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Archives for December 2009

How to Start a Freelance Writing Career in 2010: What to Do & Most Importantly, What NOT to Do

Last week, I wrote a long post about starting a freelance writing career in 2010. My intention was to lay out a concrete plan for doing so. I did that, but not in the way I wanted. What I DID was lay out why I think some achieve success and others don’t. In other words, I explained what I think are the mental blocks holding people back.

This week, I want to get more concrete.  I want to lay out specifics for starting a freelance writing career next year. 

4 Things You Can Do Now to Start Your Freelance Writing Career Next Year

1. PT or FT: Are you starting a full-time or part-time freelance writing career? Decide so that it becomes a reality and you can do the next step, which is . . .

2. Time Block: As in, how much time do you have to devote to your freelance writing career each day. To make a go of freelancing, you have to do something every day towards making it a reality. And I don’t mean doing stuff that makes it seem like you’re working on your dream, but really aren’t.

What are some of these things?

Freelance Writing Dream Killers: Things That Masquerade as Progress, But Really Aren’t

“Research”: This is in quotation marks because plenty of wannabe freelance writers spend so much time fooling themselves that they’re making progress when what they’re really doing is stalling. You may:

“Research” other freelance writers’ websites to get ideas on what you want yours to look like;

“Research” other freelance writers’ writing samples to see how to write yours;

“Research” the type of equipment you’re going to need for your “eventual” freelance writing business;

“Research” (read) articles on how others have gone about making their freelance writing dreams a reality;

“Research”; “research”; “research”; “research”  . . . . until you have information overload and haven’t accomplished shit!

What you should be doing instead is . . .

3. Formulating an Action Plan: As in, I will have my website done in “x” number of days. I will choose a niche and write 5 sample articles over the next week. I will contact 20 companies a day via email until I’ve landed 10 clients. Then, I will consistently contact 10 a day no matter how busy I get.

I will write one promotional ebooklet that will help me to better sell my services. This will be completed by “X” date.

I will start an article marketing campaign, submitting 2 articles a week to popular article directories like EzineArticles .com and Amazines.com.

I will read one industry article a day (eg, SEO, medical writing, tech writing, etc.) to really get to know my industry inside and out.

See the difference between “research” and concrete actions.

freelance-writing-dream

Time is your most valuable asset when starting a freelance writing career. Waste it and you literally piss your dreams away!

Just as important as what you do, it’s what you shouldn’t do – especially in the beginning.

What You Should NOT Do If You Want to Start a Freelance Writing Career in 2010

You shouldn’t be spending a lot of time of social media sites like Twitter;

You shouldn’t be checking email incessantly throughout the day;

You shouldn’t be aimlessly surfing the net – not even for as little as 10 or 15 minutes at a time. This is particularly true if you’re starting part time because your time is already limited.

You shouldn’t be commenting on other blogs – or in fact even reading a whole bunch of other blogs and websites. Even when it’s in your industry, doing too much reading means you’re wasting valuable time. Don’t kid yourself and think that you’re “working” when you do stuff like this. You’re not. You’re procrastinating.

Why Being an Uncommunicative, Time-Selfish B*tch Can Serve You Well in This Career

I’ve been called uncommunicative, antisocial and “hard to get in touch with.” But you know what, that’s because I spend my time on income-producing work. For me, that usually means writing.

I write promotional material for my businesses: my SEO writing company and my freelance writing ebooks.

I’m an avid article marketer, so I write and distribute articles to tons of free article directories for the above-stated businesses.

I write promotional material for affiliate products I promote.

I write new material for my blogs each week (I actively update three and tangentially update five).

I write new ebooks.

I write and instruct freelance writing e-courses.

I write for clients.

My point is, I don’t have time to tweet incessantly, surf aimlessly and interact with others in forums and on blogs because these don’t fill my bank account at the end of the week. Writing does.

4. Implement! Once you’ve formulated your action plan, implement it. And keep implementing it – tweak it if it’s not working; put it on overdrive if it is.

If you do these four things, before you know it, you will be making a living as a freelance writer. It’s not hard, but it does take consistent effort. There will be dry spells, there will be difficult clients (although most are dolls to work with) and there will be times when you wonder if you can make a go of it.

