When should you give up?

Last week, I had an interesting chat with a woman who is relatively new to freelance copywriting. She told me about how she launched her business after a ten year career in PR and communications.
“Frankly, my corporate job was going nowhere fast,” she said. “So I decided to jump into freelancing with both feet.”
She quit her job. Ordered some business cards and letterhead. Set up a website. And began an aggressive outreach program to land what she hoped would be the first of many clients.
She contacted everyone in her network to announce the news about her new business – former colleagues, professional acquaintances, friends, family. “Even our lawn care company got letter from me,” she joked.
Then she wrote and published a short special report related to her specialty (which is, coincidently, writing special reports) and mailed it out, with a cover letter, to a targeted list of prospects.
But she didn’t stop there.
Soon after that mailing, she began a daily program of contacting prospects by email and other means and introducing herself and her freelance services to them. Over a period of three months or so, she reached out to more than 400 prospects this way.
And if that weren’t enough, she also became active on two LinkedIn groups where she was able to connect with more prospects, as well as a few potential referral sources.
After four months of this kind of hard work and determination, you’d think she would have attracted all the clients she could handle.
But that wasn’t the case.
In fact, although she had several “hot prospects” in the pipeline, and was building a enviable network of professional contacts, she had yet to land a single client.
Was she discouraged? You bet she was!
Was she ready to give up? I’m not sure. (I was afraid to ask!)
But then something interesting happened…
Within a two week period – actually a two week period just last month – she landed not one but three new clients.
The first two were prospects she had originally introduced herself to months ago (and stayed in touched with.) The third came by way of a referral.
One of those clients retained her for five sizable copywriting projects to be completed over the next year.
Now her business is bursting at the seams. Imagine if she had called it quits after the second month of massive effort? Or the third? Or the fourth?
The title of this article is “When should you give up?” But I confess, I don’t know the answer.
But what I do know is that most people – especially we solo professionals – tend to give up too soon rather than too late.
And that’s encouraging.

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