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Freelance Work: The Lucrative-Discount Way to Win Top Clients


Are you struggling to get freelance work?

I know I was. I got started chasing freelance work as a side job to earn extra money.

But I really didn’t know how to get clients…other than content mills and bidding sites. I learned a lot from some of those gigs, but the pay wasn’t good.

Sound familiar?

Then something unexpected happened that changed the way I get freelance work.

I was at the grocery store (before COVID-19), and noticed employees handing out free samples and coupons to get people to try some new products.

And it gave me an idea. What if I could get freelance work by offering a one-time discount, and get those clients to pay top rates after that?

It took some trial and error to figure out how to position my discount offer, and then get more freelance work at higher rates. But it was worth it.

It’s a lot easier to get clients now. After that first project, they don’t even blink at paying me $75 an hour…a rate that seemed impossible writing for content mills.

Want to learn my lucrative-discount way to land top clients? Here’s what you need to know.

1. Set your discount rate and standard rate

Decide what you are willing to work for and the how many revisions you’ll do at that rate. (You don’t want to make $20 for hours and hours of revisions.)

Here’s what I did the first time I tried this…

  • Be clear up front. When the next possible client approached me for a low-rate project, I agreed. But I made it clear this was an introductory price only.
  • Overdeliver. I wrote a short blog and made sure it was edited and submitted well before her deadline. I also followed up with her to make sure it was what she needed. I got paid and waited to see what would happen.
  • Raise your rate. When my client got back to me about more freelance work, I reminded her the first assignment was a one-time price. She actually laughed and agreed to my new rate 2.5 times higher than the discount. And that turned into a long-term client.

2. Know your niche before you pitch

Identify a specific writing service you can offer prospects in your niche. Study their website and social media channels. Organize your portfolio or create some examples, and that’s enough to start pitching.

Here’s another example of how to use the discount method…

  • Define your niche and ideal client. With so many freelance writers trying to get the same jobs online, I decided to approach local small businesses. Before I went, I researched their websites and noted what needed to be improved. I even wrote short pieces as examples to share. FYI…this works pretty much the same for landing freelance work online.
  • Reach out and introduce yourself. I made in-person appointments and was prepared when I went. But you can do this via email by pitching, too. In fact, the response to in-person meetings was a lot like pitching via email, but that doesn’t mean you give up.
  • Offer a discount. When the conversation turned to “I don’t know…maybe later,” I offered my one-time discount. And it turned out to be a great way to get people to try my services just like the samples in the grocery store.
  • Deliver results. One client agreed to hire me to write new copy for two of their product pages. I gave it a rewrite. Within a few days, they called to say tons of customers responded with positive comments. I charged 2.5 times more on the next project, made $500 and got ongoing freelance work from this client.

3. Pitch your idea

Whether you reach out to a prospect in person or via email, show them you’ve studied their online presence and have ideas to help them improve it.

  • Be prepared. You won’t do a good job pitching ideas in a face-to-face meeting or on a call. And you can’t write an effective pitch if you don’t study up on the prospect first. You don’t want to be scrambling in a meeting, or ramble on in an email.
  • Project confidence, be yourself and help prospects feel comfortable working with you.

4. Discuss rates…but don’t offer a discount yet

When they ask about the cost, tell them your regular rates and what this include such as planning, project, word-count, and number of revisions. Don’t offer the discounted rates unless they seem concerned about the cost or not interested. Don’t be pushy, though.

How much should you charge for freelance work?

It depends on a lot of things. For example…where you’re at in your freelance career, your niche, and maybe your geographic area, if you’re focusing on local clients.

Here’s what I recommend to set your rates:

  • Know your niche or local rates for freelance work. Do some research to see what typical rates are where you live, or ask freelancers in your niche what they charge.
  • Ask lots of questions when you agree on a project. Who’s your target audience, typical customer, or ideal client? What’s the goal, objective or desired outcome for this project? Wordcount, length, voice, style, medium (blog, social, website, webinar, print) the content will be published, etc. Be sure you know what they want/need.
  • Make a good first impression. It’s your opportunity to demonstrate your value and turn this prospect into a well-paying client. You need them to know that you’re worth every penny of your usual rates.

The discount method in action…I landed a one-time assignment to write some content for an attorney’s website. I completed the project ahead of schedule, then booked ongoing work at 2.5X my original rate.

5. Overdeliver

Write the perfect piece and send it early.

This is a critical step to getting the discount method to work. If you deliver cheap work, they’re probably not going to hire you again…and not at your premium rates.

Here’s how to make sure you crush that first assignment for a new client:

  • Pick a small project you can complete quickly. A blog post, webpage rewrite, bio, or product page, for example.
  • Write, rewrite and edit. Your hourly rate may not be that great on the first project. But if you overdeliver, guess what? Chances are pretty good you’ll turn this into a long-term client with the freelancer’s version of a grocery-store sample.
  • Give yourself time to do this right. No last minute articles you slap together. You need to earn that bumped up rate. You have to prove yourself while you have their attention. You may not get a second chance.

Offer a one-time discount to book higher-paying freelance work

Even the discount method doesn’t always help you land a client. But don’t get discouraged.

  • Be gracious.
  • Stay in touch if it makes sense.
  • Don’t burn bridges.
  • You never know when someone may change their mind and need you to do some freelance work.

Using the discount method helped make getting clients a lot easier for me. And now my client list is long enough, that I stay busy and feel good about what I get paid to write.

Do you discount your freelance rates to get clients? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Jen Jones is a freelance writer and mom of three amazing adults. She’s also passionate about spreading awareness and hope to families with special needs.

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What’s the secret to creating one of those writer websites that get’s noticed?

You know…an ideal client lands on your writer website. And you’ve got all the right stuff there to get that person to call, email, or connect on social media.

Great writer websites can:

  • Generate freelance writing leads
  • Grow your network
  • Show off your portfolio
  • Help you stand out as the writer in your niche

…while you sleep.

Chances are pretty good you already know writer websites help the pros stand out.

But what does your writer website look like?

Maybe you keep putting it off or avoid giving it an upgrade because you’re not a graphic designer, web developer or tech genius.

Sound familiar?

If you aren’t sure where to start or how to improve your online presence, you’re in luck. I’m going to show you the 5 essentials writer websites need to help you stand out, move up, and earn more.

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Right now, a record-high number of people are considering a freelance writing career. My inbox is overflowing with questions from newbies. And the first question is: “Where can I find freelance writing jobs for beginners?”

If that’s you, sending hugs! I totally feel your confusion. The freelance marketplace is a big, complicated place. There are lots of types of paid writing, and different kinds of clients, too.

I’ve been helping writers get started for a dozen years now. And I know how mystifying it can be. You feel like there’s a door you need to find, a person you need to know, a secret you must unlock to become a freelance writer.

But really, the path to freelance writing jobs for beginners is simple.

You need to find someone willing to let you write for them. That’s it.

You get a few samples and boom — you have a portfolio to show. And you’re on your way.

There are fairly simple, break-in writing assignments that newbies tend to get. I’m going to outline what they are below.

But first, I need to explain something…