portfolio in an email, anyway.
Do you freelance or want to get into freelancing? What are some of your helpful tricks for finding your ideal clients? Leave them in a comment or shoot me them in an email. I’ll share the best ones on social media!