We ink the contracts next week, after which I embark on the latest chapter of my career; I become wholly responsible for the online presence of a medium-sized membership organization.

Clearly, I wanted this client; I pursued them for more than two years. And the project fits me so well it’s as if it was custom-tailored on Savile Row.

And yes, it’s a contract/retainer gig (freelancers love the sound of “retainer” – it rolls off the tongue like honey).

I am a very happy freelancer. Truly.

Passive Marketing vs Active Pursuit

I’ve long said copywriters shouldn’t meekly accept whatever work falls from the sky.

Instead, they should pursue the clients and projects that appeal to them – the projects and people they want to write for.

It’s not always easy. Chasing clients who aren’t convinced they need your help leads to a fair amount of rejection.

Which isn’t any fun.

Yet the rewards can be significant (just ask me next week).

For example, I recently spoke to an old friend and a copywriter from the Silicon Valley.

While he has a website (just barely) and sends out the odd enewsletter to a list he hand-compiled over the years, he’s never touched a blog or messed with social media (well, he’s on LinkedIn).

And he stays incredibly busy (six figures, easy).

What Does He Know That You Don’t?

He calls people. Cold calls them if needed. Asks for referrals. Works his network.

Basically, he exercises the simple, personal tactics that have always worked, but fell into disfavor when online media erupted.

Which is precisely why they work so well.

Despite the difficulties of a troubled economy, too few freelancers seem willing to take any risks (outside of a moment’s rejection, there isn’t much real risk to blowing a cold call).

And believe me, the old stuff still works. Cold calls, lumpy mailers, postcards – all will deliver high-quality clients.

Provided you’re willing to take a few small personal risks.

For example, I’m facing a year-end work overload. Five websites/online presences need building (along with the goodies that fill them, and the streams they connect to); several enewsletters have to be sent; a software product is launching; a local nonprofit needs a website and a favor… and there’s more. Much more. Way too much.

Exactly one of those jobs came to me via online channels.

Keep writing (and searching for the work that makes you happy), Tom Chandler.