Want New Clients? Focus On Your Old Ones

Stay type of mind by building relationships rather than simply getting the transaction

When thinking about where to find your next client, try using your contacts list in your phone or email. The easiest way to get a new client is to sell an old one on the new services that you provide. There can be a period of three years in which you don’t speak to one another, yet following up with an old client can lead to new opportunities.


Reaching out to old clients to get rehired or to get referrals to leads within their network is also a test. If you were good enough when you were working for them—if you really satisfied their needs, there should always be an opportunity waiting at the end of a call. You won’t know unless you reach out to them to ask. The answer is automatically no if you don’t make a request.


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What Will Be Remembered?

Ideas last longer than your name

In moments of complete distress, we get an opportunity to rethink what’s most important in life. Our careers, the things that we buy, and the content we share online are all meaningless if it doesn’t serve a bigger purpose. Every day we get a chance to be alive is a chance for us to contribute to the global and local cultures we live in.


Life is a shared experience with the people who live with you now, those two have lived before you, and the future generations that your actions will affect.


If you’re lucky, your great-grandchildren will know of you—even if they don’t know your full name after the age of 30. Yet, six to seven generations down the road what will remain is the values and ideas that you helped cement into the consciousness of your family. This also goes for your community and your country.


No matter how much content you produce and how viral it becomes, there are so many posts that you can possibly make that will be remembered. There is an extremely small chance that anything you post today will be remembered 100 years from now.


Taking credit for your ideas is crucial for being rewarded and recognized but, what is more important is ensuring that the good ideas stick. It would be nice to be remembered for helping the world. Yet, being remembered and actually helping (contributing something of value) are two different things.


One goal is more important than the other.


“It is sometimes easier to make the world a better place than to prove you have made the world a better place.”

— Amos Tversky


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The Purpose Of A Portfolio: Showcasing Usefulness

Without a good portfolio, any attention you get will be useless

Gig work is not an oligopoly, there are plenty of opportunities to get clients and there is plenty of competition. The challenge we all have as freelancers is discovering the best approach to standing out. That’s where your portfolio comes in, the purpose of your portfolio is to showcase your usefulness.


If you want to make a portfolio that is useful to both your clients and yourself, it needs to clearly capture your work. Your portfolio has to answer, “What kind of work do you do and are you good?” The purpose of a portfolio is to show your clients that you can consistently produce quality work, under any conditions. Your portfolio should be tailored to the type of work you are best at and the type of work you want to do.


You can accept other types of work to get supplemental income or for more experience, but you don’t need to add all of your previous work into your portfolio. The work you do add to your portfolio has to include the work you’re most interested in doing. And when you are an amateur, you need to design your portfolio to distinguish yourself from the sea of other competitors out there.


A portfolio that separates the amateurs from the professionals

The difference between an amateur and a professional is mainly based on time spent working. Amateurs work on a creative task during their spare time, usually doing said creative work as a hobby or as a side-hustle. A professional does their creative work full-time and it is their main source of income. An amateur can sometimes be better than a professional, but they simply haven’t made the transition into full-time work. Often times this transition can’t be made because of an inadequate portfolio.


A portfolio has to let your prospective clients know they can trust you with their money. Your portfolio has to give your leads confidence when they contact you to begin the negotiation and hiring process. The clients that end up paying you do so because they don’t believe that you are a risk. Before any negotiations are made, the client has to be willing to spend their money on you. Your portfolio convinces them to start a conversation.


Portfolio design takes time to master

Your portfolio has to be able to describe your process and the skills that you can bring to the table. Therefore, there are many design considerations that you have to consider when creating your portfolio. Can your portfolio describe your process? What types of services do you provide? How you decide to answer these two questions will either make your leads click to learn more or leave your portfolio page.


Amateurs have many services whereas a professional has one to two main services that they provide based on the industry they work in, market size, experience, preferences, and established credibility. When deciding which services you want to pursue, think about which types of services can let you cross-pollinate your skills. In copywriting, for example, one key skill that cross-pollinates amongst many types of services is research.


Additionally, you can and should describe your process for how you start and how you will deliver your assignments if hired. Whether that is stated at the beginning or at the end of your portfolio, this is an essential element to a successful portfolio.


A prospective client may be impressed by your work but, having your process clearly displayed will also let them know if you’re the right person to hire. Perhaps how they do their own work doesn’t align with your work process. Describing this ahead of time, in your portfolio, will reduce friction and future headaches for all parties involved.


Here is what you can do if you are just getting started

If you’re seeking the best way to start a freelance career in copywriting, you need to take matters into your own hands. If you are struggling to find work so that you can build a portfolio, try giving yourself assignments. Searching for writing prompts, rewriting a landing page you found online or creating a sample newsletter based on the emails you click on the most are great ways to start building your portfolio. You can also use the assignments and tests given to you when you’re applying for copywriting positions as portfolio items.


Even if you’re new to freelance work, having an empty or nonexistent portfolio is much worse than having a portfolio with a few self-assigned samples. At least with sample work displayed, you can show your skills to leads that are open to hiring someone who is just getting started. Also, by completing assignments you get better at your craft and the core skills that go along with it, which is necessary to grow your career. How else are you going to get better without doing the work?


If you can’t get hired by clients right now, hire yourself first.


Image Credit: Unsplash

For an example of how my portfolio looks like, click here.

The-Ideal -orkday

The Ideal Workday

How we think about where we should work is changing rapidly

Now is the most opportune time for us to consider what makes up the ideal workday. Do we need an office with a fancy oak wood desk? Must we have to commute every single morning at 6:00AM on a crowded train or in slow traffic? Why are we getting up in the morning, what is the purpose of our work?


For many of us, these times will be difficult. Not only are we being pressured to still perform at our best, but we are also being challenged to do this while stuck at home. We don’t have a supervisor who is going to monitor our behavior. We have been given more responsibility and some of us aren’t prepared for it. And yet, this new responsibility can give us the chance to design how we do our work.


The ideal workday will now be something that we can choose, rather than it be something that happens by chance. We can decide which tasks are most important, how often we need to communicate with our clients and our team, and when breaks are really appropriate. We don’t need to tiptoe around others who may not be fond of our company, nor do we need to worry about our outward appearance or attire.


The work is what’s most important. We can now enjoy the nuances, the small details of what we do. When things return to the norm, many of us will find it strange. At that moment when we don’t recognize what we are doing, even though we’ve done it before, we must ask ourselves why do we feel this way.


We may begin to see that there are some benefits to working from home and from working remotely. It isn’t for everyone but, there will certainly be a lot of us who may consider a change.


Image Credit: Unsplash


The Easiest Way To Notice You’re In A New Country: Birds

Birds can help you truly experience a country

Birds are extremely unique animals. I never used to pay much attention to pigeons while living in New York City. It is only once you start traveling that you begin to realize how unique pigeons are, and birds in general. Having traveled throughout Asia, and now South Africa, places with noticeably loud birds, I have begun to appreciate them so much more.


Some birds, like the South African kwêvoël or the Hadada ibis, make me laugh whenever they sound their mating calls. The birds of Bali made me want to sing. The birds in Shenzhen reminded me that I wasn’t only surrounded by buildings and cameras.


When traveling, notice the different animals around you, especially the birds. It is the fastest way to realize how different a place can be from your hometown.


Image Credit: Unsplash

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