Freelancers & agencies: how to get paid work during COVID-19

Send a message to all of your email contacts asking them if they know someone your services can help

Subject: Favor 🙏︎

Start off by wishing them safety and health, to show awareness and acknowledgement of what’s happening in the world.

Briefly mention the client work you’ve been doing, framed in terms of a heartwarming relatable benefit you provide your clients (ie not a businessy benefit like ‘higher conversions’).

Honestly admit that businesses have been cutting back and this affects you as well.

Mention something specific you can help their contact with.

Offer their contact something valuable upfront so your email contact is more likely to refer you to them.

Provide a pre-written template your contact can adapt and use. This makes it easier for them to refer you and gives you more control over how they talk about what you do. Focus the referral message mostly on your upfront offer so their contact doesn’t shy away thinking that you’ll hard pitch them.

Mention how much it would mean to you if your contact passed along your message to activate their intrinsic altruism.

To express your gratitude, offer to help them with something in return.

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If a client is requesting to end a contract or project, offer to continue working at a reduced scope and rate

Note: it’s important to be sensitive and not ask this of clients who have had to completely pause their operations and truly don’t have the cashflow to pay for your services.
Subject: Re: existing subject line

Acknowledge the difficulty of the situation and express your desire to keep supporting them.

Ask if you can work together with a reduced scope and rate focused on the highest impact activities so they can get enough ROI during a period of reduced cashflow to keep you on.

Provide 2-3 concrete high impact ideas you can implement for your client during this time so they can clearly see what they’d get out of continuing to work with you.

Ask them what they think to open the conversation.

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Template: proactively reach out to companies who are still actively spending and hiring

While many businesses have cut back their operations and spending, some others are still chugging along and have the budget to pay for your services.

How do you find these largely unaffected businesses?

1. Go to Facebook’s Ad Library and enter the names of a few businesses that you think would benefit from your services.

If you see that they posted an ad on or after March 16 (approximately when coronavirus started severely affecting businesses around the world), this shows that they still have spending money and are likely able to afford your services.

2. Enter ‘[name of company] jobs’ into Google.

If you see active job listings from this company that was posted on or after March 16, there’s a good chance that they also have the budget to still hire freelancers and contractors as well.

Now you can reach out to these prospects by providing 2-3 actionable ideas related to your services and tailored for their business. This is much more effective than just talking about your benefits and results because now you're not just offering skills and experience prospects have to figure out how to put to use, you’re offering them ready-to-go solutions to improve their business.

Subject: Come across your comment about LeadBot

In one sentence, mention where you found the prospect to open the conversation.

Mention you'd like to share your process for achieving a business goal that's important for them (and related to your services).

Share 2-3 key steps of your process. This lets you provide value and demonstrate your expertise upfront and shows them exactly what you can do for their business.

Ask them for an initial call, framed as a brainstorm session so they are excited to learn more from you. The call will give you a chance to build trust and rapport with them and further demonstrate your value to further entice them to hire you.

Can't afford to wait for leads or referrals to come through? Here are 6 more templates to proactively reach out to clients.

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Offer your clients and prospects a free strategy session

Provide value upfront by offering free strategy sessions to prospects and clients. Share a few actionable ideas of what their business can do to get through these times related to your services and some of them may hire you to implement them.
Subject: 1-on-1 strategy session

Offer to support their business during this time by providing a free strategy session. Subtly mention that there are just a few spots available to spur them to take action.

List a few actionable topics you can go over with them to pique their interest.

Provide an easy way for them to schedule a free time slot with you.

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"How do I get new clients?" No you don't have to create content, get active on social media or complete on job boards. Yes all of these help, but you're forced to play the waiting game. While your bills stack up... Instead you can proactively reach out to clients you want to work with. Here's how (and no, talking about your benefits is not enough). Yes, let's get proactive
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