You can . . . if you hang in there. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – if this was easy, everybody would do it.

Are You Ready to Live Your Life the Way You Want . . . Now?

BUT, the rewards are so great. Being a freelance writer has given me a freedom I never expected to have.

Jetting off to paradise (Jamaica) for 5 weeks at a stretch; no problem mon.

Taking off for a fun couple of days in DC with a girlfriend – no problem.

Visit friends in New York City for a week – no problem.

Planning a month-long sojourn to France with a girlfriend – no problem.

Laptop: check!

Cell phone: check

Internet connection: check!

The ability to make a living on my terms and live the life I want — now: check!

This is my life – the life of a freelance writer. And, it can be yours too – if you choose to make it so.

Tropically yours,
Yuwanda

Next Week’s Post: You won’t want to miss this one. It’s all about how to make more money as a freelance writer in 2010!

P.S.: We’re getting down to the wire in the SEO Writing Training ecourse. As of 12/30/09 there are 4 slots left for the class starting on January 25th. You can reserve your spot for as little as $50, so sign up today!

P.P.S.: Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

P.P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100/day? Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I routinely make $100-$150/day.

Copyright © 2009: I don’t say it often, but all material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).

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Want a Freelance Writing Career? Here’s How to Achieve That Dream This Coming Year

As we approach the New Year, it’s a good time to take a look back to assess what you did right, what you did wrong and what you can do differently in the coming year to achieve your dreams….

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Press Release Writing: How to Sell This Lucrative Service to Clients

A lot of the issues I touch on in the Inkwell Editorial newsletter and on this site come directly from readers like you. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for that.

In this issue, I’m responding to a question sent in from a reader about a post I did on how to market your freelance writing business using free press releases a few weeks ago.  She wrote:

Question about Press Release Writing Sent in by Reader

First let me say, thank you for all of your insight and you desire to help aspiring freelancers.  I have been following you for a few years now, and you are one of the reasons I got into SEO in the first place.  I purchased a copy of your book about ” How to become a SEO writer.” However, I am not afraid to market.  I sent out a 100 postcards and I got 5 conversions (It was to schedule a free 45 minute Internet Marketing Consultation). 

Anyway, the reason why I am writing is because I would like to break into writing Press Releases . . .    But my main thing is my mindset.  I don’t feel comfortable Promoting a Press Release because the press releases I have written for myself have not got me media exposure.  Before, I start promoting my Press Release Services, I want to show proof that my press releases are worthy of getting media attention.  So, I guess my question is, “Should I just promote my press release services anyway?”  (emphasis added) Thank you so much.

press-release-writing-service

My Answer:

First let me say, I choose to answer questions that have a broad appeal. By broad appeal, I mean questions that have to deal with several issues that I think a lot of freelance writers deal with.

In this case, the freelancer is dealing with fear – on a couple of levels: (i) fear that she can’t “prove” herself; and (ii) fear that maybe she’s not writing the press releases right, which is why she hasn’t gotten any media coverage for herself.

I fired off a quick response to her, but I wanted to get more in-depth here. There are five points I want to make:

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Selling Press Release Writing

I. No Proof Required

You don’t have to prove that you haven’t gotten a certain result for yourself in order to provide that to clients. If that were the case, every SEO writer would have to be on the front page of Google before they could get any work.

What you do have to prove is that you can produce what the client wants. In this case, it’s a simple press release. A sample can provide that.

II. Coverage from a Press Release is Never Guaranteed – No Matter Who You Are

And just in case you’re wondering, no one can guarantee media coverage from a press release. No one! And, run from anyone who promises you that they can. The reason is this – the media doesn’t care about your product or service. As I wrote in the aforementioned post:

They care about serving their viewership — giving their viewers insight/information into solving a problem they have. If your product/service just happens to do that – then they’ll be interested [“might be interested” is what I should have written]. If it doesn’t – no matter how well crafted it is – they won’t be interested.

The media gets thousands of press releases every day. Sure, if Oprah sends one out, it’s gonna get noticed. But Joe Schmoe with a small BBQ restaurant who hires you to write one for him – well he’s probably not going to show up on the evening news in a business profile.

