The Ultimate 90 Day Plan to Boosting Your Freelance Business

Last week I shared with you my reflection on the last two years starting and growing an online business from scratch.

I hope you were left with two things:

  1. I wouldn’t be where I am without first starting.
  2. I wouldn’t be where I am without consistently taking action to move my business forward.

Behind 30 Days

Both of my course start with “30 Days or Less.” It’s a catchy phrase that implies it won’t take you a long time to get a new business off the ground.

And I stand by that.

You can lay the foundation to launch a successful freelance writing or virtual assistant business in 30 days or less. But laying a foundation and having enough clients or income coming in to quit your day job and leave work behind are two different things.

Building a business takes time.

And it also takes a lot of work.

But you can’t just work hard for a week (or a month) and then sit back to reap what you’ve sown. Because in reality planting for 30 days won’t grow you a life-sustaining crop.

You have to be in online business for the long haul.

And play the long game.

You can land one or multiple clients and start making money within your first 30 days. I’ve seen plenty of people do it!

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But many also get frustrated when they don’t and they want to give up.

And although I don’t get to see the inside of all of your businesses, I have talked to a lot of you. And most of you aren’t incorporating that consistent part into your businesses enough.

I.e. you get all excited and send a few pitches. Or spend a few weeks setting up “the perfect website.” But a few pitches or a nice looking site aren’t what make for a successful business that will be around one, three or 10 years from now.

Side note: I had to renew my domain the other day. I went with five years baby. I’m committed to Horkey HandBook not only still being around five years from now, but thriving like a mo fo. 

This is exactly why I host pitching challenges a few times per year. I want people to bust out of their comfort zones, pitch like crazy and see results. In the process fear is often busted, wider nets are thrown and people end the month with much more confidence than before (providing they fully participate in the contest.)

This post is for those of you that aren’t getting the results that you want for your business.

I want to pose a challenge to you for the next 90 days. Are you up for it?

I sure hope so!

Your Plan for the Next 90 Days

Your 90-day Plan to Boosting Your Freelance BusinessThis isn’t going to be the most complex plan on the planet. But I am hopeful it will be pretty darn effective!

1. Commit for 90 Days

If you don’t have any (or enough) clients, what I want you to do is to commit to prospecting for the next three months.

You can start today, you can start on the first of May or any time in the future. (Obviously, the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see results!)

2. Send 10 New Pitches EVERY DAY

Next, I want you to commit to sending 10 new pitches every day (M-F).

It doesn’t matter if they’re for writing gigs, VA jobs or a combination of the two. Do you and pitch for the work you want to land.

3. Track Your Pitches

Growth or Rockstar members of either of my courses have access to a customized pitch tracker. And best of all, on the front page is a list of places to look for jobs to pitch.

If you don’t have access to this, start your own in Excel, Google Sheets or on a piece of paper. Choose the method that works best for you and that you’ll actually use long-term.

At the end of every week, you should have 50 new pitches. In an average month, that equates to 200. And at the end of 90 days, that should be 600 pitches that you’ve sent!

And if you can’t land ONE job by sending 600 pitches…

4. Follow up

It’s not enough to just send 10 new pitches per week. If you’re not following up on them, you’re doing both you and your prospects a disservice.

People are busy. And apparently need to hear things seven times these days to take action. So you should commit to following up with each pitch you send 10 times (or until they say no, whichever comes first).

You can follow up via email, telephone, social media or even a handwritten note. Vary your methods and make yourself stand out from the crowd. And make sure that you track your follow ups, just like you do your pitches!

What’s the worst that can happen? Someone will tell you no thanks or not respond.

You will not get blacklisted from the internet or online business at large. People won’t be gossiping about your tenacity for following up.

If done properly, your follow up with produce a “yes,” a “not at this time,” or a “no.” You won’t get told to eff off.

5. Get out of Your Comfort Zone

It’s not enough to just pitch job boards.

Job boards are great – it’s how I found 90% of clients in the beginning. But they’re not the end all, be all.

You can find good clients using them (and I have), but I’d argue – more often than not – that their rates are less than what you could find on your own.

So get cold pitching.

Or start sending video pitches. (Don’t know what this is? It’s basically recording yourself pitching a prospect over video instead of email – talk about a great way to stand out from the crowd!)

And ask for higher rates than you think you’ll be able to get.

Pitch startups.

Or find you own new method. Just think outside the box and don’t keep doing the same thing that hasn’t been working for you.

6. Don’t Live out the Definition of Insanity

Know that it will take time for prospects to get back to you. That’s in part why you’re being proactive and following up with them.

But if things aren’t working, consider your pitch. Could you tweak it to make it more effective?

Are you asking for feedback when people tell you no? If not, you should be – that’s how you learn what to change or do differently.

Do you need better or more applicable samples? If so, write some. Post them on your own blog, as a guest post or in a Google doc if you have to.

Is your net too narrow? Start pitching for jobs outside of your niche. Pitch for anything you’re even remotely qualified for or interested in. See what happens!

Is your net too wide? Maybe you’re not focused in your pitch. Instead of trying to be perceived as an expert in one or two areas, you’re trying to impress people with being a jack of all trades. (People want to feel confident you can perform what they specifically need and will relate to you when you say you can.)

A Few More Tips

  1. Quality is just as important as quantity. Research your prospect and their business when you can and use that information to compliment them authentically and make a connection right off the bat.
  2. Make your pitch about them, not you. Most pitches I see are all about the freelancer and what they can do. Although those details may be important, the pitch should really be about the prospective client, their pain points and how their business will benefit as a result of working with you.
  3. You have time. If you don’t have any (or enough) clients, you have time to grow your business. If you don’t, you won’t have time to service those clients you say you want. So take any time that you can perform work for pay and use that to market your new business. I’d recommend using 90% of your available time to pitch for new clients. (The other 10% can be for writing samples, working on your website, etc.)
  4. Be yourself and have some fun! Pitching is only painful if you make it that way. Focus on the end result you’re looking for – finding and working with cool clients and businesses. Pitch these prospects using a conservative (rather than uber formal or professional) tone and let the real you shine. People like working with real people – use your uniqueness to set yourself apart!

