5 Ways to Attract the Ideal Clients for Your Freelance Editing Business
How do I find new clients?
Pose this question to a business coach or in a peer group and you’ll likely become the questionee: What are your specialties? What type of work do you want to do? What are your priorities for your business? It’s impossible to answer in a uniform way.
That’s because it’s the wrong question.
Every freelance editing business is unique, but How do I find new clients? assumes they all use the same formula.
The better question is, How do I attract the perfect clients for me?
Take note of the subtle shifts here. “Find” becomes “attract,” which puts you in control and exudes confidence rather than anxiety. Instead of trying to find any client you can, you’re sitting back and attracting clients who are a good match for you.
Also, instead of “new clients,” you have “the perfect clients.” Accepting just anyone as a client will do more harm than good to your business, even if you’re just getting started.
Here are some of the best ways to attract people who are a perfect fit for your editorial business.
1. Be Visible
Get out there: go to the conferences your ideal clients frequent, find where they hang out online and start being personable and helpful (never salesy!), attend or start a local Meetup group that will appeal to your perfect-fit clients.
People have to know you exist before they can hire you—the key is to be visible and to be helpful, first and foremost.
2. Become a Trusted Resource to Your Audience
This ties into being visible and helpful, but the best way to position yourself as an expert and develop a strong brand is to provide lots of useful, free content.
Write blog posts for your website and share them in your online groups (make sure this is allowed, and again, never be salesy). Write guest posts for websites and publications that your potential clients read. Present a short Zoom webinar that answers your audience’s most pressing questions—then put the recording on your website and share it on social media.
If you’re not sure how to get started, make a list of the common questions people ask you about writing or editing. For example, if your ideal clients are first-time novelists, they’re likely looking for content on everything from how to structure their novel to how to publish. If they’re academic writers, they’ll have a different set of questions.
Each and every question you can answer for your potential clients equals content you can create—and the more free content you have, the more trust and awareness you’ll build.
3. Be Authentic
The only way to attract likeminded people is to be open and honest about who you are. You want to reel in the people who will jump at the chance to be your brand evangelists: they’re looking for you, and the only way they’ll find you is if you put yourself out there in an authentic way.
I hereby give you full permission to be your weird, Star Wars–loving, tea-guzzling, neon-haired self. Never feel like you have to hold yourself back or change yourself to somehow be more professional, more approachable…you name it. Your ideal clients want to work with you.
4. Sell Your Specialty
Is your bachelor’s degree in nuclear physics? Do you adore science fiction? Are you an avid baker? Any one of these could become your specialty, and having a specialty is a good thing: it sets you apart and helps you find the people who are already looking for you.
5. Partner with Your Peers
Another great way to start attracting your ideal clients is to connect with fellow freelancers who provide services that complement yours. For example, if you copyedit YA fiction, you may want to partner with someone who does developmental editing for YA fiction. You can refer clients to each other, which, as your businesses grow, can turn into a steady stream of ideal clients for you both. A true win-win.
Join editorial organizations (for example, the EFA, ACES, Editors Canada, the CIEP) and attend editing conferences to find new word-nerd friends. Making authentic connections with fellow editors and working to help each other is one of the best ways to build a strong, healthy business (with the added bonus of making friends with interesting, fun, and intelligent people!).
Here's to attracting your perfect-fit clients. It takes patience and a lot of hard work, but it’s definitely worth it.
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