5

2 Keys to Unlocking the Door to Your Perfect Client

This is a guest post by William Ballard 

In sports circles it has been said that the best defense is always the best offense. In other words, having the most points on the board is your defense, and the only way to have the most points on the board is to have an aggressive offense.

It’s the ones that are aggressive that dominate the field (or court). So, how do you become aggressive in your freelance writing business?

Well…the answer is twofold, 1) you must know your client better than they know themselves, and 2) you must know yourself better than anyone else.

You should have the second down pat, but we will get to that one last.

Know Your Client (and Their Readers) Better Than They Know Themselves

Before you ever pitch an article idea to a client (publication), you must know that client inside and out. In other words, thoroughly research that client’s vision and mission statement and adopt it, personalize it, and make it your own.

Know their audience. Know their demographics; know what age groups, gender, or perhaps even their religious preferences. Know there likes and dislikes. Know the voice and writing style of the publication.

When you do this, what you are doing is searching for the gaps of that publication that only you can fill. That takes us to the next point.

Know Yourself Better Than Anyone Else

Now, this point requires a bit of confidence on your part as the freelance writer. You need to be self-aware of what you bring to the table or to the market place. There are things that only you can contribute and no one else. You have a background and you have experiences in something. What you need to do is know those “somethings” like that back of your hand.

Of course, you should get the self-awareness part down first before you go looking and researching possible clients. Because without that knowledge of yourself you will not be able to find those gaps in the publication that only you can fill.

Example: True Story

I wrote an article for Entrepreneur.com where I took four concepts or principles that I learned in the Marine Corps and related them to business.

It wasn’t more than a day when that article had been published that a reader clicked on the links from my bio (in that article), came to my freelance writer and author website, and filled out my contact form requesting my writing services for a project that he was thinking about doing.

Now, this client is in the business of speaking, coaching, and training, but also has a unique angle to his niche. Because he is a former Marine, he likes to take Marine Corps principles, relate them to business, and then teach them to his clients in his seminars, etc.  He wanted to do a series of blog post that was or is similar to what I did in the article for Entrepreneur.com. This client wanted me to take the 11 leadership principles of the Marine Corps and do an 11 article series where I take each principle and relate it to business (filling the gap).

Here are the connecting links that make me the best writer for this type of job:

1)    This client is a former Marine, as am I.

2)    This client loves leadership development and business development, as do I.

When this client and I were talking and trying to negotiate price, I told him that the minimum I charge for blog post are $100.00. He then responded by saying that he knew that he could go to sites like oDesk, Elance, or Fiverr and get writers to write him content for much less. However, he also understood about the value I possessed from my background and experience in the Marine Corps.

In other words, the chances of him getting a writer from one of those sites mentioned who are a former Marine (or at least knowledgeable of the Marine mindset) are 1 and a million. He wanted someone with firsthand knowledge of what it means to be a Marine, as well as someone who is passionate about leadership and business. This is where I fill the gap for what he is trying to do with this project.

Not only does he want to do this blog/article series, but he also has a book that he wants me to help him write that is similar to the blog series in the sense that the book has to do with Marine Corps principles, but difference in the sense of what those principles are. In other words, the article series is about the 11 leadership principles, and the book project is about the 14 leadership traits of the Marine Corps as they relate to leadership and business.

Developing Your Aggressive System to Landing Freelance Writing Clients

When you get these two things down, what you are doing is learning to be aggressive in your freelance writing business. Overtime, being able to find those gaps that only you can fill will become your habitual system that you develop that brings in the clients, and allows you to be aggressive in your price negotiations.

Action Steps to Take With You:

1)    Self-Awareness and Self-Inventory - Make a list of things that you know from experience that no one else has. Believe me, there are some things that you have that no one else does. No one has your same background. It is important that you know and believe that. When you know your value and what you bring to the market place (or what you bring to the table) it becomes much easier to have aggressive confidence.

2)    Thoroughly Research a Client (Publication) Before Pitching an Article Idea – Know that client inside and out. Find the gaps that only you can fill. Then, and only then, do you pitch them with aggressive confidence. Notice I said, “aggressive confidence” and not pride or arrogance. You are not trying to destroy the client and make him or her feel that without you their publication is weak. What you are trying to do is add value to them and to make their publication better. Notice I said, “…make their publication better”. That implies that it is already better (or good), but that what you have to bring to the table is of value and will take their publication to the next level.

 

Author Bio
William Ballard is a Canadian-based freelance writer and blogger who offers both writing and designing services. He blogs on various websites and, if yousubscribe to his newsletter, he will send you a copy of the first few chapters of his ebook, The 21 Qualities of a Successful Writer: Develop Them and Become the Writer Everyone Wants to ReadJust let him know that you signed up through this article on Be a Freelance Writer.

