In my post about the 10 ways I find freelance work, I list one thing that seems like it’s too obvious to write down: “Asking.”
I can hear the skepticism now: “Right, so I’ll just nip out and ask someone for some work and come back with a nice juicy contract. BRB!”
If only we lived in a world where you could order up a gig down at the local sandwich shop. But even though it’s trickier than that, there are indeed times when getting work is simply a matter of raising your voice and asking for it.
Here’s an example of a time this happened to me: Jane, a woman I know at a communications firm, had hired me for a project that I had executed well. After the project was done, we did not communicate for many months. At some point when work was slow, I reached out to let her know I was looking for new gigs and new clients. Would she refer anyone appropriate my way?
Only a couple weeks later, someone seeking a writer contacted me and said that Jane had referred her. I immediately sent Jane a handwritten thank you note (a good practice that goes long way toward ensuring a repeat performance). And this person Jane referred has since hired me for multiple projects and provided me thousands of dollars in income.
Now, it’s possible Jane would have referred this new client to me even if I hadn’t popped into her email that day. But it’s also possible she would have forgotten about me since I hadn’t spoken to her for a long time. Maybe another writer she knows would have emailed her more recently and jogged her memory enough to get the referral instead.
All I know is this: I asked for work, and the person I asked sent work my way. Magic.
Once you become established, this kind of thing happens more often than you’d expect, especially if you’re vocal when you are looking for new jobs. I can think of many instances when I’ve reached out to a client I haven’t heard from in a while, only to have them almost immediately respond something along the lines of “As a matter of fact…”
It always feels like the universe is conspiring to help me.
So when you hit a slow spell, think first about turning to former clients with a simple ask. This can work even if your bench of former clients is thin: Ask people in your network if they need anything done or know anyone else who does. You never know what you might turn up.
Maybe the universe will help you too.
***Photo by #WOCinTech Chat***