facebookrsspinteresttwitterinfostart

Archives for June 2011

Finding Freelance Writing Jobs via Cold Calling: It’s VERY Effective; Here’s How to Get Over the “Cold Calling Jitters”

In a post here a couple of weeks ago, we discussed why cold calling works to land freelance writing jobs. Well, true to her word, the freelancer that wrote in sent me an update on her progress with cold calling, and I wanted to share her journey in his method to landing freelance writing gigs with you – specifically the insight she shared on how to get past the cold calling jitters.

Following is our correspondence.

Freelancer Who Cold Calls for Writing Jobs Writes In Her Progress

Hi Yuwanda,

I hope all is well, and that you are enjoying your summer. Since the last time we corresponded, I called 30 more SEO Firms ( was busy with other writing projects). However, out of those 30, I sent my samples to 7 of them that requested them. 1 responded and I wrote an article on Property Management . . . for $25. However, I never heard back from him, he paid me, and I sent him the copy a week ago. I contacted him a few times to make sure he got it. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I gave a quote of $450 for a monthly article campaign for an SEO Consultant who is going to have a fitness site up in the next few weeks.

On other news, the other percent of the people I called only wanted to pay 10 per article. I told them my rates and they said they can get it cheaper. Some of them tried to bargain and said that they would give me no less than 10 articles. I didn’t think it was worth it, especially when I am trying to grow a team of writers. I really don’t see how people can make a living on 10 per article. I admit, when I first started in this game, I was writing 5 an article, and I was burnt out.

Anyway, I calculated how many SEO Firms I would have to call a day to meet my quota. About 60 a day, if I want to secure 5 new SEO firms a week. I hope this insight will help your readers if you decide to post it.

I’ve been having so many ups/downs (cash flow issues) so hopefully this cold calling strategy will start producing results quickly. Well, I hope all is well and I’ll keep you posted when I have my biggest break. 🙂

 My Response

Great on the cold calling. Even though you’ve hit some stumbling blocks, sounds like it’s paying off for you. Continue to combine this with email marketing, and you be really busy come fall.

Re finances, as summer (particularly June and July) can be deathly slow, try not to stress so much and know that you’re laying the groundwork for the busy season.

Sometimes making money in the summer as a freelance writer can be like pulling teeth, but in the fall things usually pick up quickly. So when things get hard, just remember this. I have almost 20 yrs of numbers I can look back on and see the income fluctuation; so take comfort in the fact that this comes from first-hand experience.

One thing I always do is stay on my marketing (it can be hard when sales are not what you want them to be), but this is EXACTLY what makes things even out over the course of the year (emphasis added); so stick with what you’re doing. It will pray off; I practically guarantee it.

One question, did you find that cold calling got easier (obviously you did, cuz you’ve racked up quite a few)? What did you do to “settle your nerves” so to speak, to be able to continue? If you have a chance, if you can give me a quick response to this, I’d appreciate it. I’d like to include it with the post.

I’m enjoying my weekend — lots of physical activity b/t mowing my yard and working out. Love being outdoors.
##

How to Get Over the Cold Calling Jitters to Continue & Land More Freelance Writing Jobs

This freelancer gracefully responded. Following is what she said.

Hi Yuwanda, thanks for the great advice! Yes, outdoors is lovely, summer is my favorite season. Now to answer your question about ‘nerves’ — a lot of factors come into play.

1st: I have a sales coach who holds me accountable.

2nd: I focused on my bigger why- I am going to be 30 this year & my goal is to build a reputable writing firm that is profitable and quickly start training others (to emulate you so to speak). I don’t have a car so I was getting up extra early and taking 3 and 4 buses to go to meetings with dead leads and prospects – which killed my productivity. I felt like I had nothing to lose with cold calling.

3rd: After having great response, I make cold calls w/o fear — the worst they can say is no.

4th: I know my #’s and how many calls I have to make to get a sale.

5th: I imagine myself having staff that I have to pay & keep my daily quota & end goal in mind with
every call.

I hope this helps. 🙂 Thanks again.

My Response

First I want to say, I couldn’t have said it better myself as far as how to get over the fear of cold calling. I just want to add a couple of clarification points based on my own experience.

Years ago when I had a business mentor, one thing he drummed into my head that I remember to this day is know your numbers – your business numbers. Get very, very intimate with them, for they tell the true story of where your business has been, where it is now and where it’s going (if you don’t change things).

How Not to Stress So Much When Freelance Writing Jobs Aren’t Rolling in Regularly

This is why I can relax during slow times because I know that: i) editorial is cyclical; and ii) as I told this freelancer, I have almost 20 years of numbers I can go back and look over and see that things do even out. Even if you don’t have this, take comfort in the fact that tons of others who are more experienced than you can second this. That’s just the way freelancing is.

“Will I Ever Land Another Freelance Writing Job?”

Some days/weeks, it just seems that you’re never going to get that next gig and it can be so tempting to stop marketing. After all, no one’s listening anyway, right?

Wrong!

