If you’re not satisfied with the amount of work you have, think about how you look for work. Do you send out queries here and there? Are you only answering a handful of job ads each week? If so, at least one of your problems is the numbers, my friend.
Searching for work and offering your service should be a routine. Don’t try a few times and kick back to wait for the results. And certainly, don’t make a few attempts and get discouraged by a lack of positive results.
Compare freelancing to being a door-to-door salesman. There are dozens of reasons a door-to-door salesman doesn’t get into every house and dozens of reasons every presentation doesn’t end as a sale. Regardless, it’s his job to keep knocking and pushing whatever he’s pushing. Otherwise, he’ll starve.
Being a freelancer is a sales job and the numbers stack up in your favor the same way. The more you reach out, the more you wave your service in clients’ faces, the more opportunities you have to win.
Be prepared though if you’re one of those people who sees lots of shadows in the sunlight. More attempts may seem to mean more losses. Here’s how:
If you send out five queries, you may get one positive reply and you’ve only faced rejection four times. But if you send out 100 queries or reply to 100 job ads, you may get 10 replies. How you view those 90 attempts that didn’t bring you clients depends whether you’re a pessimist or an optimist.
The pessimist looks at this situation and sees only 10 successes but 90 failures. He’ll get frustrated by how many times he’s wasted his time and decide not to go to that extreme anymore. The optimist sees 10 successes that could lead to bigger opportunities and decides to work harder. Anything that isn’t a win, he charges it to the game.
Furthermore, trying to shield yourself from rejection by keeping the number of attempts low isn’t likely to turn out well. In reality, if you only make five attempts, chances are the result will be dead silence. Such a low number just isn’t your friend.
Yes, there are some slam dunk stories. There are times when you send a query or answer an ad, and just like that, it’s a connection. You’ve got a gig. It has happened to me a number of times. But those occasions are rare.
If you’re trying to thrive and survive on rare case scenarios, that’s your choice. But it’s not a smart one. To succeed, you need to do numbers, big numbers. Remember—routine, as in over and over.
Set a weekly or daily quota. In cases, where you don’t have any work or don’t have enough work, send queries and respond to ads daily. I suggest a minimum of five a day until your workload is where you want it to be.
Even once you have a steady, comfortable stream of work, I’m a firm believer in looking for more work and continuing to offering your service. I can’t think of any businesses that lose interest in attracting new customers because they already have customers. And I don’t suggest you do that either.