If you have a good grasp of grammar and enjoy writing, you can easily turn your passion into a career. You can work part-time while enrolled in school to make extra money, or you can turn the opportunity into your full-time job after graduation. Here’s everything you need to know about becoming a freelance writer.
How to Hone Your Skills
If you want to be a freelance writer, you have to become a competitive player in the industry. People expect to receive high-quality content in exchange for their hard-earned money, so you must have a thorough understanding of how to create strong and engaging articles. You can earn this knowledge in school and obtain a degree as proof of your credentials, or you can undergo training to become a content writer. Regardless of which path you choose, it is important to practice various writing techniques and good grammar skills if you want to build a strong portfolio.
How to Start a Freelance Writing Business
Forming a business is the best way to protect your career as a freelance writer. Even if you choose to work under your own name rather than that of a company, you need a business moniker for tax purposes. Every company is required to obtain an EIN number from the Internal Revenue Service. This identification number is how the IRS monitors tax liability, so it’s best to get your EIN before launching your freelance career. The number also makes it easier to read your records at tax time.
How to Find Gigs as a Freelance Writer
Before you build a base of loyal clients, you must seek out jobs as a freelancer. You can find many gigs online. Start a social media account listing your services, and start building your portfolio by completing small articles for family members and friends. You can also submit longer articles to online forums for publication. If you can show people the quality of your work, they are more likely to hire you as a writer.
Having an invoice system is crucial for ensuring you get paid for the gigs you land. You will be paid by the job rather than hourly, so making sure you get paid promptly is important. You can create invoices using online templates. Just customize your chosen design with your preferred text and colors.
How to Build Your Client Base
Once you start landing gigs, you can start cultivating client loyalty. The more regular clients you have, the steadier your paycheck will be. Make sure your clients are satisfied with the work you produce. One study suggests that 42% of small businesses use freelancers, so if you work with several companies, you have a reliable job. It takes talent and exceptional customer service to keep clients returning to you when they need your service. You should practice clear, honest communication so that you have a better understanding of their expectations for your work. People who are happy with your content are more likely to recommend your services and grow your business.
As a freelance writer, you’ll have the opportunity to work with many people and companies generating various types of content. It is a fun and exciting career, but you must work hard to be successful. This advice can help you build a thriving career. Learn more at AJ’s Creative Corner.
Writer’s block is a topic that millions of writers, including me, have already discussed countless times. However, it happens repeatedly to all of us so it’s important that we continue talking about it.
Now that I’m back to writing and posting regularly, the Podcast is also back! Every 2 weeks I will post an episode. I will alternate episodes between topics that have to do with writing trends/ideas and topics that will help beginners learn how to become successful freelance writers.
For this week I wanted to see what approach famous authors’ take when they have a bad case of writer’s block. I read an article titled ‘5 Famous Authors’ Strategies for Conquering Writer’s Block’ written by Nicole Bianchi.
Maya Angelou is the first author that is discussed. Her approach is actually similar to an approach I have previously discussed here on my blog. Her approach was to ‘just write.’ Even if you do not like what you are writing or how it turns out in the end, continue to write every single day. Eventually, after staying consistent you will have a breakthrough and begin to enjoy the content that you are writing.
The next author that this article discusses is Neil Gaiman, who has a different strategy when it comes to finding motivation. He actually suggests that you should push your writing to the side for a few days. After a few days have passed, he then suggests sitting down and re-read your writing from the very beginning.
His logic behind this approach is that after you have had some distance from your writing, you will be more enthusiastic and gain some clarity that you didn’t have before. He also encourages writers to make notes about anything that they want to change as they are re-reading their work.
I have also mentioned this approach in a past post as well. If I am writing a fiction story, this is my go-to strategy to not only break writer’s block but also to make me feel excited about what I’m writing again. When I read my story from the very beginning, it puts me back into a headspace that makes the story feel real and helps me to think of what I would like to read next.
The next author mentioned is Mark Twain, whose go-to strategy is giving me flashbacks to my High School English class all over again. He was a big proponent of writing an outline. His thought process behind this strategy is that if you take this big, overwhelming idea you have for a story, and break it down into doable, reasonable tasks, then the project feels a lot less overwhelming.
