50/50 Post: Beyond Searching Couch Cushions—How Are You Finding Real, Rent-Paying Work?

Searching Couch Cushions to Pay Your Bills?After reading your great comments in response to Go Local or Go Bust: The New Freelance Landscape, I was curious to learn more about how readers here are finding—and landing—work. This applies to all types of freelancers as well as FTEs (full-time employees), since I know we have a strong mix of both.

Lately, new clients have found me through my profile on a local website targeted to the creative community in Denver. While I put thought and time into creating a strong bio and listing, I didn’t expect it to pay off in the way it has. I’ve also landed freelance copywriting gigs through referrals. One item that’s lacking is introducing myself to businesses. I really need to work on my list as well as writing smart, effective introductions. And sending them.

Now that my ankles are starting to heal and I can actually see an end to the crutches, I’ll be adding more networking events to my schedule. I tried it earlier, but this time this writer will step away from the typewriter (okay, the laptop).

Although this has not resulted in work, I do consider it a part of my marketing and gig-generating efforts. Using the excellent instructions from FreelanceFolder, I set up the ultimate job finding dashboard with iGoogle. The sites I added to my dashboard include sections from Denver and Seattle-area Craigslist, Freelancewritinggigs.com, Online-writing-jobs.com, Freelance Union job listings, Media Bistro job listings and Ed2010.com WhisperJobs™. This dashboard helps me quickly identify promising opportunities and pitch myself. Since you have to sift through many, many listings to find anything with a decent pay rate, I try to do this quickly. The dashboard is my home page, so I give it a quick check a few times per day.

My focus is making connections with businesses (both local and Seattle-based companies, especially if I have a referral) through email introductions and face-to-face networking.

Now it’s your turn! Like my other 50/50 posts, this is where you share your experience. Are you finding freelance gigs through referrals? Or are have you mastered a cold calling plan? Are you sending out regular queries? Have you enlisted friends in helping you make LinkedIn connections with companies that are hiring for full-time jobs?

Photo courtesy Creative Commons

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4 thoughts on “50/50 Post: Beyond Searching Couch Cushions—How Are You Finding Real, Rent-Paying Work?

  1. Due to the recession, bookings at my B&B are few and far between this spring, so I decided to send out a few queries. I got immediate interest from one editor at a national magazine. My idea, however, had been covered in the last year, so I dusted off another query. Ditto from him, topic already assigned. But, he liked my ideas. So, I sent a third. He is taking it to an editorial meeting on Thursday. Persistence seems to be important in this game. I used to give up too easily, I guess.

    And, thanks for all these suggestions. Wish I had more time to pursue them!

  2. @Susan ~ You make such an excellent point about maintaining strong relationships with current clients to help keep the business coming in. While I strive to do my very best for every client, I also find that my work is stronger for clients that I work with over time. You learn their brand voices and develop a fine-tuned ear for writing for these clients.

    @Laura ~ Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s great that you’re staying busy without having to take on local clients that bring commute time. I definitely look at my blog as a marketing tool, too, and have gotten clients that way. Good reminder!

  3. Right now nearly all of my work comes from referrals, current clients, or people who are responding to my blog.

    I don’t do a whole lot with local clients, mainly due to the time constraints of commuting to appointments. At this phase in my life, there isn’t really enough in the day for several hours of commute time (and I stay busy without it).

    In the future, maybe…

  4. Most of the job ads I respond to are via FreelanceDaily.net. I like that they aggregate ads from all over the place and email them to me every weekday morning before 9am EST.

    Then there are the query emails I send out and the referrals from my friends and other clients. Often query emails and networking contacts take awhile to pan out, but it’s worth it when they do. I also get a few inquiries from my LinkedIn profile.

    But I think the best strategy is to maintain strong relationships with my current clients so that they keep bringing me business. You don’t want to get too dependent on one or two clients, but it’s much easier to get work from someone who already knows and trusts you compared to someone who doesn’t know you from Adam. Of course, I try to balance that my own projects and looking for new creative challenges.

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