Wanna Freelance? Just Say Yes!

Being a freelance writer and V.A. is an absolute dream job for me. It’s not quite as good as professional food or wine taster or sleep study participant, but it’s pretty awesome.

I mean people pay me to write. People pay me to read blogs. People pay me to find the best blogs, read books, and learn. Also, I get to wear pajamas and go bra-less. It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. And I really love carbs.

bread

While I am slowly but surely building my freelance business, I have learned that the number one best thing I have done (and continue to do) for my business is say “yes”. To basically everything.

If you check out my little Hire Me page, you’ll see rave reviews. Why? Because my clients love me. Why? Because I have their back when they need extra work done. Because when they say “hey Erin, do you think you have time to do this extra project by tomorrow?”, I say “yes” regardless of my schedule. And it pays dividends.

The majority of my freelance work now comes from recommendations. When you do a great job for your clients and help them out at the eleventh hour, they remember that when they hear someone else is looking for a writer or V.A. Then they recommend your hustling ass and your income gets bigger. Can I get a hell yeah?!

You may be thinking that it’s easy for me to say yes because I do this full time now. But I actually started building my “Yes Woman” reputation when I began freelancing back in December. Which means I said yes to everything while I was working as a tax accountant INCLUDING during busy season when I was working 80 hours a week. That’s how important this is to me. That’s how important this SHOULD BE to you.

Because it totally works. I have gotten multiple raises and countless recommendations in my short time as a freelancer. I’m the first to admit I’m not at baller status yet and I could never afford to freelance full time if Steve didn’t work a traditional job, but I am getting there. My client list keeps growing and my income does the same.

If you are looking to break into the freelancing game, you need to be ready to say yes when your clients ask you to take on more responsibilities. Like always.

You need to be as dedicated as Jim Carrey’s character Carl was when he received fellatio from his 80 year old neighbor sans dentures in Yes Man. Thankfully, in freelancing, your requests won’t be nearly as gross. I hope. If they are, you may have a bigger client issue than I can handle.

So here you go future (and current) freelancers, this is what you need to do to build your client base:

Get clients using my No Nonsense Freelance Guide. It will teach you how to reach out to potential clients, find a freelancer group, and grow a pair.

Once you have the clients, say yes to absolutely everything (as long as it’s legal) they ask you to do at the agreed upon rate. DO NOT do this extra work for free when working with a paying client, you are not a charity.

After getting a bit more established, make sure you are not saying yes to every POTENTIAL client if they aren’t willing to pay you what you are worth. There are quite a few people like this (especially in this blogosphere of penny pinchers). Don’t waste your time with them. Keep your “Yes Woman/Man” status for the clients who pay you appropriately for your skills.

Freelancing is an incredibly rewarding career for those of us that think writing is the dog’s tuxedo. And it really isn’t difficult to break into if you can string words together in a somewhat coherent manner. By “yessing” any and all opportunities that come your way, you will build a decent client base and work your way towards full time freelancing if you so choose. If not, you’ll just have a totally baller side hustle.

If you know anyone looking to break into the freelancing world or expand their client base, forward this on to them! If you are potential employer looking for a diligent yes woman, check out my portfolio and hiring page.

Are you saying “yes” to the opportunities that come your way? If you are, how has it helped your freelance business? If not, you need to start pronto! Hustle, baby!

[Image from BuzzFeed]

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Comments

  1. I used to be the one who said yes to everything, now I’m a bit more picky. I’d rather do a good job with fewer items than make dimes on multiple projects that I don’t do well on because I’m burned out. If that makes sense? But in the beginning you need to just get your feet wet and get “out there.” I’m glad you are living your dream and eating carbs. 🙂

    • Yep, that’s why I only say yes to everything for my current clients. I wouldn’t take every gig to make a dime, it’s not worth it. I used to though!

      I’m glad I am living my dream and eating carbs as well 🙂

  2. Great post, Erin! I have been very much a YES! person so far and it really has paid off. And thanks for the link to the how-to-get-started post you wrote – I read that too and it was helpful. I’ve finally gotten a few gigs, but I am eager to pick up more clients and have more staff writing positions (I’ve only scored jobs as a content writer so far, but I would love to work for and with other bloggers). I think my next step is to start the email blitz 🙂

  3. Good for you! I hope that one day I can get to where you are now 🙂 So I am saying YES!

  4. Great for you for following your carb filled passion! Hopefully lots of great work continues coming your way. And will have to take a look at your post on how to start!

  5. This is such a great article, Erin! Very helpful for those of us who are finding our way in the freelance world. One of my big goals now and into 2014 is to step it up!

  6. Erin, thank you so much for this post!! It came at the right time for me as I have decided to make the switch to Freelancing full-time by the end of 2014. I want to have as much information as possible so that I can avoid some easy mistakes and set myself up for success.

  7. Hi Erin
    Great post! Freelance writing job is my favorite job. It is free, and can publish their own articles and ideas, really dream job.

  8. Oh bread, the most useless part of the sandwich. It exists only to keep my hands clean while eating and I can accomplish the same thing with a bowl and a fork/spoon. Now that I’ve alienated half the readers in two sentences, awesome post. I’m going to keep your freelance guide bookmarked for future reference. As much as I want to kick off my freelance side hustle now, I need to ensure school remains the priority outside my 9-to-5 until it’s finished.

    • You don’t love bread? Why, friend? It’s only the best thing in life! Besides like, love. And wine. And coffee.

      Thanks, Micro! Definitely bookmark, it will be waiting for you when you finish up with school 🙂

  9. I really want to be a virtual assistant but just haven’t found any opportunities yet. I won’t give up though!

  10. I love your mentality Erin! This is the exact same strategy I used while building my own freelance business, and I must say, it does pay off. Like you mentioned, when you come through for people when they’re under a time crunch, they will love — and remember — you forever. You’re so smart and such a disciplined worker, I know your business will be a huge success!

  11. I LOVE this — although I don’t have enough time to say “yes” to everything that comes up, I’m no longer saying no. I filter through and pass people along. Email me your rates, and I’ll send you things that come through my inbox!

  12. Great post! I couldn’t agree more. I say yes to fewer things than I did in the beginning, but working your ass off it definitely the best advice to anyone who wants to get involved as a full time freelancer.

  13. Excellent post. I’ve been trying to break into the freelancing world myself so this is exactly what I needed. Thanks!

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