If you’re brand new to the world of freelancing, you’re probably curious how to go about landing your first recurring writing client.
And let me tell you, you’re not alone. In fact, a reader recently asked me a similar question.
“How do I get a recurring writing gig? Does it start with a single job well done?”
Yes and no. It can be that simple. But it’s not always.
One of my coaching clients just landed her first recurring writing client within two weeks of finishing 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. She also submitted two other (one-time) articles and secured a couple of unpaid opportunities during this short timeframe. Girl is killing it!
And you can get similar results. I’ve broken the process down into four simple steps to help you land your first recurring writing client too.
Step 1: Pitch, Pitch, Pitch
I know I sound like a broken record, but prospects are not likely to start beating down your door and offering you writing jobs on their own.
You need to take control and initiate the conversations and opportunities. It’s your job to let them know you exist by responding to job board ads, cold pitching and networking like crazy.
For a little extra help/motivation, check out this post I wrote on upping your pitching game.
Step Two: Start with a Trial
I like to propose a trial to start, even if the prospect is looking for an ongoing content writer. This just makes good business sense and I’ll tell you why.
The reason I only apply to recurring gigs, is that I want to build up a predictable writing business from both an income and schedule standpoint. And starting with a trial provides for low risk on both sides.
The client might not like your style/voice. They might ask for multiple edits or rewrites and that ends up being a time suck. And when you factor in the extra time into the project’s fee, it’s not always worth it.
And let’s be honest, overly critical clients suck. So do clients that are unresponsive. Personally, I like to work with clients that are a lot like me – people that are ready to get stuff done (and are realistic in their expectations/timeframe).
It’s best to define expectations up front, and the best way to do this is by starting with a trial, delivering on the engagement and being open to feedback and constructive criticism.
And by the way, you can decide to charge less for the trial project. This often works well if a client is on the fence about hiring you. By doing so, you reduce their risk even more.
But don’t do a free trial – the client doesn’t have any skin in the game and might not take it as seriously as you do. Remember, your time is valuable!
Step Three: Knock Their Socks off
It’s now time to put your nose to the grindstone. Your first post needs to be EXCEPTIONAL.
If you do charge a lesser fee, don’t compromise the time or effort you put in based on what you decided to charge.
Submitting your trial piece is like interviewing for the job. It’s your goal (and duty) to make it as good as possible.
This is your shot!
Step Four: Get Them to Commit
If it jives, move forward. If it doesn’t, no hard feelings as you both walked into it with the mindset of it being a trial.
But if you did deliver a solid first piece, odds are you can then talk them into a recurring schedule (provided they’re easy to work with and you want to). And now it’s time to get them to commit.
Draft a contract or at least be extra clear of the expectations around posting schedule, word count, pay, etc in an email exchange and ask for them to reply with their approval/consent.
And don’t be afraid to start small (say one post per week or per month) and up it from there if they need more content and you have availability. Again, you can make sure you’re a fit, have room for other projects and time to deliver exceptional content, each and every time.
Getting recurring clients is the best way to build a predictable schedule and income stream for your freelance writing business.
The key is to pitch (a lot), get some prospects on the line and start with a few trial articles, so it’s low risk on both sides. Then once you deliver excellent content, iron out details to move forward with a recurring situation. And make sure to get it in writing – even if it’s just via email.
Not entirely sure how to begin? Check out 5 Steps to Starting a New Freelance Writing Business and get started today (it’s a free post)!
Add your two cents: What do you think of trial projects? Yay, nay or not quite sure?
Photo Credit: Aaron Burden (via Unsplash)