This week, a good friend of mine sent me her cover letter, asking for feedback. Now, keep in mind: this friend is talented, experienced, and confident! Still, she wasn’t getting any bites when she applied to jobs.
Once I took a look, I knew why.
I also knew that many of the writers in our freelance writing community have had similar struggles in the past. Cover letters tend to be an aggravating, confusing part of the job-securing process.
After sending my feedback, I asked my friend if I could post her cover letter and my reply on the DJO blog. I had a feeling it might help some of you guys, too.
If you feel like you’re flailing in the dark when applying to gigs and not getting any replies, this post is for you.
Below, find out why your cover letter sucks (and what to do about it).
The key to a successful freelance writing career is a steady stream of work. The mystery many of us face, however, is how to ensure that work keeps coming down the pipe.
The secret? You have to figure out how to get repeat work from writing clients instead of letting the relationship fizzle after the invoice is paid.
One approach to this is keeping your clients really happy.
The truth is, pro writers don’t wake up each morning and scramble for new collaborations. They nurture existing relationships so they continue to receive work. A happy client will naturally be inclined to work with you more than once.
And even if a client doesn’t rehire you immediately, they’ll have you top of mind when they need a writer again! It’s a win-win.
While many freelancers focus on being in hustle mode they overlook this important long-term strategy for repeat work. Don’t make that same mistake.
Here are our top 7 tips for getting that reliable repeat work from clients.
Do you really need a freelance writer website? We’re going with a resounding “yes” on this one.
Some writers will argue that a website isn’t necessary. While it’s technically possible to “hack” your way to landing clients without a portfolio or web presence, treat that scenario as the exception—not the norm.
And hey, why not have a place online where your name, niche, and services are on display for potential clients? A good website is the equivalent of a 24/7 marketing machine that can produce leads for you in your sleep.
I’m slightly burnt out on the buzz around shortcuts and hacks in the freelance writing space as a whole, so let’s talk about doing things the right way from the very beginning, shall we?
Let’s start with the facts. A solid website is a great way to build your online presence from the ground up. It’s actually one of the best ways.
We website is something you control completely, which helps you build credibility and traffic over time. You’re in charge of its content, its keywords, and even the kinds of clients it sends your way.
Social media might seem like an easier way to network and build street cred, but make no mistake: relying on social alone is a bad idea.
Your website is yours. Social platforms are owned by big companies that can disappear overnight (along with your following), ban your account, or other scary things.
So, a website is a good thing. Agreed?
Let’s dive in and cover all of the bases—and examples—of a complete freelance writer website.
It’s 2:45 PM. An alarm on your phone goes off. It’s a reminder for your client call at 3:00.
You feel that familiar pang of “ugh” in your gut. A tinge of anxiety. An urge to find some excuse to reschedule, or better yet, just cancel!
At 2:59, your heart is racing. You start doubting yourself.
Will you be able to answer their questions? Will they hear that you’re nervous, or somehow uncover the fact that you have no idea what you’re doing? Will they hang up when you name your rate? What is your rate anyway?
Then, the phone rings.
This scenario might make you feel like the only noob writer in the world who can’t handle phone calls like a boss, but don’t be hard on yourself.
Many freelancers feel this way when they’re starting out. In fact, even outside of a professional setting, most of us prefer texting to getting on the phone these days. It’s not just you.
Unfortunately, even in our plz-text-don’t-call society, getting clients on the phone is as important as ever. It’s one of my most reliable strategies for closing the deal once I’ve done the initial outreach via email.
Recently a member of our community, Amanda, asked us how to shake the phone call dread.
I used to feel this way myself, so I wanted to share some tips I’ve personally used for overcoming these nasty feels—and the unprofessional vibe they emit.
If you’d rather feel calm and collected than like a frantic rookie on client calls, check them out below. By the time you’re done with this blog post, you may actually be looking forward to your next call!
Facts: You’re a good writer. You’re a smart cookie. You’re a hustler with a can-do mindset. So… why is it so hard to find new writing clients?