III. The SEO Factor of Press Releases

This writer can make clients aware of the value of press releases from an SEO standpoint. Just because clients don’t get direct media coverage from press releases does not mean that they are a waste of time and money.

Distributing press releases is great from an SEO standpoint because free press release sites like PRLog.com get a lot of search engine juice. They are indexed all the time, which means the content shows up high in search results. This means that clients still get a lot of value for their money – because they get found online via these sites.

IV. The Credibility Factor of Press Releases

And, press releases build credibility. Imagine sending out one a week. Even if your client didn’t get one piece of “official” media coverage from it, it’s content that will be live on the web forever. And if it’s keyworded right, the client still has a chance of getting found online by web surfers. In essence, press releases work 24/7/365 — unlike a news story that dies with the end of a news cast or the tossing out of a magazine.

V: You’re a Freelance Writer; Not a PR Firm

The final thing I want to say is, you are a freelance writer. You are NOT a PR firm. PR firms provide placement of press releases. This is why they cost a mint. PR firms may hire freelancers to write the actual release, then they’ll be responsible for getting it into the hands of the right media.

It takes PR professionals years to build their list of media contacts. And, they charge an arm and a leg to get you coverage via those contacts. The point I’m trying to get across here is that you’re not a PR firm; you’re a press release writer.

At New Media Words, we write and distribute press releases – to free press release directories. This way, when media professionals troll them looking for stories, quotes, people, companies they want to profile, your client’s is within reach. And, this is all any freelance writing firm can promise in my opinion. Otherwise, you’re a PR firm, not JUST a writing firm.

And, this is how you sell this service. You point out all the benefits a press release can provide – beyond direct media coverage. And, you point out exactly the type of press release service you provide – nothing more, nothing less.

Bottom Line on Marketing Your Press Release Writing Service

Learning how to market every service you offer is critical as a freelance writer. And this is as simple as making prospects aware of the benefits of the service; not your limitations in providing it.

Hope this helps you see clearer how to market this lucrative freelance writing service,

Yuwanda
P.S.: We’re getting down to the wire in the SEO Writing Training ecourse. There are 6 slots left for the class starting on January 25th. You can reserve your spot for as little as $50, so sign up today!

P.P.S.: Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

P.P.P.S.: Want to make some extra money ($50, $100/day) for the upcoming holiday season? Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I routinely make $100-$150/day.

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Freelance Writing Job: One Secret to Becoming a Six Figure Writer

Written by Yuwanda Black

I love Twitter because I find out so many interesting things about how other freelance writers conduct their careers. Yesterday, I was scrolling through my Twitter stream and clicked on a link from this fellow freelance writer. It was an interview conducted with six-figure freelance writer Kelly James-Enger.

A Six-Figure Freelance Writer Reveals One of the Secrets to Her Success

The Editor of the site, Maya Payne Smart, writes of Ms. James-Enger:

She credits her success to the decision to specialize: She could handle more assignments while doing less legwork. “I just found it saved me a lot of time. You can reinvent the wheel over and over again with stories like how to lose weight. Since I have the knowledge and background, it makes things easier.”

six-figure-freelance-writing-job

Ms. James-Enger’s road to success spoke to me on many levels, but this really stood out to me because it’s what I’ve been telling freelance writers for years, eg, in the June 2006 article entitled, The 3 Most Common Mistakes Freelancers Make (& How to Remedy Them), I wrote:

. . . I’m adamant that freelancers should specialize. It’s not that you can’t go outside your specialty, but if you target a specific market, you build your client list that much faster and can service them better. Once you have your bread and butter clients, you can choose a secondary market – if you feel it necessary.

The Road to Being a Six-Figure Freelance Writer: 2 Reasons to Specialize

Build Client List Faster: If you have a specialty as a freelance writer, it’s easier to find clients to market to because you’re not spreading your marketing efforts too thin.

For example, if you wanted to do legal writing, it’s easy to find prospects to market to, eg, The Bar Association, legal website directories, or do simple Google searches using relevant keyword phrases like “legal websites”.