10

5 Blog Posts That Will Propel Your Freelance Writing Business (and Life) to New Heights

Have you ever read blog posts that were so powerful or motivating that they actually altered your thoughts, habits, and actions? You know, posts that gave you big AHA moments or pushed you to create goals and take big actions?

I have.

And in this post, I’d like to share those life-changing nuggets with you in hopes that they’ll motivate you in the same way they did me.

Check them out below and see if they resonate with you as well:

 

1. Soulquake: 5 Questions That’ll Stir You Up Inside – I just started my freelance writing business when I first read this post. And honestly, I was floundering. I didn’t have any income goals, I haven’t chosen a niche yet, and my ideal clients were pretty much anyone who wanted to hire me.

This blog post helped changed that. It shed light on questions that I needed to ask myself in order to get clear and specific on what I really wanted. The answers to those questions gave me focus. They pushed me to figure out the kind of life and business I wanted to build, and that, in turn, helped me find the people and resources I needed to meet my goals.

If you think you could use some clarity and focus in your business and life, I suggest you spend time asking yourself the 5 questions mentioned in this article. As trite as it may seem, you have to do some soul-searching every now and then to get back on track.

 

2. Why Most People Are Full Of Shit, And How To Not Be One Of Them - The world is of full flaky and unreliable people. And that’s good news for you and me. Why? Because it’s easier for us to stand out and make an impression. In this post, Peter Shankman shares some uber simple ways to do just that.

I’ve applied his tips time and time again, and they have enabled me to connect with people and be more memorable. They even helped me land a bunch of writing gigs.

[Hat tip to KeriLynn Engel. Her comment here reminded me of this post and helped inspire this article.]

 

3. 872 Subscribers in 24 Hours?! – I will always remember the day I read this post because it was the first time I came across Danny Iny—the online marketing genius who inspired and taught me to build an audience-based business. I was able to pull off the Be a Freelance Writer launch thanks to the lessons I learned from him, and I will always be grateful.

But back to the post. 872 Subscribers in 24 Hours?! contains some good nuggets about launching a product or website. But even more important is that it taught me the difference between “half-baked” and “fully-baked.”

It made me realize that if I want something to be a homerun, I shouldn’t settle for good or great. I should aim for spectacular.

I adopted the “fully baked” mindset since, and it’s led me to create successful projects for my clients and my business. I hope this post enables that mind shift for you as well.

 

4. How to Prevent A Business Dry Spell – I was experiencing the infamous “feast or famine” cycle when I found this video, and it helped me kick my business into gear. I highly recommend this to anyone who’s struggling with having a steady and reliable stream of gigs.

Marie’s video is super informative and quite entertaining as well. ;)

My favorite part:

Action is magic. When you start taking consistent action, you will create results. Now those results may or may not be related to the actions you take, but trust me: nine times out of ten, stuff just starts to happen seemingly out of the blue when you get your butt in gear consistently.

I’ve experienced this first hand. It works.

 

5. Write Epic Shit – Those three words became my mantra ever since I read this blog post. Whenever I’m writing something, I make it a point to ask myself: Is the content epic? Does it provide value? Does it really help, entertain, or inspire people? If not, then it’s back to the drawing board.

I suggest you do the same. And if you ever find yourself struggling writing epic shit, give this post a read and bookmark it whenever you feel complacency creeping up on your writing.

 

Over to you:

I’d love to read the blog posts that changed YOUR life. Share the URL in the comments and I’ll check them out.

 

4

A Writer’s Guide to Growing a Freelance Business… and a Toddler!

This is a guest post by Rakiah O.

Every freelancer knows that effective time management is key to running a successful freelance business.

That doesn’t sound so hard, right? Set up everything on a calendar and you’re all set as long as you stay on schedule.

But what happens when you have a toddler? Or two?

Working on a schedule becomes a distant memory. Most days, 24 hours feel both too long and too short. You struggle to stay on top of things and constantly battle feelings of inadequacy – both as a mother and a business owner.

Let this go on too long and you’re going to reach a point where you’ll have to make a choice. Motherhood or business? And we both know that’s no choice at all.

The good news is, it’s possible to avoid this choice and grow your business along with your toddler.

You just have to change your definition of time management and make the following changes:

Change your schedule to suit your toddler

Conventional advice says to tailor your kid’s routine around yours. In my experience, that simply doesn’t work.

What does work is tailoring your schedule around your child’s. After all, who’s the adult in this relationship?

Mothers instinctively know their child’s daily patterns and routines – when he gets hungry, poops, naps, play outside etc. If you’re not (totally possible when you’re juggling a business as well), map out your child’s routine for a week and put it on a calendar. You’ll see patterns emerge.

Now that you have their routine, make it formal and allot time for each activity. Allow grace periods for before and after each time slot because we all know nothing is set in stone when it comes to kids! Start with when he wakes up in the morning.

