Note: Update July 2016. To follow this entire series from the beginning, click the following links: Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV; this is Part V (and yes, the series continued after this — for almost three more years!); Part VI; Part VII; Part VIII; and Part IX.
When we left off last, Mary had landed her first client. Upon officially landing the client she wrote:
EMAIL FROM MARY ABOUT OFFICIALLY LANDING HER FIRST SEO WRITING CLIENT
I DO have my first client (got the assignment/keywords Monday) just SIX days after sending out my first query. This is from the company that wanted the category pages [the one discussed in Part IV]. I asked about deadline and he told me he wanted them to “trickle” in. . . . [he] will be sending me work, starting tomorrow ! 🙂
And the other, who asked about my writing full websites and asking about my SEO experience – I e-mailed him back today with the explanation — similar to yours — that I’m a long-time writer getting into the SEO niche — and hope he’ll use me. We’ll see. . .
BUT, all was not going smoothly with her first assignment. Mary recounts:
EMAIL FROM MARY ABOUT PROBLEMS WITH HER FIRST SEO WRITING ASSIGNMENT
… he’s [the client] sent back my first piece TWICE for a re-write. The first one he said was too article-like/blog post-like for a category page. The second was too keyword heavy and wasn’t talking TO the site’s potential clients, but AT them.
All well and good and I’m happy to rework them. We even chatted on the phone tonight and I got more feedback and I’ve just sent off the piece again.
I’m hoping he’ll like this one, of course, and will want to continue the assignment.
However, I’m fully aware this may not work for him and he’ll say goodbye. If that’s the case, I’m NOT giving up. I’ll just query more companies and start the process over again. I’m a very good writer learning a new niche (my first client doesn’t know how new this is for me and I’m not tellin’! 😉
Meanwhile, I’ve learned some valuable information.
1) I REALLY enjoy this kind of writing. There’s no one to arrange to interview. There’s so very little time involved. And it IS creative. I really get lost — get into the flow — while I’m doing this. I thought I’d be coming home exhausted from work and then “dreading” having to spend even more time “at work” on the SEO writing. But I find it’s just the opposite — I’m quite energized writing it and I’m eager to get going on it when I get home.
2) And, of course, I learn more about SEO writing.
A small part of me worries that I just won’t “get” this. But I know that’s impossible. I may make mistakes and missteps and very possibly lose a client — or two or three or four or even five — before I do “get” it. But I’m not giving up. I’ve set a deadline: If I’m not making at least $250/week by April 5 (three months after my first query), I may decide to hang it up.
I may have jumped into this with a “ready, fire, aim” mindset — and that may be biting me on the behind now (the rewrites and all). But I too often prepare and prepare and prepare and never get started. This time I figured I’d jump right in and if I have to flail a bit, that’s OK — I’ll figure it out as I go along.
And, of course, I need to study the “how” of SEO content writing a bit more. … So you can tell your readers it’s not been smooth sailing for Mary, but she’s not giving up.
So far, that’s the latest on “SEO Mary.” However, there’s one lesson Mary recounts that I want to leave you with. In Part IV, at the end I emailed the following to Mary:
EMAIL FROM ME TO MARY
As for others, I haven’t heard from anyone else about my ebook, other than the usual comments — “great advice;” and “I can’t wait to start.” The problem with most is, they never start! You did, and that’s made all the difference. Good for you!
[NOTE: This last paragraph addresses a question Mary had asked me about the experiences of others who bought the ebook].
MARY’S RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE
… as far as actually being one of the few who actually “start,” I assure you I have bought tons of e-books, promised myself I’d do this or that and NEVER got started. I figure it’s just a matter of keeping at it, little by little, finding the thing that is most “you.”
I had another website ready, so I copied some of that …, did free article marketing (barely), and used them for samples as well. As well as some other online articles I had (most of my journalism/free-lance work took place pre-Internet, so it’s not online).
I definitely am one of several folks who “never got started” with some other ideas I’ve come across, but am able to be so with your e-book (emphasis added). It’s all a matter of finding one’s niche. Of course, there ARE those who do NEVER get started.
I couldn’t find myself on my deathbed without being able to tell myself I gave the free-lancing try a great go (emphasis added). It’s been a long-time dream of mine to free-lance full time — to really make a go of it and to really make some money, all on my terms (I have a special needs child I’d like to be more available for, elderly parents [who live far away] I’d like to see frequently without using up my vacation time, and I’d like to travel).
“Life” has gotten in my way, but I can’t keep letting it do that.
And that’s the real lesson here: If you don’t find a way to follow your dreams, “life” will always get in the way. Most of us never achieve what we want because we never take the simple action of “STARTING.”
As this officially ends the series (periodic updates to come), I send a final “thank you,” to Mary, which seems so inadequate. But, thank you for being so honest, open and forthright with your experiences, fears and triumphs. Keep at it; you have everything you need to be successful. 🙂
P.S.: I’m Ready to Start a Lucrative Career as a Web Writer.
Just wanted to say thank you for your e-books! I bought your SEO e-book on May 10th and just received payment for my first order of SEO blog articles! It’s a recurring job for an SEO company that is working with an allergist. All I have to do is take some stock articles and rewrite 8 articles per month at $25 each. I got this job by [following the marketing plan] in your e-book. … Now I am confident that I can charge more for my work!
This is just in time because I was worrying about having to break down and find a full time job. I want to stay home and work because my fiance has kidney failure. He needs a transplant and we fully expect that he will receive one and live a long life. However, if he does not, then he has a good 15 years of life.
While 15 years can be a long time and any number of things can happen in that span of time, I don’t want to spend it stressed out about a job and commuting to a place I hate. Thanks for giving me the tools to create a flexible online career!
P.P.S.: Have something to stay to the freelance community?
Have some freelance advice, tips and/or a success/failure story to share? Submit a guest post. Read the guidelines and if I like it, I usually publish it within a few days.