On balance, this is a pretty good time to be a freelance writer. Ever-improving technology continues to make it easier to write from anywhere (whether it’s your office, a train, your vacation home, or a beach), and attitudes towards workplace flexibility have changed enough to make more companies willing to work with freelancers.
Notice, though, that I said “pretty good” instead of something effusive such as “outstanding” or “exceptional”. There’s a big reason for this: while there’s a lot of freelance writing work out there, there’s also a lot of competition for it, with countless race-to-the-bottom bidders pushing prices down through sites like Fiverr and Upwork.
If you want to make your freelance writing business a major success, you need to set it apart as a high-quality service that’s worth a meaningful investment — and one tactic you might not have considered for this is hosting (or taking advantage of) physical events. How can you do this, exactly? Allow me to detail some options:
Appear (and network) at relevant industry events
Assuming you live vaguely near a city, there should be a varied calendar of business events, and most of the businesses being represented at those events will need copywriting of some kind — whether for products, services, websites, or promotions. And since your freelance brand won’t have much buzz around it, the best thing you can do is start appearing at those events to get notable people accustomed to your face.
Do you need to start wheeling out your sales pitch the moment you arrive? No, definitely not… that’s more likely to prove counterproductive through making you seem desperate. Instead, spend time getting to know people. Make some friends, or at least friendly acquaintances. Be honest about what you do when asked, but don’t push anything.
If you keep at it, then sooner or later someone who needs a copywriter will think of you and get the idea to give you a call. At that point, your sole responsibility is to answer it and excel — do an excellent job, and they’ll recommend you to their industry friends.
Carry a POS system to sell ebooks anywhere
The typical traveling salesperson carts around a variety of goods with the promise of more being sourced upon request, but you might think that a freelance writer has no comparable line of opportunity — after all, how do you sell a service like an item? In truth, though, there is a way in which a freelance writer can make some sales and market their business at the same time: they can take a mobile POS system with them and sell their ebooks.
For instance, Shopify has on-the-go POS that runs on your mobile device and makes it easy to take a payment for any type of order — and since it’s possible to use that hosting system to create an ebook store, you can create some writing training pieces to offer for small sums of money, sell them, and deliver them immediately. Elearning is big business these days, so don’t be surprised if your materials get a lot of interest.
Not only will having training materials for sale make your service seem more legitimate, but it will also be of great benefit of you to pay close attention during the checkout process: if you configure your POS system to require email addresses to complete purchases, you can build up a valuable email list to retarget with your freelance writing services at a later date.
Run a drop-in workshop in an office building
It isn’t generally easy to convince people of a copywriter’s value, particularly when they’re used to farming copywriting work out to low-budget writing services or even expecting in-house staff to muddle through. How do you show that you’re worth hiring? Well, one great way to make an impression is to offer a free drop-in workshop in a busy office building.
The idea is simple: you approach a communal workspace, and suggest being allowed to set up at a desk there for a day, during which time you’ll offer support to anyone who needs it. Your task is then to get to know people’s requirements and make compelling pitches. If you do it well enough, then some of those people will reach out to you afterwards to arrange trials.
Is it a good idea to do this frequently? No, of course not, because it’s a short-term money-loser: you don’t get compensated for your time or effort. But as a way to go from anonymous to noteworthy in one fell swoop, it’s highly potent.
Physical events are superb for getting attention, especially in light of the cluttered and overwhelming content feed provided through the internet. These tactics can be challenging, but give one or more of them a try — they might be just what you need to get eyes on your nascent brand.