Unconventional Methods of Looking for Work Part One
Successful freelance writers learn quickly how to become savvy marketers and self-promoters. However, finding work through conventional methods such as online searches do not always work as well as hoped. The main reason for this is competition; since online job searches are available to anyone with an Internet connection, nearly every freelance writer will be online at the same time competing for the same pool of jobs.
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The other downside of looking for work online is that freelance writer from other parts of the world are also online and actively looking for work. These writers may live in parts of the world where the standard of living is comparatively cheap, so they are better equipped to bid for jobs and get the contracts simply because they can charge less than freelance writers in the Western world. Unconventional methods of finding freelance writing jobs in real life mean that freelance writers limit their competition considerably, which gives them an edge in acquiring the contract.
One unconventional method of searching for freelance writing opportunities in real life is to post notices in high traffic areas that do not usually house freelance writing signage. Examples include grocery stores, liquor stores, gas stations, and banks. Surprisingly few freelance writers ever advertise using the simple signage avenue. Using your computer and printer, you can draft an attractive sign that costs you nothing to make, place it in areas where it will be seen by hundreds of people, and potentially generate a job from a month from this simple yet effective real-life job searching tool.
Another tip for freelance writers who are job hunting in real life is to have some strategic business lunches in restaurants, sandwich shops, or pubs existing in the areas of your city where business people tend to eat. Have your business cards ready, strike up a few conversations, and see if you can generate some interest in your skills. Business areas of the city also need to be the types of places where you can post your signage and advertise your skills directly to the very market that you are trying to reach.
Another tip for freelance writers looking for work in the real world is to offer to do one piece of work at a reduced rate per month for existing clients in an area of their business that you do not have a lot of experience in. Since this work only happens once a month, you will not feel the financial hit as much. You will also help yourself gain experience in a new area and nine times out of ten your client will hire you at your full rate to do work in that area once he or she has seen you deliver a piece of work successfully.
To look for work in the real world as a freelance writer requires guts and initiative. The other important element is preparedness. Always make sure that you carry your business cards with you wherever you go, and make sure that you treat every new person that you meet as a potential networking opportunity. Keep a link to your online portfolio active in all your social media spaces, including Facebook and Linked In, and use the link to your online portfolio as a signature for all of your emails. Tell your existing clients that you are in the market for new work, and ask them to forward the link to any potential new markets.
Unconventional Methods of Looking for Work Part Two
Success as a freelance writer requires an adept touch at personal branding. Freelance writers who learn how to effectively self-market and self-promote place themselves one step ahead of their competition. However, sometimes finding work through conventional means such as online job boards fail to generate any viable sources of income. The main reason for this is the incredible amount of competition that freelance writing generates, and the competition is truly global.
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Since online job boards are available to anyone with an Internet connection, nearly every freelance writer will be vying for the same jobs. Unconventional methods of looking for work can help freelance writers gain an edge and acquire jobs in real life.
One unconventional method of searching for freelance writing opportunities in real life is to develop a niche. Niche markets tend to be very personal in the realm of freelance writing, so you will need to think carefully about what you offer that few other writers do, and concentrate on marketing that. For example, if you speak and write a language other than English that is very much in use such as Spanish, Hindi, Farsi, Mandarin, or Cantonese, you might consider taking that part of your personal life to create freelance opportunities.
Personal contacts through family members can generate initially small jobs – perhaps writing wedding invitations, restaurant flyers, and advertisements – which can then burgeon into full-fledged writing jobs in another language. The beauty of this approach is that the freelance writer then essentially develops two complementary networks that run in parallel. When the business writing on the English side of your business slumps, the foreign language side of your business can pick up the slack and vice versa.
Another unconventional method of searching for freelance writing opportunities in real life is to develop an online persona or pseudonym that works in another category of freelance writing work such as writing gaming blogs, adult content, product descriptions, or trade magazine articles in niche topics such as deep-sea fishing or extreme sports. This tactic successfully extends your brand as a freelance writer and allows you to access unconventional markets that have the potential to be very lucrative.
Often you can generate work from an online persona via chat rooms, forums, and message boards. One caveat for the online persona – it should remain online. It is certainly possible for freelance writers to operate two businesses in parallel, however, keep the two personas separate to avoid confusing your brand.
To look for work in the real world and real life as a freelance writer requires charisma, chutzpah, and a good sense of marketing, promotion, and public relations. Another important element is the initiative. Always make sure that you treat each new social situation as a potential networking vehicle, and keep your eyes open for unconventional opportunities. People that you see often such as hairdressers, manicurists, health professionals, and family members should all know about your online freelance writing portfolio and offer access to potential new markets.