Now, do you see those tiny time gaps between each of your kid’s activities?

That’s your window to get some work done.

Now divide your tasks into small doable chunks and incorporate your own tasks in the calendar you just set up.

Oh, and don’t forget those ever present house chores that you have to squeeze in there as well!

Feeling overwhelmed? I did too until I did the following.

  1. Set small goals for each work cycle

Consider the tiny gaps you get your work cycle.
Now, deciding to finish an article in an hour is never going to work. When you sit down to write, it’ll feel overwhelming and that’s exactly when your inspiration will decide to take a hike.

Break the writing process into achievable tasks of research, first draft, fact checking, proof reading, editing, and rewriting.

Some of these tasks can be done in 20 minutes while others can take longer.

  1. Get a big white board and big, loud clock.As a freelancing parent, you can’t afford to lose track of time. Otherwise, you’ll only have networked on Twitter and Facebook before your child’s 90 minute nap is over.In sight reminders and alarms are life savers.

Hang a big white board in front of your workspace and write your kid’s schedule (as well as the house chores that you need to do) on it.

Now set an alarm clock on your desk and set an alarm every time you sit down to work.

You can, of course, forego the white board and clock in favor of a kick ass reminder app but I’ve found it’s much more productive to go old school.

  1. Sleep early and wake up even earlier.It’s so tempting to stay up late at night to work. The house is quiet and the baby’s asleep. You have a whole night to work! But that just messes up your entire day.Speaking from experience, you’ll feel sleepy all day long and parenting will leave you exhausted and cranky – much like your child.If your child sleeps at around 8:00 pm, allow yourself to work until 9:30 max. Then, spend at least one hour unwinding. Spend time with your spouse, read a good book – anything that keeps you away from work.Whatever you choose, be in bed by 11:00 pm. And don’t get up until you’ve had a 7 – 8 hours of sleep.

    Of course, this is assuming your toddler sleeps through the night and doesn’t wake up at the crack of dawn. If he does, adjust your schedule accordingly. I know freelancing parents who’re in bed by 10:00 pm and are up at 4:00 am!

Working When Your Toddler’s Awake

It’s naïve to think your toddler will leave you alone when you’re working. Kids are busy bodies and will never let your attention divert from them for too long a time.

So, how do you handle such situations?

Here are a few tips that kill two birds with one stone – handling a cranky baby and cutting down on house chores at the same time.

  1. Let Your Kids Tag AlongHouse chores are an ever-present evil, there’s no avoiding them. But how can you do them with a baby on one hand and business work on the other?Save some of your chores for times when the baby starts getting cranky. Start with some menial tasks like tidying up the house.Ask your kid to help you with the clean-up. Give her tasks that she’ll enjoy and make her feel grown up at the same time.If its laundry day, let her put the clothes in the washing machine. If it’s cooking you need to get done; get her a stool she can stand on, some utensils, fill them with non-hazardous cooking ingredients then tell her to start cooking.

    No matter what your chore, the more “Oh, you’re such a big girl!” vibe you can give, the more engrossed and entertained she will be.

  2. Teach Your Child To Let You WorkLetting your kid tag along will only work so far. What happens when your child wants to play with you and you have a deadline to meet?Create a mock office for your kid close to your desk. Give her a table, chair, stationary, toy laptop, a bag etc. Try and give her the things you have on your worktable. Take a minute to give her drawing or coloring “assignments”. Set a timer and make a game out of no one leaving their work until the timer goes off.
  3. Be FlexibleSometimes kids just want you in their sight. So, create a flexible work environment for yourself. It could mean taking your laptop to your backyard while your child plays or turning off your computer for an hour to spend time with your child.

Even if you follow all the advice that is given here, word for word, you will still sometimes find it difficult, at times, to juggle the two roles at once – that of a mother and a business owner – but don’t be discouraged, I assure you if you stick to it for at least a month things will become much more manageable.


Rakiah is a freelance writer and blogger who’s raising a freelance writing business and toddler at the same time. She’s also the owner of Blog Labs.

25

Two Simple Things You Can Do to Kick-start your Writing Success

This is a guest post by Lorraine Reguly

pic of successful female writer

“I want to be an author/freelancer/writer, but I’m not sure my writing is good enough.”

“I’m trying to improve my writing, but I don’t think it is working.”

“I’m an author, but no one is buying my books.”

Recognize any of these?

Perhaps this is more you:

“I’m a writer, but I’m unknown. How is anyone ever going to discover my talents?”

Regardless of which scenario you most identify with, I’m here to help you gain some confidence and move your writing career forward.

