How I Found a Great Freelance Writing Client in My Spam

Carol Tice

Writer searches spam for client leadsBy Chris Peden

I wasn’t trained as a writer. I got my undergraduate degree in accounting, and went off to the working world to balance some books for various businesses. Eventually, I started my own firm, doing accounting and taxes for small businesses and individuals.

However, I have branched out into freelance writing, helping explain the sometimes complicated world of accounting and taxes for my clients.

Of course, like many of you, the big question I have is how to find freelance writing clients. You do have to go out and look for them. They aren’t just going to appear in your inbox.

Or are they?

From junk mail to prospect

I receive multiple emails a day, pitching me accounting products and services. It never occurred to me that these might be resources for writing work. Like many freelance writers, I don’t always see that connection between my previous experience and my writing.

One day, that changed. One of those accounting-related emails I got was a newsletter service for accountants. I was about to hit the delete key, but then it hit me: Here’s an organization that puts out content.

You know, content created by writers. Why not send them a pitch?

I put together a letter of introduction and sent it off.

And forgot about it.

A few weeks later, I got an email back from one of the editors offering me $150 a post, which was twice my old rate. They then asked me to submit some story ideas.

Looking for story ideas

Gulp! How do I how to come up with what to write about?

Simple, I went back to my inbox.

I receive daily news feeds keeping me abreast of the latest trends in the world of accounting, so I know how to advise my clients on what to do on a tax return, or how to record a financial transaction in his financial statements. I sat down with the daily news feed to see what I could come up with.

Soon, I had ten ideas.

With every news story, I asked myself how this information relates to my target audience. How could they benefit by knowing more about this subject?

I was able to propose a few stories ideas for the next couple of months, got them approved, and started working on the first article.

Searching for your hidden clients

So how do use your previous work experience and knowledge to find new clients?

First, look in your inbox for any email advertisements for publications or blogs you could pitch. Then go ahead and send one. They started the conversation. Continue it.

Then, sign up for email alerts in your area of interest. This will keep you up to date on what is going on in that area, and give you plenty of ideas for articles to pitch.

Have you ever found a client in an unexpected place? Tell us how in the comments below.

Chris Peden, CPA, CMA, CFM, is a freelance writer using his over 15 years in corporate accounting to help individuals and small businesses understand taxes and accounting and organize and make sense of their financial information.

Get Great Freelance Clients


  1. Karen J

    Not to mention, “what you look for, you see more” – a classic *rewrite your own script* line. 🙂

  2. Karen J

    Absolutely, Carol!
    You’ve said before, “If you write, you’re a Writer!” What you want to do more of, put in your headline – that’s what keyword searches see first, and puts your “wish” top of mind for folks.

  3. Chris Peden

    Excellent point, Timothy. The person who sends out the emails is probably someone who has to put together what was sent out, so they also need to find people to write what is sent out. You are probably doing them a favor by giving them another resource.

  4. TimothyTorrents

    Though I never found a client in my spam folder, I do get a lot of newsletters from companies so I might be able to find some clients…

    I think this is really important because a lot of people don’t realize that, if they reply to a automated email, the reply will be sent to the person who’s in charge of sending the emails. Everyone automatically assumes that there’s no one behind these messages. I get emails straight to my personal inbox when someone replies to my autoresponder!

    So thanks for this, it was really informative!

  5. D Kendra Franceso

    I’ve a half-dozen emails, most of which I don’t look at often anymore. They certainly aren’t dedicated to my writing trade (one is strictly for family). This would be a good way to get use out of some of them again!

    Thank you!

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