Nearly one-third of a professional freelancer's time is spent looking for work. Freelancing is the only field where even a short period of being passive will almost always end up to a less-than-rosy monthly bottom line.
Making your services known and negotiating with clients can be more tedious than working, so through the years the majority of freelance professionals learned to master several tricks of the trade to reduce their solicitation time in half. Here they are:
You got mail!
Make it easy for potential clients to know that you have "opened shop." Keep your contact information in check and practice entertaining telephone call queries in a professional and restrained tone.
Get a separate email address for your transactions with clients. Don't create an address that sounds childish or "jokey," otherwise, people will have a hard time taking you seriously. To weed out any junk mail, keep the Spam guard on.
Prepare several email templates.
This is crucial if you pitch articles to magazines or bid for jobs at well-known sites for freelancers. You also need to write collection letters in the form of an email, explaining the breakdown of your rates to your client.
Keep your templates short yet concise. Here are several examples:
I'm interested in (state nature of work). I have attached a copy of my resume and two sample articles.
I have read that you're in need of bloggers that specialize in SEO and affiliate marketing. I've had two years of experience in this field and am interested. You can find my blog at (provide blog URL).
Keep your resume up-to-date and always have a set of clips or portfolio handy.
Prepare a chronological and functional resume to suit your client's specific needs. If your articles were not published online, format your manuscript using Microsoft Word, double space it using Times New Roman and a font size of 12.
For artists and illustrators, it would be best to have a website where you can upload photos of your art, and provide your clients with a link directing them to your site.
Come up with creative ways to promote yourself.
If you're a copywriter, your press kit is your best tool for landing lucrative gigs in advertising. Think about your specialties. Are you an animal lover? There are a lot of businesses that offer pet grooming services that would love to attract more dog and cat owners.
Your press kit may be a simple, short brown envelope with a paw print on the flap. And then come up with a catchy phrase, like "A Penman for Pets," and have the words printed on top of the paw print. Insert your sales pitch, a brochure with information about your copywriting services and rates, and include your business card.
Another excellent way to keep yourself within your target clientele's radar is to mail a newsletter to a select group of people who would most likely want to hire you for the services you offer.
You can turn a newsletter into an additional income generator as well. If you write or proofread sales and collection letters for entrepreneurs, you can ask them if they're interested in getting publicity for a reasonable fee. Get a pool of freelance writers and editors, and sell advertising space or write product reviews.