Have you ever stared at your calendar with dread, knowing you had some gaps to fill and no work to fill it? One of the best ways I’ve found is to ASK for work–and I don’t mean pitching.
I’ll share what I do and what I’ve seen tons of other successful writers do when it’s time to get new work, fast. Every time I have a gap in my pipeline and I need to drum up more writing gigs, I do these things first. Because THEY WORK.
I keep it natural. I’m not a weirdo…at least not in this way!
Not every client, just ones you have a good rapport with. It’s more effective if you’ve had a long client history, and a broad client base. But you can do it with just a few.
I draft a short email to each person. If this is a past client, you want to reconnect.
“John, I just checked out your website. Looks like you’re doing amazing things. It was fun working with you on X, Y, Z project. Thought I’d see if there’s anything else I could do. I have some extra bandwidth this month and I’d rather work with you than anyone else. I wanted to check before I drum up some work on the streets.”
I’ve literally sent emails that say that. I pick my favorite clients, and those are the only ones I say that about. People like to be liked, that’s why it works.
It’s a nice compliment and puts them in a positive frame of mind. It’s a soft ask. When you phrase it as something to take off their plate, it sounds like you’re doing them a favor, which you are.
Writing is hard. We’re offering our services to someone who’s too busy, afraid, or whatever to do it themselves.
You can do the same with current clients. I typically do once a quarter. “I have some extra bandwidth and wanted to check with you first before I went outside to see if there’s anything else you’d like me to do.”
Lots of times I’ll get a yes. “We’d really like more blog posts,” or “Yeah, we’re putting together an ebook.” I even had one client say, “Have you ever done courses? I need to add lessons to XYZ course and I need some emails for it.”
It’s an easy way to get more work.
This next strategy is the same, on a different platform.
Make a Facebook post, “I’m really happy to have space on my calendar for XYZ writing service. If you need help in this area or if you know anyone who might, please get in touch with me. Either leave a comment below or send me a PM.”
Or “Hey friends, I have some extra room and before I go looking for new clients, I thought I’d let everyone on my friends list know that I have space.” Even if you are completely wide open and you have nothing, say something like, “I’ve opened my calendar for a couple of new awesome writing clients. If you need something or know anyone who might need some help, let me know.”
This is a totally natural post. You’ll get a lot of people, “I didn’t know you even did that!”
They’ll congratulate you and you can say something affirmative. “I love what I do. I work with the best people!” They’ll ask about your website and specific questions about your services so you can talk about what you offer or who your best audience is. Perhaps you’ll be able to talk about your past work. You can say, “I love working for startups.”
You have an opportunity to talk about yourself in a way that is not spammy and that gets attention.
So post on your Facebook, in a way that’s less biz promo and more, “I have some openings, let me know if you need anything or know anyone who needs anything and then you can get into the specifics down in the comment section.”
It’s a great source of leads.
Update your profile on LinkedIn. Change your headline or your tagline that appears next to your page. You can post a status update on LinkedIn.
You can go into your profile and make a change. There’s a box that you can check that says something like, broadcast this or share this with my followers or my connections or something like that. If you strategically make a change, you can share it.
Even if you’re just rewording something about your niche or your writing services, make sure that your network can see it. You can get leads that way. I get leads every time I do that.
I had a past client who saw me updating my profile and he got in touch, “Hey, I saw that you’re still doing copywriting. We need a writer.” That was a previous connection that I had, but he saw through LinkedIn that I was still available for this work and he reached out.
So that turned into a nice recurring gig as well and it was nice to work with this past client. I really liked him.
This can be part of your Facebook strategy, but specific to writer or service provider groups.
You can go into these groups and say, “Hey copywriters, if you’re overbooked, I have some extra bandwidth and can take on your overflow. This is my experience, specialty, or niche. Here’s how you contact me.”
You have to do a little bit more clarifying of what exactly you offer so that people will know that you’re a good person to get in touch with. You need to check with the group rules, but that’s not directly self promo. And in those kinds of groups it’s service providers building alongside fellow service providers.
It’s more of a community as opposed to a feeding frenzy. The rules for those types of groups can be a little bit more open. I’m more likely to be wide open. For example, you could post that in my group if you wanted. It would be totally fine.
I’ve had a lot of work come to me this way. Just saying, “I’m available!”
This is especially effective if you’re somewhat active in that group. So they recognize your name. Even if they don’t know anything about you. If they recognize you from the group, they are more likely to get in touch with you.
I’ve seen other people post this and I’ve gotten in touch with them, “I might have something for you.”
I’ve had people do the same to me. “I have three boring blog posts that I don’t feel like writing. Can you do them? I can pay you X.” I’ll do that. I can write three boring blog posts, that’s fine. Don’t have to do it every day!
So that’s nice if you can plug into a community open to sharing.
Not to add to their load, but to take away from it, to your benefit!
I’ve done this a couple of times. If there’s someone who I know is really busy, or if I see them post on Facebook about how they’re so busy or email me, “I’m really stressed out about so many deadlines, blah, blah, blah,” I’ll respond to whatever they put out there.
“Hey, I have some extra bandwidth. If you want me to take anything on for you, I would be happy to do that.”
I’ve had friends send work to me. So these are friends and it’s not pity work. It’s me saying, I notice that you’re overloaded. I noticed that you really don’t like this recurring work. If you want to outsource, I’d be happy to take it on for you.
You’re not going to get paid as much as they do. They take some off the top, which is how this works. But it’s really easy to drum up. You don’t have to go find another client.
They’re just like, “Here, have this thing.”
In several cases, I’ve had people say to me, “Yeah, sure, just take this person, take this gig. I don’t even want a referral fee.”
So that’s really nice!
If you have questions about this, please let me know. I’m always happy to answer these questions.
The best way to get any kind of advice or feedback from me or from other people who know what they’re talking about, is to get into my Facebook group, the Inkwell Guild. You can find us on Facebook or you can go to Ashleygainer.com/facebook and it will take you right there.
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