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A Freelance Writer Has Her First $400 Day within a Month of Doing This: How She Did It – And You Can Too!

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you may remember “SEO Mary.” She was the SEO writer who allowed us to follow her journey as she went about building a freelance writing career as an SEO writer. To keep her anonymous – so she could share her ups, downs and in-betweens with us as honestly as she wanted to, I gave her that name for the series.

Note: See links to all posts in this series below.

Meet Cold-Calling Carol: How She Had Her First $400 Day as a Freelance Writer

Well meet “Cold Calling Carol.” She’s the freelancer who’s been sharing her successes (and not too many) failures with us as she drums up freelance writing work during these slow summer months via cold calling. Having never done it before, she’s having some killer success.

Even though neither one of us foresaw turning this into a series, that’s what’s happened. In this post, the fourth in the series, she writes to tell me that she had her first $400 day as a freelance writer — and I answer some questions she sent in.

Cold Calling Carol’s Latest Post

Hello Yuwanda,

Great to see that you enjoyed your (4th of July) holiday. (Even , if you were working 🙂  I hope you don’t mind me giving you an update.  Well, this is kind of an update and a question, hopefully it will be beneficial to your readers.  I  met my daily quota of $400 today!   And that was a result of my cold calling 🙂   (Emphasis added)

Speaking of cold calling, it took me an hour to call 30 SEO Firms- Here are the results:

9 told me to send samples,

A few told me they do all the work in house.

1 Firm in Seattle said they were looking to hire an in house writer( I live in Vegas, so if any of your readers are in Seattle, tell them to contact me @ writersluck7@gmail.com and I will be more than happy to pass their information along.

A couple of them interviewed me right on the spot,  asking questions about Keyword Density, H1 Tags, H2 Tags, technical jargon, etc.  So , I am sure you wrote about this before, but hopefully your readers will know how to handle these kinds of  questions.  Because, I think they just throw the technical terms around to “test” your knowledge.

I secured 1 project  that  I quoted $50 bucks.  It’s 2 articles for a fishing vacation type of site. They said they want to try me out, and if they like my work they have much more to come. And this particular company was working SEO before they even had a name for it, plus he worked with names everyone has heard of.

Speaking of  pricing, I am wondering  if I should prepare prices on a sliding scale.  It seems like some SEO companies budge when I say $45 per article, so I lower my rate to $25 per article.  Even though I want the higher rate, I don’t mind accepting the lower payment because:

1:  I believe some money is better than no money

2: I need testimonials and more samples to add to my portfolio

So, do you have any suggestions or links that you can direct me to on negotiation?  Is this a good strategy, just to get my foot in the door?   I know rates can be all over the place due to the amount of research, technical, etc.

Oh , and another  question; Sorry 🙂

Many SEO Firms ask me how much I charge per article,  I quote them the rate of $25, and then after payment, I find out that it’s SEO content for a home page.  How do I handle that issue?

Thanks again for all of your time and support 🙂

MY ANSWERS TO HER QUESTIONS

Speaking of  pricing, I am wondering  if I should prepare prices on a sliding scale. When I first started, I had a regular rate and a bulk pricing rate.

If a client ordered more than 10 articles at a time, I’d go to $18 or $20 per article (at the time, my regular rate was $25/article), depending on the nature of the content.

In those early days, I even went as low as $15. Whenever I went this low though, it always stuck in my craw, so I rarely did this. When you work for less than what YOU feel you’re worth, (not based on what some OTHER freelancers THINK you should charge), it’s not a good feeling. And you’ll know it; your gut will tell you.

No matter how much I needed work, I learned to never go against this feeling. I always regretted it. But that’s very individual. I’ve always said this and I stand by it – nobody’s going to pay your bills come the first of the month, so if you don’t mind working for $15 per article, then go for it.

I also discuss how I got through some very hard times taking on almost any kind of writing job when I made up my mind to never work for someone else again (back in 2007) in the free ebook, Living the Freelance Life! (subscribe from any page of site to get your free copy).

