How Freelancers Get Hired Online: The Essential To-Do List

Carol Tice

How freelancers get hired online. Makealivingwriting.comIt’s summer. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get terrific new freelance clients without having to do anything?

Well, you can — if you know how freelancers get hired online.

For starters, you need to be easy to find and contact. You also need to make a good impression, once they find you. Unfortunately, most writers don’t make this easy.

If you’re a freelancer who’s never gotten an inbound lead — a prospect who calls without your contacting them first, or applying to their job ad — this post is for you.

Even if you have a modest portfolio, a strong online presence can make a big difference, both in the number and quality of prospects you attract.

Let’s go through the to-do list of important items I ask writers to check off:

4 Key LinkedIn action items

Never get any nibbles off LinkedIn? I know a lot of freelancers who don’t take it seriously — but they should. This site is a giant search engine where great companies look to find freelancers, every day. (Three Fortune 500 companies hired me after seeing me on LinkedIn.) It’s a great place to get found — if you know how to use LinkedIn to attract prospects.

If you don’t have a profile, get one up and fill it out completely (especially a nice photo!). Then, do these four things to make sure your LinkedIn profile is set up to attract clients, and let them contact you:

1. Create an SEO-focused tagline

Freelance writers in particular like to get creative on this line, but instead, something like “Houston freelance healthcare writer” is going to serve you better.

2. Add your contacts to your header

Here’s a problem: Only your connections can see what’s in your ‘Contacts’ folder on your LinkedIn profile. That means many people can’t easily go from your LinkedIn to your writer site, or give you an email or call. They might shoot you an InMail, if they happen to be paying for a level of LinkedIn where you’re allowed to do that.

Otherwise, it’s a dead end. And that’s baaaad.

The solution? Take a look at what a nice job my friend Allen Taylor did in enabling all visitors see how to get in touch (you could add your writer-site URL, too):

Allen Taylor LinkedIn profile

3. Add contacts to your Summary

Likewise, you can put a phone number, email, or naked links to your writer site or blog into your Background/Summary section of your LinkedIn profile.

These won’t be clickable (why, oh why, LinkedIn?), but visitors can at least see them, and can cut and paste them to connect with you. It’s a trail of breadcrumbs prospects can follow to get in touch.

4. Add clips to your Summary

One recent, nifty development on LinkedIn: It now has a tool that allows you to add documents to your Summary. Especially if you don’t have a writer website, this can be a terrific opportunity to pop a few clips on that prospects can browse. Allen also does a great job with this, too, showing several types of writing — and note how the visual covers make the Summary more appealing, too:

Allen Taylor's LinkedIn summary

6 Writer website to-do’s

I’ve said it before, but if you don’t have a writer website, or at least a portfolio page somewhere that people can view…you’re invisible online. At this point — especially if you want to get online gigs — good prospects don’t take you seriously if you haven’t bothered to create a virtual home where they can learn about you.

It’s not hard or very expensive, either — there are great solutions such as Writers Residence and OutstandingSetup that are affordable and get it done. (Yes, I recommend and affiliate sell those.)

I could write a whole post about how to improve your website copy, but here let’s focus on the five most basic problems I commonly see on writer websites. Check to make sure your site doesn’t have any of these issues:

  1. Doesn’t say what you want. Does the Home page of your website make clear who your ideal client is and what types of writing you do? If not, rewrite.
  2. Only a form. Is the only way to contact you on your writer site a fill-in form? Those malfunction quite often, and many people are leery of online forms and many simply won’t fill them out. They don’t think anyone will really answer, and think they’ll end up being spammed. So if that’s your only point of contact, trust me, you are losing a big chunk of prospects who give up and leave.
  3. Invisible email address. When you say, “Contact me here,” realize that many people have set their email preferences so that will not pop up an email form with your address filled in, as you might be hoping. People with popup blockers — same thing. Instead, enliven your actual email address (and stop being paranoid about scrapers — I’ve had mine up for nearly a decade without a single problem) and those people can copy and paste if clicking doesn’t work.
  4. Dead-link email address. If you list your email address, but it’s not clickable…that’s a problem. It makes prospects think you don’t understand the Internet. You’ve failed to meet their expectations that email addresses should be clickable…and especially if they have an online writing project in mind, they may tend to move on.
  5. Buried contacts. We all know that every click you make visitors take on your website, some give up and leave. (Yes, people get impatient quickly online!) So don’t hide your contacts under a tab and make prospects hunt for them — make contacts visible in your sidebar or header, so they’re seen on every page.
  6. No phone. I’m all about email…but some people just want to call and talk to folks on the phone! That’s their preferred way to connect. If you don’t list a phone number, you lose all those people. They leave your site and hire another writer who lists their phone number. Not saying you have to give your home phone number to the Internet — I know many writers using a cellphone, Skype, or Google Voice number they check once a day.

5 Ways to get found on Google

A quick, sad story: I had an online-business friend contact me recently. She was looking for a writer — one she’d worked with before and knew by name.

She couldn’t find her anywhere online. Her website was down. We tried Wayback Machine, but it had only cached the home page, and her contacts were on a subpage. Google search turned up nothing. She wasn’t on LinkedIn. I put my investigative-reporter hat on, confident I could turn her up…and nothing.

She didn’t get the gig, even though this prospect wanted her and only her! It was heartbreaking. And I think this wasn’t a fluke.

Which leads me to ask: When’s the last time you did a Google search for your own name (or if your name is a common one, for your name plus your type of freelancing, as in: <your name><freelance writer>? Do it right now, and see what comes up. If you haven’t done it in a while, you could get a nasty surprise.

For a long time when I first started freelancing, a rather mediocre article I’d done years back was the first link that appeared. I cringed every time I saw it. Also, there was another Carol Tice who was a prominent therapist or horseback-riding instructor or some such in California, and had more link juice than me. (Of all the nerve!)

Right now, I’m doing pretty well on my name search. My writer site comes up first, followed by Twitter and this blog. Then come other social media links, my blogs for Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Freelance Writers Den.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 6.32.37 PM

Not a bad turnaround from when I was hard to find — and what you did see of me wasn’t that complimentary. If you see you get poor Google results for yourself, you’ll want to take action (see my points below). But first, do one much more important Google search…

Check your keywords

While you’re Googling around, try the keyword search for whatever phrase you want to get found on — for me, that is “Seattle freelance writer.” With 1.3 million Google results on that search, I’m the top organic link:

Seattle freelance writer - Google search

How’d I get on top of these searches, from a cold start in 2005 with no writer site? Here’s a few action items:

  1. Share your best stuff frequently. That will help it rise in the rankings and eclipse any dull or unfavorable mentions you want to eliminate from view. When I started, I used to share a new blog post once, and then move on. Now, I routinely see smart bloggers I know retweeting the same post for a month, every day. Be in that second category.
  2. Post frequently. If you have a blog on your writer site, frequent posts will help you rank better.
  3. Respond to comments. This helps Google feel your blog is popular.
  4. Update your writer site regularly. After this blog spun off of my writer site, I created a ‘Carol’s favorites’ sidebar where I’d post new clips as they got published. Then I’d move one of the older favorites to another page, which helped refresh the content.
  5. Have a ‘hire me’ tab on your blog. If your main online presence is a blog, make sure it’s clear to visitors that you don’t just write your own blog — you are also available to write for pay. Otherwise, visitors assume you’re just doing your own thing.

One final idea to consider is figuring out if you can guest post for a site that gets big traffic, such as Forbes or The Huffington Post. I’m not a fan of the latter’s business model…but I have to admit it might help you bubble up to the top on a Google search for writers on a particular topic.

2 Big tips for Twitter & other platforms

If I had a dime for every Twitter profile I’ve seen that has no linked website, email, or other contact information, I’d be on a beach with a margarita right now.

If you’re active in social media, make sure all your profiles are connected to where prospects can find out more about you! It’s hard to impress prospective freelance clients with just the tiny bio they give you on Twitter.