Breathe a sigh of relief. You’re about to be saved. ;)

Today’s Writer

Being a writer in today’s world involves so much more than writing; it is an entrepreneurial venture that entails knowing how to market your work to the right audience, establishing an online presence (which includes blogging and guest-posting), being active on social media and engaging with others, selling your services/books/ebooks, participating in promotional giveaways, being interviewed and reviewed, and a gazillion other things that are too numerous to mention here.

Many writers and freelancers struggle with these aspects and, with so much to do, we often become overwhelmed and begin to doubt our abilities.

So what are we to do?

The short answer: gain confidence in ourselves. The long answer: combine changing our beliefs with having some type of a plan, and put in the time and work needed to be successful.

Change Your Attitudes With Positive Affirmations: The First Solution

We need to believe in our abilities. We need to trust that we can do it all. We must raise our negative levels of self-esteem. We need to find our footing.

How can we do this?

One solution is to use specific, positive affirmations to kick-start your writing success.

Maybe you have heard of this concept before; maybe you haven’t. If so, how do you use your affirmations? How have they helped you? (Drop me a line in the comment section and let me know.)

If you haven’t heard of this concept, you’re not alone. In fact, I was not made aware of it until mid-June 2013. (Yes, I’ve been living under a rock, too.) Since then, I’ve been using a specialized set of affirmations on a weekly basis. (Ideally, you’re supposed to use them daily, but sometimes I forget. I admit it.)

 

Affirmations: Definition + a Theory

Affirmations are positive statements that are repeated on a daily basis that alter your current (usually negative) beliefs by sinking into your subconscious. While they initially may not be true, the constant repetition of them eventually makes them a reality – or so the theory goes.

What’s surprising is that this theory holds true. Don’t believe me? Not a problem. I didn’t expect you to. ;)

Like you, I was initially skeptical when this theory was introduced to me, but I figured I’d give it a shot, since I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. So I tested out this theory by following the recommended steps to creating affirmations of my own, which are:

  • Identify the areas of your life you want to change
  • Write out specific statements that are opposite of your negative beliefs and negative self-talk
  • Begin and end each day by reading these affirmations, saying them aloud for added impact

Some sample affirmations to get you started

*Today I am going to take one step towards kick-starting my success.

*I am a talented writer and I’m constantly improving my craft.

*I expect success.

*I love blogging and am getting better at it.

*I love writing fictional stories because it unleashes my creativity.

Some of the affirmations I use (which you can use, too) were given to me by Ralph Quintero, founder of Happy Someone, and are as follows:

  • Today I am concentrating on moving my writing forward.
  • A successful business person lives within me, and today that person is running my business!
  • I am competent, confident, and calm.
  • Doors of opportunity and abundance open to me NOW!
  • New opportunities come easily to me!
  • There are NO LIMITS to what I can achieve!
  • Today, I am optimistic. I remember that my thoughts create my reality. I think positively and surround myself with positive energy!
  • I feel strong, excited, passionate, and powerful!
  • I expect GREAT things from myself!
  • My financial abundance overflows today!
  • Amazing opportunities constantly come my way!
  • I ask for it, visualize it, claim it, expect it, and receive it!
  • Success and achievement are natural outcomes for me!
  • There are no limits to what I can and will achieve today!
  • I can have what I want!
  • I am a published author!
  • I’m enjoying my writing success!
  • I am driving my new car! (NOTE: I’m not, but this is something I want to do in the future.)
  • I am shopping for my own house and pool! (Side note: I’m not doing this yet, either. But one day I hope to be!)
  • I can do whatever I set my mind to!
  • I am confident that I have great writing and creative abilities!
  • I am awesome!

Affirmations Will Change Your Life and Kick-start Your Writing Success

As time passes, your thought processes will change in positive ways. When you write you affirmations, then read them, say them, and hear them, you will begin to believe them. They will plant themselves deep in your subconscious. You will see and feel their effects. You will know that choosing to use affirmations is one of the best choices you have ever made. Your life will change.

Still don’t believe me? That’s okay. You don’t have to.

But let me tell you this: Before using affirmations, my blog had no real direction, I had only guest-posted twice, I lacked confidence in myself, and I wasn’t sure I could make it as a writer, despite the fact that I’m and English teacher.

Since I started using these affirmations, I devised a theme for my old blog (Lorraine Reguly’s Life) of True Tales Tuesdays and Featured Fridays, I moved this blog to my own self-hosted site (Wording Well), I have had over a dozen guest posts published on various niche blogs (two were on blogs that had not previously allowed guest posts!), I wrote an ebook, I’ve earned money from both writing and editing, I’ve had a short story published in an anthology, I won a short story writing contest (which will also be published in an anthology), and I have many more positive projects on the go. I also interviewed a blind man and obtained answers to questions most of us are too afraid to ask but have always contemplated.

Using positive affirmations has definitely given me confidence to pursue my dreams and has kick-started my writing success! The best part? It didn’t cost me a thing.

