5 Ways Freelance Writers Can Earn a Flood of Repeat Business

5 Ways Freelance Writers Can Earn a Flood of Repeat Business

Reader Comments (48)

  1. I guess it all comes down to those two magic words; “added value”.

    No matter what superpower you choose, you’re adding value to your service. And that’s what keeps people coming back time after time.

    Great advice Marcia, thanks!

  2. I agree with Andy about the “added value” but sometimes this just isn’t enough. There is a percentage of clients/customers who are just gonna leave you regardless of how much added value you give them. It could be based on price, location, relative who now does what you do or something else completely unrelated.

    It is extremely frustrating to go through the process of getting a client, doing the work till they’re satisfied, then dealing with them after the fact over and over again, so I think you tackled a complex problem with a simple solution using a great analogy.

    One way I would attempt to counter the problem is to request an immediate testimonial so there is a little more vested investment on their part. At least that way, if they do wander off never to be seen again, you have new marketing ammunition in your quest for attracting new clients/customers.

    • Thanks, Shola, and you’re right — not every client is going to stay with you no matter what you do. But so often we think the client knows what they want and we wait to take direction, instead of using our noggins to find out how we can REALLY help them. Thinking in terms of super powers gives us a direct way to uncover the true value we can bring so we take action, before the client slips away.

  3. Great suggestions, Marcia! I just scored a new client with whom I’d love to build a long-term relationship, so this post is perfect timing. I always work by the over-deliver mentality – not necessarily under-promising, but definitely over-delivering on what I do promise – and being a “superhero” is a great way to craft the over-delivery. Now I just have to figure out which superpower(s) my client needs most. Thanks!

  4. I stumbled upon this post at just the right time…I’m trying to land a few freelancing gigs, and I needed some additional insight.

    Now, if I could just land that first client, I’d be good to go…

  5. Nice Article Marcia,

    I’ve enjoyed doing a lot of ‘Trusted Advisor’ type consulting roles and on the writing front always found the idea of ghost writing fascinating. I guess that puts me somewhere between the helper and the sage in your superhero choices. You should add what color cape each of these should be wearing 😉

    take care & best wishes,

  6. I’ve noticed that one key to success seems to be thinking ahead and planting seed ideas in my clients’ minds to take root and eventually they can take the credit. Yeah, it’s a time-honored technique that works well now.

  7. This is great advice, especially for those wanting to break into freelance writing. First and foremost, it’s a business. Knowing who your ideal clients are will help you decide the type of superhero you are. In fact, you could be a combination of all of them. Let your intuition guide you. And don’t forget to ask questions and then listen. Listen more and talk less. Write on…

  8. I think having one-off projects are part and parcel of the freelance world. Obviously we’d all love rolling contracts and continual business, but sometimes people need specific things. I’d rather excel and deliver what a client wants and get a glowing testimony than worry about the next job before it even arrives.

    Great, fun article though. And I totally agree that freelancers should do their best to get that repeat business if possible.

  9. My consulting is in a different world, but the business is the same. It is interesting that some people find more use for our super powers than others do. Our business is successful because of these relationships and as the people who have invested in us have reaped the benefits and moved up, their recognition of what we bring grows.

    Thank you for starting our year in a positive way.

  10. Oh my gosh, this was a great read because it finally put into words what I do on all my projects. I agree that sometimes the SuperHero act only nets a one-off project, but most of the time it worka like seeding. Do it frequently enough and word gets around.

  11. It helps to have a costume. I once had a bad day and wore my wonder woman costume the whole day except that I lost my rope of truth so it wasn’t that effective.

    A key takeaway is what’s implicit in your post– making sure you value your superpowers enough to charge appropriately and don’t become the door-mat, fix-it person. I like how you address issues of a client disappearing and not being available for approvals. These are real-life scenarios and if not handled the right way, you risk becoming that door mat or worse, being responsible for a mistake.

  12. Thank you for this article! It’s great, tangible advice, as always. Sometimes, we forget that clients are people, first, and people sometimes get overwhelmed. What we might mistake as a “difficult” client may just be a stressed-out person who needs help. I know it’s a reminder I needed. A big part of freelancing is sales and a big part of sales is understanding how to solve a customer’s problems, even if they don’t know what those problems are.

  13. Love this post. As copywriters, we understand that our marketing needs to stand out. If you want repeat business, the whole experience needs to be exceptional!

