Two Easy-Fun Ways Freelancers Can Find Great Writing Clients

Carol Tice

Find Writing Clients: Two Fun & Easy Ways. Makealivingwriting.com.Some things never change, like the need to find great writing clients. But marketing doesn’t have to be a grueling, stressful, or frustrating chore. Check out these two fun and easy ways to find writing clients. Enjoy!–Carol

One of the questions freelance writers ask me most is, “How can I find better-paying clients?” Another one is “Where are all the good-paying clients hiding?” A third one is, “Why can’t I find any good writing clients?”

I’m sensing a theme here, that people want to know more about how to connect with great clients.

There are many ways to hunt these elusive good clients, but today I want to talk about two of my favorite in-person techniques for connecting with good-paying clients.

That’s right, these methods involve leaving your writing cave, going out, and meeting live humans.

Don’t be scared!

Once you get the hang of it, networking is actually a lot of fun. Or it should be — so remember to have fun with it.

Here are two techniques that are pretty fail-proof and simple for maximizing your networking time:

1. Eat lunch for two and a half hours

When I used to work big trade shows, I did this all the time. If you’re at an all-day or weekend networking event, there’ll be lunch. Often, there’s a big food court in an exhibition hall where people will wander in and eat at various times.

Start early — I usually go in around 11:15 and eat my own lunch, so that I could talk when others sat down. I keep a little on my plate so it looks like I’m still eating lunch.

Shortly, new people arrive with their lunch.

“Do you mind if I sit here?” they ask. “Of course not — sit right down!” I reply.

They take a bite or two of food, and then I start shmoozing them up.

  • “Where are you from?
  • How are you enjoying the conference?
  • What does your company do?
  • Interesting…do you use freelance writers at all at your company?
  • Who’d be the best person at your company to talk to about that?”

Often, I could keep sitting there chatting with new prospects until 2 p.m. As people finish lunch, new people arrive, and you begin again.

I love this technique because you’ve got a captive audience — they’re chewing. If you do it pleasantly, they won’t become so annoyed they pick up their plate and leave. Everyone’s in a good mood and on a mental ‘break’ while they eat, so it’s a great time to meet people.

If you’re in a scenario where everyone sits down to lunch in one place at the same time, circulate amongst the tables. When you go back for a second roll or dessert, sit back down at a different table, and begin your shmooze-up over again with the new crowd.

2. Host an event

If you’re going to take the trouble of going out to a networking event, you can put in a tiny bit more effort and ensure you meet every single person who attends the event. How? By being the host or co-host.

For years, my writing bud Michelle Goodman was the co-host of a Seattle business networking event. It’s the perfect gig for connecting with potential writing clients.

Why? Here’s how hosting helps you meet the largest number of people and be seen in the best possible light:

  • Meet and greet. The host gets to stand by the check-in table and greet everyone as they pick up their name tags. You can chat up a lot of people that way.
  • Speech…speech…speech! The host gets to make a little speech somewhere in the proceedings to thank everybody for coming, in which you can say a bit about what you do…so anybody the host didn’t connect with on check-in now knows what you look like, and a little about your freelance writing business.
  • Thank you very much. It’s my experience that when attendees leave a networking event, nearly all of them do one thing: They go over and thank the host for putting it on.

In other words, the host gets to meet basically every single person who attends the event. Those people all come away with the impression that you are a happening coordinator of events as well as a freelance writer.

Fun and easy ways to find writing clients

Networking doesn’t get more effective than this. It’s a big payoff just for setting up a table, printing out a few nametags, and maybe sending a couple promotional emails.

Eat lunch, host an event. These are two marketing strategies I recommend to all the writers in my mentoring program, who’re looking to ramp up their earnings and — yes, find those better-paying clients.

How do you make in-person networking effective? Let’s discuss on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Get paid to blog: Get a free e-book (100+ Freelance Writing Questions Answered by Carol Tice) and free updates! Sign me up!

13 Comments

  1. michelle goodman

    Hi Carol, thanks for the mention. I’ll second some of what Susan said. It certainly helps to co-host an event with a pal or colleague so you do have _some_ time to play party host (as opposed to just hired hand). And it’s true that everyone wants to talk to you because you’re the host. But it’s also true that the majority of folks seeking out the mediabistro hosts are those with questions like, “How do I get started as a freelancer?” rather than “What’s your rate? I want to hire you.” Still, the visibility — and the fact that hosting means you never have to feel like a wallflower — are fantastic. It was a great thing to do when I was launching my freelancing book a couple years ago.

  2. Ebuka Okonkwo

    The first tip on ‘Eating lunch for two and half hours’ is something I’ve actually experienced a couple of times. Thrice a year I attend Fashion Accessories shows in New York City as a freelance vendor for foreign companies.

    People from all over the world attend this show. During lunch breaks, it’s common to see groups of people seating together asking such questions as ‘How’s is the show’? ‘Are you an exhibitor or buyer’? Though I’ve posed as a copywriter in that setting nor anywhere else, but I see the tip you gave as a very potent way for a serious writer to schmooze and network with some of these companies in need of good writers.

    I never gave it a thought until I read your post. I love it!

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks Ebuka — I liked your linked post, too. I’m using one product right now that seems to be more about hard-selling me to affiliate sell it than it is about making the product work right! I’m holding off plugging it to anyone until I road-test it a bit more and see if it really works well.

      Sitting on your butt eating, and finding gigs — it’s never gonna get any better than that!

  3. Linda Abbit

    Meetup.com is a great resource to find local networking groups on just about every topic under the sun. Some are more business-oriented and others are more casual & hobby-oriented. You need to attend various ones (and some groups a few times) to figure out which ones would be best for your networking purposes.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 10 Ways Writers Can Use LinkedIn to Find Freelance Gigs - [...] have a location-based LI group that isn’t meeting live, consider starting a live event and serving as host.The groups.…

Related Posts

You CAN Write a Query Letter That Gets a “Yes”: 5 Resources

Freelance writer getting a gig after learning to write a query letter.

Love them or hate them, queries are one of the most important marketing tools for any freelancer who wants to write for magazines. And the skills you learn from writing a good query letter also help business writers and copywriters pitch their potential clients.

If you’ve been sending queries off into space and never getting a reply, you may think it’s impossible to break into new magazines. But it’s not true! Editors are always looking for new talent.

To help you learn to write a query letter that will get you the gig, we’ve pulled together a collection of five of our best posts on pitching:

Can’t Write? Try These 9 Ideas for Writing Motivation

It’s the bane of every freelance writer’s life: You know you need to sit yourself down and get some writing done, but nothing happens. The writing motivation just isn’t there. Sometimes, you can't even make yourself sit down with the computer -- even if you...