For bonus points, mention (or even hashtag) keywords in your profile that you might want searchers to find you for. Like these savvy freelancers do:

Kristi Hines' Twitter bio

Nick Usborne's Twitter profile

Final tip: Lurk, don’t work

Here’s one other tip that may surprise you, since I spend so much time warning writers away from places like UpWork: You can use these sites to help boost your online visibility (without having to work for peanuts).

If you’re not getting any calls, try putting up a profile on one of the big freelance platforms. Fill it out completely. Name a substantial hourly or per-piece bottom rate.

Then, sit back and see if you get any nibbles. Don’t waste hours bidding on gigs on the platform. Simply let the popular site help you get found.

A few tweaks to your online presence now could really pay off in more calls and emails from good prospects this summer. If you’ve been wondering how freelancers get hired online — well, it’s the writers who make sure their online messages are clear, and their contacts are easy to find.

It’s worth a few minutes’ work to make it happen. There’s nothing like the thrill of having the phone ring and hearing a prospect say, “I found you online.”

Have you gotten inbound leads online? Leave a comment and share what’s working for you.

P.S. Breaking news, writers — reader Sophia Dagnon loved this post so much, she made a checklist out of all the to-do items, and was generous enough to share it! You can download it here.

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  1. Peter

    “Wouldn’t it be great if you could get terrific new freelance clients without having to do anything?
    Well, you can”
    Not if you read this article. The entire rest of the article is a long list of things to do in order to get hired online. Perhaps your second graph could be: Well, you can, once you do a lot of prep work: set up several social media sites, build and promote your own website, and develop useful contacts and a following. Which is bog standard advice you can get on any of the 600,000 How-To sites for freelancers. On the basis of this article, I’d pas you over for work and note “Nothing new from this one.”

    • Rohi

      Hi Peter,
      I think Carol means “having to do nothing” as opposed to cold calling, pitching and actively prospecting for clients. (Similar to the hard work you have to do before you can earn “passive income.”)
      You’ll definitely increase your odds of getting new clients if you implement the advice in her post.

    • Carol Tice

      I get the irony factor in what you’re saying — yes, you do have to do some things to set yourself UP to earn. But then, you can kick back and let the inbound leads flow in! Guess I thought that was a good approach as we head into summer.

      I’m thrilled to hear these points are all review for you, Peter — I review hundreds of writer websites and blogs a year, and you wouldn’t believe how many have NO way to contact you. I’m hoping a few minutes’ quick work improving online presence will help a lot of writers this summer. Glad you’re already set. πŸ˜‰

      • Peter

        I wasn’t criticizing your article — it seems a fairly comprehensive roundup of tips to help build your client roll. I was criticizing the lede; it’s not what your article says and it’s not realistic.

        • Rich Wheeler

          Some folks just take things too literally.

          By the way, I appreciate that Carol did the roundup. Her sharing of experience saves me time, and it’s nice to know which tips, out of those on the 600,000 sites, Carol thinks will be helpful.

      • Jon Lee


        I do appreciate the convenience of having this checklist at the ready, so thanks for posting.

        I’m not really sure that you can ‘kick back and let the inbound leads flow in.”

        I went through this checklist and was pleased to find that I had already completed nearly all of these steps.

        I will admit that I had to broaden my LinkedIn tagline a bit out of necessity as the in bound leads are NOT flowing in at this point and I need to be open to other possibilities.

        On the other hand . . .

        – I have approrpiate contact information prominently displayed on my
        Linkedin profile — in the summary, as well as introductory video.

        – The services I provide are also prominently listed in that summary.
        They are also very prominently listed on my background artwork.

        – I’ve had a more-than-passable site up for some time (

        – I’ve got a contact Ph # on that site that will activate on mobile
        and is prominent regardless of the viewing device.

        – I have a prominently displayed email address link that activates
        regardless of viewing device.

        – My Twitter profile contains fairly specific keywords and a link to
        my site. The services I provide are also part of the artwork.