In Conclusion

Building a successful freelance business is a long game.

Although you can achieve massive results in 30 days or less, commit to building your new business for at least two years.

Your mental commitment is only step one. You need to follow that up with massive action. If you don’t have any (or enough) clients, your number one job right now is to find some.

And that takes putting yourself out there.

A lot.

Use the above 90 day plan to fill your client roster over the next three months. Put in the work, sow those oats and in a few months, your field should be overflowing.

Challenge accepted?

42 thoughts on “The Ultimate 90 Day Plan to Boosting Your Freelance Business

  1. This is great advice Gina and couldn’t have come at a better time. 😉

    I see that I’m not doing near enough pitching, and that I need to make it a priority. I’ll be working on this for sure in the next 90 days, stay tuned!

  2. Fantastic Post Gina! As a brand new freelancer this has given me the focus and motivation I need to move forward and succeed. It also reminds me that I am building a life long business, not a temporary one, and as everyone knows good things take time to develop! Nothing good ever comes without hard work and determination…so here is to the next 90 Days!

  3. This is a great post Gina! I especially love the pitching advice. Ten pitches a day is a lot! I’m excited to take the challenge. I had a consistent freelance business going four years ago, but I let it lapse while I was busy having three kids, ha ha. Today, I got my first recurrent job (not a guest post) in 3 years, and let me tell you, I was tapping your advice in the pitch I sent out for it. Thanks for the help 🙂

  4. Totally the kick in the pants I need. I’ve been pitching, but definitely not at this volume. I need more work! So I’m committing to 5 pitches a day for the rest of April to get in the habit. Then I’ll kick it into over-drive and accept the whole challenge with 10/day for May, June, and at least part of July. Unless my roster gets full before then–cause that’d just be awesome too!

    Thanks Gina!

  5. Thanks for this wonderful post, Gina. I can see that I have not been doing enough for my freelance writing business. But I take this challenge, 10 pitches a day, I can do it.
    Thanks again.

  6. I’m really feeling this post Gina. I think I’ve been maybe a little too focused on samples and guest posts and not enough on pitching and the thing that I’m actually going to get paid for. This is likely because I was feeling discouraged at times when I thought I needed more samples.

    Starting today this ends! I’m accepting the challenge completely and I’m going to go the 90/10 route of concentrating on prospecting first and blogging/guest posts with the remaining time. You rock!

  7. Wow, Gina, perfect timing of this motivated post for me as well! I’ve been working in spurts for awhile now on my VA business, and your post has come at the perfect time, as my motivation is high for some focused intensity. Challenge accepted!

  8. You just made one of the hardest parts of freelancing seem so easy. I definitely need to take my pitching up a notch and thanks to this post, I know how. Thanks so much!

  9. Your timing with this post is impeccable! I just committed myself to upping my pitching game – and now I’m taking it a step further by publicly stating it. Thanks for the motivation and valuable information that I can put into action!

  10. So I finally got around to reading this and I’m so glad I did. This challenge is just what I need! Especially since I’m getting so much better at tackling my goals – I’m pretty confident now that I can complete a challenge. I think I’ll start this on the first of May. This way I’ll work a bit harder on new blog. I can’t wait to show it off!

  11. So, I’m trying to pitch like crazy but I’m running into two problems, 1) Every pitch I formulate takes me FOREVER to write. I spent thirty minutes on one pitch today. With three kids, a husband, and a house to manage I don’t have thirty minutes for every pitch! and 2) I can’t find enough places to pitch that I’m qualified for.

    I am letting out a great big sigh right now. I hope it’s just one of those days, and I can get back on track quickly!

    • Hey Amber,

      Couple things: 1. Use whatever time you have available to do client work to pitch – if that’s only two hours and a pitch takes you 30 minutes to write, then feel good about sending four solid pitches. 2. You’ll get faster at pitching – the basic formula is: Make a connection off the bat, identify a need (politely and not by telling them what’s wrong) and pitch yourself as the solution. Make it more about them than you. 3. Follow-up is JUST as important, so don’t miss that step. 4. There are literally billions of blogs and companies – have you Googled your niche + write for us? Can you widen your net and try new niches?

      Don’t give up – others feel the same, but the ones that push through, get creative and stick it out are the ones that typically succeed. Thanks for reading!

      ~Gina

      • Thanks for the encouragement Gina, I won’t give up! But I might make my goal five pitches a day as opposed to 10 until I can get faster at it. I have three young kids, a husband, and a house to take care of!
        I know a lot of people start out like me, doing it part time, as the night job.

  12. This post makes me so excited — I had just decided to do a 90 day money making challenge, and then stumbled across your post on Pinterest. Thanks for the tips and motivation!

  13. Whoa, Gina. That’s what I’m talkin’ about! A challenge like this – with the focus, discipline and effort it requires – goes to show that you don’t really know if you will be successful at freelancing long term until you’ve truly applied yourself. This challenge is a great way to test that determination for new freelancers. I dig it.

  14. Hi, Gina.

    Great post! I agree with you and I want to take the challenge, starting from tomorrow. If my math is correct, by February 23 I shall be done with it.

    I just came across your blog looking for a 90 days plan to jumpstart my freelance business.

    Only thing is that I specialize in a different niche, so I wanted to ask you: what do you recommend for a Freelance Web Developer?

    Look forward to hear back from you.

    Regards,
    Juan José

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