Keep marketing – especially during the slow season. If you want more freelance writing jobs, would you shut down your website or not answer your phone just because responses aren’t coming in as fast as you’d like ? Of course not.

Well, this is EXACTLY what you do when you stop marketing – so stay on it.

How to Propel Your Freelance Writing Career to the Next Level

We’re all constantly striving to get to the next level. I know I am! But, if you keep doing the same thing, you’re going to keep getting the same results. Just like this freelancer switched it up (ie, she started using cold calling because other things she tried weren’t working like she wanted), you have to do the same if you want different results.

That could be doing MORE of what you’re already doing that works, cutting out what’s not working, combining a different way of marketing with what you’re already doing that works, etc.

seo-writing-examplesTake me with my ebook writing quest. What I’m doing in this area is already working (ie, I already make ebook sales), but I want to increase this revenue stream. Knowing my numbers (always the first step), I then sat down and formulated a plan of how I was going to get there. That means producing more ebooks.

There are always going to be bumps in the road; it’s how you overcome them that matters. This freelancer has figured out a plan that works for her – and now she’s working that plan.

And that’s why I have no doubt that she’ll get where she wants to go because if you don’t have a destination in mind, anywhere you land is fine. But when you have a plan and you work it, you invariably get where you want to go. This last piece of advice was shared with me by another aspiring ebook writer; I thought it very apropos for this piece.

I hope this insight has helped you to see where it is you can improve if things are not going exactly as you want them to with your freelance writing career.

Note: Inkwell’s latest ebook was published yesterday. Click graphic for details. Finally hit double digits on Amazon; once this one goes live, that’ll be 10 ebooks I have published there. Yes!

Summer, Summer, Summer Time, Ah Summertime! (Sit back sit back and unwind)

That Will Smith song is stuck in my head this morning.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer – if it’s summer where you live (have to keep in mind readers who are now bundling up because it’s winter (eg, Australia, Argentina, etc.). Here in HOTLanta, the weather is living up to the city’s name – it’s been hot as the dickens!

I actually don’t mind the heat, it’s being landlocked that has me going a little stir crazy. Back to the beaches of Jamaica I go!

P.S.: Will you do me a favor? If you download and read the Living the Freelance Life!, will you come back and give some feedback in the comments section below? Or, just email me [info*at*InkwellEditorial*dot*com]. Tell me what you liked about it, disliked about it, wish I would have discussed more of/less of, etc. In short, anything. I may even revise based on your feedback and will definitely carry the lessons forward into the next ebooks. Thanks a bunch!

Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

how-to-write-an-ebook-sm

P.P.S.: Quickly Become a Published Author: Learn how to FINALLY get that ebook out of your head and onto a page. Just think, you could be done and making sales this time next week!

P.P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

Read more.

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part IV

The first thing I want to say is I’m changing the name of this series. Something about seeing the word “failure” in so many posts just bugs me. Sure, I stumbled a bit, but I’m picking myself up and getting on with it, so I don’t think failure is the right word anymore.

And again, it just bugs the hell out of me seeing it in print so often!  So, the new name is the title of this post.

Note: See all posts to date in this ebook writing series. In spite of the name change, this is Part IV.

My Ebook Writing Progress This Week

In a previous post, I told you how I formulated a schedule for writing ebooks that would help me to reach my goal by year’s end. That plan is to write and upload one title a week to Amazon until the end of the year.

How Long It Takes to Write an Ebook

Well this depends on a lot of factors, of course (eg, subject matter, research involved, your writing personality, etc.). I have a system down pat, so it takes me anywhere between 15 and 25 hours usually. I wrote one ebook (the backpage one) in about 8 hours. It started off as an article, but got so long that I just spent that whole day writing and managed to finish it.

This Week Got a Little Sidetracked, But Am Still on Track

write-and-sell-ebooks-on-amazonThis has been a harrowing week. I had a couple of client projects due, which cut into my writing time on my projects. But, I’m still on track to publish another ebook by Sunday.

While I didn’t start on Monday like I wanted, I am about 75% done with this latest title. I’ll finish it this weekend and upload it on Sunday. By Wednesday, I knew it was going to be a long weekend. One thing I did last week though was to look through my list of titles and select an easy one to put together. Some ebooks take much longer to write than others.

I still get physically ill when I think about the one on niche minisites I had 90% finished which is on my old laptop that died. The data couldn’t be recovered, so I have to write that one again. I’d started that one last summer and had almost finished it last month when my laptop caught that virus and went kaput.

I’m back burnering that title cuz I just can’t bear to think about doing all that research again.

What’s This Latest Ebook About?

It’s a book of SEO writing examples. Quite a few people have asked me for this since I wrote the ebook on how to start an SEO article writing career. Although I give an actual sample in that ebook, some want more.

I read recently that 60% of us are visual learners, so this makes sense. Hence, this ebook includes 10 examples of SEO articles, as well as some explanatory info on the foundational concepts of this type of writing.

If you know SEO, you don’t need this ebook. But if you’re new to the field and/or are still a little fuzzy about what an actual SEO article looks like, where keywords should go, what keyword density is, etc., this ebook will help.