        – A Google search for ‘Jon F. Lee’ plus ‘Marketing Communication’
        shows that I am very near the top of the results. Even with the
        middle initial deleted, leaving a very common name, I still rank
        well above the fold, when viewed on a laptop.

        As much as I wish I could tell you otherwise, the inbound leads are most assuredly NOT ‘flowing in’. I’m not without work, but that work has been the result of outbound initiatives only.

        • Carol Tice

          Jon, the thing is no one searches for your NAME. That’s not a search they’re doing. They don’t know you yet!

          They’re just searching for the person they want. “Marketing communication” is probably a VERY tough phrase to rank for — you’ll probably want to add your city or some other qualifier to help you get found more often.

          In general, I find ‘communications’ to be a meaningless phrase that no one searches on. What does that mean? They search for the specific writer type they want. “Freelance blogger,” or “freelance ghostwriter” or “freelance technical writer” or something like that. See what you can do to choose a more niched search you could get found on!

  2. Megan Nye

    Carol, thank you for this insightful and savvy article. While I’ve got a some of these bases covered, others are things I hadn’t thought of . . . that I’m going to tackle right now!

    I too wish LinkedIn would let me create links in my profile’s Summary area!

    • Carol Tice

      I know — what’s UP with that, LinkedIn? It’s because they want you to PAY for Premium so people can see contacts, I believe. But it sux. It’s wrong. But luckily, there are some workarounds, as you can see. πŸ˜‰

      • Jessica Leigh Brown

        For me, the hyperlinks actually do show up in the LI mobile app, though they don’t on the computer browser. At least that’s something!

        • Carol Tice

          Didn’t know that! That’s something hopeful anyway — I haven’t looked on the app, but they definitely don’t appear in the browser, which I just think….WTF LinkedIn??

  3. Pat

    No phone. I’m all about email…but some people just want to call and talk to folks on the phone! That’s they’re preferred way to connect. If you don’t list a phone number, you lose all those people. They leave your site and hire another writer who lists their phone number.

    “That’s they’re” ???

    A proofreader.

      • Pat

        Thank you. I did look at the post. I also noticed the correction.

      • Rich Wheeler

        To expand an old bromide, the lawyer who represents himself, the doctor who diagnoses himself, and the writer who proofreads his own product all have fools for clients.

        However, in blogging, you have to allow a bit of leeway. Carol demonstrated two sentences later that she knew the difference. Tupos happn.

        • Carol Tice


          A lot of people probably can’t imagine the speed and volume of content creation bloggers like me have to move at. (I recently cranked out over a dozen guest posts in a short timeframe to raise awareness on my new ebook Small Blog, Big Income, for instance.)

          It’s more important to me to get a bigger volume of information out to more writers faster than it is to be perfect…since my mission is to help as many writers as I can to earn more, as quickly as possible.

      • Sherri Ledbetter, Freelance Writer

        Carol, you’re covered under the den’s “grammar” policy. πŸ˜‰ Sherri

        • Carol Tice

          That’s actually this BLOG’s Universal Comment Typo Insurance. πŸ˜‰ Definitely applies to the Den, too.

  4. Lauren Bedosky

    Carol, great post! I took another look at my writer website and LinkedIn and realized so many things I could tweak to make them better. And I hadn’t thought of putting up a profile on a website like UpWork because I didn’t want to be bidding for peanuts, but posting a profile to get more visibility is a great idea! I do have a question about that, though: If I put up a profile on a bidding site like that, even if I have no intention to bid, am I sending the wrong message to prospects? Will I be seen as a lesser writer if I advertise myself on one of those sites?

    Thanks again!

    • Carol Tice

      You will be seen…by more prospects.

      I think if you state high rates, it’s cool. I personally once got an interview for a $35,000 book-ghosting deal from the profile I once set up and then left because I honestly couldn’t easily figure out how to take it down! Is why I recommend this. πŸ˜‰ I hadn’t even logged into the platform in a couple years when they called me.

  5. Mel Pearce

    Looks like I have some tweaking to do. Thanks, Carol!

    I hadn’t thought of using my Upwork account as another sign leading to my doorstep. It makes sense – and makes the site seem a teensy bit useful.

