What makes freelance writing ideally suited to earning an income online? There are so many ways to network and meet clients online. You can develop an online presence and quickly grow your own business. People need content—there’s always work for good freelancers.
It doesn't matter how desperate your financial situation is or how long you’ve been trying to make money online, freelancing can help turn things around for you. It is important to set yourself apart in some way, which is something we’ll talk about.
The life of a freelance writer can be a great one if you plan things the right way. There’s plenty of demand and projects to choose from, once you start to build your reputation. You can pick and choose from projects that really appeal to you.
Now, let’s talk about how to get started.
Step 1: Figure Out Who You Are As a Freelance Writer
Your first step is to figure out who you are as a freelance writer.
Have you chosen which services you'll offer as a freelance writer? Writing articles, reports, ebooks, sales copy, etc.
Great-- now investigate other freelancers and note what sets them apart. How do they get clients? Why do clients hire them over someone else? What do they charge and which special packages do they offer?
After you've done some digging into who the other freelancers are, it's time to really figure out who you are. Which services are you going to offer? Which packages are you going to offer? How will you get clients? Why will clients hire you over someone else? This is all part of developing your USP, or Unique Selling Proposition.
Your USP is key as you get started as a freelance writer. You want to make a splash when you enter the market.
I won't lie-- there's a lot of competition out there, especially among writers. You can't offer the same old thing everyone else is offering, in the same way. Figure out why clients will hire you, without competing on price necessarily, and make that clear in how you present yourself.
Step 2: Figure Out Who Your Clients Are Going To Be
There are so many different kinds of clients out there ready to hire you. Some are offline business owners. Some are Internet marketers. Some are going to hire you as a sub-contractor. Some have a lot of capital. Others have to pinch pennies to hire you. Some are really easy to work with. Some are extremely challenging to work with.
I really need to tell you that the good old 80/20 principle is very much present when you're talking about clients. Some of your clients will end up being more trouble than they're worth. Other clients will become beloved, almost like members of your family. If you want to save your sanity and earn the most money, you'll eventually want to focus on those that are easy to work with and pay well and quickly.
Unfortunately, like everything else that the 80/20 rule touches, you can’t always predict in advance which clients will fit into which part of the equation.
Your client base is something that will fluctuate over time. When you’re first starting out, it's easy to feel like you just want to take anything you can get. That's okay because it's a learning process; just make sure you don't take on too much too fast. You should be very aware that you can fire a client if they’re too much trouble.
Draft a list of qualities your ideal client has. Then, consider where you might find clients like this. Where do they hang out? What are their top needs? What will convince them to hire you? It's well worth the trouble it takes to find your ideal clients.
Step 3: Figure out What Makes You Special as a Writer
We talked a little about this, but let's go even more in depth. There's something (probably many things) that sets you apart from other freelance writers out there.
The packages you offer
How much you charge
Your ability to innovate
Whatever it is, figure it out. If you were a client and were looking at all the writers available for the task at hand, why would you hire you?
Remember that businesses aren't just hiring you to write them an article or an ebook or whatever. They're hiring you to produce results. They want that article to drive traffic and help boost their sales. They want that book you write for them to sell really well.
When you're considering what's special about you, consider how you can help the client reach their goal. If you go above and beyond, deliver great work consistently, and work well with deadlines, you'll have more excellent clients than you ever dreamed possible.
It's sometimes hard to think of yourself in these really positive terms. For some people, it's no issue. But I've found that many people who struggle online tend to have relatively low self-esteem and almost feel like they're bragging if they talk their talents and skills up.
Please don't think of it that way. As a writer and freelancer, it's your job to sell yourself. The beauty of doing it online is that it's often less intimidating to do so. You're special, so figure out why.
Step 4: Get Better, Fast!
If you want to earn money as a freelance writer over the next several months, it's time to think creatively about how to get better, fast. It might be that you don't have much experience as a writer yet. It might be that you are experienced but need a refresher on what's working now-- you have to be on top of things for your clients.
That means you need to do some fast research and fast practice. I don't want you to take dozens of courses on the skill you want to acquire. If you're feeling stuck and feel like you don't have a lot to offer after all, then find one small but high in demand type of writing you can quickly learn and offer to businesses.
Focus on researching your skill and practicing. Then, you’ll be an expert on that style of writing and people will pay handsomely for that.
Or, maybe you want to become more specialized. Maybe you want to offer your services as a copywriter because you've heard they are paid better than article writers. But, you're really intimidated because you've never written a sales letter. That's fine-- focus your sights on learning how to write the best WSO (Warrior Special Offer) sales letters, for example. These tend to be shorter, easier to write, and are high in demand. Zero in on a subset of a skill and then you can work on getting better at the skill overall.
Perhaps you want to write eBooks for clients but you're not sure how. Focus on becoming an expert on that. Go through IMIT content to help learn how. Focus on writing short reports for a great price for clients until you get your footing.
In 6 In 6 Coaching by Jason Fladlien And Wilson Mattos (which members of my Earn 1K A Day site get for free), Jason remarks that you can become an expert on just about anything in 15 hours.
That's it. No, you're not going to become a world-renowned medical expert in 15 hours. But you can learn to write great articles, write killer copy, and so on in 15 hours. Focus on a small subset of a skill and grow from there, adding a new skill every week or every month.
Get better faster by being innovative, knowing when good enough is good enough, and by figuring out what clients really want and are willing to pay for.
