The other day I was talking with a fellow copywriter about how she approaches networking, client projects and marketing in general. She lives in Santa Barbara and regularly makes an hour and a half commute to meet with clients and attend networking events. She mentioned that a writer friend on the East Coast conducts all business by email which is why my West Coast writer friend thinks her business is struggling.
But I don’t necessarily agree. I’m going to piggyback a bit off Lori Widmer’s post where she asks whether or not in-person client meetings are really necessary. While the West Coast copywriter says that in-person meetings and local networking events have been keys to her success, I have also encountered other copywriters/freelance writers operating strictly online who are doing pretty well for themselves.
For instance, Devon Ellington has stated that she only deals with clients by email because all instructions and expectations are clear and in writing. And when James Chartrand of Men with Pens revealed she was in fact a female, she stated that she was able to keep her identity a secret because she only conducted business by email and never spoke with clients by phone.
I do find that phone calls can become time sucks if you don’t remain in control of the conversation, but there are times I feel the need to speak directly with a client to get clarification. Some clients don’t communicate well in writing which is the reason they need a writer. I schedule all phone calls in advance.
Meeting clients in person when nothing solid is in the works just doesn’t work for me right now since I take care of a three year old all day. But if the offer is tempting enough, and the prospect is willing to pay me for the consultation, I won’t say no. I can find a sitter. Thankfully the Internet gives writers more options to set up a business model that meets specific, individual needs.