4 Reasons Why You Didn’t Land That Freelance Writing Client You Wanted

Assuming you have at least some writing ability, and if you got C+ or better in high school or college you do, and assuming you’re applying for writing gigs on a regular basis — that’s sending out queries, checking job sites, on a daily basis more or less — there are four likely reasons you’re not getting the gigs more often. Fortunately each one is easy to fix.

1. You’re not showing how you can solve their problem

The only reason someone hires a writer is because they have a problem they think some writing will solve. Maybe they need a sales letter or a white paper or have a blog that’s not been updated in months.

More often than not you’ll have to figure out what that problem is from an ad on a job board and often the potential client isn’t very clear in the posting. I’ve gotten around this by sending two or three short samples, maybe two or three sentences, that demonstrate I can solve the problem I think they have. Often they call and I then can get a much better picture.

The client really isn’t interested in who you are or what you’ve written in the past unless it is very similar to something they want. Try writing a short sample that demonstrates you have some understanding of and ability to solve their problem and you’re likely to get at least an interview.

2. You’re not showing confidence in your pricing

You need to know what you charge! You need to figure out your hourly or your word rate, or your price for say a 500 word blog post. Then you simply state it with some confidence, something like this: I generally charge a dollar a word. Or, I could do your blog for $500 a post. Then shut up and listen, even if it’s just to the silence.

You don’t need to apologize for your price or explain it in any fashion whatsoever. Your price is your price. Just like, at least in America, the price for a pair of shoes is the price. Let the silence grow — assume they are thinking about it.

You also have to know if you’ll negotiate your price, and if so, by how much. It’s far better to decide this in advance. I often don’t mind reducing my price by five percent or so. But I don’t offer this unless they make it clear they want or think they need a price reduction. Some people just do and I don’t fight them. I come down a bit and they either take that or they don’t.

Sometimes I’ll ask for something additional, like to be reimbursed for my PayPal fees or they pay me twice a month instead of once. These are just negotiating opportunities I may want or not.

When we have a price agreement I thank them, tell them I’ll shortly send an email confirming what we just decided, ask if they have questions — often they don’t — and get off the phone as quickly as I can do so gracefully.

4. You don’t followup well

Even when you’re hired on that first interview, which can happen, but usually doesn’t, you have to do the followup. At a minimum, if they’ve given you the go ahead it’s up to you memorialize your agreement in writing. An email will do nicely. Include:

  • Some sort of thank you
  • A description of what you’re to do
  • When it is to be delivered How much is to be paid
  • When and how that payment is to be made

Make sure you move these emails from your sent folder to your client folders so it doesn’t get lost when you finally remember to delete the last six months of sent emails.

Now, find a way to remind yourself to either call or email them at least six or seven times unless you get a ‘no.’ If they say ‘no’ thank them and ask if they know anyone who does need some writing. Let them know you’ll check back in six months or so.

I use a customer management system for this. I googled ‘free crm’ and found one I like. Mine is Capsule CRM and it lets me have 200 contacts before I need to pay them. CRM stands for customer relations management and it reminds me which has made a big positive difference in my followup.

4. You don’t have a website

Yes, these days, professional writers need a website. It doesn’t have to be complicated nor do you have to pay thousands or even hundreds to have someone do it for you.

Ideally you’ll have your own domain name — that’s the web address. Mine is www.AnneWayman.com and it’s built on WordPress. I host currently with BlueHost but they are far from the only decent host around. Make sure the host you choose has a ‘one button word press install and you’ll save yourself some grief. You probably shouldn’t pay more than $6 or $7US dollars a month, and often less.

You really don’t need more than five or six pages:

  • A front page that introduces your writing services and shows, if you’ve got them, a testimonial or two. This page is not about you but about what you can do for the customer.
  • An About You page which is, yes, about you. A picture of you is nice to have.
  • A hire me or services offered page where you describe the kind of things you want to write. I include some pricing, others don’t.
  • You also need a samples or credits page or pages. If you’ve got online links that works. If you want to add clips you can on this and subsequent pages. And if you don’t have many credits you can write several samples for yourself — make it clear these haven’t yet appeared anywhere else.
  • Perhaps most important is your contact me page. I include my email, phone number and physical address. If you’re not comfortable with your address and phone number, just an email address will work. The potential client must have a way to contact you that’s obvious.

There you have it, insights into kicking your writing career into a higher gear.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman

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Writer, life and writing coach, book ghostwriter, Grandmother, Buddhist. Liberal who listens to the other side, political activist-www.DemocracyCounts.org

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