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How to Get Freelance Clients Without Doing a Darn Thing


lazy woman hammockBy Tiffany Jansen

I was a brand-new full-time freelance writer. I had the passion. I had the drive. I had the skills.

I did not have the clients.

But, I did as any good freelancer should and built myself a website … only to have my mom post the URL on her Facebook page the next day, exclaiming “My baby’s a writer!”

Humiliating, right?

Actually, it turned out to be the best thing for my career.

Because, as you know, it’s not a matter of “build it and they will come.” But, for me it was a matter of “tell them you’ve built it, and they will come.”

I may have been too modest to shout my new freelance writer status from the mountain tops, but my mother sure as hell wasn’t.

As a result, I got a client.

When I followed my mom’s example and let my networks know I was looking for work, I got two more.

All I had to do was flash my website URL to people I already knew.

Not only does “marketing” not have to be a dirty word, you can get other people to do it for you.

Here’s how.

  • Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for work. I mean everyone. Your brother, your best friend from elementary school, your college roommate, your dentist, your grandma, the barista who just made your tall, skim hazelnut macchiato.They might not need your services, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know of someone who does. My mom certainly didn’t need a writer. But when she posted my URL to Facebook, the right person saw it. That was my mom’s high school friend’s neighbor – who paid me $1,000 to write web copy.
  • Alert your social media networks. State that you’re open for business in your next tweet or status update. Share your website URL. (You do have a writer website, right?) When I sucked it up and posted my website on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, it didn’t take long before I had another bite. A friend of mine saw it, and when her sorority sister posted on Facebook that she was looking for a Dutch-to-English translator, well, you can guess who she recommended. SCORE! Another client AND my first translation job, not to mention another $2,000 in the bank.
  • Ask others to spread the word. They can keep ears and eyes open for someone who might be looking to hire a writer. If they see any possibilities or job openings, they’re more likely to recommend you or alert you to them if know you’re looking.

Have no fear. You’re not desperately pleading for work here.

All you’re doing is letting people know what you do and who you do it for. Let them do the rest.

What’s your favorite way to get referrals? Share them in the comments below.

Tiffany Jansen is an American freelance writer and translator in the Netherlands. Nab her free eguide, The Sure Fire, Can’t Screw it Up, Completely Kosher, Super Fun Trick to Making Your Competition Totally Irrelevant… And Six Ways To Do It.