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freelance writing clientsWhen you travel you find yourself far from home (hopefully) in an exciting place where you can be out of your element. At your destination, do you stop for a moment and revel in everything that brought you there? The time you spent packing, the plane ride, the time you spent finding a flight, even further back—the work you did to earn the money for the trip in the first place. Each step is a link in a larger chain.

I stopped at the post office and picked up a handful of checks over the weekend. My invoices are sent on the final Friday of every month, so the first two weeks of the month are a financial waiting game—hoping everyone pays on time. It’s especially important this month since quarterly tax payments are due to the IRS next week! When I got home I entered each check into QuickBooks. freelance writing toolThen I used my new handy dandy stamp from Vista Print to stamp my freelance writing account number on the back of each check. (I LOVE this stamp! I have been meaning to get one for years and it saves me so much time now that I don’t have to write out the entire number on every check.) As I stamped away I thought about all the work I did last month that earned this money. Then I thought about each client.

Where did they come from?

Right now I have several fairly regular clients, plus a handful of sporadic ones, plus one-time projects that surface here-and-there, and magazine features every so often. As examples, here are four of the regulars, how long we’ve been doing business together, and how we found each other; in no particular order:

Client: Injury Attorney
Doing business for: 18 months
Source: Craigslist

Client: Commercial real estate broker
Doing business for: 2.5 years
Source: My former employer referred them to me.

Client: Dentist
Doing business for: 8 months
Source: Marketing professional I “met” through a dating site last year. I have never met the marketing consultant or the dentist in person.

Client: Soundproofing company
Doing business for: 3.5 years
Source: Craigslist. I have never met them in person.

Client: Estate law firm
Doing business for: 4 months
Source: I called them directly.

Over the past four years I have had other traditional and some unconventional ways of acquiring clients. Writing conferences, cold calls, colleague referrals – those are all standard ways clients are cultivated. Besides the non-traditional business connection I made through a dating site as noted above, others liked my poetry at an open mic, and one time I bumped into someone while hiking who referred me business. Brings a whole new meaning to “a walk in the woods.”