Ad budgets are slashed and there are layoffs at ad agencies. It is still a good time to be a freelancer in a bad economy. The spending for ad is down. That is where the freelance copywriter comes in.
You have lower overhead and can bid lower than an agency can.
You are not the only one who is starting a freelance career. People are trying to increase their income by taking on freelance work. Freelancing is how most of the laid off copywriter are getting by while they are out of a job. You have to start off right to beat out the competition.
For new freelancers, small businesses that can't afford an ad agency retainer are a great source for that first job. Even in a stable economy these companies are a great resource.
A seasoned freelance may want to begin to re-contact and try to connect with businesses that did not have work for you a year ago. The situation may have changed. You are at an advantage simply because you have contacted them in the past.
Create Writing Samples
You have to have writing samples to get work as a freelance copywriter. If you are just starting out, create a few spec ads or rewrite a news article.
You will not get work based on your pretty logo or letterhead. Clear, concise writing samples are what you have to have in order to get work.
Always have a portfolio prepared and on hand. Every potential client is going to want to see samples of your work. Send them to your website, email the portfolio, or fax it.
Just be sure to have your portfolio ready before you make customer contact. Be prepared and yu will get more clients.
Do Not Change Your Rates
It is hard to set your rates. It is hard to know whether to charge by the hour, job, or to offer both options. Do not lower your rates because the economy is off. Offer specials or one time discounts. This way, you help your clients with strained budgets and have a way to go back to your old rates when things turn around and not have to explain yourself to your clients.
No contract, no work. Never start work without a signed contract in hand. 99% of clients will pay on time, but you never know which one is going to fall into the 1% category.
The economy is not an excuse for a client to skip out on payment. Do not let yourself think that paying you should be at the bottom a a clients list or an option they can ignore.
You lived up to your part, now they must live up to theirs.
Remember, this situation can be very temporary. You may get called back to work at any time. Freelancing can be a good way to get a boot in the door at a new agency when the economy starts up again.
If you intend to keep on freelancing, now is a good time to get new clients and establish long term relationships.