This is a four-part series that is designed to take you from zero to having clients without a website or working for low pay on content mills.
Part Two – Creating Your Client Information Packet
As mentioned in Part One – Setting Up the Basics, you should know that I have been a freelance writer working from home for over seven years. With that in mind:
I’m not claiming to be some big expert or that I know everything or even do everything the right way or best way. All I am doing with this four-part series is to show you how I went from no clients and no experience to making my full-time income from freelance writing and what I continue to do to this day. Your mileage may vary depending on how hard you work and your writing ability.
Now, let’s get to Part Two – Creating Your Client Information Packet…
There are four parts to the Client Information Packet. Two of them you must have if you want to do freelance writing from home. The other two are optional.
So here we go…
Start Freelance Writing from Home with Your Client Information Packet
First, let’s identify what a Client Information Packet is.
This is a document that you will create that will give your potential clients all the information they need to decide whether or not they want to use your freelance writing services.
Remember, I told you I was going to show you how to get clients without a website. Well, this is how you do it. (Of course, having a website is always a good thing and makes life easier, but you don’t need one when you are just getting started.)
1. Create a Word document – We’ll be using a Word document to create this packet. Later on, I’ll show you how to turn it into a PDF, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!
At the top of the document, you’ll put your name, email address, and phone number. If you want to use a business name you can add that as well.
You can also add a photo of yourself if you’d like. People always like to see who they are dealing with.
This is doubly important as chances are you will never meet your clients in person as they will be from all over the country.
Many, if not most of them, you’ll never speak to on the phone either.
When you are doing freelance writing from home, all of your contact with clients will be through email.
In my seven years of being a freelancer, I’ve never met a client, and I’ve only spoken to maybe 4 or 5 over the years. In fact, I’ve had some of my clients for years and I’ve never even spoken to them once.
That’s why a photo is always a nice touch. Just make sure it’s not too casual.
It doesn’t need to be super professional, but just make sure you leave the kids and dogs out of it.
Here’s what the first page of my Client Information Packet looks like:
Beth Nelson – Copywriter
In this package you will find:
- Bio and background of Beth Nelson
- Rate sheet
- Writing Samples
Please call or email with any questions you may have.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Depending on your experience, you may or may not have all of this information, and that’s okay.
When I was first starting out, I didn’t have any testimonials – never needed them.
2. Create a short bio – Don’t worry if you don’t have any writing experience. No one really cares. Just highlight any work or educational experience that you feel might help.
If you don’t feel you have any relevant experience, talk about what you will do for the client and how you will make his or her life easier, and talk about your best quality such as been deadline-driven, results-driven, and so on.
Trust me, they are more worried about how you can help them than they are about your writing background.
Just a few sentences will do…
I include the following sections in mine:
- Why I Can Help You Succeed
- Things to brag about
(I include things here that are somewhat related to writing.
For example, I won a recruitment fellowship for a graduate writing program I applied to, and I was also commissioned to write a play for a large non-profit organization.)
Don’t worry if you don’t have anything to put here. Honestly, all of this is just frosting. It isn’t really important when it comes to freelance writing from home.
3. Your rates – After your bio, you can decide whether or not you want to include your rates.
I do, but it is a personal experience. I figure, if they don’t want to pay me what I feel I’m worth, then there is no reason to waste my time or theirs.
Besides, they are going to ask anyway, so you might as well just put it out there!
It’s better to get the tire kickers out of the way quickly, I think. Of course, there are plenty of people that wouldn’t agree with me on this, so do what feels right for you.
I can guarantee you, whether you add them or don’t add them, the first question will be, “What are your rates,” which suggests to me potential clients don’t spend a lot of time reading every detail of your packet!
(You can find my Free Rate Cheat Sheet for Freelance Writers here.)
4. Testimonials – For those that currently have clients and testimonials, you’ll want to add two or three of them next.
If you don’t have any, don’t worry about it.
When I started out, I didn’t have any, and it never stopped me from getting clients. I only add a handful now because I have them.
5. Your writing samples – Finally…and this is the most important part…you will want to add your writing samples. What I do is include the following information at the top:
Now if you’re new and you wrote these samples for yourself, you can just put something like, “Web page writing sample” or “Blog post sample.”
What you’ll find very quickly is that potential clients are most interested in two things:
- Can you write well?
- Will you meet deadlines?
Well, they can’t judge the second one until they give you some work, so you need to make sure your writing samples shine. This is your number one priority when freelance writing from home.
Okay…so now you have all of this information in your Word document. Be sure to check it over…and then check it again.
There can’t be any typos. Also, there shouldn’t be any words unlined in red.
Once it is just how you want it, we’re going to turn it into a PDF.
How to Convert Your Word Document into a PDF for Free
I use CutePDF Writer. It is free and very simple to use.
- Just go to www.cutepdf.com and follow the download instructions
- You want the CutePDF Writer option
Once you have it installed, you can then turn your Word document into a PDF.
There are a couple of reasons you want to do this. First, if you simply sent someone your Word document, they could make changes to it. Secondly, a PDF just looks more professional.
So, when you are ready to turn your Word document into a PDF:
- Click on File and then Print.
- When the Print box pops up, click the down arrow next to “Printer Name.”
- You’ll see CutePDF Writer listed as an option.
- Select it, and then click “Print.”
It can take a couple of minutes for anything to happen, but then you will see a message box pop up on your screen asking you where you’d like to save it.
You can also change the name of the file at that time as well if you’d like.
I suggest saving it to your desktop, so you can find it easily.
Once it is saved, go ahead and open it to make sure it looks okay.
So, here are your action steps for Part Two of the series:
- Write a bio
- Add your bio to your packet
- Add your rates to your packet (optional)
- Add your testimonials to your packet (optional)
- Add your writing samples to your packet
- Turn your Word document into a PDF
Now…we get down to getting clients…
In Part Three of the series, I’ll be talking about the two ways I have gotten all of my clients. Both are easy and free!
Click here for Part Three – Getting Clients.