How to Price EBooks to Sell on Amazon: I’m Playing Around with My Pricing

I’m finding pricing to be a bit tricky on Amazon. I’ve figured out a formula that seems to work well for my site, but I think I should be selling more on Amazon, so I’m playing around with pricing to see what happens.

Every successful ebook self-publisher I read says to do this.  A pricing strategy that seems to work is to go low to build a base, then pump out more titles and make your money on volume.

So this ebook will be $2.99.

The How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days ebook seems to be doing well at the $19.95 price point on Amazon (it’s one of my most popular titles there), but I’m intrigued by this $2.99 pricing strategy, so am gonna give it a go.

I’ll keep you updated on how it goes, of course.

To Make Money Selling Ebooks Online, Ya Gotta Produce

FYI, my latest ebook on Amazon finally went live (it can take 2-3 days for them to review and approve it). This makes 9 to date (gettin’ there!). So I’m adding, adding, adding to my virtual shelf. Week after next (travelling next week), I’m going to start uploading my existing titles; If I did this, I’d have close to 30 ebooks on Amazon already.

How’s your ebook writing coming along? Did you make any progress this week? Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t, and share in the comments section below your ups, downs and in-between struggles. Lord knows this journal is helping to keep my feet to the fire. What’s keeping you motivated?

P.S.: Will you do me a favor? If you download and read the Living the Freelance Life!, will you come back and give some feedback in the comments section below? Or, just email me [info*at*InkwellEditorial*dot*com]. Tell me what you liked about it, disliked about it, wish I would have discussed more of/less of, etc. In short, anything. I may even revise based on your feedback and will definitely carry the lessons forward into the next ebooks. Thanks a bunch!

Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

how-to-write-an-ebook-sm

P.P.S.: Quickly Become a Published Author: Learn how to FINALLY get that ebook out of your head and onto a page. Just think, you could be done and making sales this time next week!

P.P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

Read more.

Web Copywriting Tips for Busy Bloggers

body bgcolor=”white” ondragstart=”return false” onselectstart=”return false”>Today, I have the pleasure of appearing as a guest poster on JohnPaulAguiar.com. My post, entitled Web Copywriting Tips for Busy Bloggers, discusses how to improve your blog writing skills so you retain readers. I wrote:

Read more.

An Ebook Publishing Failure Story: My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon This Year, Part III

It’s Sunday evening and I’ve been working to finish my latest ebook, which I talked about in the last entry in this ebook writing series. …

Read more.

An Ebook Publishing Failure Story: My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon This Year, Part II

Looks like the initial post I did on writing and selling ebooks on Amazon is going to turn into a series – one that’ll last until the last day of this year. So this is Part II.

Note: See links to all entries in this ebook writing series at the end of this post.

This Week’s Ebook Writing Progress

Another Friday night finds me at the computer working on an ebook. Usually on Fridays, I close up early to work out, eat out, bar hop, etc. It’s amazing what happens once you get super focused though – plans have to change; how you use your time has to change.

So here I am on a Friday evening – working instead of bar hopping (although, I am about to pop downstairs and grab a glass of wine).

Finding Time to Write

This week, I completed 90% of a new ebook.

write-and-sell-ebooks-on-amazonOne of the things I did last weekend was develop a writing schedule that I must adhere to in order to reach my goal by year’s end. So, my goal is to finish an ebook a week. My plan is to start a new title on Monday, and have it finished and uploaded by the following Sunday.

So, I’ll be working tomorrow. Gonna get up early in the morning to finish the writing and will probably save editing and creating the cover for Sunday. So, yeah, it’s gonna be some long weeks.

My New Ebook: What’s It About

This one is tentatively titled, How I’ve Made My Living Completely Online Since 2007 & You Can Too!

It’s about how I make my living online. I detail my income streams, how much I make from each one, how I got into each one, how I’m growing them, stuff I need to do better, lessons I’ve learned along the way that can shorten the learning curve for you – and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Free Ebook; Very Cheap Ebook!

This ebook will be free to subscribers and will be sold on Amazon for Kindle for 99 cents.

My primary reason for writing this ebook is to grow my subscriber list; that’s why it’s priced this way on Amazon and will be offered as a freebie on this site. Almost all extremely successful internet marketers agree that one of the best ways to do that is by offering a good freebie.

I figured this was a good title because the ebook will answer questions I get asked all the time about how I got started as an internet entrepreneur, and how others can do the same. I don’t hold anything back – I tell tons of mistakes I’ve made (and continue to make), as well as what it takes to really succeed as a full-time internet entrepreneur.

I was so frustrated last week. But, I made up my mind that I just would not be defeated and have just soldiered on. And it paid off. I made great strides this week. I haven’t finished a title since the social media marketing ebook I co-authored back in April – that’s almost two months.

