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  • Diana Schneidman

How many phone calls to start getting freelance or consulting assignments?

My system for how to start making money quickly as a freelancer or consultant calls for telephoning the corporate managers most likely to need (and pay for) your services.

The secret (with “secret” here meaning “how it works”) is to call large numbers of people, all of them valid prospects for what you offer.

And my large number of choice is 1,000 individuals.

Yes, you read that right. 1,000!

And the secret of calling 1,000? (Again, “secret” means “how it works.”) Well, the secret is to break the task down into achievable parts.

You only need to make 50 calls a day. Then do that five work days a week. Then repeat for four weeks. At the end of four weeks you will have made 1,000 calls.

Be honest, what did you think when you read the 1,000 number?

The first time I read it (in The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman), I thought, “Well, sure, if you call 1,000 people, you ought to get at least one assignment.”

And then I thought about what I thought, and I thought, “Wow, this will work. This is something I can control and that will get results!”

I had already been phoning, but I believed that three calls every day were enough. I believed that somehow the universe would be less annoyed with me if I restricted how many times I bothered others on any given day.

But upon reflection, each of those last 47 calls is as valid as the first three. Since I only phone people whom I believe can benefit from my services, I am offering my help to more people every day, which is all for the good. I am making the world a better place one call at a time, 50 calls a day.

What’s it like in practice to make 1,000 calls in a single month?

Well, I still don’t know. Every time work has slowed down for some reason (such as working a full-time corporate job for a few years), I’ve filled my plate with assignments way before I have completed 1,000. At that point I’ve pulled back to substantially fewer calls per day to free up time for paying work.

This number may not be right for you. You may not have a good calling list so it will take substantial time to find good names and their contact info every day. You may be heavily involved in the quest for a full-time job. You may still be warming up to telephoning and find 50 calls way too stressful. The rest of your life (e.g., family obligations) may be interfering.

If 50 calls per day aren’t for you, determine your own number. Telephoning is not an all-or-nothing practice. But the more calls you make, the faster you get work.

Even one call is better than none. God is calling, “So buy a lottery ticket already.”

The very first call is the most important one of all. That’s one small step to your first client; one giant leap to building a successful practice.

Originally posted 3-30-09

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