Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers #18: How to Get Clients the Lazy Way

Carol Tice

Freelance marketing for freelance writers: the lazy writer's way to land clients. Makealivingwriting.comIf you’ve been following along in this marketing series, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point. I know I’ve laid out a lot of different strategies for marketing your writing.

I can hear you asking: Isn’t there some easier way to get freelance writing gigs?

Actually, there is.

You could get other people to do your marketing for you.

As a solopreneur, you probably can’t afford to hire a sales staff.

The good news is, you don’t have to.

The magic of partnerships

In many freelance writing projects, the writing is just one aspect of what needs to be done. Among the other skills that may be needed:

  • Graphic design
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Website design and layout
  • Website SEO

Each of these service providers are in a good position to refer you or partner with you on a project.

I highly recommend getting to know at least a few professionals in these related niches, in case a client wants you to provide a complete package and you need to hire a visual or SEO pro.

Even better, they may do the same, and send you a client who needs writing in their project.

How to find partners

To line up marketing partners, you need to get out and do a lot of networking, to make connections with related service providers.

I’ve met designers at big networking events, and at more intimate ones. I’ve also looked them up in my local Chamber directory and taken them out to lunch.

I take a look at their samples and they do the same. If we like each others’ style, we agree to stay in touch about possible gigs. It’s just that simple.

Well-Fed Writer author Peter Bowerman likes partnering with graphic designers so much, he wrote a whole book on it — Profitable by Design.

Partnering is a proven way to grow your income — while you kick back and relax. After all, how much work is it to bring up that designer’s name next time a prospect asks if you if you could refer them to someone talented?

Right now, my husband is busier than ever with his videography business because he connected with a Website designer who’s pitching his clients that they need to add video to their sites, too.

This technique may not pay off instantly. But it’s really worthwhile to line up some partners. It can  pay off handsomely down the line, as you build those relationships and keep referring each other.

Need more marketing help? Here’s a place where you can get a bunch…

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  1. Anne

    A People Search on LinkedIn is a great tool. Do an advance search for people in your city or region and search for a particular job title. For example, type in graphic designer, marketing manager or editor and a list of names of people in your area will pop up. If you don’t have a premium membership, you can just note the company name and search for it on the Internet. I would always recommend visiting the website to learn more about the company anyway.

  2. Carrie Schmeck

    Some of my best accounts have come from the sources you mentioned. Now I’m helping my son launch his videography business by referring clients to him.

    • Carol Tice

      I love it!

  3. Erika

    Totally true. My former colleagues in marketing/PR have been a good resource and I’m currently working on a script with a video producer I used to work with.

  4. Cathie Ericson

    Excellent advice, as always. I have a couple of graphic designers who call me every now and then…it’s a market I’ve explored but not capitalized on and should.

    And I love the name of his book….a very clever title, as we all so admire!

  5. Caroline Leopold

    Timely article and I would love to partner with people. And I have dozens of talented colleagues out there, who would make great teammates. My main deterrant – the IRS. I am a sole proprietor and I am afraid of violating our complicated tax code. I am begging someone, anyone to write an article about how individuals can hire and sub-contract for work while remaining legal and above board. That is one blog post, article, or white paper I would pay money to buy. Thanks.

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Caroline —

      There’s not really a lot of mystery there. I hire subcontractors all the time. You get them to fill out a W-9 and if it’s over $600 at year-end you send them a 1099. The end. I’m a sole proprietor too. You can hire employees as a sole prop as well…I just started paying someone as an employee as well, which is a bit more complicated.

      But please don’t let tax fears stop you from partnering with other professionals!

      Often, you’re not even hiring them as subs — just get your client to pay them separately, if you’re really worried about it. And sometimes you’ll be THEIR subcontractor, and it’s their tax hassle.

      A tax pro could advise you further, but that’s the basics.

  6. Vickie

    You know what, this is actually true. My friends who work in the graphic department refer me when they need someone to manage the content marketing. I also refer them to clients who need graphic designers… win-win for all!

  7. Anna Mulholland

    The lazy way is to get a partner – spot on! and let them do the initial work for you by finding a client for you and then when you have it, that’s the time you work hard.

  8. Sam S.

    Do you usually continue working relationships with the people you find? Is it different for different types of “assistants” – video people, graphics designers, etc.? Seems like this strategy could REALLY pay off if you could stick with someone, but that it might end up requiring a lot of time and energy if you always had to find new people to work with.

    • Carol Tice

      I do try to build ongoing relationships, if I like the person’s work. Makes it get easier and easier as you go along.

  9. Steve Maurer

    This is a great and highly effective tip. I started writing the site content for a new, startup interactive marketing and website design company a few months ago. Now that they are up and running, they are sending me the content work for their own clients.

    In effect, they find the clients and I get the work!

    • Carol Tice

      Beautiful, isn’t it? In essence, all you have to do is kill at the work you do for clients you have…let them know you’re looking for more clients…and let them send you people. Once you get this rolling, life really gets better.

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