Step 5: Set Up Shop
This is where things start to get real. You've beefed up your skills, figured out what sets you apart from others, and know who your target clients are. Now, you need to set up a "home" for yourself on the web. Potential clients need to know where they can find you to hire you for writing. You need to have somewhere you can link to as part of marketing yourself.
If you are willing to spend a bit of money at this point, go ahead and set up a hosting account (~$10 a month), a domain name (~$10), and a WordPress blog (Free! Set this up via your hosting cPanel). Don't worry about your domain name-- choose whatever name you'd like for your freelance writing business.
As for what's going on your website, I recommend the following:
Home page copy -- start with a headline that calls out to your preferred clients (what do they really need and want?). Lead into your story, your qualifications, and why hiring you is the best choice.
Samples-- show potential clients what you can do. Specify that these are just samples and their needs will be discussed after ordering.
About me -- Your clients will likely never meet you in person. Who are you? Why should they trust and hire you? What's your experience level?
Contact -- Make it easy for clients to contact and hire you.
Client feedback -- Have your clients give you feedback to post on your site. This social proof works really well when others are deciding whether to hire you.
Rates- - You can post your rates, or not. It's up to you and your business model.
That's really it. You can certainly add more things in the future, but that's it for now. Ideally, you'll take just 1-2 days to set up your simple but professional looking freelancer site.
Step 6: Start Networking
Now that your website is up, you can start advertising your services. The ideal way to do this is by networking. Over the next 6 months, you should become known as the "go to" freelance writer offering what you offer. How can you make a name for yourself?
First, consider that most people are considered experts only because they've named themselves that. The best writers and copywriters have a reputation for being the best because they tell people they're the best and they deliver on what they promise. That's not all that hard to do, particularly since so many freelancers are unreliable.
It's so important for you to start networking. Join Facebook and Twitter. Find Facebook pages and groups targeted to the type of people who are likely to hire you. You should never spam these pages or even directly offer your services. Answer the questions you know how to answer. Strike up conversation. Make sure your profile links out to your site.
When it's appropriate, you can refer to the projects you work on for clients or the work you're doing. You simply want people to know you're an expert and that you're for hire.
You can also network with other freelance writers-- getting overflow work from others is an easy way to get experience and boost your income.
You should pop into the social sites at least a little every day. Join relevant forums and market yourself appropriately there. Start to write guest blog posts for relevant blogs, and more. Draft a plan for the next 6 months on how you can get to know other freelancers and your ideal clients.
Where do they hang out? How can you make yourself known to them in a non-spammy way? How do already-successful freelancers in your field do it?
You have the talent, you have the website, now get out there and rub some virtual elbows.
Step 7: Free Methods You Can Use To Advertise Your Services
Besides networking, there are many free methods you can use to get your name out there as a great freelance writer to hire. Pick and choose from these strategies and add them to your daily plans for the next six months.
Article marketing-- Start posting informative blog posts related to the service you provide. This information should be really helpful, with the call to action to hire you for a job well done. These can be posted on your website to encourage search engine traffic. They can also be posted in article directories and as guest blog posts.
List building—This is a great way to start marketing yourself now. First, GetResponse often offers a free trial for their autoresponder service. Write a free, helpful guide on effective web content. In the guide, note that you're available for hire. Give this guide away in exchange for an email opt-in. Your guide will sell for you and you can email your list with special offers. You can get people on this list with free search engine traffic, by networking, article marketing, social media, and more.
Contacting those who need help-- Business owners are advertising, or trying to, all over the web. Find where they are and where they might need help. Maybe someone has awful copy on their ad. Maybe someone has a really poorly written product. Find a socially appropriate way to approach these people with a helping mentality and you're likely to get some people to hire you to fix their writing.
Social media-- This goes along with your networking, but it bears repeating. Social media, networking, and community are the best ways to grow your freelancing business. Use social media, get to be known as an expert in what you do, and you'll rarely have to hunt for clients-- they'll come to you. This can happen much more quickly than you might think.
Step 8: Getting Your First Client
You want your first client fast, right? That might seem like a tall order, but it's absolutely not. In fact, it's one of the easiest things you'll ever do.
The first thing you have to do is turn off that doubting voice that's telling you that you can't do it. You can. It's been done many times before by people with far less skills and ambition than you. I've worked with many freelance writers who've told me they were shocked that they were able to find clients so quickly and easily.
Yes, you have less experience than your competition, but also remember that they all started with zero experience in the beginning also.
Let's not focus on getting tons of clients for now-- that can seem really intimidating when you're first starting out. Let's focus on getting your very first client. Your first PAYING client!
I recommend you hit this 10 different ways. Make a list of 10 different places your potential clients tend to spend their time online. Maybe a certain Facebook group, a Skype group, a forum, a blog-- wherever.
Now, come up with a really great "Grand Launch" service or even a great package offer that you're only going to give that one person.
You're offering to ghostwrite an eBook, but for the first client only, you'll also write their sales letter
You get the idea. You're putting some really great, can't miss it, offer out there for just ONE person. You're new, so you really have to prove yourself. You don't want to compete with a rock bottom price (though, starting low does help). So you compete with an offer they can't get anywhere else.
If someone is in the market for content, you can bet they are quickly going to take you up on it—maybe even the same day if you get your offer out in enough places.
Tweet your offer, write on Facebook about your offer, and add it to your signature file on relevant forums. Look at the list of 10 places where your clients hang out (is LinkedIn one?) and get your offer out in those places, too. Remember, do this without spamming-- subtly if necessary. You can very quickly get your first client with this method.
Look for Part 2 of Freelance Writing coming tomorrow!