Opportunity for new business is always close

Canny freelancers can find new business opportunities in almost everything they do. But they need to open their eyes to the potential.

I’m always suprised by freelance writers that tell me they struggle to find work. Sure, there’s a lot of pressure to work cheaply thanks to freelancer.com and its ilk. But there’s an angle in almost everything we do.

About three weeks ago I attended a media event for Sandisk memory cards [Disclosure: Sandisk flew me from Melbourne to Sydney for this event] and sat next to the deputy editor for an in-flight magazine. As we were chatting I found out a little more about the publication and what sorts of stories they were interested in from freelance contributors.

As it turns out, I was only a week or so from taking a two-week holiday to a great destination. As the conversation moved, it became apparent that I had an opportunity to sell a story about my holiday to the magazine.

I’ve previously discussed the loneliness of freelancing¬†and the importance of scheduling out of the office time in order to maintain contact with other people. Media events and conferences is a great way to do that without sacrificing productivity.

One of the great benefits I’ve found from broadening my contacts is that potential new clients come my way. For example, I’ve picked up work writing about religion and the environment, and potentially, travel, by looking for ways to take my core skill, writing, and applying more broadly than the technology and business topics that I’ve been focussed on. The result is that I get better at my craft and I increase my pool of clients.

What do you do to create new business? Do you just try to find more clients that offer more of the same sort of work that you currently do? Or, do you actively seek ways to expand your client base by expanding into new areas?

One thought on “Opportunity for new business is always close”

  1. Creating opportunities is not difficult. Capitalising on them can be. Tomorrow, I’m shooting at a dance school to fulfil a project ambition of my own but it may well lead to paid assignments in future. But turning the fruits of a personally-driven initiative into regular paid work means making connections and sometimes the avenue through which to pursue those connections may not immediately be apparent. This is why companies choose to engage PR firms, which have connecting businesses and their markets as their core expertise.

    But you’re right, of course… and the message here ties back to the old saying: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

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