Getting Work Through Referrals

In the beginning of your freelance technical writing career, a significant portion of your day will likely be spent looking for work. If you're excellent at your craft, however, that will change over time. Outstanding technical writers often get a large portion of their work through client referrals and recommendations.

It's simple. A great software company hires you to write some help files for their new speech recognition program. Your editor is delighted with your work. A few weeks later, a friend who runs his own company needs an annual report. The editor tells his friend how reliable, skilled, and professional you are and passes on your contact info. Voila! You just landed another gig.

If you want to get work through referrals, the most important thing is to complete all of your projects to the best of your ability. It's also essential to let your clients know you are interested in more work. When you send along your completed projects and invoices, let your clients know that they are free to pass along your contact information if they happen to know anybody else who may need a technical writer. Some clients may be reluctant to do this before checking with you first, so let them know in advance it's ok.

Another strategy some technical writers use to get more referrals is to offer their existing clients a discount for telling others about their services. You may tell your clients, for example, that you'll knock 10% off their next bill for a successful referral. This is a more aggressive strategy, but your clients may be more likely to mention your name instead of somebody else's if they know there is an incentive in it for them.

Last Updated: 05/05/2014