Increase Your Hourly/Project Rate: To paraphrase Ms. James-Enger, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when you specialize. In essence, you harness knowledge you already have to turn out more work. But since you’re working with the same subject matter, this cuts down on research time, writing time, editing time, etc.

Same skill set. Different clients. Higher rate per hour/project.

I experience this first-hand all the time. I have several clients I write for on a weekly basis. I write articles and/or blog posts for them covering the same subject matter. When I first started with one client, it was an area that I was only tangentially familiar with. After almost a year of writing on this client’s subject matter though, I am intimately familiar with it.

Now, I can write a 400-word article and a 250-300 word blog post in 30-45 minutes. When I first started it would take me anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours.

As another example, the first SEO writing gig I landed was for a mortgage site. I went on to write hundreds of articles in other niches for this client who gave me my initial shot as an SEO copywriter, but he hired me first and foremost because he needed some mortgage articles written and I had pitched him as a real estate/mortgage writer. 

And, we all know how the whole “SEO writing thing” has panned out for me, right? 🙂

Want to Be a Six-Figure Freelance Writer Quickly?

Specialize!

Does it mean that you can’t take on writing projects outside your niche? No, absolutely not. As six-figure writer Marcia Layton Turner says in another post in the six-figure writer series on the above-referenced site:

Try not to say no to an assignment unless you are sure you cannot do a stellar job. Ask for more time or different parameters, but don’t turn down the work. If you do, the editor will find another writer and you may lose a client.

One of my mottos has always been this: If you want to achieve something, find someone who’s already doing it and emulate them. So if you want to be a six-figure freelance writer, take advice from these two ladies, for they are where many strive to be.

Hope you’re having a great week!

Yuwanda
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coverP.S.: Get the freelance writing opportunity that allowed me to be financially secure enough to travel, live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life!”

P.P.S.: Want to make some extra money ($50, $100/day) for the upcoming holiday season? Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I routinely make $100-$150/day.

P.P.P.S.: Want recession-proof job/career? Get SEO Copywriting Training. It’s totally realistic to earn anywhere between $35,000 and $75,000 your first year — really!

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Freelance Writing Job: The Stressful Side of Being an Online Writer & How to Handle It

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted; stressed by having too much on my plate and am feeling a little overwhelmed by all I have to do over the next few weeks. You see, I’m going to Jamaica at the end of this month for about five weeks. And while I will work there, I have to finish the following before I leave — exactly four weeks from today:

     The freelance writing jobs report for 2010-2012 (this will run anywhere from 15-25 pages);

     2 e-pamphlets to write (20-50 pages each); and

     1 full ebook to write (100 to 150 pages).

This is in addition to my weekly affiliate marketing, client deadlines, blog updates (I have four I actively update) and trying to have a life during this busy holiday season.

exhausted-online-writer“I’ve Gotten Myself Into a Pickle!”

In case you’re wondering why I’m in this pickle; quite frankly it’s because I have multiple streams of income. And, you have to nurture each one of them consistently to keep the money flowing in.

If I didn’t do my article marketing, didn’t write press releases, didn’t update my blogs consistently, it wouldn’t be long before my income was down to a trickle.

I’m Not Complaining, Really

I’m really grateful to have so much work because I know a lot of freelancers are struggling right now. Usually, my posts are upbeat and glowing about how much I love what I do for a living — and I truly do. But, I just felt the need to put this out there to show the other side of working from home as a freelance writer.

Freelance Writing Tip: Work Now, Play Later

And that’s what I wanted to get across in this issue — while making a living online is soooo possible, it’s also a lot of work. But, greatly rewarding if you put in the effort. I have probably another year or so before I can ease up a bit, with my affiliate marketing. But right now, I have financial goals I’m trying to reach and I work hard to achieve them.

If you’re really ready to make a change going into the next year, don’t be afraid to buckle down and do the work it takes. If you work hard for a few years, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for years to come.

Gratefully and exhaustedly,
Yuwanda
P.S.: Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

P.P.S.: Want to make some extra money ($50, $100/day) for the upcoming holiday season? Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I routinely make $100-$150/day.

P.P.P.S.: The SEO Copywriting Training Ecourse is Filling Up; 8 Spots Left for the Jan 25th Class as of 11/27.

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