You love being a freelancer, maybe as a side hustle or a full-time job, but the clients do not seem to come your way.
Then self-doubt starts to crawl into your mind, telling you that you’re probably not good enough to attract clients as a freelance writer. Others seem to be better than you are. Maybe it’s easier to give up.
Well, just before you do that, let me give you a lifeline.
You see, all of this has happened to me recently…until I realised one thing, and it literally 180’d my situation from a failing, wannabe freelance writer into a professional content specialist taking the next step into building a content services agency in less than a year.
This thing was a change in my perspective and my strategy in how I approach potential clients and make sure I win them.
And I want to share that with you.
When in Rome…
When I started my freelance writing journey, I set about in the most predictable, most straightforward way:
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Well, I tried to do as the other freelancers were doing. I googled “how to be a freelance writer” and began exploring.
I was led to freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr. I created my profiles there and learned how to bid on projects. And then, I started bidding.
So simple, right? Well, not exactly.
Little did I know that thousands of people like me were doing the exact same thing, and many were already ahead of me in the game. The level of competition was too high even to get a chance to prove myself.
But I kept at it. I tried to imitate other freelancers that appeared successful in the way they were describing themselves in their profiles. I lowered my rates significantly, hoping for a chance. I even offered free work.
While this helped me get the occasional client, this was neither enough nor sustainable. There had to be another way.
And my way required a step back, a perspective that was bigger than the endless bidding on projects on third-party platforms.
A change in perspective
Getting too deep into the habit of bidding on projects and hoping to get a response made me lose attention to the bigger picture, and that is: I love writing, and I want to monetise it. I needed to refresh my perspective.
So, I started with a proclamation, a mantra if you like, and it said:
The world of freelance is wide and rich, and there are enough opportunities for everyone.
This made me worry less about all the projects I was not winning and focus on what I could do.
I then asked myself three questions:
- Why do I want to be a freelance writer?
- What exactly am I offering as a freelance writer, and to whom?
- How am I willing to do that, and how much time do I want to allocate to it?
Those questions enabled me to better understand what I wanted to do and make much clearer and more informed decisions that have shaped the past year for me.
You see, I knew that I wanted to be a freelance writer because I loved writing and was quite decent at it. But there were other reasons, too.
The level of freedom and flexibility one can have as a freelancer is something I always wanted. Being my own boss is another. And lastly, I wanted to be in control of my own work.
But that required a lot of clarity and discipline:
- clarity on what I want to offer and to whom
- discipline around how I want to offer that
So, I began by defining my niche.