I proudly hung my digital shingle out last year, hoping to magically turn my love of writing and editing into a full-time freelance career.
Sadly, my expectations didn’t meet the reality. I worked exclusively for family and friends the first six months, and pay was underwhelming.
I dreamed of expanding my business and finding clients on my own – but I was clueless about how to market myself.
Then I got a great break on social media, and found my first legit freelance client. Here’s how:
Connect with people, not just prospects
One of the best online resources I use is a private Facebook group, for fans of a female entrepreneur’s podcast. I post in there every few days. I especially love Motivation Mondays, when we share the upcoming week’s goal.
One week, I offhandedly mentioned my goal was to edit the draft of an e-book I wrote to sell on Amazon. A fellow boardie asked if I ghostwrote e-books. I had done a couple pieces, so I responded, “yes.”
What happened in my Facebook message app over the next two hours was a crash course in working with freelance clients.
Naturally, the potential client asked to see a writing sample, and I momentarily panicked. Despite all my study on freelancing, I didn’t have a portfolio with any clips.
I did, however, have a snappy chapter of my e-book to send her. She liked what she read, briefed me on her project, and asked what I charged.
Then, she asked me to name a price. This was another snag, because my clients had always set the price. I used The Writer’s Market’s “How Much Should I Charge?” guide to confidently set a rate that worked for me and was within my new client’s budget ($25 an hour, which is a higher wage than my 9-to-5 job).
That first ghostwriting gig was a blast. My client was thrilled, and posted a glowing review on the Facebook page.
Be open to clients everywhere
I’m so grateful for that experience, and the lessons I was able to take away from one little freelance gig. Here are four tips you can use to find clients on social media:
- Project your best self online. I never realized what low-hanging fruit there is on my social media accounts. I’m mindful now to be polite and positive – and genuine – when I post, because I never know when I’ll find a new prospective client.
- Evaluate your own circles. Even though we’re all entrepreneurs, I never thought I’d do business with anyone on that Facebook fan page. What pages do you like or post to? Have you built up any relationships that could turn into job prospects? Be sure these ‘friends’ know you’re a freelance writer.
- Get in the fray. My biggest marketing hurdle was to get outside my head and start looking. I now have prices listed on my website, and I offer writing packages. I’m almost finished assembling clips that I can post on my website, or easily send to potential clients. I still read voraciously about freelancing, but I know networking is even more important.
- Leverage positive momentum. Because of my client’s awesome review, several other boardies have asked for price quotes. In our community of 250+ entrepreneurs, I’m now the go-to girl for writing and editing.
Annie Kontor is a freelance writer, editor, and translator at Indigo Prairie Writing Services. Connect with her on Twitter.