    • Carol Tice

      I have a question, though — do they let you link to your writer website on there, or no? If they do, or you can use an outside email, then I think it’s worth doing.

      • Aisha Abdelhamid

        Hi Carol,
        Thanks for another great article with loads of tips I will take advantage of. I’m just a beginner in the freelance arena, slowly making my way, and Upwork is proving useful for me. It allows a pretty full-fleshed profile, and my full portfolio is included. This is very helpful as it provides all my social media links. Please take a look at my website link if you’re interested in a sample of an Upwork profile.

        • Carol Tice

          I usually spike off links to these mass platforms, Aisha, but I’m going to leave it up given that it’s germane to this discussion. Glad to hear it’s working for you!

      • Melissa Pearce

        Yep, as Aisha said, you’re able to link to anywhere in your profile. Fiverr, on the other hand, doesn’t allow links, and you have to get creative – I’ve seen people use their header image to advertise, or even their profile picture. I’m sure they do eventually get a swat on the wrist for that, though.

        • Carol Tice

          Well…I think Fiverr is possibly NOT the best place to lurk anyway, due to its reputation for super-cheapness.

  6. Rohi

    Thanks a ton, Carol.
    One of the items on my to-do list is to make it easier for prospects to find me though I’ll be actively pitching them during the Pitch Clinic course. I’ll update my website first and then spruce up my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. Thanks for the super-specific actionable tips as always. Hooyah!

    • Carol Tice

      My pleasure — look forward to seeing you back in Pitch Clinic, Rohi!

  7. Debbie Curtis

    Hi Carol!

    This article came at the perfect time! With one long-time writing/editing client under my belt, I’m ready to take the leap to full-time writer this summer (and not go back to the school district job). I have spent the entire morning writing sample phone scripts, sample LOI’s, and a couple contracts, pouring through my Writer’s Den files for all the great information I’ve learned from you and Linda, and other teachers! This article on ‘How Freelancers Get Hired’ couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time! And, yes, I googled ‘Debbie Curtis’, and was thrilled at showing up first, and quite a few spots after that as well! All thanks to you!

    • Carol Tice

      I think the name search isn’t super-useful because the vast majority of prospects will NOT be searching that way, they’ll be using keywords. But once you start giving out your name or blogging for Forbes or something, people do start to look you up by name, and it’s nice if there isn’t something ghastly in view.

      One of my Den 2X mastermind students ran her name search this morning and found an imposter site that was purporting to offer her writing services! It’s just good to know what people might see.

  8. Elizabeth Manneh

    Hi Carol,
    I’m in the middle of an overhaul of my website and social media accounts so this is very timely advice. Already added my contacts to my LinkedIn header, now off to make a start on the rest…

  9. Debbie Curtis

    Working on updating LinkedIn – and – speaking of problems with it, I tried to take advantage of the fact that someone just viewed my profile, so I tried to send them an invitation, but I can’t, because when I check ‘I don’t know Graham’ it won’t let me, and if I check the ‘other’ box (as in he’s not a friend or co-worker), it asks me for his email. The whole point of LinkedIn is, well, linking, and I never have much luck with it. So do they want you to upgrade to professional to be able to do this, or is it that person’s preference?

    • Carol Tice

      I think it can be the other person’s privacy preferences to some extent, but mostly yeah — they want you to pay for Premium now, to be able to hit people.

      They often do offer 1 month free in Premium so watch for that — I just took advantage of that recently. You can also try LinkedIn for Journalists as a route to free Premium, but they’ve gotten pickier about who they accept and you need current published bylines for major pubs, from what I’m seeing with Den members’ experiences.

  10. Colette Broomhead

    Thanks Carol – such a useful post! I’m just about to take my first tentative steps into the world of freelancing after 13 years of marketing in the same company. After starting a food blog a couple of years ago for fun, I rediscovered my passion for writing! I’m working on my writer website at the moment so love the tips on including contact details etc. Great, practical advice. πŸ™‚

  11. Katherine Swarts

    I was blown away when I saw the example in LinkedIn #1: that’s almost my own LI profile headline! (Now, it IS my headline.)

