2015 was my best year yet. I had my highest year end total thanks to many months where I made over $3,000. To top it all off, I spent a total of about two months time on vacation; three weeks in the Maritimes, a month in Mexico, and a few small trips in Ontario. I enjoyed living in a huge apartment in Montreal for a very affordable price, and people were finally starting to find me online to offer work. Rather than market and pitch everyday I had people coming to me! The work was steady, and I had more than enough to go ’round. It seemed like things were really working out and I was starting to make a name for myself.
2016 on the other hand has been an entirely different story. Things have not been going well. In fact, things got so bad over the summer that I had all but given up on my freelance writing career entirely. It seemed as though things had not worked out as well as I’d hoped. This year I lost nearly all of my biggest clients, either because the work dried up, or I fired them because I had become burned out from writing the same content for two years. I should have started marketing immediately to replace the clients I lost, but no, I didn’t bother, and now here I am with barely any work and wondering how I’m going to get out of this hole.
I need to completely rebuild my client list and while that may sound like a scary prospect, I feel good about it. After 4.5 years in this game I’ve built up an impressive rolodex. I’m confident that if I start reaching out to people and working the contacts I’ve made over the years I will inevitably find new work. Building up my client list is going to be a lot easier now than it was before. I have knowledge and experience in marketing and pitching my services which I didn’t have back then, so I can be much more efficient and effective in my efforts. I can also be more discerning in what clients I take on. Moving forward I have to be firm about my rates and not settle for a low-ball offer just becuase I need the work and proceed with the false notion that I’ll be able to increase my rates down the line because, in my experience, clients never agree to a rate increase.
I know what I’m worth, and I’m ready to reel in a big fish. I’ve acquired all the necessary equipment and have perfected my techniques with an ocean of small fry; now it’s time to hook that king-sized Marlin. I’m talking about big companies. I’m talking about major publications. I’m talking about work that rewards you with wealth. I’m talking about taking this ship to the next level. There’s always a next level to reach, new achievements to unlock, higher summits to surmount. I have to get there and I can’t give up now. Quitting now would be like a mountaineer making it halfway up Everest, surveying the pinnacle and its snowy winds, then turning back in resignation thinking he’ll never make it. It’s just too far. It’s just too hard.
No. I will not give up. All my life I’ve wanted to be a writer and now that’s what I am. I’ve put too much work into this to give up, and even though things look bad now I know that I can make them better. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be fast, but it will be done. I have a few strategies in mind that will allow me to rebuild my client list. Without going into exhaustive detail, they are:
- Following up with old clients
- Reaching out to existing contacts and asking them to pass my info to anyone who might need a writer
- Posting creative status updates on LinkedIn that promote my skills and services
- Posting original content on LinkedIn about the freelance writing business
- Using Twitter’s advanced search to find companies that are hiring writers
- Attending industry events and networking in-person
These six techniques are sure to yield new clients eventually. Persistence, determination, and focus are the keys to the kingdom. I can already imagine the gates opening and the enormous roar of the fanfare as I make my entrance and thank them all for allowing my entry to this hallowed place.
I am a writer, and that is all I will ever be.