It was a pretty low moment for me.
I’d just had two discovery calls with clients I really wanted to work with. They were both in my niche, I loved their offers and they were well-known and would be great to add to my network.
It seemed like the calls had gone really well, but all I heard was crickets. So I waited … and waited … and waited.
When a couple weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything from either one, I said to my coach, “What am I even doing? Maybe I don’t have a clue. Maybe I’m not as good at this as I think I am. Nobody wants to work with me!”
I know, I know. The drama.
I convinced myself that I’d just gotten lucky up to that point with the clients I’d landed, and now the luck had run out. I was in a client dry spell, and I decided there just weren’t enough clients out there for everyone.
The Client Drought
The client drought is a tough beast to defeat, mainly because the battle you’re fighting isn’t with the industries you write for. It’s also not with your competition. If you feel like you’re in a wrestling match with clients, trying to convince them you’re the best for the job, you’re grappling with the wrong foe.
The real opponent you’re facing when it comes to the client drought is yourself.
Yep. Hate to break it to you, but you are your own worst enemy when it comes to those dry spells. In this article, I’m going to let you in on three common misconceptions about client acquisition and what you need to do instead to get over the client drought and back into the game.
Misconception #1: Copywriting clients are really hard to FIND.
Mind if I ask you a question?
Who needs a copywriter? Think about that for a minute. Is there a certain type of business or industry that has the corner on the market? Do they earn a certain amount of revenue? Sell a certain kind of product or service?
What picture are you painting in your mind about who needs your services?
Let me blow that up for you right now. Copywriting clients AREN’T hard to find. They’re literally everywhere. Anyone who has anything they’re trying to sell is someone who needs copy. Any product. Any service. Any industry.
If you’re having trouble finding clients, it’s not that there aren’t any clients out there to be had. You’re either dealing with one of two problems.
Misconception #2: Nobody wants to work with me.
This one is probably the most dangerous misconception of all, but guess what? It’s the one that we actually have the MOST control over doing something about! Why? Because this one is 100% you vs. you.
Once you begin thinking things like “nobody wants to work with me”, “I must not be a very good copywriter” or “maybe I don’t really know what I’m doing”, it can become a slippery downward spiral - one that can be really hard to pull yourself out of.
Think about it this way. If YOU don’t believe in yourself and what your services can do for clients, why would they? Confidence matters, and if you’re not feeling confident, it’s going to come out in your ability to land clients. So what can you do about it?
Well, first you have to settle the question about your abilities once and for all. Answer these three questions:
If you can answer yes to all three of those questions, then I challenge you to go to your whiteboard or grab a piece of paper and write these three statements down, keeping them in front of you while you work:
You need to believe these things about yourself before others will. If you have trouble with this (and we’ve ALL been there before!) find a friend or family member who will be your cheerleader and believe it FOR you until you believe it for yourself.
That’s what I did. I could honestly say that I had a lot of happy clients who were getting great results because of the copy I’d written for them. The problem was, I didn’t believe it, and it was showing in how I communicated on discovery calls.
When I went crying to my coach, she spotted the problem right away, and she and my husband became those cheerleaders for me until I could believe it for myself.
Now it’s a different matter altogether if you can’t answer yes to the three questions above. If what you’re dealing with isn’t a confidence issue, but a competence issue, then my advice for you is to keep honing your skills. Invest in yourself and your learning. Write write write write write.
There’s absolutely no shame in taking an honest look at your skills and recognizing that there’s room for improvement. We all started somewhere, and the only way to become an expert is to keep going! There’s no replacement for doing the hard work to hone your expertise if you’re not quite there yet.
Misconception #3: Landing clients is the only important thing in a business.
We’re going to veer off in a bit of a different direction for this one, so hang with me.
When I went through a client dry spell, I convinced myself that because I hadn’t immediately landed those two clients I really wanted, it meant I wasn’t a good copywriter. I let that one circumstance define my worth as a professional, and it was affecting every area of my business.
Is landing clients essential for a service provider like a copywriter? Yes, of course. But is it the ONLY thing we do inside our businesses? Not by a long shot!
Up to this point in my business (and this still holds true since then), I had closed around 80 percent of sales calls. Did I suddenly become bad at them overnight? No. There was something else going on, and I needed to look deeper into my business to find it.
The truth is, if we put all our focus on closing sales calls, other areas of our businesses might be getting the short end of the stick. I’m definitely not saying to stop prospecting - never stop prospecting - but it’s important to look at your business as a whole when you realize you’re going through a client dry spell. There may be something going on beneath the surface.
This was what had happened to me. I had put all my self-worth in my ability to close the clients I wanted and was ignoring other things I needed to be paying attention to in my business.
Like the program I was building.
I’d been meaning to create an online course for months, but I never had the time. I was fully booked with client work, so I just kept putting it off and putting it off. When I took a step back to really look at what was going on inside my business, I realized that it was actually a blessing in disguise that I didn’t have more clients on top of everything else.
I finally had the time to focus on my course, and that wouldn’t have happened had I onboarded two more clients right then. NOT closing those clients gave me the time I needed to finish and launch the course, opening up another stream of revenue inside my business, and freeing up more of my time.
Is it possible that NOT closing a client could be a blessing in disguise for you? Is there something else inside your business right now that needs your time and attention that would allow you to grow and scale more than another client would?
Bringing It All Together
Looking in the right places, working on your confidence, and checking under the hood of your business are three things that can help you break out of a client drought and start seeing the potential clients - and potential in your business - everywhere!
As for me, I decided that instead of moaning and groaning and worrying that people thought I was a crappy copywriter, I’d believe what my clients and results told me and keep pressing on. While I waited to hear back, I invested the time in building my program, which I was able to launch successfully and became a huge piece of something that’s coming very soon that I’m really excited about (see below!).
And you know what? Both those clients I really, really wanted to work with? It’s not that I had somehow come up short or wasn’t a good fit for them. It was simply a time frame issue - as in their time frame was not the same as mine, which happens all the time. I ended up working with both of them a few weeks later, and we had a great experience working together.
More from Christa Nichols
If you’re looking for a place where you can hone in your copywriting skills, develop research frameworks, and learn how to strategize, read the data and become a target audience mind readers, come check out Written Results Academy.
Written Results Academy is the only online program for sales copywriters that goes beyond writing words to teach the research methods, sales psychology, campaign strategy, data and analytics, mindset and business development you need to write the kind of sales copy that stands out and attracts high-ticket clients.
Doors open soon. To be the first to know, visit https://www.christanichols.com/wait-list.
Hi, I'm Christa, an Iowa-based messaging expert specializing in targeted messaging, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. I have one handsome hubby who's my partner in crime (not literally) and two great kids who keep us busy (Track and field! Volleyball! Basketball! All the sports!) Using words to help people promote what they love is my favorite!