Sometimes YOU gotta do what you gotta do to get the bills paid. It doesn’t mean you’re stuck at that rate or that your writing is not as good as someone else’s. It just means you settle . . . for the time being.

So, do you have any suggestions or links that you can direct me to on negotiation?  Is this a good strategy, just to get my foot in the door?  

In my opinion and experience, this rarely works out in the freelance writer’s favor. The reason is, if you start low and they give you MORE work, they’re usually going to want a lower rate because they’re giving you more work.

The way I’d handle this is to do a “one-off” project for them at a “discounted, one-time” rate. This could be, for example, 2-3 articles. This way, they could judge your writing. And, if they want to continue to work with you, then you could say something like:

When [always assume the sale; eg, that you’ll land them as a client] you place article orders of 10 or more, you’ll receive a XX% discount. Otherwise, our standard rates per article are $XX.

Following are some posts you can reference for further insight on the above:

Advice for Freelance SEO Writers: How to Negotiate Rates When Clients Want You to Go Lower with the Promise of More Work

SEO Writing Rates: How to Determine What to Charge as an SEO Copywriter

Many SEO Firms ask me how much I charge per article,  I quote them the rate of $25 and then after payment, I find out that it’s SEO content for a home page.  How do I handle that issue? 

FYI, this is just a misunderstanding of semantics. When most companies commission a page, it could be for the home page, article directory submission, etc. I ask up front what the content is for. And, if they want to use it for their home page and it doesn’t cost me more time to research, I don’t make a stink and charge them more for it.

You’ll have to decide if this is a strategy you want to work with. But remember, you’re going to have to justify why a home page costs more (and it should). But I just don’t slice those apples; for me, it’s not worth it because I stay so busy.

About as far as I go is differentiating between “easy, breezy” content and “foundational” content, as explained on my SEO writing company website.

You could stick a page on your site that explains if content is going to be for Home page or Other “Main Category” usage, the rate is $XX, then explain why (clients are always going to want to know why).

Can You Help This Freelancer?

How? By  pointing her to more sources on how to more effectively negotiate freelance writing (specifically SEO writing) rates.

Internet has been iffy here in Jamaica today, so I’m rushing to finish this and don’t have time to research more. Reply in comments below please, so everyone can benefit.

Links to All Posts in the Cold Callling Carol Series

Her Initial Query to Me: 3 Reasons Cold Calling Works to Land Freelance Writing Jobs

First Post (June 14th): Initial success with cold calling – garnering a 66% response rate.

Second Post (June 28th): Finding Freelance Writing Jobs via Cold Calling: It’s VERY Effective; Here’s How to Get Over the “Cold Calling Jitters”

Third Post (July 12th): Marketing for Freelance Writing Jobs This Summer? Here’s a Two-Pronged Attack That’s Working for One Freelancer

Fifth Update (August 30th): See “SEO Success Story” from Freelancer #3 at end of this post.

Sixth Update (September 21st):  How One SEO Writer Landed a Job to Write 115 Pages of Content: The Marketing Method She Uses That’s Working So Well

Seventh Update (October 26th):  Freelance Writing Advice for SEO Content Writers: What to Do When a Client Doesn’t Pay (But Keeps Promising to Do So)

Eighth Update (November 1):  Freelance Writing Advice for SEO Content Writers: What to Do When a Client Doesn’t Pay (But Keeps Promising to Do So), Part II

Ninth Update (November 16):  Freelance Writing Advice for SEO Content Writers: What to Do When a Client Doesn’t Pay (But Keeps Promising to Do So), Part III

Tenth Update (December 15): Freelance Business: How and When to Pay Freelance SEO Writers You Outsource Work to When You Have No Money

Eleventh Update (February 2, 2012): An SEO Writer Has Her First $1,000 Day with $10,000 More in Work Already Lined Up – Here’s How She Did It

Twelfth Update (April 4, 2012): SEO Content Writing Success: How One Freelancer Earned $1,730 – In One Day from One Client

Thirteenth Update (April 25, 2012): SEO Writing Success Secrets: One Successful Freelancer Tells How She Lands Clients and How Much She Earns on Different Projects

Best,
Yuwanda

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