C. Hope Clark, published author and founder of FundsForWriters, shares four key places for writers to find those first freelance clients and discusses why narrowing down your niche in the beginning of your career may be counterproductive.

Typing this question in a search engine will send you down a rabbit hole so deep and voluminous as to make you reconsider why you considered freelancing in the first place. First, the ads that pop up range from apps to job sites to current freelancers who want to teach you how to be a freelancer. Everyone has a trick, and no two offers of advice are the same.

(20 Literary Agents Actively Seeking Writers and Their Writing.)

Believe it or not, that’s a good thing!

The wide diversity of advice tells you that there is no right way. You, as a creative creature, have the universe and all its intricacies at your disposal in deciding how to launch into this profession. Freelance writing has exploded in recent years, and you are your own fuel in making it happen, but that first step can be a trepid one. Where are you supposed to find clients?

Beginning Questions to Answer

Start with this simple question: Who are your connections?

And follow up with this one: What can you write for them?

Sounds too easy, doesn’t it? Your reach is incredible. You don’t realize it yet.

But wait, aren’t you supposed to have a niche? Shouldn’t you brand yourself first? The question is, do you recognize that niche? Could be that your interests are wide and varied. Could be you have three or four niches. Or do you have a niche within a niche, like dogs instead of pets, or muscle cars instead of automobiles.

(Finding Your Nonfiction Writing Niche.)

Do not waste much time on this in the beginning. Worrying about the right or wrong niche, the finely-tuned or broadband niche can freeze you up in leaving the starting block. Who you are, and the topics you can relate to (i.e., your niches), come out when you study your connections, and you might decide that a minor topic of interest quickly becomes the one you can best capitalize on.

4 Key Places to Find Those First Freelance Clients

Here is a list of working material to help you define where to find clients, and because you are already invested somehow in these areas, these people, these businesses and sites, you have doors already half open.

What sites, apps, and magazines do you already read? Those indicate the self-education you’re already doing and define the topics in which you have an interest.Which businesses, organizations, entrepreneurs, services, schools, and charities in your immediate area do you patronize now?Look at your credit cards and bank accounts and note where your money goes.Note where your family and friends, and their family and friends, work and recreate. Not just the physical humans in your sphere, either. Your family and friends are long distance on your social media as well.

Then What?

The days of finding instructions on “How to Write for Us” are over. Instead, your job is to do the following:

Note the writing that these identified entities already use. Do you see where you could be an asset to their existing online content, blog, marketing, social media, newsletter, email posts, advertising, print mailings, or magazine?Note what they do not take advantage of and offer them something they are missing.

The whole point of entrepreneurship, of which you are now a member, is to define what people need and offer it to them in an appealing form. Sometimes they are not aware of the voids. Sometimes they haven’t found the right person for the job. Sometimes they failed at an effort (i.e., a blog) and lost heart and need you to show them the way.

You aim to please. You hope to help. And since you already have a toe in the water of their world through whatever connection you have, you have a personal desire to help them succeed. Their appreciation will start that glorious word-of-mouth momentum you need.

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Breaking into traditional book publishing can be tough work. After you write and revise the book, there’s finding an agent or an independent publisher, which involves time spent researching instead of what you really want to be doing—writing. So, Writer’s Digest has done the work for you with this 144-page guide. The Get Published in 2022: Breaking In Resource Directory collects the resources you need to make 2022 the year your book gets published.

Click to continue.

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