When you’re just starting out as a freelancer, whether writing or editing, it’s hard to get your first few clients. Your reputation is everything in this industry, and without one, good luck getting work. But how do you go about getting work to build a reputation? This is one question I’ve been asking myself for quite some time.
I’ve always done the networking game, talking to fellow students, friends, and family, but that only gets you so far. After those contacts are used up, where do you go? How do you put yourself out there? Some people post on places like Craigslist, showcasing the services they offer, and the flipped of that is also true. Many places looking for freelance work post to online forums.
Tapping those resources is always a good idea, and while not everything may fit into what you’re looking to do, it never hurts to apply and build experience. Who knows? Maybe those people have contacts looking for what you specifically want to do. You never know.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a job in journalism that puts me into contact with a wide variety of people. It helps to always have a business card on you. It may be a week, a month, a year until they need your services, and without a way to contact you, you’ll be kicking yourself for a missed opportunity.
Another resource that is great to have and gives you an online presence is a professional website. It helps potential clients look up your past work, experience, and different services. Having that all in one place is so beneficial, and for a small fee, you can pay organizations to publish a press release about your new website, driving traffic and more potential clients there.
And while I know these are only a few things one can do to build a reputation, it always helps to start somewhere.
This week, a former client reached out to me with the offer of some editing work. It’s been over a year since we last worked together, but because of the relationship I built with her and a mutual contact, she contacted me once again. Surprisingly, that relationship came out of my graduate program. I never thought it would go anywhere after the first time, but here she is!
I can only hope that it doesn’t end here, that she refers me to other people, and helps me grow as an editor.
My question to you all is this: