How to Find Private Clients Series – Part 2: How to Land a Client

Finding ClientsWelcome back!  This is part two in my, “How to Find Private Clients” series, where I will be talking about how to get people to give you a chance to prove yourself as a writer.  Part 1 in this series covered where to find potential clients.  This post will hopefully teach you to move the clients from potential to actual, so you can make some money.  These tips should work no matter where you’re finding potential clients, and they should actually work whether you’re looking to find someone to hire you for writing, graphics design or any other freelance job.  I will, however, be focusing exclusively on landing clients for freelance writers.

When you’re done reading this post, please consider reading the third and final part in this series which will cover turning a client from a onetime gig to a consistent customer.  When part three is completed, you will be able to find it by clicking HERE.  So, let’s dive right in!

It’s a Numbers Game

Let me start by saying this.  YOU will get REJECTED.  In fact, most of the clients you reach out to will turn you down.  This is just a fact of life as a freelance writer.  Don’t take it personally and don’t let it discourage you.   It is important to develop thick skin as a writer, and if you can’t do that than this will be a difficult life for you.

There are two types of rejections you’ll experience.  The first type, which is where you get no response at all from the client, is far more common.  They don’t give you a reason for not hiring you, they simply don’t respond.  The second (and more useful) type of rejection is when the potential client tells you why they didn’t hire you.  In these instances, make sure you learn as much as you can from the response, and then move on.  Don’t waste your time trying to convince them to change their mind. Some common responses are:

  • You’re Too Expensive – Take this as a compliment.  Don’t be tempted to start lowering your prices below what you’re worth (I’ll go into detail on this shortly).
  • You’re Too Cheap – Yes!  You will get responses like this.  Some clients are looking for extremely high-quality content and recognize that they have to pay for it.  If you get this response, think about raising your prices for future bids.
  • Didn’t Like Your Style – This is not an insult.  Some people don’t like the style of Shakespeare or J.K Rowling, but nobody can deny that they are talented and successful writers.
  • Didn’t Follow Instructions – This is a difficult one, but if you get it more than once or twice, take some time to make sure you’re actually reading and understanding the details of jobs you’re applying for.  Sometimes clients can be confusing, but it is our job as freelance writers to try our best to understand what they are looking for.

Remember, finding private clients is largely a numbers game.  Even if you are only able to convince 5% of the potential clients you contact to hire you, this will slowly build up to a steady stream of work.   When you are in need of work, the best thing you can do is reach out to as many potential clients as possible.

Setting Your Price

This topic will require a detailed post all on its own, but for this series I’ll cover it well enough to get you started.  Nothing will have a bigger impact on whether or not you get a job than the price.  Setting your prices is one of the most important things, and one of the most difficult.  Some people make the mistake of setting their prices based on what they see others writing for.  Don’t do that.  Instead, look at the quality of your work and set your price based on how long it will take you to complete a job, and how much the client can earn from it.

If you know you’re a great writer, and others have told you the same thing, than never lower your prices to compete with individuals from non-English speaking countries.  You can’t compete with them on price, and they can’t compete with you on quality.  You are targeting two entirely different markets, and it is a mistake to ever think that you are actually competing for the same jobs.

So, the big question is, what should you be charging.  I’ll stop beating around the bush and give you my opinion on the subject.  This is, of course, only my thoughts on the matter and I’m open to other opinions as well.  If you’re a good to great writer, here are the price points I personally use and recommend:

  • Normal Web-Content – $15-$40 per 500 words (depending on topic and personal talent).
  • SEO Web Content – $20-50 per 500 words
  • Medical/Technical/Legal Web Content – $25-75 per 500 words
  • Research or White Papers – $150-500+ depending on topic and length.
  • Re-Writing Content – $15-30 for 500 words

Price Isn’t Everything – Writing Your Proposal

Here’s a little anecdote to illustrate this point.  I was once bidding on writing 4 small pieces of content for a doctor who was going to be presenting at a conference that weekend.  The pieces needed to be 50-100 words each, and written in a way that the doctor could print them off on cards about the size of half a sheet of paper.  They needed to be about the medical specialty she was presenting on.  This job was posted on eLance, and received over 50 bids.  My bid was somewhere around $250 and other bids ranged from $20 all the way up to around $1000.   I won the bid, completed the job and got a 5 star rating.

What made the Doctor hire me over someone willing to do it for $20 or $1000, or the other people who were bidding in the same general range as I was?  My proposal.  Whether bidding on jobs at freelance sites, or contacting potential clients through a private message or e-mail, writing your proposal is essential.  Getting it right can mean the difference between finding a great client who will have daily, weekly or monthly work for you, and losing out on the opportunity.

So, what makes a great proposal?  Well, like so many things with freelance writing, there are many things.  I’m sure there are many people who do it differently than me, and are quite successful.  These, however, are the things I keep in mind when writing a proposal and it has worked well for me.

