Being a freelance writer and V.A. is an absolute dream job for me. It’s not quite as good as professional food or wine taster or sleep study participant, but it’s pretty awesome.
I mean people pay me to write. People pay me to read blogs. People pay me to find the best blogs, read books, and learn. Also, I get to wear pajamas and go bra-less. It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. And I really love carbs.
While I am slowly but surely building my freelance business, I have learned that the number one best thing I have done (and continue to do) for my business is say “yes”. To basically everything.
If you check out my little Hire Me page, you’ll see rave reviews. Why? Because my clients love me. Why? Because I have their back when they need extra work done. Because when they say “hey Erin, do you think you have time to do this extra project by tomorrow?”, I say “yes” regardless of my schedule. And it pays dividends.
The majority of my freelance work now comes from recommendations. When you do a great job for your clients and help them out at the eleventh hour, they remember that when they hear someone else is looking for a writer or V.A. Then they recommend your hustling ass and your income gets bigger. Can I get a hell yeah?!
You may be thinking that it’s easy for me to say yes because I do this full time now. But I actually started building my “Yes Woman” reputation when I began freelancing back in December. Which means I said yes to everything while I was working as a tax accountant INCLUDING during busy season when I was working 80 hours a week. That’s how important this is to me. That’s how important this SHOULD BE to you.
Because it totally works. I have gotten multiple raises and countless recommendations in my short time as a freelancer. I’m the first to admit I’m not at baller status yet and I could never afford to freelance full time if Steve didn’t work a traditional job, but I am getting there. My client list keeps growing and my income does the same.
If you are looking to break into the freelancing game, you need to be ready to say yes when your clients ask you to take on more responsibilities. Like always.
You need to be as dedicated as Jim Carrey’s character Carl was when he received fellatio from his 80 year old neighbor sans dentures in Yes Man. Thankfully, in freelancing, your requests won’t be nearly as gross. I hope. If they are, you may have a bigger client issue than I can handle.
So here you go future (and current) freelancers, this is what you need to do to build your client base:
Get clients using my No Nonsense Freelance Guide. It will teach you how to reach out to potential clients, find a freelancer group, and grow a pair.
Once you have the clients, say yes to absolutely everything (as long as it’s legal) they ask you to do at the agreed upon rate. DO NOT do this extra work for free when working with a paying client, you are not a charity.
After getting a bit more established, make sure you are not saying yes to every POTENTIAL client if they aren’t willing to pay you what you are worth. There are quite a few people like this (especially in this blogosphere of penny pinchers). Don’t waste your time with them. Keep your “Yes Woman/Man” status for the clients who pay you appropriately for your skills.
Freelancing is an incredibly rewarding career for those of us that think writing is the dog’s tuxedo. And it really isn’t difficult to break into if you can string words together in a somewhat coherent manner. By “yessing” any and all opportunities that come your way, you will build a decent client base and work your way towards full time freelancing if you so choose. If not, you’ll just have a totally baller side hustle.
[Image from BuzzFeed]