  12. Katherine Swarts

    Y’know, when I Googled my own name, search result #3 was for a 2011 post where I commented! (Most of the other first-page results were for my own website and social media profiles, with one article I wrote for WritersWeekly coming in at #7 and the Comments section for a BeAFreelanceBlogger post at #6. Obviously Google does have me pegged as a writer.)

    One problem with my name: almost no one spells it correctly! Even Google asked “did you mean Katherine Swartz” (which brings up a lot of other people, including at least one published author).

  13. Helen

    Thank you Carol! Extremely useful advice, especially considering that most of my print (and quite a few online) clips are not visible anywhere on the net. Let’s make the net work for us!

    • Carol Tice

      You’d be surprised…I’d Google around. I once found a great piece of mine I’d written for a defunct magazine had been swiped by an association website. Also, you can use Wayback machine: to see how sites USED to look…sometimes you can at least get a screen shot of something that way.

      Other than that, you can also scan and post PDFs of clips on your writer site.

  14. Leslie Shortlidge

    It took me a few tries but I managed to create a header on my LinkedIn profile that includes my phone number. Hooray!

    Thanks so much for this comprehensive list of completely do-able actions. Getting visibility on Google will take a bit longer, but I’m inspired.

  15. Jeffrey Hill

    Oh cool. Surprisingly, I’m already doing fairly well with search engine results (I checked both Yahoo and Google). I have a pretty common name, but when combined with “freelance writer” its a top of the page result on both engines. I didn’t expect that so early on. Good to know I can be found without difficulty.

    So many golden nuggets in this post. Reading your blog is like separating pyrite (fool’s gold) from the real deal.

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks Jeffrey — may I use that as a testimonial?

      Now that you’re good on your name search, try your keywords you want to get found on, and see if you can move up there.

      • Jeffrey Hill

        Haha, I didn’t even realize that sounded like a testimonial when I wrote it. Absolutely you may use it.

        Thanks for the tip. I’ll definitely work on the keywords.

  16. Jessica Leigh Brown

    Carol, just had to pop on here and say I read this post yesterday morning, updated my LI profile according to your ideas (it wasn’t bad before, but I realized I could add a few more keywords to my tagline based on recent work, and I added contact info to my summary).

    And today, I got a great inbound lead! Saw that a content director at a fintech agency had viewed my profile, so I reached out–and now we’re chatting on Monday about potential work. I have little doubt that he found me because I updated my profile and keywords.

    So, thank you again for great advice! πŸ™‚

    • Carol Tice

      (Insert graphic of me jumping up and down here!)

      That’s awesome! I hear a lot from writers, “Oh, you just got good leads off your LinkedIn profile because you’re CAROL…” but no. I have seen this work with writer after writer, in Freelance Writers Den.

      People just don’t understand what a powerful search engine LinkedIn is — and if you pay attention to SEO on there, it can really bring you some great leads.

      Congrats on the nibble! Inbound leads rock, don’t they?

      • Jessica Leigh Brown

        Yes, I think keywords make a huge difference! You do need to have some clips to back up whatever keywords you use (in my case, fintech and higher ed marketing) but the keywords are what get your profile in front of them, and that’s super important.

        And yes, inbound leads are awesome. πŸ™‚

  17. Dana Ricciardi

    What great advice, Carol! I especially love the idea of adding a header to a LinkedIn profile.

    There’s so much useful info here; I can’t wait to get started on implementing it all.

    • Carol Tice

      Don’t miss the cool printable checklist at the bottom that I got thanks to a fan! I love my readers. πŸ˜‰

  18. Amy Hardison

    Thank you for this great advice, Carol. I have been wondering how to optimize my LinkedIn profile and my website to drive inbound leads. Another thing I’ve done with my LinkedIn profile is asked for permission from each client I work with to list myself as a freelance writer with their organization on my LinkedIn profile. Do you feel like this is helpful to potential clients or just too busy? I have 4 clients right now so it is manageable, but I’m thinking it may not be as my number of clients increases.