So getting one almost completely done this week has me feeling pretty darn good about myself right now. Yes! “I’m the man, er, woman  . . .  I’m the woman.” [Back pat, back pat]

Another Tech Setback This Week

In spite of my ebook writing success this week, I feel like God is still testing me because I found out yesterday that two of my minisites had been hacked. I’ve been doing business on the web since 1999. This has never happened.

And, there went my minisite AdSense earnings. My tech guy is working to get this fixed now. Thank goodness for him! When I found out my sites had been hacked, I was like:

Man, what the f***! I can’t catch a break. Between the computer virus that killed my last laptop, losing 6 months worth of data and now this, my karma must be really whack!”

I don’t think I’ve ever had luck as bad as I have the past four months or so – ever.

But I was raised a Christian so after my venting, I said a prayer, then got back down to work. I believe that everything happens for the better in the end – and in spite of all that’s happened I realize how extremely fortunate I am, so I’m just rolling with the punches.

I guess my whole point is, sometimes, that’s all you can do.

How was your work week? Are you on track with your freelance writing goals? You can share in the comments section below.

Hope you have a fun weekend!

P.S.: Thanks to Kel and Kimberly for such encouraging comments on last week’s post on this topic. It was just what my spirit needed. 🙂

Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

how-to-write-an-ebook-sm

P.P.S.: Quickly Become a Published Author: Learn how to FINALLY get that ebook out of your head and onto a page. Just think, you could be done and making sales this time next week!

P.P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

Read more.

7 Ways a Freelance Writer Can Expand Your Profits – No Matter What Your Business Is! A Free Marketing Report for Freelance Writers

An E-Book Excerpt
[See all Inkwell Editorial Work-from-Home Titles Here]

PREFACE

Who this ebook is for?

Freelance writers.

“But,” you may be thinking, “I am a freelance writer, how can this ebook be for me?”

The answer is, this ebook is a marketing template; an in-depth sample of the type of free marketing report you can distribute to clients to land more freelance writing jobs.

x-click-but22 Easily start landing more freelance writing jobs for only $4.95 (Immediate Download)

Why Distributing Free Reports Works So Well to Land Freelance Writing Jobs

Writing and distributing free reports work because they:

(i) set you apart from the competition, as most freelancers never invest the time it takes to pull together in-depth marketing pieces like this;

(ii) demonstrate your skills, knowledge and expertise to your client base; and

(iii) pre-sell clients.

And, if you specialize in a niche, writing and distributing free reports can be extremely effective.

For example, I do a lot of writing in the real estate niche. An easy report to pull together would be one that gives stats on new home sales, foreclosures, average home price in the United States, etc. Every year, I could distribute the same report with updated stats.

No matter what niche you’re in, you can create special reports that can be updated monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. This can keep your pipeline full of freelance writing jobs seamlessly – if you stay consistent with it.

This is content marketing at its best.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases.

Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty. [Source: Wikipedia.com]

Content Marketing Report Tip: Name your report after your firm, eg, The Inkwell Editorial Annual Home Statistics Report (you get the gist). Why would ou want to do this?

It helps to brand your firm; set it apart from others, which is exactly what one savvy entrepreneur did – and she would up selling making millions!

Read on for who, how and why.

The $70 Million Report

Ever heard of Barbara Corcoran? Or, the Corcoran Report? She is who gave me the idea to write and distribute free reports to land clients. And, this is long before the advent of “content marketing.”

Barbara Corcoran’s Story

In the 1980s Barbara Corcoran was a real estate broker in New York City. She owned The Corcoran Group, and the growth of her company – which she eventually went on to sell for upwards of $70 million in 2001 – was built by writing and distributing an industry report which she titled The Corcoran Report.

What did the report consist of? Basically, it was a “state of the industry” report on the real estate market in New York. Once she wrote it, she sent it to reporters at The New York Times, as well as other media outlets.

And, when they needed a quote about real estate in New York, who do you think they called? Ms. Corcoran, of course. Her report got mentioned in the coveted real estate section of The New York Times one week. This began her meteoric rise to the top of the NYC real estate market for she had, in fact, branded herself with this published report.

Now, years later, it is still published annually and is a “bible” of the NYC real estate market – and also a couple of other cities (eg, Miami).

See how writing and distributing free reports can work so well?

The Free Report That Earned Me Thousands of Dollars

My Story

I’ve been an SEO copywriter since 2007. When I first started out, I knew absolutely nothing about this form of writing, beyond what “SEO” stood for (search engine optimization).

Furthermore, I knew next to nothing about the foundation of SEO – internet marketing itself. And to my great surprise, neither did a lot of my clients!

At this point, I was at a critical fork in the road. I could either shy away from the challenge this presented and stick with offering basic web copy. Or, I could seize the opportunity to expand my SEO writing business. But, it meant educating my clients so that I could sell them more services.

This is the option I chose. So, I did some studying and learned what I needed to know to gain “expert” status. Then, I prepared a tutorial (a report) for prospective clients and put it on my site as a free download. There’s a free link to it inside.

The report was picked up and distributed by many others, and earned me thousands of dollars in business. And the reason is, it proves to clients that my firm knows its “SEO writing stuff.”

