Why Introverted Freelancers Should Reach Out to Local Businesses



You've probably become very comfortable in your freelancing routine, even during a pandemic.  You know which clients pay on time, who talks just enough for your personal taste, and what your job will entail.  What you can't predict is whether or not you'll get paid or if the same client will be around this time next year...or even three months from now.

While the scenario is typical in the freelance world, what we introverts didn't count on was the vast number of people who quit their jobs from hell to join our world.  Former allied health, hospitality, and service workers are now coders, marketers, and virtual assistants.  It's a safe bet to say that they're making more money than ever and their job satisfaction has exceeded their wildest expectations.

This is to say that complacency isn't a good look right now because we never know which way the wind will blow when it comes to the economy.  It's probably about time to flex certain muscles and venture out.  While many of us hate the task of selling, promoting your services to local businesses should be a little easier.

The Benefits of Keeping it Local
Assuming you have some experience and speak the language of the surrounding neighborhood, this puts you more than a few steps ahead of some random person they found on an outsourcing site.  Not knocking that particular hustle but it's getting oversaturated. Another thing that works for both parties is accountability but here are some other benefits - 
  • Your services may help increase their revenue.
  • If all goes well, it can evolve into a regular paying job.
  • You may earn discounts on products or services, or maybe a comp.
  • If you're a blogger or marketer, you can promote client goods that are unique or priced lower than the competition.
Time to Make a New Presentation Package
Even if your biz has slacked off recently, you can still put together some of your best assets and create a hot promotional campaign.  If you lack things to show off, then you may want to present interesting things in the area, such as one-time local events or neighborhood happenings that may interest the prospective client.  While there's a chance the business may be aware of this but if it's positive, it can be a nice conversation starter.
If they appear to bite, then ask if you can present your credentials.  Serious introverts may want to start with a sales letter that details what's good about your business and how they will benefit.  Here are some other things you may want to have in check as well - 
  • A solid social media presence (no pet pics, keep it professional) with at least a few followers
  • Positive feedback from verifiable clients (past and present, if possible).  If you have a bad rating on a public site like Yelp, then you may want to go into crisis management mode immediately...or hire a professional.
  • Accurate numbers for what you do (e.g. number of social media followers, client return-on-investment (ROI)).

Finally, you can also begin engagement with a letter of interest.  This isn't the same as a traditional sales letter.  You may want to write in a friendly tone that is less about making a sale but places more emphasis on making a connection.  Your call-to-action may be a benefit of signing up to receive email promotions or something that will promote ongoing engagement.

Introduce Yourself with a Simple Letter
Based on my experience, this isn't much different than writing a traditional cover letter except you won't send a resume.  Here's a basic template -

Intro - state who you are, how you heard about them, and the purpose of your business.

Benefits - without giving away too much, state how you can help their business grow or provide a convenience, such as fixing the networking system or using your user experience training to build a better website.

Close - thank them for their time and encourage them to add information or ask questions.  If your business is of a time-sensitive nature, promise to follow up in a couple of days.

That's it!  Three paragraphs total and try to get the contact information of the person you're likely to be working with directly, or makes the hiring decisions.  Only do cold calling if you feel you can close but don't force it.  Otherwise, it may be wise to keep a results log and maybe use A/B testing to tweak your approach as needed.