Friday, October 14, 2011

Finding Private Clients

If you are an online writer, you may have found success publishing your work on writing sites or offering your services to others by selling your work under a "work for hire" agreement. Unfortunately, the changes in Google are making it more difficult to earn a living wage from writing sites alone. You've probably already heard other writers talking about Private Clients and wonder where on earth they find these clients. The answer is simpler than you may think -- but it requires both preparation and patience.

Getting Ready to Seek Private Clients

  • Evaluate Your Skills. Think carefully about your strengths. Can you change your writing style to fit the needs of various clients? Do you have good research skills? Are you skilled in instructional or educational writing? Does your voice speak to your audience? Perhaps, a rapid turn-around time is your selling point.
  • Decide What Kind of Writing You Prefer. You may find more success if you focus on one or two areas, such as gardening, parenting or Eco-friendly -- but don't overlook the value of writing on a wide range of topics. You can always tailor your samples to the needs of the client. Covering a range of topics may open more doors -- but try to keep it to the things you actually enjoy writing about.
  • Decide on Your Rates. These don't need to be set in stone, but you do need to have an idea of what you expect to earn from your writing. Remember, if you don't know what you want, you won't recognize it when you find it.
  • Gather Writing Samples. Choose one or two of your best articles for each category you would like to write in. Links to websites work well for an online portfolio or digital submissions, but a hard copy with printed versions of your work is a must for those face-to-face meetings with prospective clients.
  • Develop a Portfolio. A notebook with printed articles -- inside plastic sleeves, of course -- allows you to show prospective clients samples of your work.
  • Digital Portfolio and Author Site. This allows you send private clients to your site at their convenience. Include samples, or links to your work, an author bio and other related information. Include testimonies from actual customers, if possible. You can easily begin with a free site, like a wordpress blog, but buying your own url adds to your professional image.
  • Get Business Cards. You might not think you need business cards, but when you find yourself in the grocery store and a prospective client comes you way, a business card -- complete with the address to your online portfolio -- assures the client you are a professional and take your work seriously. If you choose to make your own business cards, pay attention to detail, double check spelling and grammar and print them on high-quality card stock. Your business card makes a statement about you as a writer. Make sure the message it sends is professional and conveys who you are as a writer.