The Freelancer Technique

Similar to the Puppy Dog Close, the Freelancer Technique works especially well in those fields where freelancing (independent contracting) is commonplace. A recent college grad used this technique very successfully in the advertising field. He put together a full portfolio of services he could provide to local advertising firms, including freelance writing, design, and voice talent. He then contacted all the area advertising agencies, said he had some materials to forward to them, and asked if they would give him the name of the owner or creative director of the agency. They all did, and his first goal was achieved: he had the names of the target contacts. He then wrote letters to those individuals, introducing himself as a freelancer. He followed up these letters a week later with a phone call and virtually every person took his call! Several set up appointments to talk about potentially working with him on a freelance contract basis. These appointments (interviews?) allowed him to show his work portfolio and open the door when future needs would arise. He then followed up with a "thank you" note to each.

Result? In less than two weeks, he had gone from being a total unknown in the ad agency business to one of the best-known freelancers in the area. He came up with several freelance contracts, and eventually landed a job with one of the agencies he freelanced for as an account executive and chief copywriter.

I may not be able to hire right now. But I can always use additional help.

Why does this approach work? Because most companies will only talk about "employment" when they have a current, active need. If he had sent out his material as a solicitation for employment, he likely would have gotten no response. But many companies are very willing to talk to freelancers regardless of their current needs.

The Freelancer Technique works well in all fields where independent contractors are commonplace, such as the creative fields (Advertising, Publishing, Writing, Arts), technical fields (Programming, Engineering), and specialty fields (Accounting, Legal, Medical). The side benefit is that the pay is usually quite good (anywhere from 25 to 100 percent higher than the average wage for similar in-house work), although you are on your own in the perks category.

It usually costs very little to establish yourself as a freelancer (other than a basic work portfolio and an outline of your services), and it often opens doors that would otherwise be shut. And it sure beats flipping burgers at McDonald's!