5 ways to find clients when you're in a bind [+ templates]


Hi Reader,

Happy Friday!

I'm off to Ibiza at a disgusting hour in the morning for a three-day hen do. I'm a bit too old to be partying into the early hours of the morning, but I'm looking forward to some sunshine and good food!

In case you don't follow me on Instagram, I'm running a week-long series of pitch tips tentatively called "It's Gonna Be May" after the famous J-T lyrics (because clients are gonna choose YOU--please say you get it?!).

Head over here to catch up on the past couple of days and make sure you don't miss tomorrow's tip!

When you've done that, here’s what I’ve been working on this week:

👉 I wrote 4 pieces for clients (including Shopify, Faire, and Tooltester)

👉 I wrote 2 pages of copy for a client

👉 I was a guest on a podcast interview

👉 I was a guest for a newsletter interview

⏱ Approx hours spent on client work this week: ~26 hours

⏱ Approx hours spent on non-client work: ~2

💰 Total revenue this week: £3,950


Don't miss this 👀

Next Thursday (18th) at 4pm BST, I'll be doing a Q&A with Steve Morgan all about how to find clients as a freelancer. This is part of the very first Freelance Frontier meet-up and I'm very excited to share my knowledge and chat to you all live!

You can sign up for free with this Calendly link.


#FridayFreelanceTip​

It’s tough out there at the moment.

I need more than two hands to count the number of freelancers that have been dropped by clients in the last couple of months.

Not because they’ve done anything wrong, but because the client has decided to take content in-house, had to scale back on their budget, or have unfortunately been laid off in the swathe of tech redundancies.

I’ve noticed it myself.

A couple of clients have put out work on hold until Q3.

Even after 10 years, it never gets easier hearing that your services are no longer needed. I don’t know about you, but it still stirs up a sense of panic and, if I’m not careful, I can quickly find myself in a downward spiral believing that I’ll never find any work ever again and the gravy train is over.

Luckily, I always have between 7-10 clients in my roster at any given time, so it’s not a massive hit when a client drops off the radar for whatever reason.

I highly recommend diversifying your client roster for this very reason (plus it keeps things interesting), but if you are finding yourself thin on work, here are some ways you can quickly get back up to speed.

Reach out to existing clients

I have a handful of clients who originally wanted more work from me, but my capacity wouldn’t allow it. We ended up settling on one or two pieces a month, but if I lose a client, I find comfort knowing I can reach out and tell them my availability has changed and we can increase our output.

Here’s a sample message you can send:

“Hi CLIENT,
Hope you’re good! I’m reaching out to let you know I have more availability coming up in X weeks/months and wanted to give you first dibs. Let me know if you’d like to increase our output to XXX and I’ll get it scheduled in.
Thanks!”

You can also pitch new ideas to existing clients. Seen a trend they haven’t covered yet? Had a conversation with an SME? Share this with them and see if they’d be interested in commissioning an extra piece next month.

Reach out to past clients

When things feel a bit hairy, I go back through my Little Black Book of clients and reach out to people I haven’t spoken to in a while. I keep things casual and simply ask if they have any content needs coming up—and, if they do, if they could consider me for them.

This has worked surprisingly well on a number of occasions. In one instance, I reached out to a client I hadn’t worked with for about a year and they came back to me with a big four-month project that more than filled the gaps.

Here’s a sample message you can send:

“Hi PAST CLIENT,
Hope all is well with you! Do you need an extra pair of hands in the next couple of months? I enjoyed working on X PROJECT with you and would love the opportunity to work together again.
If you have any content needs on the horizon, you know where to find me!
Thanks.”

Ask for a referral

If neither your existing client base or your little black book of past clients has anything for you, it’s time to extend that offer to their network. Ask them if they know anyone who might need help with their content and, if they do, ask them to consider you.

Here’s a sample message:

“Hi CLIENT,
I currently have a couple of spots available in my calendar for Q2 and would love it if you could pass my details onto anyone you think could benefit from X, Y, and Z.
Thanks for all your support!”

You can even sweeten the deal by offer a cheeky discount to anyone they refer or, if they’re a current client, by offering a discount on their next invoice.

Alternatively, you can ask around your fellow freelancers to see if anyone has any overflow work they need help with or if they know any brands looking for help that aren’t a good fit for them.

Announce it

No one’s going to know you’re open for work if you don’t tell them!

It’s such a simple thing to do but it can make a massive difference. I rarely promote my services, but when I recently shared a post on LinkedIn highlighting my content strategy services, I immediately received two enquiries—one of which turned into a client.

I’ve seen a lot of freelancers doing this recently and the response has been amazing. Their posts get shared, they get recommend, and ultimately, they get work!

Pitch potential prospects

Finally, put yourself out there!

Once you’ve exhausted all the warm methods of finding clients quickly, you can start expanding your reach to clients who aren’t yet aware of you and your services.

Start by exploring your existing network on LinkedIn and Twitter to see if there are any good-fit brands and then write a short, sweet pitch that highlights how you can help.

Pitching has been one of the most successful ways I’ve found work when I’ve been in a bind.

It doesn’t rely on me spending ages posting on social media or building an inbound funnel. Instead, I can shoot off several pitches in a day which can turn into paying clients by the end of the month.

Here’s a sample pitch:

“Hi [name],
I’d love to take some tasks off your plate. I’m a freelance content writer with [period of time] of experience writing about [niche topic] and [niche topic].
I know that researching, outlining, writing, and publishing the amount of content you want and need to create takes up a lot of your bandwidth–let me help! I can take those blog posts and ebook ideas that are gathering dust and bring them to life with detailed briefs and publish-ready drafts, and help upload pieces into your CMS.
Here are a couple of relevant samples:
[sample #1]
[sample #2]
If you’d like a hand scaling your content efforts, I’d love to partner for a paid trial piece to see how we work together.
Thanks for your time!"

I share a whole library of pitch templates in Pitch & Prosper, including pitch templates for cold outreach, what to write when reaching out to past clients, and how to respond to call-outs on social media to make sure you land the gig.

Remember, you get 20% off as a Friday Freelance Tips subscriber 😉

Any Qs? Hit reply–I answer every email I get!

Lizzie ✨

Creator of Pitch & Prosper, the only course dedicated to helping you find high-paying clients through warm pitching.

What steps can you take next?

Friday Freelance Tips ✨

Want a sneak peek into what it's really like being a freelancer? Spoiler: It's not all sunshine and rainbows. Every Friday, I share a tip I've learned from painful personal experience, plus everything I've been working on that week. Join me (and 4,000+ fellow freelancers!) on a behind-the-scenes adventure! 👇

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