Many freelance writers talk about finding new clients through referrals–someone saying, “Hey, I know a person who might want to hire you.” In theory, this sounded great to me. But, in practice, it didn’t work at all. I had no clue how the magical world of referrals worked… that is, until recently, when the light came on and I figured it out. Here are the three big things I’ve learned about referrals:
Sometimes, referrals just drop into your lap.
If you store up enough past clients–that is, past clients who liked you and appreciated your work–eventually one of them will think of you when they hear about a writing job. Once, I did about two weeks’ worth of copywriting for a marketing company. Six months later, the senior copywriter I’d worked under emailed me saying his friend needed a copywriter and would I be interested? Yes! I signed a long-term contract with the new company, grateful for the referral that had come completely out of the blue. Things don’t usually work that nicely, though, which brings us to our next point.
It’s important to have conversations about what you do.
There aren’t many situations where it’s socially acceptable to flat-out say to someone, “I need some work. Do you have any friends who want to hire me?” There are situations, however, where it’s one hundred percent acceptable to simply talk about what you do.
I make a point of being open about my career; pretty much everyone who knows me knows I’m a freelance writer. And, I make sure people know specifically what I write and what type of clients I work with, too. I’ll regularly post updates on Facebook that say things such as, “Spending my morning writing a blog post for a fitness company on how to build muscle!” Because I give specific examples of what I do, I often have people (both real-life friends and others who see my posts) message me, telling me they know someone who needs a freelance writer in my niche.
Ask fellow writers in different niches to send work your way.
If your friend writes about personal finance, she’ll probably have no idea what to do if she’s approached by a potential client who needs articles on exercise science. But, if your friend knows you’re obsessed with kinesiology, and that you regularly write for gym chains, she’ll know where to send the client.
Of course, if you’re ever approached by any personal finance gurus who need a writer, you can make sure to return the favor.
Hailey Hudson is a full-time freelance fitness, nutrition, and education writer based out of Atlanta. She is available for hire. Learn more at her website, The Hardworking Creative or contact her on LinkedIn
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