  • Keep it Brief – People who post looking for a writer will be getting dozens of applications.  They don’t want to read through a novel.
  • Stay Confident – Confidence can shine through, even when written in a proposal.
  • Make it About You – Tell them about you.  How long have you been freelancing?  Why do you think you will be great for this gig?  What sets you apart?  These are all important.  Also, include links to previous work if you have it available so they can see your writing style.
  • Be Specific – If your bidding on a job in the medical field, bring that up so they know you read their job description.  Say something like, “I’ve written many articles about diseases and how to treat them in the past, so I’m sure I can write the content you need as well.”
  • Be Open – End the bid by encouraging them to contact you if they have any questions.  This will open the lines of communication, which can often lead to getting hired.

What does this look like in practice?  Here is an exact copy of a proposal I recently made for a job, which I was hired for.  The job was for 10 high-quality articles which needed to be good both for readers and Google.  It was in the Make Money Online niche.

Hello.  I’m very interested in learning more about this job.  I’ve been a successful freelance writer for just over three years now, and I’m confident I can write the high-quality content you need. 

I am able to write content that is perfectly balanced for both real human readers and Google’s algorithms so you’ll have the best of both worlds. 

You can see some examples of my work on the very popular Internet Marketing site Perform Insider (linked).  I’m the lead writer on that site, and have written hundreds of posts.  Anything by Michael Levanduski is, of course, written by me.

In addition to writing high-quality content, I am available online throughout the day for questions or updates so you won’t have to worry about tracking me down.  I can be reached through email, skype or even phone.

As requested, I’m posting for 10 articles at 500 words each based on the topics you will provide.  If you ever need additional content, I can write them at this same rate of $30 per article.  I can have these ten articles completed within 5 days, unless you need them sooner in which case I can work with you on the deadline.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

Thank you

Michael

This is the basic format I use for all the jobs I apply for, though I do tweak it a bit to meet the specifics of the job.  I NEVER simply copy/paste a proposal.  Each one should be written specifically for the job you want, even if all your proposals follow the same general guidelines.   If you don’t have a link to examples of your work already, make sure you get some.  Even if it is a link to your personal blog, giving potential clients a look at your writing will help you land those clients.

I believe this should cover all the basics of learning how to land new private clients.  If there are any aspects of this topic which still aren’t clear, please let me know.  I’d be more than happy to write another post on this subject if it will be helpful.  In addition, if you’d like some feedback on your proposals, please feel free to send me an example via email at Michael@WriteForMoneyOnline.com , or post it in the comments below.  I’ll read through it and let you know what I think, free of charge of course.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.  If you haven’t already, you might want to take some time to read part one in this series, “How to Find Private Clients Series – Part 1: Where to Find Private Clients.”  If you’ve already read that, why don’t you move on to the third, and final post.  Part 3 is about How to Keep a private client coming back.

 

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you found it useful. I'd love to hear what you thought about it in the comments below. If you're interested in publishing this, or any of my content, on your site I'd love to hear from you. Just contact me using my syndication request form HERE.

Also, If you're interested in receiving an occasional email from me with great information on how to write for money online, submit your email below. You'll also get a copy of my free report, "A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding & Landing Private Clients." Thanks again!

Michael

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for sharing this, Michael. I think the higher end of the pricing list you’ve provided is reasonable for new freelancers starting out on the Elance platform who have writing skills but little actual work experience. I’m sure you’ll get some flack for posting those recommended prices, but the fact is that not all freelance writers start out with a decade of industry experience and contacts from their previous job at a newspaper or magazine.

    Productive writers creating content for niches they know well can make $50 or more per hour in real terms (billable and non-billable hours together) at the upper end of the price ranges you posted. That’s about what the $100 per hour freelancers who don’t use bidding sites make since they spend 50% or more of their time prospecting for clients and pitching editors. It’s a whole different ballgame.

    I personally see Elance and Guru as a way in and not a place to spend one’s entire career. Once you build a strong referral network from even a handful of high quality clients on the bidding sites, you can raise your rates substantially. That’s how I built my business and I haven’t had to spend more than an hour a month looking for new clients in the last 2 years. I recently compared my actual earnings per hour vs. one of the major “six figure freelancers”. In 2012, I made only a few dollars less per hour than this well-known freelancer who has almost 2 decades of writing experience. I simply prefer to spend my time writing rather than prospecting.

    I’ll be following your blog and looking forward to reading more.

    Daisy

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by Daisy. I agree that the money is there, and getting even a small list of great clients is the best way to get it. Once you have people referring you to others, you can be set for life!

      It’s difficult for many people who are newer to freelancing to realize that the opportunities are real (for good writers). They need to build confidence in themselves. Which I hope this site helps them do!

      Michael
      Michael Levanduski recently posted…Make Money Writing ArticlesMy Profile

  2. Sunny says

    I am so impress with the quality of information provided. I am new to freelance writing but this information will certainly be of great help to me. I will be following you from now on. Thanks

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