YES there is a secret to landing more paying gigs if you are a freelance writer.
The most successful internet writers around already know this and have used it to turn their frowns upside down.
This post is designed to help you see the light so that you can finally carve out your piece of the pie.
The truth is there is plenty of work to go around but if you never put your best foot forward you’ll never get a crumb.
Here’s what you need to do if you are serious:
#1 – Get Prepared.
Think about hurricane preparedness or if you live in the frigid north, blizzard season. Surely you are aware of the precautions that you should be taking to make sure you and your family are safe in the event of a power outage due to a natural disaster, right?
Please say yes.
Anyway the same point goes with your freelance writing career.
You have to get ready–you absolutely must be prepared if you want to get paid.
Think about it like this.
Would you go to a restaurant that did not appear to be open for business?
Maybe they don’t have a sign up yet or the building doesn’t even look like it’s finished.
Whatever it is if they don’t look ready then you aren’t motivated to give them your money are you?
The same point applies to you.
The most important point that I want you to take away from this post is that if you are a freelance writer YOU ARE A BUSINESS.
Just like other traditional businesses have to prepare for success, the same is true for you.
Yes, preparation for the freelance writing biz is a little different, here are the steps:
- Open your store.
As a Freelance writer your store front is your website. If you don’t have a website then you are sending a message to the public that you aren’t really serious. The secret about money is it does take some to make some, even the lemonade stand kids know that someone has to buy lemons, water, sugar, and cups before they can make a dollar. I used to pay $.99/gallon for gasoline when I used to cut grass at 11 years old. I knew then that I had to invest the dollar before I could earn $10 per yard cutting grass. You need to invest in a website, if it’s $15 a month it’s worth the investment. If you don’t know how to set up your site check out the FREE website workshop (if you’re a subscriber it’s included in the VIP).
- Keep it simple.
For the love of cheese please don’t obsess over every little possible thing related to your website. When you are getting started you don’t need to worry about “knocking their socks off” with an awesome custom design, NO your FONT doesn’t matter. Instead you want to impress your potential clients with a SIMPLE neat and clean design theme that is easy to navigate and helps you explain who you are and what you do. In other words anyone should be able to determine who you are AND what you are about in about 30 seconds from visiting your site. I recommend a responsive wordpress theme.
#2 – Get Successful.
You have to be successful to be successful.
In order to find success as a freelance writer you must accomplish something that you can point to that separates you from everyone else.
This is why you always hear professional people introduced with all of their accomplishments before they come out.
It’s like, “coming to the stage you may have seen her column in XYZ magazine, she has also been published on popular blog A and popular blog B”.
This is what you need to work on now.
It’s your accomplishments that will win you clients more than anything else.
This works because your potential customers understand if you can accomplish this then you can do definitely do something to help them.
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
Here’s how to do it:
- Use strategy.
Write for money first then for promo. If you read this post and use this strategy you will find yourself published all over the place. Then you can build a much more impressive portfolio of your work. Customers want to see that you are “connected” and can get published. Now in their eyes you are a real pro even if your published work is just guest posts that you were not paid to write. Again you have to be successful to be successful you have to get some guest post published first so that you can impress other blog editors to also publish your work. After this clients will start to take you seriously.
#3 – Pitch Prospects
Now that you have a “store” set up and a decent portfolio it’s time to get some customers.
In order to do this you must understand that people are creatures of habit. This is a powerful concept that will work for you or against you depending on how you run your business.
If you have a car wash and you do an excellent job then people will refer you to their contacts AND you’ll get repeat customers.
However, if you do a lousy job then people will instead share the story about how lame you are and laugh at you.
Keep this in your mind before you pitch even your very first client.
You don’t know who will respond but you need to know in advance that who ever does is taking a chance on YOU.
Your job is to make them a very smart person for choosing you instead of someone else.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Find prospects to pitch.
You may not believe this but I have been getting all of my clients recently from the 101 Ways to Get paid to Write eBook that I published earlier this year. In it you’ll find tons of great blogs and websites that are thirsty for fresh new content. I sincerely believe that I win bids because of my portfolio. Once people click back through to my site they see what I have done and who I have written for and then boom they want to talk to me about writing for them. This is why I say you have to be successful to be successful. My freelance writing career started to really take off with a guest post on Shoemoney in February. From there I was able to land other guest posts and paying gigs.
- Create a standard proposal template.
I’m not going to give you mine, not because it’s super special or nothing but because it’s what works for me. You will need to create a proposal that will work for you. It should reflect who you are and what you do and sound like YOU. Spend some time researching the internet on example proposals here’s a great post to read. Whatever you do just make sure you customize each proposal DO NOT JUST SPAM PEOPLE WITH THE SAME CANNED EMAIL.
- Submit proposals systematically.
Whatever your system stick to it. I recommend sending proposals only on the days that you want to earn money. I have read about bloggers who send 10 proposals daily before 10 am; (BIG SHOUT OUT to Anthony Sills for pointing out this concept came from Ruth Zive.) Whatever you do don’t wait for clients to find you it doesn’t work like that–especially when you’re starting out.
#3 – Follow Up
Rest in peach Stephen Covey who would talk about sharpening the saw.
This concept is extremely important.
Remember you are at the bottom of the stair case and you want to climb to the top right?
Well you need to get your act together. Don’t worry, all you have to do is improve incrementally and systematically.
Once you publish another guest OR paid post make sure you update your website with images, etc that shows off what you have accomplished. You may not think much of it but it makes a big difference to your clients. (Speaking of that I need to update my site.)
PERCEPTION IS REALITY
I also recommend following up with your clients at the speed of electricity.
Someone you may have sent a proposal to may have a question, make DAMN sure you are VERY responsive. Customers get the impression of how you will work for them by how you communicate with them. If you take days to reply to an email then you’ll probably lose your client.
Here’s how to follow up and actually land more freelance writing gigs:
- GO HARD.
When someone asks you a question don’t just answer it start writing. Yeah this is more work but the more you put into something the more you will get out. I will say this is one secret that I have been using that I know makes a HUGE difference. Instead of just replying with a bland yes or know I reply with detailed examples of how I would write the article based on the question they asked. Remember if they are talking to me then I must understand that they are seriously considering hiring me right?—so therefore I start to write for them. Many times this works. Here’s how I do it. If a client asks hey what is your process, etc? I reply with 3 or more example article titles for them to choose from–this helps them see that I’m serious. Then they can pick one that they like, reply and then BOOM I get another client.
- SHOW OFF YOUR FEEDBACK.
It’s cool to show off your work but also share the feedback that you have been receiving for your posts. This is another huge secret because I know you want your article to get shared by 50+ people and it’s hard to do this on your blog that no one reads yet but this is easier to do on a larger more established blog. Again you have to be successful to be successful. Don’t forget to include the comments that you receive in your portfolio they can help you out a great deal. Call it something like “what people have been saying about my work”. Here’s an example of comments my recent posts have been receiving:
- HELP OTHERS.
The best way to build credibility is to show that you are willing to not only blog for cash for yourself but also take the time to help up and coming bloggers. I don’t know where I would be without the help that I have received from people like Gail Gardner, Carol Tice, and Bamidele Onibalusi. One thing for sure THEY DON”T HAVE TO HELP ANYONE they are already earning enough to take care of their families but still they take time to help people. If you do the same like they say what goes around comes around.
I sincerely hope this guide helps you accomplish big things on the internet as a freelance writer.
I wrote this long ass article to help you out and I really hope it does.
If you have any questions or feedback post a comment below.
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