One question I get asked a lot is that of how I got my very first client, and I’ll be answering that question in today’s article.
It was late 2010, and I’ve been blogging for a whole year until that moment. Blogging to me then was a way to escape poverty; fresh out of high school, and not exactly from the best of backgrounds, I determined that I want to be rich in life and that I wouldn’t spend my life working for others, building their business while I get a fraction of the fruits of my labor.
I intended to blog to achieve financial freedom, but I struggled for the most part of my first year of blogging with nothing to show for it; I entered blogging contests and won a few hundred dollars to pay for my hosting and to purchase tools and courses that I felt might help my blogging journey. Without the funds from those contests, you probably wouldn’t be hearing from me because my blogging was unprofitable at best… at least until I got my first client.
I invested a lot of time and effort into blogging; I was so committed to posting regular updates and promoting my blog on other blogs via guest blogging that people started to call me names like the “king of guest blogging”, “the grandfather of guest blogging”, etc.
I was renowned for my tenacity, and it was a virtue I was repeatedly extolled for. I was happy then, but in retrospect I was very foolish. I was foolish because I blogged for so long; I had built a blog and brand that could at least guarantee a consistent five figures in annual freelance income just a few months after I started it, but I was barely making a cent from my blogging efforts even after a whole year of blogging.
Then something happened…
I got an email from the person who would be my first client, Richard P., on the 6th of December 2010; Richard was the director of a company that owns around 20 websites, including leaders in the broadband and telecommunications industry and he reached out to me because he “enjoyed reading my blog” (his words).
Richard needed freelance writers to help with content for his websites and, because he enjoyed reading my blog, he thought I would be a good fit so he asked me to come on Skype to discuss how I can help.
We started chatting; Richard told me what he wanted from me and asked if I could help, I said yes and we started to discuss rates. He asked me what I had in mind and I was thinking “I’d be super excited if he can pay me $30 to $40 per article”. Instead of telling Richard what I had in mind though, I decided to let him talk; I asked him what he had in mind and he said “we pay our other writers $100 per article”. My reaction, which he of course couldn’t see, was “100 what?!!” I couldn’t believe it, but I had to hide my excitement.
$100 per article was HUGE for me then, and it’s needless to say that I took up Richard’s offer immediately.
Richard loved my work, and he soon after proposed that I start working with them on a contract basis; he proposed $3,000 monthly (which can be increased in the future) and negotiated my rate to $85 per article; that didn’t matter because as far as I was concerned, a month ago I was making $0 from my blog. Now, I have a client who wants to get me (me?!!) to sign a contract that he will be paying me $3,000 monthly. You can be very sure that I signed that contract! In fact, I probably didn’t fully read the contract before I signed it.
In the contract, though, there was a clause that later made me regret signing; the clause was that for a duration of 6 months, until the contract expires, I can’t work with any other client. Of course it didn’t matter then because Richard was my first client, and I couldn’t make a thousand dollars in a whole year of blogging, so what does it matter if I work with just one client as long as $3,000 is guaranteed monthly?
I thought I was lucky to have Richard contact me and offer to pay me. Unknown to me, blogging is much more powerful than I had imagined; I had slowly built a blog that was capable of helping me make high four figures, even five figures, monthly in freelance writing income without me knowing it.
Needless to say, barely a month after signing that contract with Richard, I had another client, Matthew, contact me; he also needed a freelance writer and he told me that, for a start, he has at least $2,000 dedicated to my work with him and that there’ll be more if he loves my work. Unfortunately, I had signed an exclusivity contract with Richard so I had to turn Matthew down, but I told him that I’ll let him know when I’m available for hire again. His response? “I will be the first to hire you.”
I got a few other offers like that through my blog once in a while and, while I couldn’t take on the new projects until my contract with my first client expired, I saw the big opportunity and potential in freelance writing as an income source.
I suddenly became a big boy, and people who had once scorned my efforts at making money online started to respect me. Everything changed, and I have been earning an income as a freelance writer ever since.
That was the story of how I got my first client.
As soon as my contract expired, even though I kept working with my first client, I made sure that the exclusivity clause in the contract was removed; it was changed so that I can’t work with their competitors, or clients in the telecommunications industry, but I can now work with other clients. I know, it’s a bit restrictive but I was a kid (I signed the contract on the day I turned 17!) and a beginner freelance writer; it sometimes sucks to be one of either, but I was both!
Shortly after my contract expired, I hired an expert (Chris Garrett) to critique my blog and give me feedback; I repositioned my blog based on his suggestions, and I began to use my blog as more of an engine to fuel my freelance writing business.
Now, I know why I am blogging; I’m sure it isn’t to make money via ads or do affiliate marketing, but to drive clients to my freelance writing business. I started to get better at this, and blogging has since been my #1 source of income by consistently sending clients to my freelance writing business.
I’m not here to brag but my blog has resulted in six figures in freelance writing income since I started it; heck, my blog has resulted in several clients who have spent as much as five figures with me in a single month.
Those who say that blogging is dead are dreaming; it’s how I got my first client as a freelance writer, and it still works today.
My only regret when I started blogging was that I blogged for 12 whole months(!) before I got my first client. I wasted a whole year, but thankfully things worked out. Not everybody would be that lucky!
Why Most People Fail at Blogging
I didn’t realize this until a few years after I started my blog, but I fell into a trap many new bloggers fall into; I had the wrong idea of blogging.
You see, there are several ways to make money blogging; it could be through affiliate marketing, displaying ads, or creating your own products, but these things rarely work for people who do not have a lot of people (tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions) visiting their blogs.
The key to quick blogging success, that can help you start making good money blogging within just a few months of starting your blog is by leveraging your blog to promote your service business. You see, a combo of blogging + freelance writing should never be underestimated. Things changed for me the moment this reality dawned on me.
A few years after making blogging work for me as a freelance writer, I decided to do something extraordinary and something that I had to stake my reputation on; I started a new blog, and I had 3 months to start making four figures in monthly freelance income. Even more, I put my reputation on the line by publicly documenting the challenge on my blog and by starting and promoting the new blog with a pseudonym; I couldn’t use my name, and I couldn’t use my network. I really had to start from scratch.
Exactly how did I fare with my new blog? At over 1,500 words, I’m afraid that this email is too long so you’ll have to wait few days for my next article so that I can continue my story.