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How To Make A Consistent Income From Freelance Writing

How to make a consistent income from freelance writing

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.

Market yourself!

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.

Get organised

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!

Your copy!

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.

Consider;

  • 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!

Why You’re Struggling To Find Freelance Clients

5 reasons why you're struggling to find freelance clients

Freelance writing can be a tough gig. Heck, any freelance business has its ups and downs.

When I started out writing, I was so happy to get my first couple of clients, I didn’t care that I was only being paid $10 to write 500 words. Ouch! Not a highlight in my freelance career.

When you’re starting out or going through a quiet period in your business, it’s tempting to take on any work you can get. But, you should not be charging peanuts for your work – you’re worth way more than that!

There may be a few reasons why you’re struggling to find clients. You might be familiar with a few of these scenarios – don’t worry, there a few easy ways to fix them!

The Problem: You’re not pitching enough to freelance clients

Pitching is the process that’s going to guarantee you freelance work. Ideally, you should be sending at least 10 pitches per day. Yeah! that may seem like a lot, but considering you may only hear back from a handful of clients you pitch to, you need to become a one man pitching machine!

As a full time freelancer, regular pitching ensures I have a steady stream of work lined up.

You may get lucky and have the opportunity to take on more work than you can handle – don’t be afraid to turn down jobs if you’re busy. A stressed out freelancer isn’t the best recipe for producing quality work or meeting deadlines.

If you’re wondering where you can find jobs to apply for check out 15 places to find your first freelance client.

The Problem: Your pitches aren’t very good

If you’re not landing jobs, you may have a pitch problem. Most of us have sent at least one crap pitch in our time – Let’s face it! When you’re starting out, you don’t have a clue about these things!

If you’re pitching to freelance jobs sites, check out my free email course below for tips on how to pitch!

What makes the difference between a good and bad pitch?

A good pitch should be;

  • Concise and straight to the point. You don’t need to send a long pitch to a client.
  • Related to the job post – you can use a pitch template but direct it to the genre of work you’re applying for.
  • Send writing samples related to the job. For instance, if you’re applying for a job writing automotive blog posts, don’t send samples of nutrition content.
  • Say how your work is going to benefit the client.
  • Be polite and friendly.

Don’t;

  • Act desperate – never a good look.
  • Use long chunks of text.
  • Use one sentence pitches.
  • Use bad grammar or make spelling mistakes.

Problem: You’re not applying for the right type of jobs

Applying for jobs can be tricky when you have limited experience. But, when you’re starting out it helps to have a specific niche or range of genres you can write for.

Thousands of applicants are potentially applying for the same job, so you need to ensure you stand out.

#Scenario: You’re applying for copywriting gigs, such as writing product descriptions and web copy, but you only have experience in writing articles.

When I started freelancing, I only had experience creating articles and blog posts. I landed my first web copywriting gig (rewriting product descriptions) because I had experience in the same niche (beauty) and I could demonstrate my passion for the genre (via my personal blog). If you’re in the same situation, apply for jobs in the sectors where you have the most experience.

It’s tempting to want to apply for every job going, but your time will be better spent crafting quality pitches for jobs where you have experience.

The Problem: You’re overpricing your services

I’m not saying you should be charging $1/£1 per 100 words. Fuck no. But, overcharging for your services can result in a lack of work coming your way.

I recently did some hiring and you’d be surprised at the range of proposed fees that came my way. I had figures suggested from £7 to £300, and interestingly, the candidate requesting the largest amount had a weak proposal and no specific experience relating to what I required.

You’re potentially applying for jobs with thousands of other candidates, so as well as creating a kick-ass pitch, you need to consider your pricing.

Pricing your services;

  • Consider your service range.
  • Are you going to charge hourly or per project; for instance, if it takes you an hour to write an article of 500 words, you could base an hourly rate on 500 words of content.
  • What do you intend to earn per year (this will also help you to set an hourly rate)?
  • How much experience do you have in your genre?
  • What are your overheads?

Some clients will try to knock your fee down, but stick to your guns. Once you’ve set your fee, try to stick to it. You don’t want to undersell yourself either, so make sure you’re charging what your worth!

The Problem: You’re not promoting yourself!

Promote the shit out of yourself! That’s one piece of advice I’d give to budding freelance writers.

Get on social media and Linked In and start bigging yourself up!

Promote content you’ve written, your services, ask around for freelance work etc.

Having a website also helps – if you want to start a blog, check out my post here.

You don’t need a fancy website, but aim for a cleanish design and, of course, excellent copy and content that will really show off your skills. Potential clients may be checking out your work so link your services and portfolio too – you can find out how to write a services page for your website here. 

 

3 Reasons Why Guest Posting Is an Awesome Marketing Strategy

3 reasons why guest posting is an awesome marketing strategy

If you want to build your creative business or your reputation as a freelance writer, the most effective method is guest posting.

Guest posting is an incredible marketing strategy. With the correct guest posting methods, guest posting on other sites can take your business from stagnant to stratospheric. We’re not just talking about growing your website’s traffic (though, that will happen too!).

If you’re still unsure as to whether guest posting is for you, take a look at these three reasons as to why you need to hop on this awesome marketing strategy.

Pssst! Make sure you grab the free download at the end of the post on how to send a guest post pitch that rocks!

1.You become an authority figure in your niche

Guest posting on websites within your niche allows you to become an authority figure. How? First, you need to create high-quality content. Content with value will demonstrate your knowledge and experience in your specific genre, building your reputation and authority.

People who value your content will then want to know more about you, sending traffic to your website. It’s the perfect method for promoting your services or products, increasing sales and growing your overall creative business.

2. You get exposure to a new audience

Gaining exposure to new readers within your niche is one of the best strategies for growing your email list and promoting your services. Using guest posting will help you to connect with potential clients and customers, as well as building relationships with other creatives within your genre.

3. You’ll have samples for your portfolio

If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, then guest posting is a great way to build your portfolio. You’ll be able to link to your work in your pitches and use them in your online portfolio. If you need references or testimonials, ask the website owner for a short paragraph of feedback, so you can use it to pitch for work.

How to guest post in return for results

Many people underestimate the power of guest posting and don’t end up viewing the results they want.

It’s so important to write a powerful pitch that will convert into a guest post slot, and achieve the desired results you want – that is, building your authority, growing your audience, email list and selling more of your products or services.

You don’t need to be a fountain of knowledge on your chosen topic, but you do need to be able to create content of high value. How to do this;

  • Thoroughly research the website you want to guest post on.
  • Create an outline of a post that will bring something NEW to the site (dont write the full post until you have secured a slot).
  • Make sure its original – plagiarism will give you a bad reputation
  • Don’t just give your opinion – can you back up your content with facts, data, statistics?
  • Avoid linkbait titles
  • Can you demonstrate results – if you’re writing a post on the best methods to save time writing, then can you give examples of things that have worked for you.

Now you have an idea of the type of content your guest post should contain, you’ll want to know how to send a pitch that grabs an exclusive spot on your favourite site.

Get the FREE download sheet below for a precise strategy that will convert into winning guest post slots on your preferred websites.