Are you getting enough freelance writing work? Do you apply for gig after gig, but never receive an answer?
If you can relate, you could be alienating your prospective clients without realizing it. (Don’t worry. Most freelance writers face this problem sooner or later.)
The sad truth is that a prospect who passes you by generally won’t explain what turned them away. As a writer, you’re left scratching your head and trying to figure out what you’ve done wrong.
In this post, I address over seven reasons a prospective client might pass you by.
7 Plus Client Turnoffs
If you’re having trouble closing the deal with prospective clients, one of these common client-turnoffs could be the problem. Here’s a list of over seven reasons why would-be clients don’t commit:
- Typos and other mistakes. Proofread applications, emails, social media posts, and even text messages. As a writer, everything you share online could be considered a representation of your writing skills. If you rush through an email and send it off full of typos and misspellings, your prospect may assume that you’ll be just as sloppy with their project. Be especially careful about using mobile devices, which often substitute words in funny ways.
- Public displays of anger. Never ever lose your cool. Have you been tempted to tell a client off publicly? Have you actually done it? While venting your anger can feel good at the time, it can sabotage your future success (even if your anger is justified). Prospective clients may find and read your vent. Without understanding the full background, they may fear that they will become the next target for your anger.
- Out-of-date website or blog. Keep up. Sloppy, outdated design will turn your clients off. How does your business website look? Is the design up-to-date? Is it easy to navigate? Are your posts well-written and relevant? If you answered “no” to even one of these questions, your prospects may view you as less than professional. Check your online profiles as well.
- Out-of-date skills and training. Never stop learning. Your skills should be current. This may mean that you take an online class or two. Be sure your online profiles and business website reflect your latest skills and abilities. Add new pieces to your portfolio as they become available.
- Your project quotes are too low. Charge a liveable rate. Did you know you can lose clients by charging too little? Most reputable editors know about how much work a project should take. If your project quote is too low, they’ll suspect that you don’t understand the project or that you won’t do a good job. Low rates will also attract the worst type of client.
- You waited too long to answer. Always answer your prospects promptly. You don’t have to live in your email inbox, but you should answer any queries within a reasonable amount of time. If the query comes in during normal business hours, try to at least acknowledge it that same day. If it comes in after hours, you can respond the next day. If you wait, your prospect will find someone else.
- You blame others for your mistakes. Own your mistakes if you want clients and prospective clients to respect you. If you change your mind about something you’ve blogged about earlier, admit it. If you’ve been lax in an area, admit it and start taking steps to improve yourself.
- You only apply for advertised work. (Bonus) Find your own prospects. If you rely on job boards and other posted jobs to find gigs, you’ll be competing with hundreds of other freelance writers. Worse yet, you may find yourself working below a liveable wage. Don’t be afraid of contacting companies who could use your services before they post an ad.
Did I miss any client turnoffs? Add your thoughts in the comments.
Are you ready to jump start your freelance writing career the right way? Check out the ebook that I wrote with Carol Tice.