How to Get My (or Anybody’s) Business

This post was written by John White on Tue, 21 Oct 2008 10:30:35 +0000
Posted Under: freelancing,writer's diseases

I probably sounded a bit cranky in the note I sent that new writer. It wasn’t my intention, but it may have come off that way.

She wrote:

I’m just now in the marketing phase of my freelance copywriting business. How can I get past the ‘no experience and small portfolio’ problem to even get people to call me? I need to get hired to get experience, but no one will hire me because I have no experience.”

I’ve seen a lot of writers go through this – for that matter, I went through it, though I didn’t let it slow me down – and I always feel like Patton, smacking the soldier who was worried about losing the war. I went for a walk around the block to calm down, then I replied:

“Under the circumstances, you should assume that no prospects will call you spontaneously (but you should be happily surprised if they do) and that YOU will have to go to prospects, either by cold calling or attending industry events or other avenues of contact. You should also put together a small Web site, but don’t sink big money into it, and don’t expect that the whole world will suddenly visit it.

“When you find the person who needs content, one of his/her first questions will be, ‘Can you show me some samples?’ That’s where your prior work comes in. Be sure it’s clean, presentable and easily accessible. Do NOT apologize for anything about it; samples are rarely a perfect fit to the prospect’s need, and if that need is great enough, and the prospect likes the way you present yourself, then s/he will decide whether it’s a good fit.”

Of course, there’s a lot I leave out – mostly because it’s up to the happy interaction between what man proposes and what the universe disposes – but this is one of the first steps in getting business. I want to shake a lot of good writers by the lapels and tell them this.

How do writers get your business?

Comments are closed.