    • Carol Tice

      Amy, if you’re freelancing for someone, you don’t have to ASK their permission to disclose that (unless you have a nondisclosure agreement). It’s true, right?

      I’d encourage writers to list anyone and everyone they’re writing for who would impress a prospect, or just to have more employers listed. No such thing as too busy — you never know what in your history might interest a prospect.

      Which reminds me I have a few people I should add as clients who I’ve done recently, including Freshbooks…got to keep it updated!

      • Amy Hardison

        Thanks Carol. You’re right – I don’t have to ask. The first two clients I had used a lot of freelancers, so I just added them and didn’t ask. The next two I’ve gotten haven’t used freelancers, so I wanted to ask them just as a courtesy. But you are so right – permission not required.

  19. Liz

    Thanks for this Carol. I’m just starting out and I’ve got a nice list of bits and pieces to improve over the next few days.

  20. Debbie Curtis

    Hi folks,
    The comments on posting a profile on Upwork to bring people to your door reminded me of my friend the security system installer. Working on access control at a Starbucks in NYC, he could see two other Starbucks from the doorway of the one he was working on. He asked the manager how that could possibly work out – one was kitty-corner – and he explained that to rent a billboard was something like $35,000/month, and it cost Starbucks $25,000/month to rent a store. Kinda the same thing!

    • Carol Tice

      Ha! I used to cover Starbucks as a beat reporter here in Seattle, so I know their strategy well. πŸ˜‰

  21. Karen Ingle

    Thanks for taking some of the overwhelm out of starting up as a freelancer. I appreciate all the work and experience that backs up what you so generously share here. You’re a gift!

    • Carol Tice

      Aww, shucks. Personally, I think the best part of this post is the checklist download my reader made — don’t miss that link at the bottom of the post!

  22. Julia Daniels

    Once again, thanks, Carol! I keep tweaking and hoping for nibbles. You keep me motivated on this journey.

    • Carol Tice

      THAT is what I’m here for, Julia. πŸ˜‰

        • Carol Tice

          I know, one of those “Duh!” moments. I think the contacts used to be more accessible, but LinkedIn really wants our money, and has made it harder to use it as a marketing tool without being on a paid level.

  23. Elvis Michael

    Awesome as always, Carol.
    I also wanted to add: If you’re normally sitting on your computer all morning/afternoon/evening, install a simple chat plugin on your site so that prospects can quickly reach you and ask some questions.

    Granted, this may interrupt your work if you’re randomly receiving messages, so it’s entirely up to the writer to choose the best times to be “online” in the chatroom.

    Perhaps in the evening while watching Game of Thrones wouldn’t hurt πŸ™‚


    • Carol Tice

      I love it! I did know one writer who did that.

  24. Linda H


    I’m glad you said to include your email address on your website and make it clickable. I made some changes to my website based on the recommendations of a successful B2B writer who told me to omit that because of hacking. Since making some changes based on her suggestions, my website tanked. I’ll add this back ASAP to increase opportunities.

    Your suggestions are spot-on. For LinkedIn profiles, since I write a lot of them, add the contact information at the bottom of the Summary, and again in the Contact Information section. You can add your personalized LinkedIn URL, your website URLs, and your phone and email addresses there. Don’t worry about hacking, just make it easy to contact you. I ALWAYS recommend this when writing LinkedIn profiles for clients. And it works.

    And adding samples to the section allowing inserts really helps provide work samples. I’ve gained many successful gigs off my LinkedIn profile and strive to keep it updated. LinkedIn IS a great marketing tool and search engine for marketing needs.

    Thanks for the great post. Wonderful suggestions for success.

  25. Lindsay Pevny

    I’ve been getting more well-known as a pet industry writer lately, getting inbound leads by writing a blog with industry-specific content marketing tips. I share my blog posts on Twitter and LinkedIn, and I’m getting a few emails each week through my contact form.

