You’ve started a freelance writing business and put in the hard yards to get it running. You’ve sourced an ABN, secured a domain, developed a glowing brand, set up a website and social accounts. You’ve done everything and you’re fired up and ready to go. And then…crickets and tumbleweed. So, what next?
Finding your first paid work can feel down right stressful. You’ve told everyone about your venture, and your worst fear yet is that everything will crumble. However, in startup, you have to put fear in your pocket and keep going.
Sorting costs… and pricing
No startup is completely predictable, but there are things you can do to prepare. If you’re leaving a stable income to start your freelance writing business, know your basic cost of living. This is the minimum required to cover the bills and the basic necessities each month. Put it all into a spreadsheet and add it up, then triple check you have enough to cover that amount for as long as you feel comfortable.
Not everyone will have a cash reserve to support them through startup, and some freelancers begin when they’ve lost a regular income, and have almost nothing in reserve.
While talking finance, it’s important to mention that almost everyone new to freelancing struggles with pricing, and it’s a topic we cover in detail in our online course for Aussie freelancers, Build Your Freelance Content Writing Business. As a new kid on the block, starting at a lower price point might help you to attract new clients, get the income flowing, and gain more experience. The down side of a low price point is that you’ll need to find more clients to reach your goal income, and you’ll be working more hours to achieve that income. And pricing too low can work against you.
Just remember that no startup is linear and things don’t happen overnight. If finding clients is keeping you up at night, mapping out the worst-case scenario can take the fear out of startup. What’s the worst that can really happen? Often it’s not as bad as we build it up to be.
A few ways to put yourself out there
Let friends, family and contacts know you’ve started a freelance writing business. You might be surprised at the support you receive and what doors it might open. Word of mouth leads to many opportunities in business.
Keep your eyes open. Two years ago, one of my Facebook friends who I met at university started a PR company. I reached out to congratulate her and offered my support if ever she needed it. A few months later, she had built up enough work for a second pair of hands at content. A note can make a lasting impression and two years later we are still working together.
Creating free content pushed out through digital channels is one of the quickest ways to introduce people to your brand. In addition to creating your own content, consider helping out a charity with content services.
Use your social media channels and website. Your social media and website are a direct line from your market to you, so they should be a clear articulation of who you are and what you do. People love to place people too; so find ways of using social media to introduce yourself, show up often and let them know how you can help.
Looking for more? Sign up to our newsletter for freelance writers, for tips, tales, news and possibly the occasional opportunity. Or check out the Build Your Freelance Content Writing Business course. It covers every phase of starting a freelance writing business, from setting up and finding your first customers to the nitty gritty of the industry. It’s just $99. That’s 16 takeaway coffees, 5 cocktails or your next dry cleaning bill!