I don’t have to “prove” it to them; it’s there in black and white. So, by the time many prospects contact my SEO writing firm, it’s just a matter of working out the particulars of the type of work they want us to do, not IF they want to hire us.

Conclusion

While investing the time upfront to research, write and distribute reports can seem like you’re “working for free,” it’s really not. You’re investing in your freelance business – for the long haul. But boy, can it pay off big – for years.

And if you’re one of the few freelancers who are willing to think creatively like this and work differently than the competition, you’ll always have a full pipeline as a freelance writer.

Are You a Small Business Owner?

If you’re a business owner who’s stumbled across this report, it’s great insight into how a freelance writer can help you increase sales and leads.

So, although this report is for freelance writers, it’s ABOUT how every business can benefit from the expertise of a good copywriter.

Sincerly,
Yuwanda Black
Freelance Writer Since 1993

P.S.: You can use this e-book as a free giveaway to potential clients, as an incentive to build your subscriber list and/or as a free marketing tool to entice seminar, workshop and/or classroom subscribers.

x-click-but22 Start gaining new clients for only $4.95 (Immediate Download)

Read more.

3 Reasons Cold Calling Works to Land Freelance Writing Jobs

It’s summer time, which means for many that writing assignments are harder to come by. Many freelancers start to panic this time of year – especially if they’re new to the game. I’ve been at this so long that I’ve seen many seasons come and go. And, what I can tell you is that editorial is cyclical. So relax, don’t panic.

Note: See Success Story #3 in this post to get the full picture of this freelancer writer’s success with cold calling.

But, just because it’s a traditionally slow time does not mean you should throw up your hands in defeat. In the summer marketing tutorial, I not only outline 6 ways to still land freelance writing jobs, I give some advice for how to use this slower time to propel your business to the next level.

Email from a Freelance Writer about Direct Mail (Which Led to My Advice about Cold Calling)

A freelancer wrote me a few days ago, inquiring:

cold-calling-tips-for-freelance-writersHi Yuwanda,

I am not sure if this is a question that many of your readers ask as well. I do direct mail, however, I only send it to direct clients, not to SEO Firms. I know you mentioned that you also do direct mail, but I wasn’t sure if you send it to SEO Firms or just direct businesses.
 
 In my mind, I am thinking that SEO firms will be more open to Emails since online is the nature of their business. I have actually been thinking about doing a direct mail campaign for SEO’s, Internet Professionals, etc. However, I have been hesitant because I thought emailing them would be more effective. Do you have any thoughts or experience with this? Your help is greatly appreciated- thanks!

My Response

It’s been years since I’ve done a direct mail campaign. All of my marketing is now done online.
 
IMO, this would be a waste of money. I just don’t think direct mail in this case would be worth the investment. I’d try cold calling b4 I’d do that. It has a high rate of return and in my experience is even more effective than email.
 
Hope this insight helps.
 

A 66% Cold Call Response Rate!

This freelance writer emailed me back a couple of days later, writing:

Hi Yuwanda,

Yes, it does help! Thanks- I was always hesitant to cold call, but I took your advice, and I started making my calls 30 minutes ago.  I made 6 calls this far and 4 of them asked me to send my samples already. One is looking for a quote on a project next week.

I guess the SEO firms are open to getting “cold calls” to freelance writers.   🙂

Thanks again!

Freelance Writers: Why You Can Expect a Higher-than Average Response Rate When You Cold Call

FYI, this is a 66% response rate. Sure, it’s a small example, but this response mirrors what I got years ago when I used to cold call prospects when I owned my editorial staffing agency in New York. I never warmed up to cold calling, as email and referrals worked well for me to bring in steady leads. But, I did eventually conquer my fear of it. Once I got comfortable with a script, it actually wasn’t bad at all.

Cold Calling Tip: Another thing I want to point out is that every time I started my cold calls, I’d be nervous. But, three to five calls into the “cycle” for the day, I’d relax. So just expect that, and know that it does get better.

One thing I have to say is, publishing/editorial tends to be a field filled with very friendly people. And, they’re not accustomed to being cold called, so many of my calls were downright friendly.

Now, did I run across some sour pusses? Yeah, for sure.

But even those tended not to be so bad. And again, I think it’s because professionals in this niche aren’t accustomed to being cold called, so they’re nicer when they do get them. This is just my personal opinion.

Following is why I think cold calling works so well for freelance writers (and other editorial professionals, eg, graphic designers).

Freelance Writers: 3 Reasons to Cold Call Prospects

Most Freelancers Don’t Do It: So you’ll stand out when you do.

It’s Harder to be Dismissed: It’s easy for someone to toss a mailer in the garbage or delete an email, but most people are polite and won’t dismiss you on the phone. At the very least you can hope to get some follow-up information (eg, “And who do I send those writing samples to?”)

You Add to Your List: Marketing lists are pure gold – in any business – whether it’s previous customers, new prospects, referrals, etc. The larger your list is, the better chance you have of making sales. 

Freelance Writers: Do Things Seem Slower Than Normal This Year?

