The popularity of freelancing and working from home has gone up in the past few years. Burned out office employees and parents who want to spend more time with their kids may find freelancing a welcome change. The idea of working out of the kitchen table while doing whatever else on your spare time is golden.
What new freelancers don’t often know — and won’t know until they’re weeks into freelancing — is that it takes a while to build a clientele. Scoping out clients may be easy; getting the job is a bit more challenging.
There are a lot of advice online on how to get your first paid writing job. Information about marketing yourself online and building your own website has been covered, so you won’t read about that here.
Instead, here’s some unusual ways you can land a freelance writing job without trying too hard.
Go to a party
Whether it’s a wedding or a friend’s office party, these fun and informal gatherings are great for passively letting people know what you do. Besides, “what do you do?” is definitely a part of every conversation in parties, so it’s bound to come up more than once. You never know when a content manager for a website might actually be in front of you.
If you do get someone interested, keep it casual. Remember, though, that you’re trying to get leads, not land a job on the spot. Just be cool yet clear about your expertise as a freelance writer. Don’t go overboard and put people to sleep telling them about your entire resume. An elevator speech might be handy in these kinds of situations, so make one up before going to the event. Because an elevator speech is designed to be used in a business or formal setting, try to adjust yours to a more informal tone. The traditional speech should last 30 seconds, but you can keep it down to 10 or 20. An example speech would be:
I’m a freelance tech writer. Companies hire me to write about their products so they get more sales.
Okay, that maybe would take 3 seconds, but you get what I mean. You can add more details as you like. The important thing is that it should be short enough to not bore your listener, but detailed enough to make your specialty stand out.
Again, don’t start all your conversations in this way. Scope out the ones who seem to be more interested and let the others off the hook. It’s a party, after all. Sip some wine, dance around and have fun!
Create a video ad
The run-of-the-mill writer website can get you a client, no doubt. But a video ad? It just sounds more interesting. A short video highlighting what you do best and why people should hire you may just get you more clients than a regular website. Check out this video ad from a copywriter named Diane Lee. It’s funny and smart.
There are lots of free resources to create your own videos online, or if you have the money, you can have it professionally made with outsourcing platforms like Upwork or Fiverr.
A video ad shows a potential client that you are serious about your work and that you put time and effort to reach out to clients using all kinds of media, including video. It can be a cute animation like the one above, or a short reel of yourself talking to your audience.
Actually write something
You can’t tell the world you’re a writer if you haven’t written something at all (or recently). So get your butt on the chair and start writing. Write on your own blog. Write on other people’s blogs. Write a book. Write a research paper. Write an investigative journalism piece. Write a love letter to The One Who Got Away. Write anything. Do it so that the next time someone asks you what you write about, they don’t see a blank stare.
Writing should be a daily activity for any serious writer. It doesn’t matter (yet) if you get paid to do it or not. If writing doesn’t come naturally to you, then freelance writing is not the best career choice.
Freelance writing is a puzzle — but it’s an intermediate one. It’s not easy, but not terribly difficult to solve. If you pay attention to the details and start focusing on what’s important, the pieces suddenly fit together. There’s no secret or inside handshake to catch at all. You just need to be smart and follow your clues.
Did you discover a great way to get freelance writing jobs? Feel free to share them in the comments below!