There are tons of guides out there on how you can earn your first income as a newbie freelance writer, but most of them suck.
As a newbie, you need practical guides that will steer you to grow fast your freelance business, not spin content from people who haven't even tried the hacks they've written.
That leaves you with the question; "what then must I do?"
Very well, in this post, I'm going to show you step by step what you should do to grow your freelance business like wildfire if you're starting from scratch.
So, very fast, let's dive into the 5 actions you must take to grow your freelance business like wildfire starting from scratch.
1. Create an Online Presence
I guess you must have met this severally, but how do you do it and what does it entail?
Don't get it from the grapevine! There is much more you need to know when it comes to growing your online presence.
Before we look into how you can grow your online presence, let's talk facts;
- 97 percent of consumers use the web to search for local businesses
- Facebook and Twitter are for any business; in 2018, Facebook has a total of 2.23 billion users while Twitter has 336,335 users across the globe
- Twitter has been growing fast – in 2010; Twitter had only 30 million users. In 2018, Twitter has a total of 336,335
- Instagram is a powerful photo-sharing network – You can sell beautiful products like jewellery on this platform and make a reasonable profit
- Instagram has 130 million users, and two-thirds are women aged between 18 and 35
These are too-good-to-true stats to ignore. They should give you an insight that social media is the backbone of all thriving businesses.
So, by now, you should be curiously waiting to devour ways of how you can create and increase your social media presence. Here we go;
- Know your goals and objectives: Before you do anything, you should know what your aims. Do you want to create awareness on your brand? Do you want to grow your freelance business? For example, if you need to improve your freelance business, there is a need to target the right audience – those who are also doing it. This way, you will connect with the right people.
- Be human: From the name, "social media", it is clear that it is a platform where people meet and socialize. Note that I didn't say animals. I said people – humans. To make people follow and connect with you, it is wise that you help anyone out who needs your help. For instance, if someone posts a question, be ready to help as fast as possible. Being the first to comment by offering a solution is an added advantage – people get to know you're the go-to-guy.
- Link your website with your social media profiles: I have linked my site with my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profile. When I craft a new post, it goes viral via these profiles. Connecting your website and profile is relatively simple. For instance, when you want to link your site with your Facebook profile, here is a step by step guide.
- Produce valuable content: Poor researched content will make your readers form an opinion about you. They will lose trust in you and will opt for another smart freelance writer or blogger who can provide them with useful and valuable content. In short, craft content and posts that your readers love reading. You can do this by scheming what your audience love reading. For example, if your audience is freelancers, craft posts that will solve most of their problems; how to write articles that clients like.
- Optimize your accounts: Most bloggers will tell you to optimize your social media accounts and leave it at that. No, that's not what I'm going to do. Instead, I'll give you the hack for optimizing your social accounts such that clients come looking for you instead of you looking for them. Optimizing your accounts mean using the right keywords that relate to what service you offer. For instance, if you're a copywriter who writes copies that sell. You need to indicate that in your bio by using keywords like, "Sales Copywriter for Hire."
Therefore, you should try as much as possible and increase your online presence because it will increase your chances of generating additional revenue, build your customer loyalty, connect you with high-value clients, and reinforce your brand.
2. Join the LinkedIn Community
It's so sad that I'd never heard of LinkedIn till mid-2017 and that's what I don't want you to go through.
That's why I created this post mainly to make you understand that you can help your business thrive through LinkedIn.
Before we dive into how you can attract clients on LinkedIn, lets head over to some eye-catching facts anyone isn't telling you.
- LinkedIn hit the 500 million-mark registered users in 2017 – according to TechCrunch, Business Insider Intelligence as well as Fortune
- 260 million log in to LinkedIn each month – according to Aptopia
- 40 percent of the registered users use LinkedIn daily
- 60 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers while 40 million are decision makers – according to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog
- There are 87 million millennials on LinkedIn – according to Adweek
With all those facts, it is clear that LinkedIn is the right place if you want to grow any business super-fast. So, how do you attract clients on LinkedIn?
- Have a professional LinkedIn profile.
- Identify your prospects
- Send connection requests
- Thank people who accept your connection requests by sending them a thank you message
- Send messages that intend to build business relationships
- Engage with people on LinkedIn groups
Don't worry if any of the points aren't clear. You can shoot me an email for explanations or read them on a post I'll craft expounding on them.
3. Craft Samples that Clients Love
There are tons of freelance trainers who will promise to give you writing samples, that's not right.
I believe that samples you craft by yourself are more meaningful than the ones you're given for free. So, instead of waiting to be given free samples, I'll walk you through on how to craft writing samples that clients love.
