When I started freelancing, I knew how to do the thing I do, which is to write. I also had basic networking and management skills.
The thing I lacked was any real sales aptitude whatsoever.
That was a problem because, as a one-person show, I couldn’t just concentrate on my specialty. If you expect to grow your income, gain new clients and pursue new creative opportunities, you must be able to, as they say, “get the business.” More often than not, that means coming up with a plan that includes cold-calling, disseminating your portfolio and clips, following up on those calls, and more. It’s really a classic sales process, which, I’d guess, is foreign to most creative types.
I had no formal training in developing such a process and no idea where to start. I began searching for resources online and in books and found some great, practical, step-by-step advice in “The Wealthy Freelancer,” by Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage and Ed Gandia.
Among the greatest tips the book offers are these:
1. Develop a list of what the authors call 100 “High-Probability Prospects,” people that are more likely than any others to be interested in your services.
2. Create a plan for selling your services — one that involves cold calling (don’t worry, you can follow a script) emailing and other simple tactics to become top-of-mind for those that would hire you.
3. Accept the fact that rejection is common but not inevitable. Acquiring clients takes consistent work and a basic plan. Thick skin and patience are required.
There’s more fantastic advice in the book, which I hope you’ll dive into without delay. I’ve blogged about this book before and keep returning to it because, as a freelance newbie, it’s one of the best resources on my shelf.
Ca-Ching! And happy Monday.