As the economic recession continues, I’ve been seeing more Internet discussions around the need for freelance writing jobs or gigs. But if you’re serious about making a living as a freelance copywriter, instead of looking for new freelance writing jobs, you should be looking for new copywriting clients.
Before I explain why, I’m going to explain how I view the difference between freelance writing jobs, gigs and clients. In my world, here’s the distinction between these three types of work:
A freelance writing job is a one-off project that, once completed, creates a closed file
A freelance writing gig is similar to a job, but may include a series of assignments rather than a single writing task
A freelance writing client implies a relationship that typically results in on-going work
If you’re a student or have a full time job and are looking to make a little money on the side, freelance writing jobs and gigs are probably a good fit for you. But if you want to earn a living as a freelance copywriter, you really need to focus on finding clients.
Clients Create New Work
Existing clients are your single best source for new work. If you have a lull in your schedule, consider projects that would benefit your clients’ businesses and send them proposals. Here are a few suggestions:
A client that just released a new version of their software product could use a press release and corresponding web copy (in the form of updating an existing page or adding a new page)
If your client uses white papers in their marketing efforts, suggest a topic for a new white paper or an initiative to refresh older, existing white papers
Use your social media savvy to become your client’s voice in the online networking world by offering to be their ghost-Twitterer, set up a Facebook page on their behalf or create and maintain a company blog
While you won’t get a project out of every proposal, you will get some new assignments. More importantly, regularly proposing new copywriting ideas let’s your clients know that they are important to you.
A More Rewarding Copywriting Career
Although I’ve accepted many single assignments from companies with little promise of future work, my financial bread-and-butter – and professional fulfillment – comes from the client relationships I’ve established and continue to foster on a daily basis.
Nothing is more rewarding that having an existing client give me the go-ahead to execute copywriting projects that I propose, or getting an out-of-the-blue call or email about an unexpected assignment.
Trust: The Building Blocks of Future Work
Establishing client relationships requires good communication and a commitment by both parties to meet agreed-on obligations. On the client’s side, that means giving you good project direction and feedback and paying your invoices in a timely manner. On the copywriter’s side, it means always striving to produce your best work – on time and within budget.
When commitments are kept, the resulting trust that is established becomes the building blocks of future work and a client-copywriter relationship that can last for years.
Freelancing from home can be a little lonely. Building relationships with clients, even if they are virtual relationships, makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than my isolated world. With one-off writing jobs or gigs, that human connection isn’t readily made. If you have a choice, choose clients every time.