As freelance writers it's not uncommon for us to get information online and even connect with our colleagues that way. And sometimes our circles, or at least the information they expose us to, are more limited than we realize.
It's easy to get caught up in the echo chamber, with the same stale ideas endlessly reinforced. But if you want to stand out and attract the best freelance writing clients, you need to be able to think for yourself. Here are three tips that can help you avoid falling into the echo chamber trap.
Ignore Cookie Cutter Advice
This isn't to say you should ignore everything you hear regularly. Business fundamentals apply to all freelancers. So, for example, if all of your close colleagues remind you to have a business plan in place or market your freelance writing services regularly, don't dismiss that.
That said, tools and tactics do not apply to everyone equally. There are countless markets you can target as a freelance writer. Each market is influenced in different ways and by different triggers. Figure out what those are and ask yourself "how can I tailor this to my specific situation?"
For example, most of your colleagues might send email queries whereas your specific clients respond better to cold calls. Or you might be told to blog every day but find that your client base doesn't have time to read that many updates.
Make Supply and Demand Work for You
Along those lines, don't rush to follow friends and colleagues to every "gold mine" they say they found for freelance writing gigs. If your fellow writers are all abuzz about a source of freelance leads, leave them to the masses. Go where prospects don't have as many options clamoring for their business.
Instead of joining several freelance bidding sites for example, you might instead join small niche forums where you can build more meaningful relationships with your target clients.
I gave another example of this in relation to traditional writer's market directories. Rather than relying on them alone for prospects to pitch, I suggested that you try media directories that PR professionals use. Why? Fewer freelance writers know about them, so you have less potential competition. And they can feature tens of thousands of additional leads that aren't included in even the largest writer's market directories.
Look for Inspiration in Unlikely Places
Instead of turning to the same old "influencers" in your specialty area for freelance writing advice, broaden your options by learning from other sources.
For example, you might get marketing advice from other types of freelancers. You might seek inspiration from local brick and mortar businesses that you could tailor to your freelance writing career. Or you might even learn from your clients' successes and failures.
How do you keep yourself open to new information from outside the usual echo chamber? What are some of the most unique sources of business advice you've benefitted from so far?