Advice for Freelance Writers: Questions from Newbies about Websites, Finances & More

At the very beginning of the year (Jan 4), I sent out the following tweet:

Am writing a post next wk on advice 4 new freelance writers. What would u like 2 know or what advice would u give? Respond here or email pls
I received the following three questions.

1. How Do I Effectively Use My Website as a Freelance Writer

From @imaniems_ on Twitter: @InkwellEditor How do they use different outlets for their work. Ex: is their blog for hosting links or producing original free content?

As a freelance writer, following are the rules to follow regarding this.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Read the site’s affiliate disclosure policy for full details.

A Client-Focused Website: For example, NewMediaWords.biz is my online writing company’s site. It is for and about clients. I don’t have a client-focused blog, but if I did, it would be on that site and the original, free content would be all about how to make their business run better based on the services my firm provides, eg,:

  • How to create a content marketing strategy;
  • How often to blog and what to say;
  • How to use social media to attract prospects;
  • How to generate leads using free, special reports;
  • Etc.

If you’re a freelance writer and you haven’t or don’t want to create any products of your own, this may be the only type of blog/site you’ll need. However, I’ve found that most freelance writers – especially the longer they freelance – do go on to create their own products and services, eg, e-courses, ebooks, webinars, etc.

And, most of these will be targeting other freelancers/aspiring freelance writers. So, in that case, you’d need a different site, ie:

A Site Targeting Other Freelancers: Of course, for me, that’s this site. It’s where I talk to other freelancers about how to make money writing … for themselves (eg, self-publishing, internet marketing), and/or for others (eg, clients).

Any other sites you have will most likely spring from personal projects you develop. For example, if you develop a niche-specific e-course like this freelance writer, and you want to speak to/grow that audience.

One thing to remember, no matter how many sites you have.

Be clear about the site’s mission, and how it fits into your overall freelance business. That’s one thing I struggled with when I started my internet marketing site (GAMC).

When I first registered the domain name, I thought I was going to start a whole separate blog. But, I really didn’t want to do that.

I already have so many balls in the air that I didn’t want to add yet another one to the juggling schedule. So I stood back and assessed how (or even if) I could somehow fold it into this site.

I struggled with this for months. And thanks in large part to blog readers (like you!), one day it hit me – a new mission for this site and how to incorporate GAMC into it.

So I set it up as a squeeze page to capture the email addresses of those interested in how to make money online (ie, start a mobile biz / become a digital nomad).

AWeber allows me to segment my subscriber lists, so I could house all posts on this site, and send only the ones that talk about affiliate/internet marketing to those who’ve opted into that list.

FYI, that’s why if you want to receive the posts that discuss affiliate/internet marketing, you need to subscribe via GAMC, even if you’re already a subscriber via this site.

I got off on a little tangent there, but I wanted you to be clear about what I was trying to say. Got it? Good!

Looking to start a new site?

I wrote an in-depth tutorial for newbies on how to set up a wordpress blog. It has lots of graphics so you won’t get lost. BUT if you have questions, just put them in the comments section, or email me directly, ok? I’ll help you get up and going.

Now, to question number two.

2. How to Find New Freelance Writing Clients Online

@johnnyknownow asked: @InkwellEditor how to consistently find new clients online.

FYI, I loved that he put the word “consistently” in there because that’s the key to marketing success – with any method. Why? Because digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements each day. To break through that kind of noise, you have got to be consistent!

First, start with the rules in this post. And as I wrote in that post, I’ve done everything from article marketing to email blasts. For me, cold emailing still works best.

If I send out 50 to 100 emails, I usually get anywhere from 2-5 nibbles, and eventually turn 1 to 2 of them into clients. I did this for years and it worked beautifully because: (i) I was consistent about it; and (ii) I built my own marketing database.

You see, every time I emailed someone, I would double back every 30 to 60 or 90 days and touch them again. The only time I stopped marketing to them was if they asked me to take them off the list. Over the years, very few have.

But isn’t this spam?” you may be wondering.

I’ve never been accused of spam. I have had requests to be removed from my list though. The reason I think I get such good response and very little pushback using this form of online marketing is that I take the time to hunt down a name. Or, if that’s not possible, at least put the name of the site or a title of someone in the introduction so that the message is personalized.

I never “bulk email” prospects. It’s always done one at a time. Nowadays with everybody being active on social media, it’s way easier to find contact info than it used to be even just a few years ago.

FYI, LinkedIn is the best social media site to use to find freelance writing jobs according to the feedback I get from other freelance writers.

3. How to Qualify for a Bank Loan as a Freelance Writer

I received this question via email: I was inquiring about income verification with online writing and about proving it if I were to attempt to take out a home loan etc. Thanks.

This is very easy to do. Just document your income and show your tax returns. What most financial institutions are looking for is verifiable income. So if you’ve been freelancing for a while, you should easily have that. And as most freelancers are issued 1099s from clients, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Also, most clients these days (at least in the U.S.) pay via PayPal or check. Again, all verifiable and should be included on your tax return. 

If you’re new to freelancing and/or your earnings fall below a certain threshold, then of course it’s going to be hard to get a home loan. FYI, I have insight about this because I used to be a home loan consultant, but it is not to be construed as financial advice. Always check with your lender to get their specific guidelines.

Qualifications for Getting a Home Loan as a Freelancer

But if you’ve been freelancing for three years or more, meet the debt-to-income ratio, and have good credit, there’s no reason you shouldn’t qualify for a home loan. Most financial institutions like to see at least three years of consistent income when you freelance. With a traditional 9 to 5 job, it can be one to two years.

Also, many lenders will require a lower debt-to-income ratio than if you had a regular job.

As an aside, this is why it’s a good idea to develop a relationship with a bank/lending institutition, especially when you freelance. Sit down; talk with a loan officer in person. Tell them what your financial goals are. Then, ask how their financial institution can help you achieve them. This can be just the thing to tip their answer in your favor – if not today, then in the future.

Have More Freelance Questions?

Send them in. I’ll be doing a more expansive post within the next couple of weeks on some things I think it’s important to know as a new freelance writer. But you guys – when you send in questions, you ask stuff I would never dream you’d ask, so that’s why I like for you to hit me up and tell me what you want to know.

After all, this blog is all about you – and the only way I know what’s on your mind is if you tell me, ok?

Next Post: 11 Hot Freelance Writing Niches for 2017. FYI, I’m always looking for guest posts, so feel free to send one in.

P.S.: The #1 Thing You Need to Run a Successful Freelance Business? Hands down — a blog. Learn why & how to start one here.

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