In a sense, an outline is almost like a step-by-step list of how you would like to write your story, and it’s an excellent starting point to getting rid of your writer’s block.
Ernest Hemingway had a unique strategy that I can’t say I’ve ever heard of before. He suggests saving some of your ideas so that you don’t ‘exhaust’ your energy. If you’re in the middle of writing and you feel like everything has been flowing smoothly, and you know what events will take place next, stop writing.
Hemingway’s strategy behind this is that by utilizing this technique, you are allowing your story to be placed in the hands of your subconscious. If you run out of ideas and spend the remainder of your day worrying about coming up with new ideas so you’ll have something to write the next day, you’ll exhaust your brain. In other words, you’ll feel burnt out instead of excited to pick back up where you left off the next day.
Lastly, Hilary Mantel suggests a similar approach to Gaiman. She suggests that if you are sitting at your desk writing, and you start to become overwhelmed, then you should remove yourself from the environment you are writing in. You can go for a walk, meditate, or partake in any hobby that you enjoy doing, but you need to engage in a different calming task. Her philosophy behind this is that you need to create space in your mind for new ideas to populate.
Out of all of these approaches, I find Hemingway’s the most abstract, but when I give it further thought, it makes sense!
The takeaway here is that almost every single writer has experienced writer’s block at one point or another. Most of my friends and family are burnt out at this point. With so much going on around us, I think that things like burnout and writer’s block are more prevalent than ever.
On top of that, today’s culture places a huge emphasis on grind culture and the idea that if you’re not constantly working, then it’s pure laziness or failure on your end. That’s simply not true. Every person needs rest, including you.
Comment down below and let me know what your strategies are for getting through writer’s block.
So, you want to start your journey as a Freelance writer on Fiverr, but you have mixed emotions about it. You might have heard that Fiverr is a great platform to utilize as a Freelancer and earn some extra money on the side, or you may have heard the downsides of Fiverr. They take 20% of your earnings, they’re known to attract bargain hunting clients, and the platform has practically become a meme among popular YouTubers at this point.
I can’t tell you if Fiverr is the best platform for you and the specific services that you offer, but I can give my honest opinion after being a seller on the platform for a few months. In this article I will discuss the pros & cons of Fiverr for freelance writers, and I will give you some tips on how to get started if you choose to starting selling on Fiverr.
The good part about Fiverr.
In my opinion, there’s no shame in getting started on Fiverr. Use it as an experiment. Before I started Fiverr I had no clue what niche I wanted to write for. After running one Gig that’s gotten 1K impressions and 10 5-star reviews (I’m a little picky about the clients I agree to work for), I’ve noticed what industries I am attracting to my gigs and what topics I enjoy writing about. I have created content for realtors, construction companies, lifestyle blogs, dating websites, and more! I would have never known that I enjoy these niches, had I not had a platform to explore this. It’s a learning process!
Earn money to reinvest into your business.
Another reason to use Fiverr when you first get started as a Freelancer, is to earn some money that you can reinvest into your business! We hear it time and time again. “Just stop buying that cup of coffee every morning.” “Quit ordering takeout.” “Skip a night out in order to save money.” There’s always this assumption that we secretly have money hidden away to invest in a brand new freelancing business, but the truth is, sometimes you just don’t have the money to spare! You don’t have to stop purchasing the little things that bring you joy, and some of us (especially the parents out there) need every cent of our current income for living expenses and necessities. So the best part about getting started on Fiverr? Once you start making money, you can use these funds to invest in your business further.
Some other pros about Fiverr is that they have a resolution center you can utilize, the platform allows you to easily make custom orders, you set your own prices, and (this is a big one) you are guaranteed to get paid if you deliver work to your client. One of the biggest challenges of being a freelancer is trying to chase down payments and make sure that you aren’t being scammed. Fiverr eliminates this worry since they collect the payment. Customers have to put down their credit card information before they place an order with you, so as long as everything works out and the order eventually gets marked as complete, you will get paid!
Finally, one last pro of this platform is that customers can tip you! After you have delivered an order, and your client marks it as complete, they have the option to review and tip you! This tip money will be paid to you on top of whatever they paid you for the Gig, but keep in mind that just like everything else, Fiverr will take a percentage of this tip. (If you have a positive experience with a Fiverr seller, and it’s financially feasible, please remember to tip!)
