While there is much to be said about keeping it fresh as a freelance writer, the best strategy to take if you want to make the most money possible is to leverage your existing reputation. If your freelance writing — or web design, coding, etc. — business is not particularly well known yet, you still have an opportunity to develop a reputation that could translate itself into a very lucrative career. This is related to the post I did some time back about whether freelance writers should write for a niche or for the masses.
Reputation goes a long way in getting referral business and getting people interested in your services in the first place. In this way, making connections with high profile clients can certainly move your freelance career in the right direction. Take a look at someone like Nate Whitehill and his Unique Blog Designs. After he created the custom template for John Chow dot Com, everyone in the blogosphere knew about Nate’s services and they wanted a new blog design of their own. Nate became known for designing world class WordPress themes that could highlight any feature of your blog that you’d like, whether it be advertising, top posts, or a related business.
Almost through serendipity, my reputation as a freelance writer has gravitated toward the field of doing reviews. This probably explains why people have asked me how to write a killer review. They’ve seen the posts that I have written for John Chow dot Com, and some may have also noticed the product reviews which have appeared on such sites as Mobile Magazine and FutureLooks. This shows that I can review not only websites and advertising networks, but also physical products as well. As you can imagine, doing more reviews can only improve my ability to write reviews. It’s self-perpetuating.
So, how do you go about leveraging such a reputation? Well, by developing a portfolio of a certain type and getting mass attention toward this portfolio, you are much better equipped at soliciting new business and new clients. I wouldn’t say that I am approached by new potential customers on a daily basis, but I do get a fair number of queries from potential clients who appear to be interested in my review writing services. By contrast, very few approach me about writing business proposals, ad copy, magazine articles, and so on. They know me as a reviewer and a blogger.
Because of this, it is possible to provide a higher quote than a freelance writer who is more of a generalist. This applies to other occupations as well, of course. Chances are that you’re willing to pay more money to an accountant who specializes in income tax to handle your income tax queries than an accountant who dabbles in everything. The same can be said about lawyers, graphic artists, computer technicians, and so forth. This concept goes further than just approaching a specific niche. It is more about letting people know about your specialization and then capitalizing on their interest. You have them hooked; you just have to close the deal.
Take a look at some of the most successful people on the business world — both online and offline — and you’ll see that they are totally capitalizing on their respective reputations. John Chow is known for making money online, Zac Johnson is known as a super affiliate, Steve Jobs is known for creating user-friendly consumer electronics that look good… you can surely think of many more examples. People will buy into what they’re saying (and selling) simply because of their reputation. And you can do the same with your business.