If you’re new to freelance writing, you’ve probably got a whole lot of questions swimming around in your head. I know I did.

Which marketing method will generate the best results? How can I create the perfect writer’s website? Which niche should I target?

And the list goes on.

If these questions are creating a roadblock for you, then you’re experiencing the dark side of starting your freelance writing business.

It starts with information overload – there are just too many options for you to choose from. The next step is analysis paralysis: You’re so overloaded with information that you can’t decide on your next move.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Chances are, you’re overcomplicating things.

You need to simplify, clarify, and get things moving.

But first …

Start with a Strategy

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know we’re huge fans of professional blogger Bamidele Onibalusi’s Earn Your First $1,000 as a Freelance Writer Challenge.

When Bamidele announced the challenge, I knew it was exactly what I needed to kickstart my freelance writing career – a proven strategy I could follow to land my first client.

But still, there was a problem: I was overcomplicating things.

I was worried I’d have trouble getting my first few writing samples. I was afraid I wouldn’t have the time to implement the strategy. I was scared that I’d fail and I wouldn’t land any clients.

But then something changed. I decided to set aside my doubts, take Bamidele’s strategy as a starting point, and start taking some serious action to land my first freelance writing gig.

In a nutshell, I decided to stop overcomplicating things.

How I Landed My First Freelance Writing Client

Below is a screenshot taken from the Earn Your First $1,000 as a Freelance Writer Facebook group outlining the process I used to land my first client.

As you can see, the process worked so well that I landed several more clients in quick succession.

Notice that I narrowed things down to just 4 simple steps based on the progress I’d already made and what I needed to do to land my first client.

I did this by using Bamidele’s strategy as a starting point and taking what I needed to formulate my own plan.

All of these steps were taken as fast as possible. I simply didn’t allow myself to procrastinate and worry too much about getting everything right the first time.

So, let’s have a look at these 4 steps in more detail to show you how I landed my first client in the shortest time possible.

Step 1: My Website

I already had a basic website and had decided on a niche to target, but my site was very unfocused and failed to address the problems and needs of potential clients in my niche.

So, I looked at other writer’s websites (especially in my niche), wrote down some ideas for improving my website copy, and got to work.

I didn’t spend weeks or months tweaking the copy until it was “perfect”. I did the minimum I needed to do to improve my website. Then I quickly moved on to the next step.

Step 2: Social Proof

I pitched the Huffington Post and followed up with them until they agreed to let me write for them as a contributor. I also pitched a few big companies in my niche until I secured two unpaid writing assignments.

I didn’t keep on writing for free for months on end to build the perfect portfolio. I did the minimum I needed to do to get enough social proof to start pitching prospects for paid work.

Step 3: Cold Emailing Prospects in My Niche

I searched online for trade shows in my chosen industry and found a list of attendees for a large event.

Next, I used LinkedIn and tools like Hunter and MailTester to find email addresses for decision makers in those companies.

Finally, I emailed and followed up with 250 prospects in my niche using the techniques and templates in Bamidele’s challenge. I also emailed niche-specific paid blogs and trade magazines.

I didn’t second guess my niche or spend countless hours searching for difficult to find email addresses. I made a plan to email 20 new prospects each weekday and stuck to it.

Step 4: Closing Deals

My plan was working. I was starting to get emails back from prospects asking for more information or requesting a phone call to learn more about my services.

So, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and start booking those calls. I made mistakes, I didn’t always know the right thing to say. But I refused to give up.

My Results 

As you can see from the screenshot above, in less than 60 days I managed to land a press release project, a trade magazine article, and a guest post on Carol Tice’s Make a Living Writing blog. I also closed a deal with a prospect who contacted me via my website.

And all this happened because I stopped overcomplicating things, took Bamidele’s fantastic strategy as my starting point, and used it to build my own simple plan for freelance writing success.

And if I can do it, I’m sure you can too.

If you take action and stop overcomplicating things.

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