    At the moment, I still don’t have a phone number listed. I’ve just been starting to get over my phone anxiety, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable getting unexpected calls at any time. But, simply offering to schedule phone calls with clients has allowed me to better understand their needs, and it makes me feel more confident – when I make a great impression over the phone, it’s obvious to them that I’m a premium choice!

    • Carol Tice

      I personally love Skype calls, and giving out my Skype, or my celphone that I rarely leave turned on. I make a habit of not directly answering either of those for anyone I don’t recognize — I just screen calls. And it gives people who want to talk on a phone an option.

  26. Benson Washington

    A great post with well-formulated guidelines to increasing visibility and attracting high-paying gigs as well as building a network of professional contacts. It makes a compulsive reading for every freelance writer.

  27. SeedyVine

    Thanks, Carol, for your great advice! I’ll be polishing my LinkedIn profile very soon.

    I’m still figuring out how to represent myself, though. Do I use my real name and photo, or a pseudonym? I want to be safe online as a woman, but want business prospects to find me.

    Also, I write mostly humorous, real-life stories and essays that might not seem “professional” to some potential clients. Lastly, my real name is pretty common. Do you have any advice? Thanks in advance!

    • Carol Tice

      I do, Seedy — you want to be real online. Hiding, fake names…aren’t going to help you get clients.

      I usually don’t allow fake names in my blog comments — going to leave this one because I think you raise a good issue.

      Women can be safe online and be themselves — I have a PO Box and a Skype phone contact, and nobody knows where email goes. It’s not really an issue…unless you have a no-contact order with someone/a stalker, in which case you can use a pseudonym and editors will be understanding. Just use it consistently. And make it a real person’s name, as opposed to “Seedy Vine,” or anything else that is an obvious fake.

      A photo of you is really vital to not seeming like just another Internet scam.

      • Linda H

        I have a very common name and also the name of a movie star. I added my middle initial to help differentiate me from others. It helps. I also have a business writing name, Hamilton Writing Services, that’s identical to a writing service by another L.Hamilton in Los Angeles, and competes against Hamilton, Ontario, Canada’s writing services that call themselves Hamilton Writing Services. But I still stand out.

        For a private address, I use the post office physical address and my PO Box as the Unit #. It’s a free program through the U.S. Post Office allowing you to use their physical address and your box # as their unit, with city and state and zip. USPS, UPS, and FedEx can make deliveries for you there also and sign for your packages to be handed off to you. I meet clients for 1-1 consultations at two locations outside my home office where I’ve established a presence and where people know me. Nobody knows my home address. I’ve had stalkers and some clients get pushy who don’t need to know my personal info.

        My email goes through my website. So it’s also rather safe. I use SKYPE calls at times also.

        LinkedIn requires you to include a photo of yourself and you’re safe.

        Using all these tools I feel very secure and safe as a single freelance writer in a world of crazies. And the photo helps people identify you. I still get people approaching me to say thank you after working with then 15-20 years ago–I write resumes and people remember helping them get a job.

        • Carol Tice

          Well, that’s gotta feel good!

  28. Jayne Bodell

    Just when I thought I had everything in place on LinkedIn, you throw me a curve ball Carol. Thanks a lot. πŸ™‚ Something to work on over the weekend.

    You do a great job providing useful information. Thanks.

    • Carol Tice

      I didn’t think of this post as a curveball but more of a primer on ways to make sure you’re easy to contact online. What was the curveball for you in terms of what you do on LinkedIn? I’d be curious to know…

      • Jayne Bodell

        I thought I had my LinkedIn profile “up to code,” and then you show me 4 more things that I could do. Does the fixing never end? Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in marketing and not learning enough about writing.

        • Carol Tice

          It really doesn’t, because the platforms keep changing and adding things! But don’t get overwhelmed.

          I look at new tips and ask myself if I think they would help ME, and if so how important they are to do RIGHT NOW. If not, I throw them in a link file to execute on later.

  29. Wendy Jacobson

    Thanks for the reminders, Carol. I’m a Den newbie but already am learning so much. Appreciate all the tips and the help; will definitely serve me well!

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