Of course, I put in the work required, too, which brings me to the second part of the solution I mentioned earlier and the other component involved in kick-starting your success.

Have a Plan and Put it to Work: The Second Solution

I used to dislike planning, but then I started blogging. I learned how important it was to publish posts regularly, and I discovered that scheduling my blog posts helped me plan my personal life, which, at the time, seriously needed a change.

In my never-ending quest for improving my life and attaining my goals, I realized that planning, coupled with hard work, was the key to success.

pic of a key with a "success" label on it

Having a plan or roadmap for reaching your goals is better than simply “winging it” and provides you with a concrete outline to achieving success. I think we all know this. But do we always use one?

If you’re in need of a planner to help keep you on track, I’ve created a free one that you can use and modify to suit your own specific needs. You have my permission to copy and paste it, then adapt it or use “as is.” The choice is yours.

I’ve been using this planner to help me in 2014. I hope you find it useful to kick-starting your writing success. You’ll then have no problem getting your elevator pitch ready, finding a gig on Craigslist, writing awesome content, breaking out of the peanuts-per-word market on bidding sites, starting a novel or finishing that ebook you’ve begun! Heck, you might even be able to land that guest post you wanted.

Now that you know what affirmations are, do you think you are going to use them to kick-start your writing success? Or do you use them already? Share your thoughts and/or experiences in the comment section!

Image #1 Credit: Original Image courtesy of stockphotos / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image #2 Credit: Image courtesy of watiporn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pic of Lorraine Reguly Lorraine Reguly is a Canadian-based English teacher who offers both writing and editing services. She blogs on various websites and, if you subscribe to her newsletter, she will send you a copy of her ebook, 20 Blog Post Must-Haves.
17

How to Craft a Client-Magnetizing Guest Blogging Bio

This is a guest post by freelance blogger Alicia Rades.

If you frequent blogs like Be a Freelance Writer, you’ve likely heard countless times that guest blogging is a great way to boost your portfolio and land better clients.

You’ve probably even ventured to high-authority blogs and pitched your ideas, landed gigs, but have no new clients to show for it. Umm…how exactly is this tactic supposed to boost your freelance writing career?

Here’s the deal: To land clients from a guest post, you not only have to write killer content that will make them want you writing for their projects, but you have to reel them in with your author bio.

Ready to start seeing results from your guest posts? Follow these simple tips to write a client-magnetizing guest blogging bio.

Let Them Know You’re Available

If you don’t tell people you’re available for hire, how are they supposed to know? Sure, they could head to your website and figure it out, but you want to make things easy for prospects. They’re not going to visit every writer’s website to see who’s available for work. In your short bio, they should understand that you can write for them in addition to the site you’re contributing to.

Why is this important? Prospects might see your post on a popular site and assume your calendar is full of similar projects. Or if you simply state that you’re a writer, they might think you’re employed by another company and not taking on freelance work.

This doesn’t have to be a tricky addition to your bio. A few words can do the trick. Consider something like “Jane Doe is a freelance blogger for hire” or “Contact Jane at janedoe.com to see how she can help with your blog content strategy.”

Be Specific about Your Services

Not sharing what types of services you provide can prove to be a big mistake. What if you’re more than a blogger? Potential clients who would love these other services aren’t going to know this just by looking at your guest post.

Since I produce mostly blog content, I stick to sharing the topics I most love writing about. This way I don’t have people contacting me about subjects I know nothing about. If you provide services outside of blogging, add it to your bio. Something like “Jane Doe is a freelance writer specializing in blog content, press releases, and whitepapers” is great.

Link to Your Writer Website, Not Your Pet Project

Too often I see writers link to their hobby blogs or fiction works. They later don’t understand why they aren’t getting writing clients. This is perhaps the biggest (and most common) mistake you can make when your objective is to attract prospects.

While guest blogging can be a great tool for promoting these projects, don’t share them if getting clients is your priority. Instead, send prospects to your writer website or portfolio. In most cases, your landing page should include a “hire me” call-to-action.

Offer a Free Gift that Will Resonate With Clients

While this option isn’t a necessity, it’s a great way to reel clients in and get them to visit your website. When your services aren’t enough to attract prospects, a free gift can give them that extra push to click on your link. If your website is awesome enough, they just might stay, learn more about you, and hire you.

I personally offer a worksheet that helps clients decide which writer to hire for their project. Other awesome gifts I’ve seen include:

The key here is to create a free gift clients will download. I see a lot of writers offering gifts to other freelancers. That’s great if you’re focusing on networking with or teaching other writers, but potential clients probably don’t want to read an eBook about how to break into freelance writing or download a freelancer’s business plan template.

Customize Your Bio for the Blog’s Audience

The same way you write blog content geared toward the particular blog’s audience, you want to make sure your bio speaks to that audience, too. Instead of going with a generic bio to accompany each guest post you write, tweak it to best compliment your post.