I used my first deposit from Fiverr to buy a P.O. box for 6 months so that I can start an Email list (Legally you have to provide an address at the bottom of your Email newsletter), where I mail out a weekly newsletter to small business owners. This helps me find future clients and meet other business owners! I couldn’t have afforded this in the beginning without that money from Fiverr. You may want to invest in a Canva subscription, buy office supplies, purchase video editing software, or use the additional income to start running advertisements on social media to promote your business. The point is, you can take this money from Fiverr and use it as seed money to market yourself on other platforms. Fiverr can (and probably should) be a stepping stone, not the final destination.
The downsides of using Fiverr.
Now it’s time for us to discuss the cons. What’s the biggest downside of Fiverr? They take 20% of your earnings when you first start out. That’s a lot. The benefit to Fiverr is that you don’t have to have previous experience or published work in order to use their platform. This is why they seem to attract brand new freelance writers more than any other freelance platform. The downside of this, is they take more of your earned income than other freelance platforms.
Another con is that Fiverr is a bargain hunting platform. This means that most clients on there are looking for the lowest price possible, but they still have extremely high expectations. This is the main reason that Fiverr is a stepping stone and not the final destination. Just remember to prioritize other avenues of income, and maybe offer low word count articles, that way you don’t spend a long time working on orders that won’t help you pay the bills.
The clients you meet on Fiverr stay on Fiverr.
Fiverr has a very strict policy that you cannot contact clients outside of Fiverr. So if you get an awesome repeat client on Fiverr, you can’t contact them on social media outside of Fiverr, set up a Zoom meeting (Fiverr does have it’s own video chat feature available for some clients), or fully market to them. If you decide to leave Fiverr, then you leave all of the contacts you have made on the platform, otherwise you violate the platform’s policy. It’s definitely not ideal but the positive side to that is that Fiverr will do the marketing for you and push your gig out to potential clients. This means that sometimes you will have had a gig running for months and one day randomly a brand new client will place an order with you, and you haven’t even been marketing your gig!
This is an incredible thing and also a potentially stressful thing. This is the biggest mistake I made in the beginning. Make sure you are consistently checking your Email notifications from Fiverr or logging onto Fiverr itself to see if any clients have messaged you or placed an order with you recently. Fiverr really cares about your average response time, so you want to respond to messages as quickly as possible! Remember that even if you haven’t had an order placed with you in awhile, it could happen randomly while you’re out on a Friday night, completely unaware. The last thing you want is for a client to pay for a gig that you put a 10 hour timer on, while you’re out for the night and away from your phone.
Luckily, Fiverr does have a few features in place to help you with this. Fiverr allows you to put a cap on your orders. For example, for my most popular gig I have changed my settings so that I can only have 3 active orders going on for that Gig at the same time. (I learned the hard way that 4 orders at once can be a bit overwhelming for me personally!) You can always pause your Gig, be careful with this though, it can potentially mess with your Gig’s ranking. You can also set your availability on your profile. This means if you have a week when you are going out of town, you can tell Fiverr not to let anyone place an order with you that week. You can still message with clients while you are not accepting orders, in order to touch base and keep them in the loop. Finally, as a last resort, if someone placed an order with you and you either don’t have enough information or you just don’t have the time, you can cancel the order. This will definitely negatively impact your Gig’s ranking, but sometimes you just don’t have another choice so remember that this option is available to you.
Tips for getting started on Fiverr.
We have discussed the pros and cons of being a Freelance writer on Fiverr. What are some tips for brand new Freelance writers who are going to get started on Fiverr?
It’s not “quick” money.
When you first get started, please understand it’s not “quick” money and there’s a lot of waiting around that comes with Fiverr. When you first sign up for Fiverr (if you are located in the United States) you will have to fill out a W-9 form. You’ll have to know your social security number and be comfortable with sharing it in order to complete this form. You cannot be a seller on the platform without completing this form. It took a few days for my form to get reviewed and approved, then I could finally start getting my actual Fiverr shop up and running.
Then it came to my first payment. Fiverr is totally transparent about how getting paid works and they even discuss this further in some of the free learning courses that they offer. However….I didn’t pay attention to that part. At first it seemed so hopeless that I would ever get a Gig because wow, it felt like forever until someone finally placed an order with me. It took almost two months. However, when I finally did get that first order I wasn’t prepared for how long it would take to get paid.