  14. I have no choice but to agree with you Marcia. I’m a freelance writer myself and I had tried everything that you have stated in here. I should say that all these strategies work and if done right then this could led you to a gold mine. I have repeated clients almost every day and those happy faces assures me that I’m on the right track.

    You have just laid my words in a nice and timely manner. Thanks for the effort you put in. Enjoyed every word of this fine article.

  15. Great article, Marcia! That was really helpful! Some things were reinforced and others were new insights. What I loved the most about your post is the framework you gave for it. You pointed out the symptoms to look for that gives us a systematic way to diagnose a problem and prescribe the right medication (aka which superhero role we should play in order to address each problem).

    My twin brother, my friend and I have a small business consulting company that we started right out of college and I think this framework will help us a lot! So thanks again for the great info and I just signed up for your newsletter and video – looking forward to hearing more great wisdoms from you!

  16. We’re in our eleventh year of running a business, and there certainly is something to be said for building long-term relationships with clients. Relationships have been a huge part of our longevity and success. Taking care of projects isn’t just about working according to the contract or agreement. It’s also about making life easier for your client — and sometimes being a mind reader.

    I would also add that reminding your client about your super powers every once in a while doesn’t hurt, either. For instance, if you told the client you would do something extra by a certain time, starting the email with “As promised, I am emailing today to do …” This reinforces the idea that you do what you say and it also reminds your client that you promised and delivered something extra.

    Great post!

  17. This is a great read. I’ve just started a new blog and even though I don’t intend on selling my writing (yet anyway) I’ve been able to learn how people may see you as you write. You maybe their superhero or their muse but the way you deliver your writing has a lot to do with how your readers will see you. Thanks for the tips!

  18. I think for some of us, sometimes writing can be really fun to do, but sometimes, we always tend to lose inspiration to create new creative contents, even when we realize that we’re getting paid for creating that article.

    I really like the idea of becoming “The Helper” every time we’ re asked by our client to write articles. I mean, we can just focus on becoming “The Helper” every time we write new contents. I think it can really simplify our mind in creating more helpful but also, “easy to read” articles.

    Great post Marcia!!

  19. Marcia,
    I love the proactive perspective you bring to this. The more ways we can find to alleviate a client’s pressure, the more valuable we become. As copywriters, we’re always looking for the “pain” we can soothe. It’s helpful to look at clients the same way: “What’s the pain she’s going through? How can I soothe that pain?”

    She’ll never ask, but she is hoping I can be the superhero. You’ve given 5 excellent ways of thinking about how we can put those superpowers into action. Great stuff!

    • Jesse, you bring up a good point: “She’ll never ask, but she is hoping I can be the superhero.” Very often clients don’t know what they REALLY need from you. Thanks for adding this!

  20. I was just commenting on another blog about shopping habits and this seems very similar. Some items, like pasta, are pretty much the same from brand to brand, so you might as well get the cheapest since the more expensive brands don’t add much value. Other items have a noticeable difference in quality and you might be better off getting the pricier brand. As a freelancer, you want to make sure your value is apparent. Don’t be the pasta of writers.

  21. Freelancing is easy if you take it seriously. Thank you for the great read on being a better seller and businessman. This is a valuable reminder to remember the importance of under promising and over delivering. Going up and beyond the article, post, or project to make your client happier than ever should be the objective, I think. Repeat business is a healthy business.

  22. Very good tips. I rarely ghostwrite anymore, since my own products earn more than my services now, but once in a while I will just to keep my skills sharpened.

    I know when I was ghostwriting, the superpower I had was quality. Or that’s what they told me. I sucked at deadlines, but what I delivered was much better than my competitors at the time.

    My mentor in marketing teaches freelancers to surprise their clients – like one extra article delivered in the batch, or delivery 3 days ahead of schedule. Both of those impress the client and earn you repeat business.

    It’s so hard (as a marketer) to find the right person for your needs, so if you as a freelancer can convey that you’re their man (or woman), and be available when they need you, you’ll always have work.

    • This helps me, too, Tom — I use this myself when thinking about each client I work with. Not all clients need the same thing from me, or from you! Thanks for your comment.

  23. Being a freelance writer indeed is hard. However, brand building is very important. I think that publishing Kindle books on Amazon might be of great help especially in establishing your credibility as a writer.

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