5 years in to my freelance writing business, I was feeling stuck.
Working with corporate clients was taking its toll on my creativity.
I wanted to work for clients who would feel the results from my writing on a personal level.
Not just marketing managers who get a lift in conversions from my copy and then give me a thumbs up.
Coincidentally, an old co-worker of mine called me up around the same time to tell me that she was starting design her own jewelry. She wanted to connect with jewelry shops in the US and needed help writing her emails and flyers in English. I agreed to help her out, and at the same time, I asked tons of questions about how jewelry designers like her sell their creations.
That’s when a realized that there are tens of thousands of Israeli jewelry designers, fashion designers, painters, sculptures and more, who want to sell their creations online, but struggle with writing their English web content. I decided I had to explore this opportunity. So here’s what I did…
I joined Israeli FB groups for Etsy sellers
For those of you who don’t know what Etsy is, it’s a marketplace that focuses on hand-crafted or vintage goods. Most of the products sold on Etsy are jewelry, crafts, paper goods, housewares and other artisan items.
I did a quick search in Facebook for the word “Etsy” written in Hebrew:
I found a couple of groups of Israeli Etsy sellers to join, like this one:
Then I just ‘lurked’ for about a week, reading members’ posts to understand what is important to them and what their challenges are.
I came across a lot of posts about how to write product descriptions correctly in English. Whenever members posted a question about vocabulary, grammar or SEO I would comment the best advice I could. By delivering value to the group, people got to know me and be convinced of my credibility.
I created a free English glossary of marketing words to share with the group.
I posted about my glossary in the group with a link. The link lead to a landing page where members could download the glossary in exchange for their email address.
I reached out to influencers in the industry
I sent cold FB messages to Israeli mentors in the Etsy and handcraft business niches.
- Collected almost 100 emails from the downloadable glossary.
- Offered a small promo to my new email list: free copy-editing services for 1 product page to the first four people who replied to my email.
- Pitched copy-editing services for product description pages to my new email list and started bringing in the orders!
- Uncovered a lot of potential in a brand new niche.
What did this whole experience teach me?
Targeting small local businesses who want to expand overseas can be very profitable.
They can’t afford to hire a ‘big name’ copywriter or an ad agency. As a new freelance writer, you need clients, even if it’s for lower pay. So it’s a perfect fit.
In addition, they see you as more than just a writer. They see you as someone who can help them solve a bigger problem. They don’t just need English content, they need help breaking into new markets.
So go out there and make things happen. Clients are everywhere. But, they’re not going to come to us until we’ve made a name for ourselves. We need to go to them. I don’t know how many times people ask me in social situations what I do and when I tell them they say, ‘Oh, I need to make an English version of my website.’ Or ‘I need to start a Facebook page in English for my company.’
What you can do NOW:
- Think about local small businesses that you can target.
- Go where they hang out and join their conversation.
- Find out what they need and give it to them.
- Get them on your email list and start pitching your services.
Got questions about pitching to small businesses? Ask in the comments below!