Cold-calling 101 for freelance clients

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Dear Dr. Freelance: I’m going to bite the bullet and start cold calling for new freelance clients. I’m not scared, per se, but wondering if you have some cold-calling 101 tips for a beginner.—Cold Play

Dear Cold Play: First of all, good for you. I think you’ll find that it’s not as hard as you’d think and more effective than you can imagine at securing new freelance gigs. My primary recommendation is to pick up a copy of Peter Bowerman’s The Well-Fed Writer, which has an easy-to-follow approach that I used myself when things slowed down for me in Year 2 of my own freelancing career. [Read more…]

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How many times should I follow up with a potential client?

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Dr. Freelance, I know it’s a fine line between being persistent and being annoying. If I’ve got a warm lead for a potential client or a new freelance gig, how many times is appropriate for following up?—Getting Warmer

Getting Warmer, As with so many aspects of freelancing, the follow up with a potential client is a matter of understanding the prospect’s style as well as her business needs. No one enjoys a hard sell, and I think it’s particularly ill-suited to something like creative services. If you come across as at all desperate, the Universal Law of Need (i.e., the more you need something, the less likely you will get it) comes into play. [Read more…]

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How to cure the new-client jitters

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Dr. Freelance, I’m relatively new to freelancing–I’ve been at it just over a year. I love it once I have an assignment, but I still sort of freak out in a first client meeting. I’m confident in my abilities as a writer and editor, but I’m not sure I’m coming across as professionally as I should. (Actually, I’m sure I’m not.) What can I do to get rid of the new-client jitters?–Sweaty Palms Springs

SPS, I think we all like the concept of having a new client meeting. We’re daydreaming about the interesting projects, future referrals, and, of course, the dollar signs…but sometimes, we load it up psychologically so that we’re too focused on “not blowing it.” (Especially in a lousy economy or when you’re just starting out.) [Read more…]

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