3 Easy Steps to Finding Freelance Writing Clients

The mountain does not go to the clients.

Finding clients, I think, holds a different meaning for me than it does for many other freelance writers.  When I think of finding clients, I assume it means you actively go get them rather than passively hoping their loosely-woven net snags you out of a sea of hopeful and hungry freelancers.

I've come across several freelance writers recently who feel that responding to Craigslist ads equals trying to find clients.

It does.  But what if the same amount of effort you're putting into applying for freelance jobs could equal:
  • better prospects
  • bigger payout
  • and cooler clients?
I'm a firm believer that it can.  I don't like to do anything passively - I'm much more of an aggressor.  I'm also fairly lazy (which doesn't seem to match up, does it?) so I like to be aggressive initially and then let the fruits of my labor fall right into my lap.

Here's what I do, and it's been working for me.  In fact, my two all-time favorite clients came to me this way, and they continue to work with me weekly.

What you need:
PowerPoint or some other fancy image/text software
A Craigslist account (this can be used on other free ad sites, too, if they accept .gifs or .jpgs and links to your site)

What you do:
  1. Block off a half-hour or an hour, during which interruptions will be minimal and you've got access to massive amounts of coffee, Red Bull or whatever else lights your fire.
  2. Using your PowerPoint and a little of that writer's creativity, make a dashingly attractive ad that speaks to the people you want to work with.*
  3. Post your super-attractive ad on Craigslist.**
*If you want to work with clients who are very straightforward, be simple and concise.  If you want to work with people who like a story, use an anecdote to grab their attention.  If you want to work with IT people (bless your heart if you have the patience to write for IT people - I certainly don't), mention your in-depth knowledge of IT stuff in a quick, bulleted list.  Get it?

**When you do post it on Craigslist, don't limit yourself to just your town.  People in NYC and LA have money - and expect to spend it - on writing services.  The same might not be true for Wolverine Lake, Michigan.

Here are a couple copies of old ads I've used successfully to give you a starting point:

Why does this method work better than applying for freelance writing jobs?
  • Clients come to you at your predetermined prices - you're not going to them and telling them you're willing to work for what they're offering.
  • It lends an air of professionalism to what we do for a living - you're advertising your own services just like the owner of any other business does.
  • Clients who like your style will come to you - and you've already got something in common.
Give it a shot.  You might be pretty darned pleased with yourself.  Of course, like all advertising, it's also about timing; you may not get any bites your first time out.  But how can you run a business without advertising your services?

Have you used ads like these?  What happened?

© Angie Papple Johnston, 2010; if you are reading this anywhere but on FreeFreelanceWritingTips.Blogspot.com, it's stolen.

"Daydreaming" image courtesy of Weirdvis at RGBStock.com.