The frantic search by freelancers to land lucrative gigs seems never-ending. If you hang around Facebook groups and Quora pages long enough, you may start to wonder if this whole full time freelancing thing is total BS.
Posts and comment threads are bursting with frustrated writers who feel ripped off by an impossible dream and are ready to go back to their cubicles. I mean, is anyone getting clients out there?
Well, yeah! They are. Every day. And now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on to the obvious question…
What are successful freelance writers doing differently?
The answer isn’t complicated: They’re staying flexible.
There are many blog posts out there outlining best practices for freelance career building, but most don’t mention the fact that different strategies work for different freelancers. Your industry, your services, and your rates may all be variables you need to test to find your client-finding sweet spot.
Successful freelancers know that this is an ever-evolving process, and they change things up if their current strategy isn’t working out.
Not surprisingly, this need for trial and error problem solving can be frustrating. So frustrating, in fact, that it’s enough for some writers to throw in the towel completely.
But don’t do that.
Instead, make a cup of tea and take a long, honest look at your freelance writing strategy.
There’s a reason (or perhaps more than one reason) you’re not getting work while other freelancers are. You just need to figure out where the blockages are and unclog ’em.
Here are 6 questions to ask yourself if you’re not getting writing jobs—before you hit the panic button.
Be honest: When was the last time you dusted off that outdated resume? And do you really think you need one as a freelancer?
(The answer to that is, yes, you do… sometimes.)
You may be getting work through cold calling, Upwork, or other methods, where resumes never come up in conversation. Or, if you’re a little more experienced in the freelance game, you may treat your services as business offerings. Once again, during a B2B conversation, no one asks for a resume.
Maybe this is why so many freelancers are guilty of not keeping our resumes up to date.
I’m going to be real with you: I don’t even bother looking at mine unless I’m considering corporate freelance gigs, more traditional remote jobs, or other special projects.
But hey—why not be prepared?
A properly groomed resume sitting on your hard drive will ensure you’re ready for whatever opportunity may pop up.
Unfortunately, resumes have this unique potential to be the most awkwardly mistreated document one ever encounters in their professional career.
If you’ve ever hired for a job, you know what I’m talking about. On the whole, they’re bad. Most people have no idea how to represent themselves on paper. And this isn’t surprising, because most of the advice out there on resumes is pretty misleading.
You’re a writer, though, so you’ve gotta get it together on this one.
Since it’s so hard to find solid advice on creating a non-crappy resume, we put together a helpful, no-BS guide for you to follow.
Dive in and learn how not to write your resume in 2018 (and beyond).
About to interview for a writing job? Getting nervous that they won’t “pick you”? Stop right there. We need to talk.
At the start of your freelance writing career, it can be hard to know how to handle the waltz of impressing clients and getting gigs. Hell, in the beginning, everything is a mystery.
I get it—I’ve been there!
Aside from pre-interview jitters, however, I’ve noticed a more destructive pattern amidst the freelance writing crowd.
There exists an unsettling idea that clients are elusive, mythical creatures. That they’re limited in supply and hard to keep. That they must be coddled and wooed if you’re to pay your rent this month.
These stories translate to one detrimental idea: that clients hold all of the power.
I’m here to tell you that this simply isn’t true.
I’m here to remind you that you left the employee-employer mindset behind in the 9-5 world, and the rules are different here.
If you keep telling yourself this story, however, you’ll continue to look like an amatuer and perpetuate a vicious cycle.
We need to level the playing field in your head, so you can drop this rookie mindset and start seeing actual growth—even if you’re just getting started.
There’s a powerful mindset shift that can make the difference between being seen as hired help vs. a coveted specialist.
The way potential clients perceive you can impact the money you make, the working relationships you have, and how quickly your network (ie: your writing job referral machine) flourishes.
Obviously, this one’s important, so for eff’s sake, pause Netflix. Pay attention.
If you’ll do that, I’ll explain why taking back your power as a freelance business owner is the ultimate key to unlocking long-term success.
And please—read this post before you apply to or interview for your next writing job.