Just one thing I wanted to point out – I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that things are slower than ever. I know the experts say our economy is on the mend, but from friends who’ve lost jobs and are asking me about how to get into freelance writing, to emails from existing freelance writers about how to bring in more business, to me, it does seem that things are a lot slower than in recent past years.

Weathering One of the Worst Economic Periods Ever as a Freelance Writer

As a freelance writer, I weathered one of the worst economic crisises in recent history (and have been through a few others) – the 9/11 attacks. I lived in New York City at the time, and business came practically to a halt for months after. So you may have to log more marketing hours than ever before, but things always turn around.

FT Job Seekers Turning to Freelancing to Earn Extra Money

I just had a conversation with a girlfriend of mine last night who’s looking for a full-time job. She said she’s had tons of interviews, but no job offers yet. She’s been unemployed for over a year. She wanted to pick my brain about how to become a freelance writer to bring in some extra income.

I just wanted to point this out to say hang in there. It’s tough for everybody right now – fulltimers and freelancers alike.

The Advantage Freelancing Has Over FT Employment (IMO)

The thing I like about freelancing though is you don’t depend on one customer (eg, a job) for your daily bread. You can have as many “paychecks” as you want. But it ain’t gonna come to ya, ya gotta put the pedal to the medal and market for the work (in this ebook I give a cold-calling script freelancers can use).

Good luck, and hang in there!

Read more.

An Ebook Publishing Failure Story: My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon This Year

I decided to start this online journal about my goal to write and have published 50 ebooks on Amazon by December 31, 2011 because, quite frankly, I’m way behind schedule and I need a kick in the pants. And, there’s nothing like declaring your goals publicly – especially your lumps along the way (ie, your failures) – to keep you on track.

Note: See all posts in this ebook writing series at the end of this post. Get the ebook that came out of this series: SELLING EBOOKS ONLINE: How I Published 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year – And You Can Too!

Why Am I So Behind in Writing and Publishing My Ebooks

Well, there are several reasons. None of them are excuses; they’re just . . . reasons.

My Personal Life: Quite frankly, it’s sucked for a while now and it got the better of me in the spring of this year. I wasn’t able to concentrate and be super-focused like I usually am.

I’m a Type A personality. This means I tend to give my all to everything – personally and professionally. And, when it doesn’t go my way (especially personally), it can f*** me up pretty badly – especially because I didn’t see it coming.

So, that took me off track for a bit and I’m just now recovering – and finding my mojo again.

Travelling: While living the “international freelance writing life” is nice, it’s kind of disconcerting. I’m back and forth to Jamaica, and have been feeling out of sorts lately. Like:

“Is that extra computer battery here, or did I leave it at my house in Jamaica?” and

“Where are those – my favorite – running shorts? Ah crap, I left them in Atlanta!” or

 “Why can’t I access this site from Jamaica? Arrggghhh!”

While on the face of it little things like this are no big deal – I’m a creature of habit (the older I get, the more I think I’m developing a bit of OCD). I like to have things in their place, working the way they’re supposed to, and nothing out of sorts at all times. If something is “off,” it throws me off. So little things have been adding up . . . and creating a big headache for me.

Work Problems: Over the past two months I’ve had a spate of problems – namely, my laptop died. I lost six months of work. It was my own fault because I had a backup in place, but just didn’t do my part and save the darned files!

Uggghhh – I could literally puke at my folly!

I’m an optimist by nature, so tend to think that, “This won’t happen to me.” Which is very stupid considering I got a nasty virus in December that cost me over $500 to get fixed. Six months later (this month), I got another one that crashed my whole system – which I hadn’t backed up since December.

I know, I know. STUPID!

And, it couldn’t be fixed; so no recovered files — and I had to buy a whole new computer (which I’m loving!). But, there went six month’s worth of personal photos and video, not to mention work files (my last two published ebooks namely, as well as one I had 90% completed that I have to now rewrite). Now I’m so paranoid that I back up stuff even when I’m going across the hall to the bathroom.

Some other stuff has happened too professionally that’s just put a black cloud over everything.

For a couple of weeks there, it was all I could do to log on. I just wanted to lay in bed with the covers over my head I was so depressed (which is TOTALLY unlike me).

The Sun is Shining Again — I’m Gonna be an Ebook Writing Fool!

Now, I’m finally coming out of my personal and professional funk. I feel inspired again and will be working my tail off to make my ebook writing and publishing goal. The writing starts tomorrow.

I’ll be doing regular updates on my progress – this is more for me than anything else.

If you want to chime in with your ebook writing (or other professional) successes and failures, I’d welcome it. Share in the comments section below. And, here’s to always getting back up, dusting yourself off and getting going again!

Have a great weekend,
Yuwanda

Listing of All Posts in This Series

A Freelance Writer’s Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part I

A Freelance Writer’s Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part II

A Freelance Writer’s Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part III

A Freelance Writer’s Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part IV

A Freelance Writer’s Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part V

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part VI

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part VII

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part VIII

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part IX

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part X

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part XI

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part XII

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part XIII

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part XIV

Writing and Selling Ebooks Online: Diary of My Quest to Publish 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year, Part XV (Final post in series)

coverP.S.: Want to write and sell ebooks online for a living? You can! Get the guide that shows you how to start a successful self-publishing career — start immediately.