Here we go:
- Select ideas from real job postings: This is a hack I believe no blogger is telling you out there, and even if they're, then they're not telling you how to select the right job postings that can be used for crafting writing samples that clients love. Before you apply for any job, a writing sample will help you "speak". Upwork has 3 million jobs posted annually. That means getting writing sample topics is fairly simple. You need to log in to your Upwork account and select topics on every niche you specialize on and write using the descriptions given.
- Craft samples in all your niches: As stated above, Upwork is the best place to select writing sample ideas. With that in mind, you can navigate through Upwork categories to find different ideas in different niches. For instance, you can choose to copywrite and write one sample on sales, then another on Search Engine Optimization and another on technology. By doing that, you're assured you will land most copywriting jobs because you have relevant writing samples.
4. Join the Upwork Community
Initially, I never liked Upwork because I believed getting jobs from Upwork was a nightmare. I may not have landed many clients, but I can confess that I love it on Upwork.
So, what was the reason why I had a sudden change of attitude towards Upwork? Here's why:
- There are 5 million clients on Upwork that need to hire freelancers on a daily basis
- 3 million jobs are posted on Upwork annually
- Escrow protects your deposit until your work is approved by the client – in short, you're assured of payment when you do your assignments as per the client's requirements, and…
- A total of $1 billion is spent on Upwork annually
I believe you can see the reason why I decided to jump onto the bandwagon – some opportunities are waiting for every freelancer, whether experienced or not.
Before you move to the last hack of how to grow your freelance business like wildfire, let me give you some hacks to making sure your Upwork profile is accepted.
I'm doing this because I know Upwork these days don't approve just anyone. So, it's better if you took your time to make your profile.
So, here are the hacks:
- Use a professional photo as your profile picture. Make sure it has a clear background and not backgrounds that will drive away focus from the subject (you) and focus on the background. For example, don't use a photo that has a background of beautiful flowers.
- Include only the skills you know. I'm saying this because including the skills you know will give you easy time when crafting your bio. If you are a copywriter, be sure that you have depth knowledge and that you can offer unique services compared to what other people are providing.
- Take the Upwork tests and make sure that you pass in any that you choose to take. This will increase your chances of approval. I would recommend that you take the Upwork tests before you even get approved.
- Include any certifications you have. This hack worked for one of my friends. He had a degree in software engineering, and he included a certificate of the same. The skills he added in his profile also matched with the certification. Within 24 hours, he was approved.
I hope that these hacks work for you too and if they do, kindly leave a comment or shoot me an email confirming the same.
5. Craft Excellent Upwork Proposals
Tons of people are desperate to find ways of writing excellent proposals that prompt clients to hire them.
The only sad thing is that many bloggers or Upwork gurus aren't ready to spill the beans. Don't worry. That's what I'm going to show you right away so that you can finish reading this article and try the hacks and be a badass freelance writer who crafts proposals that clients love.
Are you ready for the hacks?
And here they are:
- Don't sell yourself: It's right that you want to tell the client why they should hire you, but it's not right to desperately sell yourself. Don't include too many "I." Doing so can send a bad picture to the client which may stop him or her from hiring you even if you were the right person for the job.
- Show instead of saying: Clients want to see not to hear. Suppose you were applying for a job that wants freelancers to write a blog post, it would be better to copy and paste a good review you earned on Upwork (crediting you like the best blogger) right on top of your cover letter – in the first paragraph.
- Answer "Additional" Upwork proposal questions perfectly: 34 percent of Upwork proposals require additional questions. Tons of freelancers treat these questions as an afterthought which is wrong. These additional proposal questions are what clients see first. For example, you may say that "…below is a link to my latest post." You may do this not knowing that clients see the additional questions first. That sucks, right?
- Don't use canned cover letters: It is unfortunate that many freelancers still use cover letter templates to apply to every job posting on Upwork. I also tried this when I joined Upwork, and I can confirm that it failed terribly. My first job on Upwork was through an excellent proposal I crafted by myself. Since then, I have made it a rule that every job posting requires a unique cover letter in response to what the client needs.
- Don't bid too low: One of my best mentors and top-rated freelancers on Upwork, Danny Margulies says that it sucks to read a proposal where a freelancer makes a low counteroffer when he or she can see the client average spend is more than the counteroffer. It's clear that Danny never hired the freelance writer.
- Don't force out compliments: It's good to compliment the client in your cover letter, but it is useless to force out compliments. He or she will know that you are flattering him or her. You know what happens when that happens. You don't get hired.
Growing or maintaining your freelance business can prove challenging, but only if you don't do it right. The most common mistakes freelance writers make is the failure to take action.
I hope that you'll take action after reading this article and implement those that you haven't implemented so far.
Do you have any other ways to break through into your freelance business? Kindly leave it in the comments. I'll be happy to read it.