Wondering if there’s any value to finding and using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system as a freelance writer?
Yes, there is. In fact, a CRM should be used from day 1, because although you won’t be using it daily from day 1 of your freelance writing career, the future you is going to be very happy you did…
Not treating your freelance writing services as a business?
As freelance writers, we make the mistake of thinking we don’t have a large enough base of clients to warrant the use of a CRM, but I can tell you that I wish I had used one from the get-go.
(See, now you don’t need to repeat my mistake). It’s my pleasure.
Because I don’t even remember many of my clients from way back when, and those I do, I don’t have contact details for because my computer experienced a crash and I lost everything, and I started my writing career on Elance (this was a writing jobs board that’s now Upwork) and all those clients are now lost to me because I didn’t keep track of them.
Also, I now want to analyse my numbers and improve my own marketing and the first stretch of my business is “lost” to me.
Not treating your freelance writing services as a business would be your greatest mistake. And it’s common among freelancers.
What do you use a CRM for?
Now, you don’t need an actual CRM system if it overwhelms you, although some are more complex than others, but most of them have a free version, or a trial period so you can test it out.
Screenshot of one my contacts in HubSpot’s CRM.
Using a simple Excel spreadsheet with these columns will work just as well in the beginning until you are ready to go pro:
1. Contact name
2. Company name
3. Email address
5. Work done
6. Price charged
7. Source of job (how was the job sourced?)
8. Any notes
CRM is kind of a personal thing and has to make sense to YOU, so you may need to experiment with a few before you find The One (mine is HubSpot).
The more detailed your marketing and sales efforts, the easier a CRM will make your life (if it’s the right one that is).
Benefits of CRM systems for freelance writers
Now here’s some of the major benefits for freelance writers to use CRM:
1. Keep track of clients, contacts, potential clients.
2. Set up the CRM to send you reminders about tasks for and about clients.
3. Keeps client information and communication organised.
4. When you eventually have your own team (if you so desire), they can easily access the records too and contribute to them so everyone’s on the same page. If anyone talks to a client, the info is all there, available to your whole team.
5. Eventually, you can analyse the numbers to help with your marketing, etc.
3 Recommended CRM’s for freelance writers
Here are some you can try, and which are simpler than others:
1. Insightly – free for up to 2 users
2. Really Simple Systems – free for up to 2 users
3. Capsule – free for up to 2 users (this is the one I would recommend out of the 3 listed here)
Helpful CRM tip
When you make a CRM choice for today though, it is very important that you have a marketing plan because the CRM of your choice should help make things easier for you.
That’s why I chose HubSpot’s, because although it’s very costly and I won’t be using the fully paid version for a while still, I am thinking long-term for when I do. Their marketing features are outstanding and when I do go very pro, I will have simplified my processes tremendously.
So be sure to have an idea of where you are taking your freelance writing business before you choose a CRM (although, having said that, most CRM’s allow for the transference of data so it would not be a complete train smash if you needed to move later on.)