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Freelance Writing: 3 Ways to Earn More Without Marketing

Many exceptional writers suffer to pay the bills because they suck at marketing while lots of average writers are making a killing because of their marketing genius.

If you’re one of those writers, while I believe you definitely should learn to love marketing so you can build a writing business that thrives on the long run, the purpose of this article is to show you some smart ways to earn more without having to increase your marketing efforts.

NOTE: The tips below are for writers who have worked with at least a few clients before; if you haven’t had clients before, or you are struggling to get clients, then you might want to check out The Freelance Writer’s Success Starter Guide to kick-start your freelance writing business.

1. Reach Out to Past Clients

Several factors influence what client you will work at a point in time and for how long, and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with the quality of your work.

Just because you worked with a certain client for a month doesn’t mean they find the quality of your work lacking. Sometimes, their budget doesn’t allow them to give you more work, or they aren’t fully convinced about the importance of work you do for them when you first worked with them, or something else.

It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you can make a lot more money by reaching out to clients you’ve worked with in the past that you no longer work with; I’ve made thousands of dollars doing just this.

You can reach out to clients you worked with months or years ago to ask if they have writing opportunities for you.

How to go about this:

Doing this can be very simple:

  • Go through your database of clients you’ve worked with in the past; if you don’t have a database, search through your email records for details of your clients.
  • Compile a list of all your clients and sort them based on your experience with them; you want to put clients you believe you really satisfied and clients that weren’t too overbearing when you first worked with them atop the list. If a client was a pain when you first worked with her, it isn’t worth it reaching out again.
  • Send a personalized email to each of the clients atop your list, that you had a great experience with, inquiring about the current state of things in their life to ensure all is well, reminding them that your experience with them was a great one and that you’d like to work with them again if they have any work for you at the moment.
  • I REPEAT, make sure your emails are personalized. Don’t send the same email to 20 people, or copy 20 people to the same email. Write each email based on what you know about a particular client and your experience with her, and send each email personally. You’ll get a higher response rate doing this, and it will be worth it.

Below is an email template you can use when reaching out to clients. I used this exact template to reach out to a client in August, 2013 and while this particular client didn’t have work for me then, he referred me to someone who gave me $1,000 gig with a $500 down payment:


I hope all is well with you!

You hired me to do some content for {CLIENT’S SITE} a few {months/years} ago and you liked my work then.

I want to check with you to see if you have any work for me at the moment?

I’ll appreciate your reply.

Best Regards,

2. Renegotiate Your Rates with Existing Clients

Another smart way to earn more without doing more marketing is by renegotiating your rates with existing clients.

Of course, you have to be very smart about how you approach it because rates don’t just “increase”.

More often than not you need to have a valid reason for increasing your rate, and I’m sure you won’t just go ahead and tell your clients “Hey, I want to market less and earn more so I’m doubling my rates.” Instead, you can follow the steps below:

  • Analyze what you’re currently offering to existing clients; are there a few kinks that could be ironed out, or could you add a few things to make your service even robust. For example, if you write blog posts for clients, you could improve your services by starting to add research/data to your content while sharing it on social media as well.
  • Once you have decided on what to add, email your clients to tell them about the increase in rate, the factors requiring you to increase your rates (namely “increasingly limited time and a desire to serve them better, as well as the new additions”) and what they now stand to get from the new rates.
  • Make sure your rate increase isn’t too drastic, especially with existing clients. Don’t increase your rates by 200% suddenly; pretty much nobody will accept that, thereby resulting in a sure-fire way to lose your clients.
  • Instead take things gradually; a 20 – 50% increase should be acceptable at first.
  • Give them enough time for this to take effect; probably a month or a few weeks notice. Definitely not immediately.

3. Charge New Clients a Higher Rate

Tip 2 above won’t be very effective if you want significant increase in how much you earn.

For example, if you charge $50 per article and want to go for $150, you can’t really justify it to most of your existing clients.

What would be best is to increase rates with existing clients gradually, and start with your new full rate with new clients.

It doesn’t matter what the precedent is, as long as there are no commitments or agreements with a client – i.e. a new client – then you can charge your new rates full swing.


4. Ask for a Referral

I’m not someone who really runs my freelancing business based on referrals but, while writing point 1 above, I thought I should add this.

A little over a year ago when I was following up with past clients, I emailed a particular client who ordered 2 articles from me for $300 a year before reaching out to him again. I asked if he had any work for me and he said no, but he referred me to a partner of his that eventually gave me $1,000 worth of writing work within a week of the introduction.

As you can see, even though this client had no work for me, he knew someone who had work for me – and that eventually added up.

So, even when a client you’ve worked with replies that they currently do not have work for you, ask them politely if they know of someone who will benefit from your work. If they did indeed loved your work, they will most likely refer someone your way.

STILL STRUGGLING TO GET CLIENTS?: Kick-start your freelance writing career by getting my ebook, The Freelance Writer’s Success Starter Guide.

Category: freelance writing


Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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