Your tweaks might involve emphasizing different credentials based on the post topic, or you might stress particular services depending on the blog’s audience.

Let’s say I’m writing a post about blogging tips. My bio will probably look something like this:

“Alicia Rades is a freelance blogger for hire backed by years of blogging experience. Not only does she love the art of blogging, but she has a passion for teaching others the ins-and-outs of the trade. Learn more about her and her content writing services at aliciaradeswriter.com, where you can grab her free Which Freelance Blogger Should I Hire? worksheet.”

That bio incorporates all the mentioned tips above, but it’s not appropriate for all guest posts. Along with writing about blogging, I also specialize in career topics. If I’m guest posting for a careers website, my bio might look more like this:

“Alicia Rades is a freelance blogger for hire who specializes in creating content on careers and freelancing among other topics. Learn more about her and her content writing services at aliciaradeswriter.com, where you can grab her free Which Freelance Blogger Should I Hire? worksheet.”

Writing your bio doesn’t have to be tricky. After all, it’s usually only going to be two or three sentences. But incorporating these few tips can lead to more contacts and better clients.

Want to see how your author bio performs? Share a sample bio in the comment section, and then make sure to leave feedback for others. When responding to others, consider if you would hire them based on their bio (if you were a client). If not, what can they add/take away to make the bio more client-friendly?

 

Alicia Rades (@aliciarades) is a freelance blogger, writer, and editor. When she’s not writing for clients, you can find her moderating comments on her favorite blogging forum, offering freelance and career tips on various blogs, or discussing blogging topics at aliciaradeswriter.com. Visit her site to learn more about her available blogging services and to grab her free Which Freelance Blogger Should I Hire? worksheet. 

7

3 Non-Writing Factors that Can Make or Break Your Client Relationships

 

Quick announcement: I’ll be traveling to Manila and Tokyo from June 11 to July 13, so I’ll have limited access to the web and probably won’t be able to respond to emails, tweets, and comments for the time period. Don’t worry though, I have some content lined up for that time, so you can expect my newsletters/posts to arrive on schedule.

On a related note, my travel plans also meant I had to let go of a handful of short-term gigs and clients so I can focus on finishing pending projects and creating content in advance for the my long-term clients.

So I sent a “goodbye for now” email to a few people telling them about my situation and why I won’t be able to write for them for a while. Some of their responses were quite telling. They made me realize that being a good freelance writer isn’t just about writing well.

Your way with words isn’t the only thing you bring to the table when dealing with clients. As you’ll learn in this post, there are plenty of other things that they value in in freelance writers.

Below are the responses that I got from the clients that I had to let go of, along with my thoughts on what they mean for writers:

 

“It’s so hard to find a writer we can trust.”

This isn’t just about keeping their secrets or future plans under wraps. One of the biggest drivers of trust for clients (aside from keeping your mouth shut when you need to) is how you keep your word.

I’ve heard horror stories from businesses about writers who flaked out at the last minute. Or, who promised to deliver content on time, but failed to do so. These kinds of actions break your client’s trust and can pretty much guarantee that they won’t hire you again.

That’s why it’s important that you be very mindful of the promises you make. Don’t say “yes” when you’re not sure, and don’t make any guarantees or commitments you can’t keep.

Consistency is another big one.

Do you consistently deliver quality content? Do you regularly send in your work on time?  The more dependable and predictable you are with your work, the more “trust points” you’ll get.

 

“Finding a writer who really knows the industry can be tough.”

This is why I’m always advocating that writers find a niche to specialize in. The greater your expertise is, the more valuable you are to the client.

Being an expert in a particular industry also makes it easier for YOU to write content and generate ideas. It also enables you to set higher rates.

 

“It’ll be difficult to find another writer who knows my voice, habits, and preferences the way you do.”

I got this from someone I ghostwrite for, though it also applies to just about any type of client. Remember that each business has its own voice and clients have different preferences.

For example, I have a client who doesn’t like it when I link to other sites, so I make sure to steer clear of doing that when I’m writing for her. I also have a client who loves it when I include statistics, so I make it a point to add some studies and data in my articles for him.

Do the same thing with the people you work with. Study their styles, likes and dislikes, even their little quirks and tailor your approach accordingly.

 

What other non-writing factors or skills do clients love? Weigh in below.

 

PS: This is my first time visiting Tokyo, so if you have any suggestions on cool places to see there, please let me know in the comments. :)

 

34

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Write for a Client

 

This is a guest post by freelance blogger Joy Collado.

Why should we hire you?

That’s one question every client asks.

They may not ask you this directly, but you can be sure that they’re thinking it.

ALL clients have standards and expectations. They have a list of traits and qualifications for the writers they hire. And that’s perfectly understandable.

