The 19 Secrets to Selling Your Freelance Services Successfully
Ever wonder why one person rises to freelance success, while others struggle to get their business off the ground?
Do the successful writers know something others don’t? Are they better writers? Or is it all about having the right connections?
There is no easy button or magic pill you can take that will get you to the writer’s life you dream of …
But there is a formula made up of a series of strategies, principles, and actions that will lead you to the financial freedom and work-from-anywhere lifestyle you’re longing for.
In sales expert and best-selling author Jeffrey Gitomer’s book, The Little Red Book of Selling, he outlines the 19 Secrets of Success.
Gitomer says these are “the fundamental steps that successful salespeople and entrepreneurs have been executing for centuries.”
Master these, and in no time at all you’ll be sipping your coffee while sitting in your favorite spot writing your next blockbuster promotion …
Here are Gitomer’s 19 Secrets of Success, and you can apply them to your experience as a freelancer:
1) Believe you can. You have to believe in your writing ability and that you are capable of delivering results for your client. Believing in yourself is one of the hardest things to do. When you master this, the rest of the steps will seem easy. To help you, Gitomer suggests you dedicate time daily to “self-support, self-encouragement and positive self-talk.”
For example, writing out your goals each day as if you’ve already achieved them (i.e., “I’m a prolific writer that gets great results for my clients.”) Or reading affirmation statements each day that address your most common excuses (i.e., Excuse: “It’s too big.” Affirmation: “I think only about what I can do now. By thinking small, I accomplish great things.”) Believe in yourself and others will believe in you too.
2) Create the environment. Have you built a home and work environment that encourages your success? Surround yourself with a supportive team to help you make your journey to the writer’s life. (For tips on creating a successful environment, read my article “A Work-At-Home Environment That Promotes Success.”)
3) Have the right associations. Hang around successful freelancers. One of the easiest ways to do this is to become a member of the Professional Writers’ Alliance. Join organizations in your niche so you can associate with the “movers and shakers” in your area of expertise. Have a mentor. Look at the attitudes of your friends. Gitomer advises, “Stay away from poison people—the ones who can’t seem to get anywhere.”
4) Expose yourself to what’s new. Your competition is learning something new each day—are you? Set aside time each day to learn what’s new in your niche and always be reading a copywriting or marketing book or course. This is crucial for success.
5) Plan for the day. Be ready for the day success “arrives.” Prepare for the opportunity and be ready every day. For example, if your dream client does a lot of web promotions, then learn everything you can about the type of promotions they do. Study Copywriting 2.0 and other related courses. You’ll be amazed at how opportunities suddenly appear. Gitomer says, “Learning and goals are the surest methods to be prepared for your success.” (For more on setting goals, check out my article “The Only Sure Way to Make Progress This Year.”)
6) Become valuable. The more value you provide, the more you will attract clients. Gitomer suggests you “give first” and “become known as a resource.” Do this by starting an ezine, submitting articles about your niche, giving helpful tips through social media, sending helpful tips to your prospects and more without asking for anything in return. When you do, you’ll be seen as someone who is not only knowledgeable, but is willing to help others succeed.
7) Have the answers your prospects and clients need. Solve your client's problems. The more you are able to do this, the easier it will be for you to reach the writer’s life.
The number one thing your clients want are answers and solutions to their problems. Don’t give them facts—give them superior knowledge about what you do. Frame your knowledge in a way that shows your prospects how this is useful to them.
8) Recognize opportunity. Are you looking for opportunity every day? Often, opportunity is right under our noses, but we fail to see it or are too scared to take it. Train yourself to recognize opportunity when it presents itself.
Opportunities are everywhere when you start looking. The introduction to a CEO at a party. Sitting next to an author on a plane. Your child’s school that is lacking funding. These are all opportunities for you. Constantly be looking and asking yourself: “Is there an opportunity here for me that I’m not seeing?”
Keeping a positive attitude helps you to spot possibilities where others miss them. Look for opportunities when faced with adversity. They are usually there, even if they seem hidden at times.
9) Take advantage of opportunity. Seize opportunity. Once discovered, grab opportunity when it comes your way. For example, if you went to AWAI’s Bootcamp, did you pick up spec assignments at the Job Fair? Complete them. This is a foot in the door to major companies that could launch your career. Yet many don’t follow through and actually write and submit the spec assignments to these copy-hungry companies.
10) Take responsibility. Do you blame others when things don’t go right? Or do you take responsibility for your actions? Gitomer says, “Successful people take responsibility for everything they do AND everything that happens to them.”
The more you take responsibility and avoid blame, the higher level of success you’ll achieve. For example, if you’re having trouble completing an assignment, take responsibility for the fact you weren’t prepared and don't make excuses for yourself. Saying “I was too busy with other things” is a recipe for failure.
11) Take action. Are you all talk and no action? The only way to bridge learning with accomplishment is to take action. Do something EVERY day to make success happen.
12) Make mistakes. Are you afraid to make a mistake? This could be just the thing that is holding you back. Don’t be afraid to say the “wrong thing,” write a promotion that fails, or submit a spec that might not be a winner. It’s been said that “failure is the best teacher.” Make mistakes and "fail forward."
13) Be willing to risk. You’ve heard it before: No risk, no reward. Gitomer says this is the “most crucial” step and should be stated "no risk, no nothing.” Many believe the reason something feels risky is because of fear. A more accurate reason is that you lack the preparation that leads to confidence. (Learn how to lower your risk by reading “How to Build Confidence in Yourself (And Your Writing Ability) Even If You’re a Complete Newbie.”) Examine what risks you are avoiding, and be willing to risk whatever it takes to achieve your writer’s life goals.
14) Keep your eyes on the prize. How focused are you on your writer’s life goals? Does watching TV take priority? Someone once said that that successful people are willing to do the things that others aren't. Are you? Put your goals in writing. Stay focused. And get an accountability partner to help keep you on the path.
15) Balance yourself. Plan time for your physical, emotional, and spiritual goals as well as your professional goals. Vitally important, this shouldn't be overlooked.
16) Invest, don’t spend. Do you pay yourself each month? Instead of putting every cent you earn back into your business, take at least 10%-20% each month and make a plan for investing (with professional guidance).
17) Stick to it until you win. Don’t quit. Be persistent and don’t give up. Most people fail because they abandon their dream too soon.
18) Develop and maintain a positive attitude. Making it to the top is MUCH easier when you develop and keep a positive attitude. Developing a positive attitude takes practice. Reading affirmations, hanging around positive people, and stopping and changing directions when you “catch yourself” going negative will all help. For a great example of positive attitude and how to keep it, check out Zig Ziglar. He is genuinely one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. You can also read Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Book of YES! Attitude to learn how to develop a positive attitude.
19) Ignore idiots and zealots. Avoid the naysayers, the people who discourage you and tell you you’ll never succeed. In fact, use their words to inspire yourself on to greatness.
When selling yourself and your freelance business, success does not come to only those who get out of the gate the fastest, are the best writers, or know “the right people.”
There’s no reason you can’t be just as successful or more successful than the next.
It just takes preparation, persistence, taking action and risks, and putting forth the effort to get from where you are now to where you want to be. Study and use these 19 steps as your guide, and soon you’ll be living the writer’s life you dream of.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »