How to get your first client as a freelance writer?
Starting out as a freelance writer is tough. You know that in order to sustain yourself, you need to find regular clients.
Perhaps so far you’ve only managed to bag a couple of one-time jobs. You hoped they’d turn into regular clients, but they didn’t.
Scoring that first client is actually really easy.
You want a client that pays $2 per 1,000 words? You got it, baby!
All you need to do is sign up to a global freelancing platform like UpWork, find a job that pays $2 per 1,000 words and apply.
Clients like this are always on the lookout for newbies they can exploit :) These are really easy freelance writing jobs, but they’re not going to pay the bills.
Heck, they’re not even going to top up your piggy bank.
Scoring your first regular client who pays well? That’s the hard bit, and it’s something many freelance writers struggle with.
In this article I’m going to show you how to get your first client as a freelance writer who sticks around by showing you how I did it.
Before I begin, though, let me mention one thing: Clients are on the lookout for regular freelance writers. They don’t want the hassle of hiring and firing people all the time. They want one hotshot writer who they can turn to each week.
In other words, this idea that regular clients don’t exist and that freelance writers have to hustle each week is a total myth.
I now have a pile of regular clients who I’m very happy with. I still hustle now and then for new work whenever a few clients go quiet for a month or two, but there is always a stream of work to keep me happy.
Let’s take a look at how to get your first client as a freelance writer!
First things first, patience is everything. Whether it’s just paid writing jobs or the very best paying freelance writing jobs, you need to have a bit of patience.
A regular, well-paying client unfortunately might not appear for quite a while yet. But it’s important that you have enough patience to stick at this freelance writing business before returning to your day job.
It took me months before I landed my first regular client who paid decently. They didn’t pay handsomely, but all of a sudden I was making a minimum amount of money each week that I could top up with other one-time jobs.
That wouldn’t have happened had I not had the patience to keep going.
See, you won’t be as good as you think you are just yet. When I first started looking for the best paying freelance writing jobs, I thought I was the bees knees.
I was getting offered the jobs that were at my level. I was being paid lousy money.
But you know what? I stuck at it. I churned out those articles and improved my craft. Eventually, a well-paying client came to me.
There will be times when you want to quit. But as this article shows, patience is so important.
As a side note, I understand that some of you won’t have the necessary funds to stay patient for too long. This is why I always, ALWAYS recommend that you don’t start out as a freelance writer unless you already have enough money to cover you for at least twelve months.
Then, you can afford to be patient.
Apply For Paid Writing Jobs And Forget About The Fee For Now
A lot of pro copywriters will tell you that you should avoid the low-paying, easy freelance writing jobs and focus directly on the premium stuff.
But you’re not a premium writer just yet. You have to earn your crust in this game. You have to start at the bottom and work your way up.
Looking back, I sometimes can’t believe the fees I was working for when I first started writing.
There was one job that I did for $5. I had to write a 2,000 word HISTORICAL ARTICLE on the Russian Revolution.
Can you believe that? There I was writing about Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks for two dollars.
Okay, that job was silly, and I shouldn’t have done it.
But I did many other really easy freelance writing jobs that literally took me 20 minutes, and for which I picked up a few dollars and a good rating.
And if you’re on a website like Freelancer or UpWork, ratings are everything.
If you do the easy freelance writing jobs and smash them out, you’ll pick up good ratings and soon build your profile and credentials.
All of a sudden, you’ll look more attractive to the serious clients who want a dependable freelance writer they can turn to each week.
So don’t listen when the professionals tell you they only work for $200 per blog post minimum and that you should do the same. It’s not good advice.
You need to get your foot in the door first.
Do the dirty work. Don’t resent it. Keep telling yourself that it’s helping you to learn your craft and get better at what you do. See it as a way of advertising yourself, building your portfolio and learning as you go along.
And don’t ask me how to land clients who pay $2 per 1,000 words. If you can’t even do that, you shouldn’t be here ;)
Ask A Client What They’re Looking For
If you’re on the hunt for a regular client, there will come a time when you’ll need to stop doing one-time jobs.
One-time jobs can help to keep you afloat, but constantly looking for them and applying for them can be a real hassle.
At some point, then, you should start asking potential clients if they’re looking for a one-time job or if this is going to be an ongoing thing.
This way, you can narrow down who you work for and focus as much as possible on clients who will provide you with regular work.
And if client is “not sure” if it’s going to be ongoing or not, do your best to convince them that sticking with you will save them a lot of time and resources. You’re all they need, so show them that!
Pass The Audition
Clients who provide us with ongoing work often like us to write a test article for them first to prove our mettle.
I’ve experienced this many times, and it’s a normal part of the hiring process. Before a client makes a commitment with you, they want to make sure you’re up to scratch.
And so it’s hugely important that you pass your audition. Give it your all. Make this job your priority. You might have only one chance to prove to them that you’re the all-star they’ve been looking for.
Go above and beyond the call of duty. Do more research than you normally would. Spend more hours on it than you normally would.
And please, please, PLEASE proofread your stuff.
Be Amicable To All Your Clients
One thing I’ve learned is that just when you think a client has disappeared, never to be seen again, they return.
“Hey, man! Remember me? I’ve got a TONNE of work available now, and was wondering if you’d be up for it?”
Talk about landing on your feet!
But it happens - a lot.
I can’t tell you how many old clients have reappeared with fresh work, client who I’d long forgotten about it.
But the thing about the best paying freelance writing jobs is that the clients tend to remember you if you do a good job the first time around and communicate well.
If a client gives you one job and disappears, it’s frustrating. After all, you were hoping this would turn into regular work.
But you absolutely must remain amicable at all times.
End the job on a positive note. Thank them for the opportunity, tell them to get in touch whenever they need anything else.
Don’t stop communicating with them, assuming it’s all over.
It isn’t. Clients will remember you if you’re amicable, communicative, and do good job.
These are a few tips on how to get your first client as a freelance writer.
Want to write faster for your clients and quadruple your earnings? Check out my free eBook here!