Monday, May 2, 2011

Cold Calls: The Bane of the Freelancer's Existence

So if you think that being a freelance writer entails a life of sitting by the fire with a steaming English teapot while you craft brilliant prose by channeling your Muse ...


That's part of it.

That's the delicious part of it.

But, to get to that point, you also have to be willing to do the unthinkable.

Cold Calls.

You heard me right.

I see the shudders now through my computer screen.

Listen. Cold calls, when all is said and done, are the only way to go when you're trying to beat your competition. Don't sit there and tell me, "But I have a great query idea!" If you want to pay your mortgage and your bills ... if you want to feed your children and put clothes on everyone's back ... if you want to collect so much business that there's plenty left over for that trip to Yosemite, or better yet, a cruise or a flight to Paris ... you have to be willing to make cold calls.

When I started freelancing 10 years ago, I read this little tip in a book and thought, "You ARE kidding me." But then I decided to carve out just one week to do nothing but cold calls.

I won't kid you.

It's not for the faint of heart, and I hate every single blasted second of it.

And you may not think the results are that great. Expect a 1 percent return. That's right. For every 100 calls you make, expect one to turn into a client.

Here's the thing, though: I've had those clients (2 of them) for 10 years. Now let's do the math. If each of those clients gives me an average of six to eight stories per year, averaging $1,000 per story ... over 10 years ... do you see the income we're generating here?

If you just block out one week -- ONE WEEK -- for cold calls, yes, you will hear a lot of "Nos." But the YESes far outweigh them.

And just think -- if one of those out of 100 pays you $1 per word and hires you again and again, wouldn't you say that week spent of eating crow and begging for work over the phone was worth it?

You betcha.

So tomorrow ... I am going to suck it up and do the unthinkable.

I am going to embrace the cold call. And you can bet that instead of focusing on the rejections, I'm going to be dialing with dollar signs in my eyes.

Because I WILL land that one client who will make it all worth it.

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