One thing that I’m sure puts many off freelance work is the thought of not making a consistent income month to month. I used to be one of those people!
Two years ago, I was unemployed, my confidence was at all time low, and I was struggling with depression and anxiety. I had two choices; I had the opportunity to undertake work experience in a local retail store (which was unpaid) or I could follow my ambitions and take a leap of faith into becoming a freelance writer.
Luckily, I chose the latter!
Yes, it was a jump into the unknown, but it really wasn’t as scary as I first imagined.
It doesn’t have to be scary for you either!
Maintaining a consistent income each month via freelance writing is totally doable. In two years, I’ve built up a freelance writing business that makes a steady income and I get to work with incredible clients from around the world, doing a job that I’m proud of!
If this sounds like something you’ve been dreaming of, you might like to know how I continually build my business.
Become a pro pitcher!
Pitching is the ultimate task you need to be doing daily to attract freelance clients (unless you’re already attracting clients via your website, in which case you’re already fucking awesome!).
Unless I’m fully booked out, I spend around an hour in the morning checking job boards to find projects to apply for. I save the ones I’m interested in to the bookmarks on my web browser and then I’ll go back and send a pitch for those jobs.
Pitching doesn’t need to be a complicated process, in fact, if you’re following a warm lead, its pretty easy.
The perfect pitch
- Keep your pitch concise and direct. No-one wants to hear the details of your ten year work history. Personalise your pitch and tailor it to the company you’re applying for.
- Use your best samples of work in your pitch. Ideally, the examples you include should be related to the genre of work the project requires.
- Demonstrate your skills. For instance, show confidence that you can write for an online audience, that you can create engaging content etc.
- Offer to go the extra mile. Maybe you can offer suggestions for topics or headlines, optimise your content for search engines, research key words – impress the client by showing that you’re willing do more than the minimum asked.
- Always read the job advert. Having hired others for projects, you’d be surprised at how many people dont read the job advert correctly. Read an ad thoroughly to check for the application procedure and any information you may need to supply.
Don’t sell yourself short
In other words, don’t undervalue your work. No good writer should be working for $1 per article.
When you’re starting out, it’s easy to set your pricing low to attract more clients, but the truth is, you’ll be burnt out quicker than you can say freelance writer – more work + less pay = zapped!!
Setting your pricing;
There’s no guide to setting your pricing when it comes to freelance writing. There are writers charging $10 for a 500 word blog post and some who charge $100.
When you’re considering your fees, think about the following;
- How much experience you have
- Your skills
- The type of writing work you can provide
- How long it will take you to complete the project
In my experience, copywriting for e-commerce and web pages has boosted my income, rather than writing blog posts or articles. I’m sure there are clients out there who are willing to pay more for articles and there are certainly some niches which are potentially more profitable than others.
Ultimately, it comes down to value! Quoting a fee of $300 for 500 words when you have little experience is likely to put potential clients off. But, you don’t want to quote too low either.
If you’re struggling to quote for a project, always price higher.
If you quote low, no client is going to say ‘well actually, I’ll pay you more than that’.
By quoting high, you’re allowing yourself room for some negotiation.
Don’t be afraid to raise your prices
As your experience grows, raise your prices higher. It may seem like you’ll be scaring off potential clients.
Trust me, you won’t!
When I raised my prices, I actually started getting more clients, which made me realise just how little I’d been undervaluing myself.
Knowing the right time to raise your prices;
- You get booked up quickly
- You’ve built your experience in a specific niche
- You’re getting amazing results from your work – testimonials, conversions, shares etc
- Your personal website/blog is growing
How to do it;
If you have your own website, consider making an announcement that as of X date, your prices will be increasing.
Use a pricing strategy to inform your current clients of your pricing increase.
I’ve mentioned before the power of self promotion and in the world of a freelance writer, marketing is something you need to be doing on a regular basis.
5 great marketing tactics;
- Linked in
- Social media
- Guest posting
- Your own blog
- Cold pitching
Linked in, Twitter and Facebook are all great places to set up a profile and connect with businesses and other freelancers. Why not share your work on social media (Pinterest is great if you have a blog), strike up conversations with potential clients, promote your services and establish relationships with other writers.
Guest posting is an amazing marketing strategy. You could guest post on bloggers websites or you could guest post on sites that pay for your work – grab the free download below for a comprehensive list of sites that pay!
If you have your own site, make sure you have a services page that lists your experience, skills and what you offer, as well as a call to action.
Cold pitching can be highly effective in promoting your services and winning clients.
A cold pitch is essentially the same as a warm lead, except that the person you’re emailing hasn’t asked for freelancers.
How to cold pitch;
- Research companies in your specific niche or genres
- Find the best person to contact – this may be the owner or someone in a high authority position. If you cant find this, tweet the company and ask for a contact email
- Personalise your pitch
- State what the company is lacking (for instance, they might not have a blog)
- State how you can help them – how is the client going to benefit from your services (perhaps you can increase product conversion rates)
- Show examples of your work and results
- State where the potential client can find you – your website, social media links etc.
A chaotic workspace is going to lead to an unproductive routine. Trust me, I’ve been there!
Organise your working space, so you have an area to work where you can be motivated and produce your best work.
You might also need a few tools to help you get shit done!
A few things that help my writing routine/business;
- Notebooks/notepads for keeping track of projects and finances – these are awesome!
- Asana for online notes
- Grammarly for checking spelling, grammar etc
- Google Docs for sharing work with clients
- Quickbooks for invoicing
Use your website to make a consistent income
If you’re not a blogger, it’s a good idea to set up your own freelance writing website – you can use this as your portfolio and to sell your services.
Your website should highlight your experience, skills and highlight testimonials from previous clients.
One thing you need to think about!
The difference between a good freelance writers website and a bad one is the copy!
Good copy will help to convert potential clients into sales.
- Writing copy with your ideal client in mind
- Specifying what your chosen niche or genres are
- Using personality to present your brand
- Showing enthusiasm – boring copy will lead to a snooze rather than a sale!
- Demonstrating how your services can benefit your client
- Letting clients know where they can find you – your social media links etc.
What steps do you take to making a consistent income from freelancing? Do you supplement your work from other income? Let me know!