That said, I think some writers forget that clients shouldn’t be the only ones setting the standards.

This is our business, too. And in the same way that clients turn down writers looking for work, writers should also set their criteria and learn to turn down work when the client doesn’t meet their standards.

Below are 3 compelling reasons why you shouldn’t write for a client:

 

1.    You don’t share the same interests

Sure, with some research, you can write a good article or blog post about a topic you don’t know about —but do you really want to?

It’s a lot easier to write about topics that interests you. You’ll work more efficiently this way because you can produce an article in less time than you would on a topic you don’t like. That’s why most writing experts would advise you to develop a niche–one that you know a lot about and that you enjoy writing.

If you can’t find your niche yet, look into your hobbies and interests. Do you love baking? Photography? Perhaps business and finance? What about technology? Whatever the case may be, start with topics that actually interest you. This way, writing the article or blog post won’t be a drag.

 

2.    You don’t believe in what they represent

If you push yourself to write about a subject you don’t believe in, it will show in your work. You’ll feel unrealistic and pretentious while writing. And that’s one thing every writer should avoid. Writing should be an extension of yourself. We write to make a living, but it doesn’t mean to say you’re going to write something that contradicts your own values.

Let’s say you’re someone who loves wild animals. Can you imagine yourself writing an article promoting a handbag made of wild crocodile skin?

You can write the article for sure, but that will be working against your natural muse.

 

3.   You’re not happy with their offer

Okay, so you finally found a writing gig that interests you, and it’s a topic you connect with—great!

You’re all set.

Or, are you?

What if the pay isn’t fair?

Don’t settle for less than what you deserve. If a client can’t afford you, look elsewhere and find a company that can. Trust me, they’re out there.

On a side note, if you’re applying for a gig and the job post didn’t mention the pay rate, do a little research about the company you’re applying for. You can find their estimated income on websites like Manta and Hoovers. Sophie’s advice on her Client Hunting Masterclass is to pitch clients who have an annual income of over 1 million. This way, you can stay away from clients who don’t have the budget to afford your services.

 

Bottom Line

Clients have high standards in hiring a freelance writer. And as freelance writers, we should also have high standards in choosing them. If they can be picky, we should, too!

Have you turned down a client because of one of the reasons above? What are other good reasons to turn down paying clients? Share in the comments below.

 

Author Bio: Joy Collado is a freelance blogger. When she’s not blogging for clients, she’s working on her passion project The Joys of a Digital Nomad where she inspires online entrepreneurs to make a difference through their work.

 

In other news…

The fabulous Sophie Lizard at Be a Freelance Blogger is running an awesome promo for her Client Hunting Masterclass (in which I’m also a guest instructor.)

Right now, you’ve got an opportunity to take advantage of the lowest tuition fees since the launch of this training program. But Sophie’s tipped me off that you only have until May 8th to sign up — if you miss that cutoff date, the Masterclass tuition investment will be higher the next time around, so don’t wait too long! Check it out here: http://beafreelanceblogger.com/clienthunting
 

 

 

21

The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Taking a Break

March 2014 was probably the most hectic month I’ve had business-wise. Between multiple client projects and the launch of Be a Freelance Writer, I was–as a good friend described–“crazy busy.”

 

Not that I’m complaining of course. As you know, I LOVE what I do. I’m passionate about my work, my clients, and more importantly, the readers of BeaFreelanceWriter.com. I considered being busy a huge blessing.

 

However, I also knew that I needed a break. So last month, after capping up a hectic Monday to Saturday workweek, I woke up Sunday morning and resolved to do absolutely nothing. I stayed home, had pizza delivered, and binged-watch re-runs of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

 

I told myself that I would do only mindless stuff that day, and I would wake up on Monday all refreshed and ready to work.

 

Except it completely backfired.

 

Come Monday morning I woke up with a headache from watching too much TV and staying up late, and took it 30 minutes of jogging and 3 cups of coffee to fully turn on “work mode”.

 

So what went wrong? Shouldn’t taking a break from it all be a good thing?

 

Answer: Yes, unwinding is a MUST. But looking back at my actions that week, I realized that there are wrong ways to take a break. I’ve identified the mistakes I made and listed them below. Can you relate?

 

1. Not taking a break sooner – I worked for six straight days so by the end of it all, my body couldn’t muster up the energy to do anything else.

 

What to do instead: Don’t make the same mistake. Instead of pushing yourself to work non-stop, opt to have short frequent breaks in between. For instance, instead of doing client work from Monday to Friday, devote a day (or even half day) somewhere in between to do errands or have some “you” time.

 

2. Being a lazy couch potato – Mistake #2 was opting to spend the day mindlessly staring at the TV. I didn’t even bring myself to cook or go out to buy food.

