Most successful business people (and that includes writers) will tell you that the most efficient and cost-effective way to grow your business is to generate more business with the clients you already have. This is because the cost of acquiring new clients is always higher – both in terms of actual capital and time spent – than increasing work with existing clients.
So, what can you do to make sure that you get hired for the next gig, and the gig after that, and so on?
Some of it has to do with your performance on the first project, and some of it has to do with staying in your marketing mindset even when you’re already engaged with a client or editor. You should think about landing that first assignment as just the beginning … the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
10 Ways to Get the Gig … Again:
- Over deliver – “Under promise and over deliver” is sage advice. In other words, don’t make promises you can’t (or might not) keep. Be conservative in your budget and deadline estimates and then you can wow them when you come in under budget and a day (or two) ahead of schedule.
- Have a plan – When someone hires you to do a job, they are taking a chance that you know what the heck you’re doing. Be professional and have a process you can walk people through. Know what questions to ask up front so that you can be as efficient as possible and make the experience a breeze for your client or editor.
- Manage yourself – There’s nothing that makes a client or an editor’s eye twitch like a writer she needs to babysit. Don’t make her worry about whether you’re getting the job done. Once you’ve got your plan in place, stay one step ahead of her with check ins.
- Be honest – If you run into a road block, come clean right away. No one likes unhappy surprises.
- Be respectful – You’d think this would go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. More than just being polite, be respectful of the boss’ time. Don’t hammer her with seventeen questions in seventeen separate E-mails. Compile your questions into one organized communication that can be quickly skimmed and dealt with.
- Pay attention – Don’t make your client repeat herself. If she makes an edit once, that’s all it should take – she should never see that error again. Ever. If she mentions a small detail in passing, write it down for future reference. Your job is more than just getting the words on paper. You should consider yourself the keeper of all knowledge, the librarian of all insight, the guru of every minute detail.
- Bonus Tip: Proofread - … and then proofread again. Seriously.
- Notice needs – When you’re talking to your client or editor, watch for clues about other potential needs. If you’re working on website copy and the client laments about a shortage of good leads, maybe an E-book or E-mail campaign is in your future. If you’re working with a magazine editor, think about other stories that might be a good fit – be proactive about suggesting ways you can bring value to the organization.
- Offer to help – Sometimes offering to help out gratis is just what you need to get your foot in the door. I’m not saying you should give away the goods, but if an existing newsletter client suddenly starts developing an interest in blogging, maybe you offer up an hour or two of your time to get her up-to-speed and let her pick your brain. You might get a follow-up gig out of the conversation – to set up the blog or even write posts.
- Ask for referrals – If you have a good working relationship with someone, there may be other people in their organization who could also use your services. Why not ask? If you’re working with the marketing department, ask for a referral to sales or PR. If you’re writing feature stories, ask if there’s any need for a columnist. Think about your contact’s network and how to make it your own.
- Stay on the radar – After the first project is wrapped up and invoiced, don’t just say thanks and walk away. Find ways to make yourself useful down the road. For instance, you might keep an eye out for relevant articles or resources that your client or editor could use. Drop them an E-mail. Let them know you’re always thinking of them, and they are more likely to think of you the next time there’s a job that needs doing.
These are just a few basics, but, use them wisely and your business grow from the inside out.
What are your tips for getting the gig … again?
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who, among other things, works as a marketing strategist and copywriter. She helps creative entrepreneurs (artists, writers, idea people, and creative consultants) discover their “natural” marketing groove so they can build their business with passion, story, and connection. She also blogs. A lot. She is a mom, a singer, and a dreamer who believes in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Look her up on facebook or follow her on twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.
Image Credit: Richard Asia
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