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?