 

What to do instead: Look, I’m not saying don’t watch TV or don’t do nothing ever, but try to avoid being idle for too long. Consider doing something else in between couch time. Maybe read a book. Or go outside. Or simply spend time with your loved ones. (Which was exactly what I did the following week.)

 

Here’s another reason why taking a mindless break for a long period of time is a bad idea: As writers, part of our job is to get creative and come up with new topics. And in my experience, an idle mind isn’t a good breeding ground for inspiration or creativity.  Cooking up great ideas comes from thinking and experiencing new things– and you can’t really do that if you’re sitting mindlessly on the couch.

 

Over to you

 

But then again, perhaps that’s just me. Every person’s break and productivity patterns are different so my advice may not necessarily apply to you.

 

That said, do you agree that (extended) mindless breaks are bad for writers? And do you have tips when it comes to taking breaks? Let me know in the comments below.

 

16

3 Assumptions That are Killing Your Freelance Writing Career

Making assumptions—that is, formulating beliefs without solid evidence—can lead to trouble. Just ask the investor who put his money in the wrong place because he didn’t do enough due diligence, or the hiring manager who accepted the wrong applicant because she didn’t check their references.

 

Freelance writers are no different. When you make the wrong assumptions in this business, you risk missing out on great clients and gigs.  In this post, we’ll be discussing the the top writer assumptions that could be costing you some sweet revenue opportunities.

 

Check them out below. Are you making any of these assumptions in your freelance writing business?

 

1. “I’m no expert.”

Erase this statement from your vocabulary. Remember, whoever you are and whatever your background is, you are most likely an expert at something. Do a bit of self-exploration and ask yourself the following questions:

 

- What are you good at / interested in?

- What are your hobbies?

- What did you study in school?

- What types of jobs did you have?

 

You’ll likely find your expertise in the answers to the above. And whatever it is—whether it’s astrophysics, gardening, tattoos, or music—there’s someone out there looking for a writer to cover that particular topic.

 

Still don’t feel like an expert? Read this post on Be a Freelance Blogger to find out the steps you can take to up your level of expertise.

 

2. “This company isn’t looking for a writer.”

And how do you know that? Did you even ask them?

 

Look, you won’t know for sure whether or not a company is hiring unless you approach them and ask. Just because a business isn’t posting job ads for writers doesn’t mean they’re not looking.

 

In fact, one of the most common things I hear whenever I approach a prospect is “Thanks for contacting us! We’ve been meaning to add a blog / do content marketing / update our website / [insert content job here] for quite some time now.”

 

Don’t assume that a business doesn’t need a writer. They almost always do (even if they don’t know it yet). So touch base with them and offer your services.

 

3. “The prospect didn’t respond so they’re probably not interested.”

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I can’t even count the number of times that I landed a client just because I took the time to follow-up.

 

People are busy. They’re bombarded with emails. So there’s a good chance that they missed your message or they meant to respond but didn’t get to do it right away. Don’t miss the opportunity to seal the deal with these people. Send them a follow-up email after a week or two. Or try reaching them through other channels such as Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

And if they still don’t respond? That’s okay, at least you know you did everything you can to reach a prospect. Let it go and move on to the next one.

 

(Note: if you REALLY want to work with this particular client, keep their contact info and re-connect in a couple of months. Also try looking for a different point-of-contact and pitch that person instead.)

 

Have you made any of these assumptions? Can you name other writer assumptions that are costing them clients and opportunities? Comment below.

14

How to Land a Client in 10 Days

Welcome to BeaFreelanceWriter.com!

If you’re completely new here, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Francesca Nicasio, I’m a writer for various Internet companies, but I’m also a cheerleader for aspiring freelance writers everywhere.

To celebrate the launch of this site, I’m giving away a free eBook called How to Land a Client in 10 Days. Consider it a handy guide to finding prospects and turning them into paying clients. The book details the steps that I took to land a handful of writing gigs in a week and a half. It’ll offer instructions and insights into various client-hunting strategies that you can put into action immediately.

Not only that, but I also I invited other incredible freelance writers to share their favorite client-hunting strategies.

Interested? Enter your email address below:

Special Thanks

A huge thank you to these writers for contributing to my book:

Sophie Lizard - Be a Freelance Blogger

Dana Sitar – DIY Writing

Valerie Bordeau - Freelance Writers Academy

Bamidele Onibalusi - Writers in Charge

Williesha Morris – My Freelance Life

Yuwanda Black - Inkwell Editorial

Jennifer Mattern - All Indie Writers

Lauren Tharp - LittleZotz Writing

Tom Ewer - Leaving Work Behind 

And last but not least, I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to you. Yes, YOU. Whether you’ve been a subscriber from the beginning, or you got lost and just happened to stumble upon this site, I TOTALLY appreciate you being here, and I hope you stick around. :)

Cheers and happy writing!

- Francesca