Why I Lost my 1st Client as a Freelance Writer

WHY I LOST MY 1ST CLIENT AS A FREELANCE WRITER

A Content Project

In August 2020, a friend sent me a copywriting project from a member of her women group. A Content Manager was seeking two Freelance Writers for a 4-months content project. When I read the description, I didn’t feel confident about it because of my lack of experience. But I thought “Why not try it? I have nothing to lose.” 

Two days before a Freelance Writer – who I followed and admired – shared with me an article on pitching new clients. After reading the page, I decided to apply the author’s advice. I used and edited one of his e-mail templates. I did some research on the Content Manager (background, posts shared on Linkedin, works posted on Instagram) and wrote a personalise pitch. I highlighted her accomplishments and introduced myself as a Freelance Writer, as well as the services I provide. 

A few hours later, she responded and asked for a call appointment the next day. We discussed the copywriting project, her expectations, the workload and my interests regarding the mission. 

Then, as I offered in my e-mail, I wrote a free article on a subject she chose in order for her to evaluate the quality of my work. Two days after I submitted the article, she called me back to start a collaboration. We will have a week trial to see if we feel comfortable working together and if I still desire to work on the project, despite the workload and short deadlines. 

As you can imagine, I was super excited! By following, the article’s steps on pitching, I was able to get my first client on my first attempt. Speak on being committed!  

The content project was huge. To be honest, after reading the description, I thought “why isn’t she hiring specialised freelancers?”. 

The company is a Neo-Bank start-up. Their contents deal with accounting, finance, law, entrepreneurship. The workload was five SEO friendly articles per week —the length of each varied from 400 to 4000 words (pillar page). 

Clearly, I was out of my league. But I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to see what it looks like, how does it feel to be, to work as a Freelance Writer. That’s why I applied and accepted the project. I knew that the rate of failure was high, but I didn’t care. 

I saw it as an opportunity to see if I can write even on subjects outside of my comfort zone. Most importantly, do I still enjoy the process of writing

A week as a Freelance Writer

We started the week trial on Monday with a video conference. The Content Manager presented me the company, its purpose, its missions and so on. Then, we talked again about the project, and she assigned me four articles from 400 to 1500 words plus a 4000 words pillar page to write. I was pumped! I love a good challenge, and I was willing to work hard and to do my best. 

The same day in the afternoon, I started to write the first article. Every day, I woke up at 6 am to do my morning routine and by 8 am, I was on my laptop working. The task was challenging because I am not an accounting expert, and I needed to do numerous researches before writing something. But, it didn’t discourage me. I saw it as an occasion to learn about subjects that could one day be useful in my life. Being an entrepreneur, I had to know most of the things the articles were dealing with.

I did my best and almost reached the target. During the entire week, I was disciplined, confident in my writing ability, professional and faithful. I discovered a part of me that I looked for many many years. I was my own cheerleaders and was so in tune with my inner voice. I didn’t let fear get over my head. I stayed focus on my goal. 

On Friday, I wrote the four articles. But, I couldn’t finish writing the pillar page because I needed to do more research. In my opinion, a pillar page should be created after all the theme’s articles have been written. In my situation, it wasn’t the case.

I submitted everything by 2 pm. At 4:30 pm the Content Manager and I had a meeting to share some feedback about the week and the project. 

My first job as a Freelance Writer and I love the client! Crazy I know. But I've learned so much !

Hard Work is not always enough

Although I did my best, it wasn’t enough. I misused terminologies in one article and couldn’t meet the target. My lack of expertise was an issue.

She admitted her mistake for seeking any kind of Freelance Writer, instead of specialised ones. For this reason, we couldn’t continue the collaboration, even though I showed a keen interest and delivered four articles out of five (the fifth article had 2200 words instead of 4000). 

I felt disappointed because I don’t like losing. However, I couldn’t agree more with her. She needed Freelancers trained in accounting, entrepreneurship, finance and French law. So, I didn’t take it personally, but it did taste like a failure.

Failure is an Opportunity

Strangely, failure didn’t hurt me. I wasn’t depressed or sad. On the contrary, I felt relieved and proud. Because during the week, I applied and followed all the principles I believe would make anybody a Successful Freelance Writer or Entrepreneur. The level of commitment I displayed was impressive for me. I could hear the words of Olympia Lepoint:

I’ m going to do this no matter what’s going to happen. I may Fail itI may Not Fail it. I’m going to do well at this, and I’m going to see where it goes. I’m going to put my own into it and find out. And I put my own into it, and I Failed [laugh]. 

But something, inside of me shifted. I realised failing wasn’t that bad if I can spend more and more time at it I can actually do really well at this. That was the shift in thinking. I’m like ‘Alright, I’m going to spend more time in it, and I’m going to get this.’ ”

These words were all week in my head. For the first time, I understood and saw failure as an opportunity to learn, to grow and to improve. 

I believe this content project was the push I needed to create my business, to start pitching new clients, to take actions and jump into the water. 

Without this opportunity, I would still be doubting and questioning whether or not I can be a Freelance Writer or if I can find clients and make a living through writing. I wouldn’t have developed the faith muscle necessary when starting a business. I wouldn’t have applied and seen the results of the principles required to be successful. 

I don’t mean financial or material success. I mean having the courage to act, to go outside of our comfort zone.

Loosing my 1st client has been a great lesson and experience. Although, I failed. I have gained so much in experience

I have also learned so much during this week:

  • Pitching a new client,
  • Setting my rates as a Writer,
  • How to create a bill,
  • How to build my business and what structure should I choose.
  • Which software to use for my business.
  • What are my strengths? What do I have to improve?
  • How many articles can I write in a day, a week, a month?
  • Why is it important to have a Niche and to be an expert?

These are all essential things I needed to know because writing is a small part of my business. The biggest parts are the administration work, the pitching and the learning of new skills.  

I feel grateful to have had this opportunity. Although I failed, I don’t think that I have lost. If anything, I gained in experience, wisdom and articles to add in my portfolio! 😁

It also comforted my choice to be a Freelance Writer.

I hope my story will inspire and motivate you to pursue your dreams and goals. I am just at the beginning, and I can’t tell you everything that’s going to happen. But if you follow me, I will make sure to share with you every step of my journey

2 Comments

  • I can almost say “congratulations” for your first fail 😀.
    Have you ever thought that you with grow so much from a fail?
    Very good article and again congratulations my friend.

    • Thank you! 🙂

      I never thought that I will grow that much after failing at something.
      Usually, I get in a bad mood like most people and refused to look at it.
      But, this time I wasn’t afraid, and I was willing to face it.
      It took me a while to believe that the outcome is not attached to Who we Are. Failure doesn’t mean that you are bad. It just means that the result of the actions you took has been unsuccessful. That’s growth 😊