I just spent the last week running a 5-day challenge for freelance writers. I’d never run a challenge quite like this before and I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out.
I did know one thing though. As people signed up for the challenge and answered the questions to join the challenge group, there were repeating themes recorded over and over and over again in their answers.
There were five things that I heard freelance writers say over and over again about getting started. In this article, I’m going to break down those five things and then reveal the real truth behind them.
I Don’t Know How To Get Started
Getting started with something new can be hard. You’re not automatically born with all the skills and know-how you need in order to build a business as a freelance writer, and sometimes it can seem overwhelming. After all, there’s a ton of information out there. How do you know what’s trustworthy and what’s not?
It seems like everybody has a different answer to the question “How do I start?”. When you look at where you are and where you want to be as a freelance writer, sometimes the difference between the two can seem as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon.
I promise you it’s not. Are you ready for a truth bomb?
Nobody knows what they’re doing when they start. And that goes for anything, not just becoming a freelance writer. If you’ve ever learned how to do anything, you didn’t know how when you started, right?
But you learned. You didn’t know how to walk before you walked. You had to learn how, and then try. You probably took a few spills during the learning process, but you got up and tried again, and today you’re a walking, talking marvel.
In fact, I bet you don’t even think about it. I bet you don’t even think about how to walk when you stand up and start walking.
Don’t let not knowing how to start keep you from starting. The very first step in starting anything new is to learn what you don’t know. So go out and find someone who knows how to do what you want to do, and learn from them.
So you don’t know how to make money as a freelance writer? Find a freelance writer who’s willing to teach you. I might know one. 😉
I Don’t Know What To Charge
Believe me, this is such a common question for any service provider. What should I charge? What should my rates be?
I could launch into a long description on how to calculate how much you want to make per hour and turn that into per project rates. That would be valuable information and there is a time and a place for that.
But often when freelance writers ask what they should charge, they’re not actually wanting to know the answer to the dollars and cents, surface-level question. Deep down, they’re actually wondering something else.
What are clients going to be willing to pay me?
That’s an entirely different question, because now suddenly they themselves and their worth as freelance writers have entered the equation. They’re not asking what freelance writers get paid. They’re asking what they can get paid.
I know, because when I answer their question as if it’s just about freelance writing services in general, most new freelance writers don’t just answer, “Oh okay. Great. I’ll put that on my rate sheet.” Instead, they say something like, “Oh I could never get somebody to pay me that.”
See the difference?
The truth behind this question is that before actually setting dollar and cents rates, a new freelance writer has to settle it within themselves that their services are worth getting paid for. They first have to be able to look themselves in the mirror and say “My talents are talents people will pay to hire. I deserve to be paid for my work.”
And when a new freelance writer can confidently say that, then they can dive into what that looks like in terms of pricing. But if they don’t settle the worth issue first in their minds, they will find themselves slashing their prices and low-balling themselves just to land clients.
That’s not a sustainable business model, and it won’t lead to a fulfilling, service-based career.
I Don’t Know Where To Find Clients
“Where do you find clients, Christa?” is one of the most common questions I get asked by freelance writers. Everybody wants to know how I manage to stay fully booked all the time. Do I have some kind of client radar? Am I dropping tons of money on advertising my business?
No and no. I’ve never spent a penny on lead generation for my copywriting services, and at this point in my career, I’m not even out there prospecting. My clients find me.
Just like with the previous statement, there are also some behind-the-scenes, unspoken things going on here as well, so let’s break it down.
First of all, clients are everywhere. When it comes to freelance writing, our clients can literally be any business, organization, or service provider. Anyone who sells anything or has a message they want to share who does not have the time, talent, or energy to write for themselves can be a potential client.
Potential clients are not limited by industry or notoriety or the size of the company. We’re talking millions and millions of potential clients are out there waiting to be served by freelance writer
That doesn’t mean they’re all going to be a great client for us, which leads us to the second unspoken nuance behind this statement. I think a lot of freelance writers struggle with knowing where to find clients because they’re not clear on the type of clients they actually want to find.
If you don’t know the type of client you want to write for, you’re going to go through a whole lot of clients who are not a good fit in order to figure it out. You have to get clear on your exact ideal client. Only then can you go out there with an eye towards finding the right client matches instead of messing around with bad fit clients..
I Don’t Know How To Approach Clients
The key to this situation for a freelance writer is simple – be prepared. I said it was simple. I didn’t say it was easy. there are several ways to prepare yourself to approach clients that can help take the intimidation factor and imposter syndrome out of the equation.
The first and most important thing that you need to work on when it comes to approaching clients is your mindset. Mindset is so important. And if you’re showing up on discovery calls doubting your skills abilities, the client can tell. Spend some time before each discovery call reminding yourself how valuable your services are and how you are capable of making a difference in someone’s business.
The second thing that really helps make it easier to approach clients is to know exactly what you offer. When you can clearly communicate to a prospective client what your services and rates are, it makes it so much easier for them to see you as the expert leader of your business and someone they would like to work with.
Third, it also really helps if you know the exact type of client you want to work with. You may have to trial an error that’s a little bit at first if you’re not sure yet, but once you can dial in on the exact type of business owner, entrepreneur, or organization that you can help, it becomes so much easier to make that first Contact.
The good news is the more clients you approach and the more discovery calls you have, the easier it becomes. In the beginning, it can be uncomfortable and nerve-wracking. But as you get a feel for how you best relate to clients and how to best describe and offer your services, it gets less intimidating.
It took me I don’t know how many discovery calls to finally become comfortable pitching my services. Today, I don’t give it a second thought. Do you want to know why? Because I finally realized the most important thing – they need my help, and I can help them.
I Don’t Have A Portfolio
I hate the old “I can’t get a client without a portfolio but I can’t build a portfolio without clients”. It’s like the ultimate Catch-22 situation, and I wish it didn’t exist. But the truth is no one has a portfolio before they have a portfolio. And what I mean by that is everyone starts somewhere.
If you don’t have a portfolio or work examples yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t become a successful freelance writer. First of all, not all clients ask to see your work before they hire you. When you can show up on discovery calls with confidence and clearly describe how your services can benefit them, that’s powerful and impressive.
Second, you don’t need paying clients to create a portfolio. You can create a portfolio based on volunteer work that you’ve done. You can create a portfolio based on information you find for free online. Don’t let the lack of portfolio prevent you from reaching out to the people you want to serve.
More From Christa Nichols
Want some help building your portfolio? Wish you had a proven discovery call process you could count on to take some of the pressure off hopping on sales calls? Join me for my upcoming Write For Revenue Bootcamp on September 7-8, 2021.
You’ll spend two full days with me and other guest experts as I walk you through how to build a portfolio with information you can find for free online. We’ll also break down my entire discovery call and onboarding process, and I’ll hand all my systems and processes for both straight into your hands.
Registration is open now, and you’ll pay just $97 – a fraction of the $4388 of value inside the bootcamp!
These are the same tools and strategies I use to operate my multiple six-figure sales copywriting business every day. Trust me, it’s WORTH it! PLUS register now and you also get a FREE ticket to invite a friend. That’s $8776 in value for just $97! SWEET!
To register CLICK HERE.