The following email from an aspiring freelance SEO writer inspired this post. She wrote:
Question from a New Freelance Writer
I’ve started [contacting] SEO companies using the template you provide in one of your ebooks . . . .
My question is simple: How long should I expect it to take to hear back from someone? I’m nervously drumming my fingers over here, not sure what to expect. Also, I’ve heard summer is slow, but at what point does ‘summer’ become ‘fall’ in that regard? Late August? September?
Thanks for your help – you’re wonderful!
Editorial is cyclical and after Labor Day (September 5th this year) is the start of the busy fall season.
Following are some common questions I receive – especially from new freelance writers. Resolve these issues for your freelance writing business so you can “hit the ground running” next week.
Freelance Writers: Are You Ready for the Busy Fall Season? Here are 4 Areas to Check
I. Freelance Writing Rates: I’m not going to tell you how to set rates because there is no one size fits all. What I will tell you is this – rates can always be adjusted. So if you’re new and are unsure about your rates, do some research.
You can start by researching the blogs of other freelancers, consult industry sources, and lurk in freelance writing forums. This should give you enough info to set your rates initially. Then, if you’re not happy with what you’re making, the jobs you’re getting, or how long it’s taking you to land jobs (or the fact that you’re quickly overwhelmed), then you can adjust your rates accordingly.
More Posts on How to Set Your Freelance Writing Rates
II. Service Offerings: Have you decided which services you will offer? Are they clearly listed on your website? Have you defined parameters (eg, one round of edits; $X for 500 words; $X for technical content as opposed to general content; turnaround times; etc.).
Have you lined up outsourcers (other freelancers) to handle services you’re no intimately familiar with and/or just don’t want to do (eg, social media management)? Have you gotten paperwork in place for them (eg, asking them to fill out a 1099 form)?
Advice for New Freelance Writers: Start off offering services you know how to do well. It’s difficult enough when you first start out without worrying about having to “manage” a staff. You’re going to be nervous; there are going to be situations you have to figure out how to handle before you get over being a newbie.
Don’t complicate this by adding management duties onto it. Wait until you’ve ironed out some kinks in your freelance writing business (and there are always “kinks”) before taking it to this level.
So, set your service offerings and clearly outline them on your website, then go from there.
As you grow, you can always add more services.
III. Marketing Schedule: Get in the habit of marketing from Day 1. Putting together a freelance writing marketing plan will ensure that you do so. Some freelancers get busy right away; for others it takes a while.
One thing I can guarantee is that if you don’t market – consistently – for freelance writing jobs you will have more dry spells, be constantly frustrated and may even give up on a freelance writing career before you ever get started good.
And that would be a shame. There’s plenty of work out there for everyone. But, you have to be proactive in getting it.
IV. Mentally Adjust: Freelancing is a wonderful career – but sometimes you have to have nerves of steel because there is no steady paycheck. You have to go out and kill your dinner (eg, market for work) in order to eat.
And sometimes, it may seem like you’ve fired every weapon in your arsenal, yet you can’t drag anything home. That’s when panic sets in – ie, you start to think, “I can’t make a go of this; I was a fool to start and/or quit my FT job.”
Hold up there buddy . . . I’m here to tell you, you’re wrong! Don’t throw in that towel. As I wrote in the post, How to Build a Successful Freelance Career (Part 2):
No matter how talented you are, what your background is, or how well connected you are, there will come a time when work just seems to dry up. At this point you may start to question your abilities, seriously consider a full-time job, and/or wonder if freelancing is for you.
If this is the existence you’ve decided you want, stick with it. Continue to advertise, even when it seems that no one is interested. The average consumer has to see your advertisement at least 7-28 times (depending on what article you read) before they will act on it. So be confident that if you advertise consistently, when they need a service/product that you offer, you will be at the forefront, rather than the hit-and-run advertisers.
After all, the quickest way not to succeed is to quit.
Why My Gut Tells Me the Fall Is Going to Be Busier Than Ever
If the success some freelance writers have experienced this summer has been anything to go by, this fall is going to be a busy one. The American economy (indeed, the world economy) has been in a rut for the last 3-4 years. And while it’s still not great, things are slowly turning around.
And, ad spending in internet marketing is set to explode. Proof?
According to the article, Online marketing spend to increase significantly in the next few years, a study done by Forrester research revealed that:
. . . by the year 2016 advertisers will spend $77 billion on email, social media display and mobile outreach efforts. The total will make up 35 percent of all advertising by that year, accounting for a major portion of money spent in the sector.
The study, U.S. Interactive Marketing Forecast, 2011 to 2016, also found that by 2015, the adoption rate for smartphones will increase by 150 percent and 82 percent of consumers are expected to own tablet devices.
What does this mean for freelance writers – particularly those who specialize in web copy?
More writing work – in pay per click ads; social media management; SEO articles for blogs, newsletters and websites; landing pages; SEO press releases; etc. You name it and clients will be ordering it!
Are you set up to get your slice of this freelance writing jobs pie?
Til next time!
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P.S.: Get the ebook that pushed my freelance writing career to the next level – allowing me to travel and live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life!”
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.