Get and Keep Writing Clients with Systems, Automation and Mindset
By Beth Scott | May 1, 2017
When you became a writer, you never thought you’d be dealing with other people all day long, did you?
Neither did I.
I started copywriting in 2015, after a relocation inspired me to change careers. I’d always written fiction as a hobby, so why not get paid while I finished my novel? Being almost entirely self-taught and entering a digital environment light years away from anything David Ogilvy ever experienced meant I had to learn on my feet and go beyond the traditional ways of finding paying clients.
I soon discovered the three most important things for sustainable client attraction and retention were systems, automation, and mindset — and they’re vital whether your business is two weeks or two decades old.
So what do I mean by systems, automation, and mindset?
Systems are the day-to-day functions of your business: repeatable patterns you put in place to get clients, serve them well, and keep them coming back. Dependable systems allow you to measure success easily, diagnose problems quickly, and scale your business as you grow.
Systemizing parts of your business is as simple as identifying sequences of actions, such as checking emails or gathering leads — and creating a repeatable, dependable to-do list that requires as little brainpower as possible. This way, you save your creativity for where it matters.
A system can be as simple as your daily routine. Or, you can use a complex Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) that handles thousands of pieces of data about your clients and their projects. A CRM is a great investment, whether you spend time setting up a spreadsheet detailing your clients’ contact details, project outlines, contracts, and deadlines, or spend money for all-in-one software.
A system I’ve designed for myself is a content creation system that lays out what I need to post on which social networks and when, in order to attract new leads. This way I’m not thinking “argh, I need to post to LinkedIn more often!” or “what on earth will I write about today?” I already have a blueprint. (Do I follow it as often as I should? No, but consistency is a different challenge entirely!) It’s a great way to “pull” interested leads toward you — something I’ll be talking about more later in the series.
Your weapon of choice when it comes to systemization is automation.
Automation is simply the act of making a task — or system of tasks — automatic. It saves you time, and when you automate proven business systems with a personal touch, you serve your clients better and free up more brainpower and creativity for your projects.
Building automation into your business doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. For example, automation services such as the free IFTTT program or the very affordable Zapier app platform combine the abilities of different apps and technology to create powerful little improvements to your client funnel like reminders, follow ups, and social media touches. If you have a problem forgetting appointments, you can integrate your phone number with your calendar apps and get a text 30 minutes before a call. Want to wish your clients a happy birthday? Combine your Google Calendar with Facebook to automatically post a photo of a birthday cake on their special day!
Outsourcing is another form of automation, in that you’re paying someone else to do the work. This works great for tasks such as research, or even first drafts. I personally know writers who outsource lead generation by giving a set of criteria to researchers who then go and find companies that fit the bill: like buying a list, but completely personalized. And, if you’re struggling with specific business processes, outsourcing them can be an excellent way to solve your problems.
There’s one last step that ties everything together: mindset. Frankly, this is the most difficult part. For example, I can tell you right now that there are hundreds — even thousands — of people who need your writing skills, will value you, and can afford you, but you won’t always find it easy to believe it.
It can be difficult, when you haven’t got systems in place, to see the abundance that’s out there. Don’t fall prey to scarcity thinking, which leads to fear, which leads to lowering your prices and devaluing your services. Instead, recognize that your perfect clients are out there. All you need to do is find them.
Take a deep breath. You got this!
In the next article, I’ll be showing you where to find clients you’ll love working with and how to reach out to them effectively. Stay tuned!
This article is part the series: Attracting Clients with Systems
- Part 1 (this page): Get and Keep Writing Clients with Systems, Automation and Mindset
- Part 2: How to Use the “Pushing” Method to Attract Writing Clients
- Part 3: How to Use the “Pulling” Method of Attracting Writing Clients
- Part 4: How to Foster Great Copywriting Client Relationships