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

Find this post helpful? Share it with others and follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

Read more.

Freelancing and Taxes: 6 Simple Tasks You Can Do Today to Make Next Year’s Tax Season a Breeze

Editor Note: If you freelance, summer is the perfect time to get a hold on back-end administrative tasks like getting ready for tax season. This time of year tends to be a bit slower as far as client projects go, so you can allot more time to things you’ve “been meaning to get to” (ie, redesigning your website, pulling together that email campaign, signing up with a newsletter distributor, etc.)

The year is almost half gone already. Think how much more organized you’ll feel if you get organized now and only have to deal with six months of paperwork, instead of waiting until next year and having to deal with a year’s worth (ugghhh — the very thought makes me cringe).

A big thank you to Jennifer for this excellent information.

FYI, sign up to the newsletter to get Outright’s special offer for Inkwell subscribers.

Freelancing and Taxes: 6 Simple Tasks You Can Do Today to Make Next Year’s Tax Season a Breeze

The following is a guest post by Jennifer Escalona of Outright.com.

What? We just finished up tax season and you’re asking me to think about that dreaded April 15, 2012 already?

You’re right. Chances are tax time was a nightmarish season for you. Creative professionals have an especially bad rap when it comes to getting organized when it comes time to pay Uncle Sam. But believe me, you don’t have to live like this!

Here are six simple ways you can get ready for tax season TODAY so that next year’s annual taxes breeze by as barely a blip on your profitable, organized radar.

I. Automate Income and Expense Tracking

The tax time detail that bogs down most business owners is pesky data entry. Whenever an invoice comes in or a ream of paper is purchased on the company dime, that amount has to be entered into a bookkeeping system.

Fortunately, there are solutions like Outright.com, which integrates with your checking account, credit card, PayPal account and even your eBay account in order to automatically pull in your income and expenses. Instead of laboriously typing in all your income and expenses (and, let’s face it, falling drastically behind by the time June rolls around), Outright takes care of the hassle.

II. Categorize Expenses Properly

Now that your expenses are all neatly pulled into your bookkeeping system, it’s time to make sure that your expenses are categorized properly. Not only will this save you time and hassle filling out your Schedule C at the end of the year, it will allow you to see where your money is going at-a-glance. (As in, you knew you loved cute office supplies, but had no idea you had a $500 month habit!)

III. Digitize Receipts

Think of your business receipts. Where are they at this moment? If you said in a shoebox or a folder, or scattered throughout your purse, desk, and refrigerator, then you are not alone. But sometimes receipt disputes can come up at the end of the year, and that’s when it’s important to have a system of organized receipts in place.

The easiest way to do this is to use a service like Shoeboxed.com, which will digitize your receipts and upload them securely for easy searching. That also means you can toss all the paper receipts and save the refrigerator for food.

IV. Collect W-9’s from All Contractors

Sometime in the last couple of weeks in January, the W-9 scramble starts. This is when people who hire contractors and paid them over $600 realize that they are required by the IRS to issue a 1099 or face penalties. All the information they need to fill out that 1099 can be found on form W-9, which you should have had each

contractor fill out. Unfortunately, a contractor you hired last March can be long gone by the time the New Year rolls around. This is why it’s a good idea to collect W-9’s every time you hire a contractor. Look at your contractors now. Do you have W-9’s for all of them? If not, download form W-9 from the IRS website and collect that vital information today.

V. Get an EIN

Speaking of W-9’s, you’ll probably have to fill several of those out, too. And one of the most important fields on the W-9 asks for your social security number. If you are leery about handing those all-important digits out, go to the IRS website today and apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The application process is free and you’ll receive your EIN – and peace of mind about identify theft – right away.

VI. Sign Up for EFTPS

The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or EFTPS is the easiest way to pay your quarterly and annual taxes online via credit card or bank draft. But don’t wait to sign up the day your taxes are due! The IRS makes you jump through some hoops to get set up. So go ahead and apply for an EFTPS account today so that tax payments are smooth sailing on due dates.

Nobody loves taxes, but with these few simple steps, you should be able to make next year’s tax season a no-hassle affair so you can get back to doing what you do best… running your business!

About the Author: Jennifer is a professional writer, blogger and social media consultant. She can be found online at www.jennescalona.com; Twitter @JennEscalona; and Tungle.me/JennEscalona (to schedule a call or meeting:).

Read more.

Freelance Writing Business Advice: How to Turn 5 Emails a Day into $50,000 Per Year in Income

Some of the most frequently asked questions I get about freelance writing revolve around marketing, ie, how to do it, how often, which methods to use, what to say, etc. It is the lifeblood of every business, yet the number one skill most freelance writers lack is marketing ability.

