The other day my 9-year-old cousin summed up the freelancer experience with a (surprisingly) profound insight.
She ran up to me, practically exploding out of her skin, and shouted, “GUESS WHO MY FAVORITE PEOPLE ARE!”
After rubbing the crick out of my neck from the whiplash caused by her explosive energy, I responded, “Tell me. Who are your favorite people?”
“My favorite people are babies, and old people,” she announced proudly.
When I asked her why she explained, “Because babies have empty brains so they’re really excited about life and want to learn everything. And old people have full brains, but they’ve already done all the hard stuff so they don’t get scared if they don’t know everything.”
As she ran off again (probably to destroy something, as 9-year-olds do) – I thought about how that pretty much sums up my experience as a freelancer.
Because the more I learn as a freelance copywriter, the more I realize that I know jack squat about pretty much everything.
But as I progress through my freelance career (read: become ‘old people’) – I also realize that it doesn’t always matter.
I think this is a pretty common experience for people growing and progressing in their field of expertise.
Even Einstein said something like, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”
And while most of the time I feel like I know zilch about being a successful freelance copywriter, one thing I HAVE learned is how to consistently generate leads and pull work out of my a** whenever I need to.
A copywriter friend of mine reached out recently and asked me how I always seem to be flooded with leads. I wanted to share what I sent him since this seems to be a common challenge for a lot of freelancers.
I know no one likes to hear this, but…
There’s truly no substitute for going to in-person events and building long-term relationships with real people.
My advice? Go with the goal of developing relationships rather than “landing a gig” and you’ll do just fine.
And don’t just go to copywriting events. Go to events where your ideal clients hang out.
For example, would you rather be a Dentist-turned-copywriter at an event for copywriters…
… or the ONLY copywriter at an event for Dentists who want to grow their practice?
Go find out where your ideal clients get together, and then go be the only copywriter in the room.
If you don’t know where to start, then start with events where people who generate traffic hang out (SEOs, PPC guys, Media Buyers) – they always need copy to convert all that traffic they’re driving.
Otherwise find events that are specifically geared toward introducing clients and freelancers.
For example, most of my friends walked away from Copy Chief Live last year with great leads, and some even left with long-term contracts with major publishers like Agora.
If you DO go to a job-fair type event, just make sure to do your homework on the people you’re interested in meeting.
For example, my business partner Laura and I recently hosted a table at AWAI’s job fair in Florida.
We were looking for a copywriter to help us promote the launch of our new Business of Writing Podcast.
As dozens of writers approached us, it quickly became apparent which people looked us up before talking to us, and who had no idea what we we were looking for (or even what our business was about)
Guess which names got shifted to the top of the ‘followup’ pile?
Here’s a quick video about what we learned, and how to use that experience to improve your “pitch” at your next event.
Now – If you absolutely can’t make it to events (which is B.S. in my opinion…. do what you have to in order to get in that room!!) – then in my next post I’ll share some other ways I drum up a bunch of leads quickly, and fill up my roster with new clients.
Until then, I hope this helps, and if you want to use what you’ve learned above, then join me at Copy Chief Live in October.
If you’re serious about attending, then you can skip the sales page and get the early bird discount here.