Are Start-Up Companies Good Prospects or a Waste of Time?
In terms of starting out, or growing your B2B copywriting business to the next level, there is a virtually untapped market. Like many, it was one that I, too, was ignoring. I was doing so for good reason too. Since many in this arena tend to be on limited budgets or out-of-pocket funding. You may have even guessed that I am talking about start-ups.
Recently, my opinions have changed. I did some experimenting and I found out that many of these start-ups are hungry for writers, so if you are starting out, it is a great place to get started. But it doesn’t stop there. If you are already established, and are looking to grow, start-ups can be a great place to test out your skills or get new experience.
That being said, there are a few things to be aware of, so you don’t kill your business. Based on my testing, these points I just mentioned are what I am going to expand upon in detail.
A quick look on Facebook or Twitter and you’ll find plenty of start-ups. Still scratching your head? If so, use the keywords: start-up or entrepreneur. On Facebook, you’ll find many groups under these two keywords. You’ll also find that members of these groups span the globe. So you literally have an ENTIRE WORLD of prospects. If you are just starting out, with the prospecting pool spanning the globe, the numbers are so huge, you are guaranteed your first client or two. The pay won’t be amazing, but you’ll get the samples and experience. And, although budgets are often limited, you’ll likely walk away with a small fee for your efforts as well. A couple of clients to put under your belt, work experience in the field, samples, and potential fees of anywhere from $150-500 (maybe even more) depending upon the start-up and their budget, as well as the project size and your negotiating skills.
The good news doesn’t stop there. If you are already established and looking to grow, then you can benefit greatly as well from this global pool of prospects. This is a fairly “risk-free” arena for you to build up new and/or more experience, test out your negotiating skills, and pull in more samples, and some small to moderate fees to boot. It’s like “paid training.”
Some Essential “How-To” Tips
I imagine that some of new copywriters out there are reading this and getting excited, but are scratching their heads at the approach … and having no samples to play off of creates another hurdle. Well, I am in tune with that, and here is a quick way to solve that problem in one shot. Since many of these start-ups are in developing stages, a quick trip to their website and you’ll see the gaps, the unanswered questions, and so on. What I did was I contacted the owner directly and said I noticed they were starting a new company. Then I followed up with the fact that I had visited the website and had a few ideas. My “call-to-action” was a Skype call with no cost or any obligation to move forward. Just sharing.
Once I did this and set up the call, then I shared my ideas (BUT … NOT everything — this is ESSENTIAL), and I closed with the fact that I would follow up by email in a few days. When I followed up, I asked how things were progressing and I included a mini report in PDF form that reinforced our call and the important points we covered. I also included one of my other ideas as a “bonus point.”
I have also done the opposite, where I used the mini report as the introduction and followed up with the Skype call as my “call-to-action.” Then I let it sit, and a month later, the owner contacted me with introductions to the new marketing staff and a writing gig.
Just do the same and you should be well on your way.
The “Secret” to Finding Quality Start-Up Clients
As I dove further into this start-up world, I discovered that there are funded start-up companies, prospects that are looking for good writers and they have the funding to pay professional B2B copywriting fees. These start-ups get their funding from VCs (Venture Capitalists), small groups with pools of money that generously fund start-ups they believe in. Angel Investors are another source. These are wealthy individuals who invest by generously funding start-ups they think have “something” to offer.
Therefore, looking at VC groups or Angel Investors as prospects is a possible way to go, but one needs to be careful here, since many of them are “silent investors.” However, getting the attention of the VC or Angel Investor and trying to get them to introduce you to the start-up is an option.
LinkedIn is another great place to find start-ups that have funding. You’ll usually notice they will mention that they are growing and hiring. When you see those two words, then you have the “green light” to move in.
Yet another option is to go to http://www.gust.com and search investors by clicking on that option at the website. Then you can go to the investor’s website and check their profile; these are companies they have invested in. That means these companies have the funding to pay you professional fees. Here is an example of the VC group “Dorm Room”: http://www.dormroomfund.com/portfolio.
There are also events held all over the globe, where start-ups and investors come together. If you can attend an event and get your name out there, you’ll be “in the game.”
What it All Means …
Bottom line, if you need to get started with client projects, then this is a fantastic venue for you to explore. Or you can grow your already established B2B copywriting business in this relatively “risk-free” niche. The start-up area is great because once you get your name out there, it is possible to become a “go-to” resource. However, if you go after this as a niche, you must target those that have proper funding.
In addition, if you have an already established business, it is easy to let several start-ups flood your pipeline, which is good, but if you are doing it at lower fees (as paid training), then you need to budget those adjustments into your month … and avoid the “business crush of death” I almost experienced. Try to limit your pipeline to one or two start-ups for that month, and budget your business accordingly. Unless of course, they happen to be well-funded start-ups. No matter what, it is surely an area for you to explore and grow in.
This article, Are Start-Up Companies Good Prospects or a Waste of Time?, was originally published by B2B Writing Success.
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