To be fair, this “affliction” is not limited to freelance writers. But, in my experience we seem to have more than our share in this profession because many writers hate the idea of “marketing.” But if you’re going to be successful at freelancing, it’s a skill you must develop.

A couple of days ago, I received the following email from a freelance writer wanting to join my team at New Media Words, my SEO writing company. As an aside, I’m always flattered when writers approach me. It shows mainly that they’re taking some of the advice I dispense to heart, ie, approach any and everyone you know for work. So, good for him!

Following is his email, and the response I gave him – some advice I think will help lighten the load, if you will, when you think about the dreaded task of “marketing.”

A Freelancer Asks, “Can You Give Me Freelance Writing Jobs?”

Yuwanda,

I’ve been meaning to email for a long time, but kept putting it off. So . . . I thought I’d finally go ahead and do it–especially since I also have a self-serving motive.

I have bought one of your ebooks (the one about how to get started as an SEO article writer) and receive your newsletter. Out of all the related stuff I’ve bought, your short ebook had the most practical, applicable information of them all. It was actually informative and useful without all the standard filler fluff and unfulfilled promises at the beginning. And for that I thank you.

I look forward to receiving your newsletter because it too is packed with useful information. You make us feel as thought we’re all in this together. Good stuff all around. Keep up the good work.

Now, for the self-serving part. I’ve been writing SEO content (mostly articles) for the past couple of years. I’m good at it, and my articles get results. But I am also an abysmal marketer. I’ve been working on a new website and have let the marketing slide—which means, of course, that writing work has almost dried up. So, since you farm out writing work, I was wondering whether you might be interested in using my writing services.

I look forward to hearing from you.

My Answer: Marketing for Freelance Writing Jobs Takes Just a Few Minutes a Day

M-:
 
First, glad you found the SEO writing ebook helpful. I do try to cut out the fluff and get right to the point.
 
As for needing help, I’m pretty good right now. The 4 writers I have are able to handle the load and as we’re going into the slow summer season, I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon. However, I will keep your info on file (I have a folder just for apps like you). I’m flattered and appreciate you reaching out to me.
 
As for letting your marketing slide; now that you know your weakness, all you have to do is work on overcoming it. Lots of freelancers have the same problem. One thing I’ve found that works is sending out a few marketing emails per day — and do it first thing — instead of telling yourself you’re going to “do some marketing today” (ie, a day where you set aside time to do just marketing).” That makes it sound like too much of a big deal.
 
Even if you just sent out 5 emails per day, that’s 25 per week, 100 per month, 1,200 per year. Even with just  a 2% response rate, that’s 24 new clients a year. If each one of those clients gave you just $2,000 per year in business ($166/month), that’s almost $50,000 in income right there (5 emails x 5 days/wk x 4 wks/month x 12 mnths/year x 2% x $2,000 = $48,000/year).
 
THIS is the way I think about marketing.
 
Remember, it’s the consistency of the little things you do EVERY DAY — not the grandness of the big things you do once in a while — that spell success. And as a female, I can tell you that this works in romance too. 🙂
 
Hope this helps, and good luck with everything.
 
FYI, try this for 3 months and email me your progress, ok?

Another couple of points I want to make is that:

2 More Facts that Make Marketing for Freelance Writing Jobs Easier

(i) Email marketing tends to pull more than 2%. Direct mail, on average, pulls a 1-2% response rate. Highly targeted email messages pull in the 6-15% range. Of course, these are just industry averages.

The point is, marketing is just a number game. And with email response rates being much higher than direct mail, if you play the percentages, you’ll come out on top (ie, land jobs) pretty predictably.

Just know, a lot depends on your offer, the rate, how your message is presented, etc. (FYI, in the SEO writing ebook, I show you the email I initially sent to clients to start landing SEO writing jobs; it pulled as high as 25% — although I caution that you shouldn’t expect those kind of results).

(ii) The other point I want to make is, when it comes to SEO writing, clients tend to spend much more than $166 per month. Many of my first orders from new clients are higher than this. But, you’ll never get the work if you don’t market for it – and that’s the overall point I want to make here.

Get Freelance Writing Jobs During the Slower Summer Months

By the way, here’s a link to Inkwell Editorial’s summer marketing tutorial. We are going into the slow season – but that doesn’t mean your freelance writing business has to slow down. There are plenty of freelance writing jobs to be had – if you continuously market for them. This in-depth tutorial gives some great ideas on how to go about it.

Share Your Freelance Marketing Success Stories in the Comments Section Below

Have any ideas on marketing for freelance writing gigs you’d like to share? Soemthing you tried that landed you a big gig, your first gig, an ongoing gig? Please — share, share, share. As this freelancer noted, we’re all in this together.

Have a great weekend!

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

seo-copywriting-trainingGet SEO Copywriting Training — Earn $50,000 to $75,000 Your First Year. You’ll learn 4 ways to make money online using your newly acquired skills. Get full details on the SEO copywriter training this ecourse offers.

P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100 or $150/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’ve personally sold tens of thousands of dollars of e-products (my own and affiliate products) doing this since January 2009.

Read more.