Sometimes as you walk down the road of freelance writing something will dawn on you. You’ll be in the middle of writing an article, talking to a friend, reading a book, whatever it is, and you’ll have a bona fide “aha!” moment. Such a thing happened to me awhile back when I was looking for clients. I was planning my marketing, and as I was putting together a list of companies I wanted to send a sales letter to something dawned on me. Perhaps the best way to find freelance writing gigs (or one of the best ways) is to look at traditional job sites.
Stay with me! I heard the collective groan.
I touched on this in a recent post, but I want to explore the topic in greater detail. I completely understand that when you leave corporate America (or if you’re still stuck there for now) you want nothing more than to erase the CareerBuilder app from your phone and never see it again, banish it to wherever it came from, and forget you ever had to look there for jobs. When I deleted that app from my phone I did with purpose, I mean I really hit that “uninstall” button like I was about to win the jackpot.
However, I started thinking about something and I think it might be worth looking on CareerBuilder, Indeed, etc. for jobs.
No, no – not full time or part time jobs. I wouldn’t do that to you.
But these boards are actually a great way to find freelancing jobs. Even if they aren’t advertising for freelancers.
Companies who are looking for certain types of people need certain types of things. If a company is looking for marketers, sales associates, web developers, staff writers, and the like, it’s quite likely they’re growing. And if they’re growing, they need to market. Enter you – the lead-generating content producer!
Regular job sites can be a treasure trove of freelance work. After all – you usually have a contact person, a description of what they’re looking for, and some company information. So if you see a job posting that makes you think “That company must be growing!” – particularly if you have industry experience – you should contact the marketing manager (or hiring manager if you can’t find the marketing manager’s info) and ask if they ever hire freelancers.
I think a common misconception people have when they go to prospect someone is that it has to be some grand production. You’re not asking to be knighted, for heaven’s sake, all you want to know is if they use freelancers. So ask that. If I made a big presentation to every person I called while I was an account representative (read: telemarketer) in my corporate life, I never would have landed a sale. Different modes of marketing require different levels of preparation, but for telemarketing and cold calling, all you really need to do is call the right person and ask the right question. Find out who markets the company or hires people to do so, call them, and say “I’m a freelance writer in [City Name] and noticed you were looking for [whatever you saw a posting for, like marketing executive]. I wanted to find out if you also had a current or ongoing need for freelance writing work.”
Done and done. It’s a yes or no question. It’s professional. And by finding them on a job site, the hardest part of pitching is really done for you: finding a connection. Having something to bring up when you pitch someone after “I’m contacting you because…” is helpful. I’m contacting you because I need work isn’t all that professional. I’m contacting you because I saw on CNN that you recently expanded and wanted to know if you’d be needing freelance writing work – much better.
You might think that contacting a company who’s hiring for something else entirely and asking about freelance work is against some unwritten rule or will be obnoxious. But if anything, it will probably impress the person you’re contacting. If you can read “we need sales representatives” and hear “we’re growing”, you have a business mindset, and showing that you’re business-focused and understand the signs of growth (not to mention the needs of a company who is growing), you’re ahead of the game.
Another tip: Unless they tell you freelancers are the bane of their existence and they never want to hear from you again, you should always offer to connect with them on LinkedIn, ask if you can send them an email with your info, or something else that will leave them with a reminder of who you are. If they say “No we don’t need a freelancer,” just say “Okay, thank you for your time. Would you mind if I sent you over an email with my information just in case you need one in the future?”
All they can do is say no.
And don’t worry that you’ll somehow ruin your name or be seen as pesky or whatever else it is you’re worried about seeming by contacting that company. I promise you they won’t remember your name and will probably forget you ever called in about 2.4 seconds after hanging up the phone if they don’t need a writer. They’re not going to send an email blast to all their competitors “WARNING: Freelancer calling for work – put Joe Shmoe on your Obnoxious List”.
It’s just not going to happen.
How many telemarketers call you a day? How many fliers do you get in the mail for crap you don’t want? What was the name of the telemarketer or company that last prospected you?
So jump on those job boards, find some prospects, and email/call/send an owl/whatever you gotta do to contact them and see if they need what you got!
Good job positions to search for that indicate a company is growing include things like:
- human resources manager
- sales associate/account rep/sales rep
- anything in the marketing department
- business analyst
- social media manager/marketer
- companies with a lot of new openings in general (likely expanding)
- anything that mentions a new office or new location
- administrative assistant
- “coordinator” – anything that has to do with coordinating; if you have coordinating to do, you work with a lot of vendors or people, and you are probably growing
- jobs in packing and shipping, trucking, etc. – if you have a lot of stuff to ship and you need more people to do it, you’re probably making more sales and growing
But to be honest, any company that is hiring and has more than one or two positions open is probably growing.
Hopefully this helps you find some great new leads – tell us your results below! 🙂
Until next time – happy writing!