Here’s a breakdown of how the order process on Fiverr works. Someone places an order with you. Before your timer runs out, you deliver the work to your buyer. Depending on how many revisions you’ve offered, your buyer can either request a revision or mark the order as complete. If they don’t do either of these actions, the order will automatically be marked as complete in 3 days. Once you have delivered your revisions and your buyer is satisfied, they will mark the Gig as complete. Then you have to wait 2 weeks until your funds are out of pending and are available for you to withdraw. On top of this, if you opt for direct deposit, you have to wait until your information gets approved and then your first payment can take up to 7 days to be deposited into your account. My funds were deposited right away but still, after all of the waiting I had to do for every other step I was starting to get nervous.
I’m not intending to criticize the platform for this waiting time but I do find it important to mention. If you’re planning on using your Fiverr earnings to pay a time sensitive bill, please be aware of the waiting time that comes with withdrawing your earnings!
Run multiple Gigs.
The best advice I can give to a beginner on Fiverr for any job or niche, is to make sure you are running multiple Gigs. Change them all up so that there is something different about each one. Running multiple gigs and giving it a little time (This could be anywhere from 1 month to 10 months!) will eventually lead you to getting your first client.
For example, my main job is producing blog content but I also create social media templates, social media calendars, and have consulting services to help business owners review their social media accounts. I ran a Gig for each of the skills I had. I experimented with different cover images, prices, targeting specific industries, etc. Also, do not upload multiple Gigs at the same exact time on the same exact day. It sounds crazy but I swear it matters! Sometimes one Gig will perform better than another just because it was uploaded at a time when more people were online. I can’t tell you what time you should aim for, but definitely make sure to mix it up.
A lot of people will try to tell you that you need to lower your prices, but the truth is, you might just have to give it time. Buyers have a hard time taking a chance on a brand new seller with 0 reviews when they could instead place an order with a seller whose had multiple clients and has multiple glowing reviews.
I decided to make my prices extremely low when I first started out in order to be competitive with experienced sellers, and it worked! However…it came at a cost. I have undervalued my work. I’m not even joking I had a client message me to tell me that I lowballed myself and that the work I delivered exceeded all of their expectations so I should raise my prices. On the one hand, I was super excited to deliver quality work that they enjoyed! On the other hand…ouch…I spent 3 hours on a job I got paid $30 for. It’s not the worst thing in the world but I definitely could be doing better.
Be careful when you lower your prices to stay competitive. Don’t do so at your own expense and remember, that after you get a few positive reviews, it’s okay to start raising your prices!
You should be offering sample work.
Even if you have never ever had a paid gig as a writer, you should still have sample work. Let me explain. Buyers don’t want to take a chance on a brand new seller without some sort of social proof, so…offer them social proof! Stand out from other beginners by putting in your Gig’s description and creating an FAQ for all of your Gigs that lets potential buyers know that you are happy to offer sample work to anyone who requests it.
You can either identify the niche you want to write for and pick 3 topics you think people in that niche would find valuable, then write sample articles about these topics. Or, if you don’t have the slightest clue what niche you want to write for, that’s fine too! I went on Indeed and looked at topics that employers wanted freelance writer applicants to write about and I wrote about those topics. I keep a folder saved on my laptop of all of my sample work. That way when someone requests it, I can give them work that I think relates best to what topic they want me to write about.
Last but certainly not least, buyer requests. If you’ve already ran multiple gigs and offered sample work and you feel like you want to scream because you still haven’t gotten a gig, there’s one more thing you can do! When you’re on your selling profile (make sure you didn’t accidentally switch your profile to “buying”), go to the top menu and select the “more” button. Then select “Buyer Requests.” Buyers will post requests like “looking for someone to write an SEO-friendly blog article for my construction website” and you have the ability to send them a custom offer! If they like your prices and like what you’re offering, then they might become your first client! The longer you have Fiverr opened on your computer the more Buyer Requests you will be able to see. Check it multiple times throughout the day and don’t be alarmed if at times it says there are 0 requests. I promise it won’t be 0 forever. You can send up to 10 offers a day this way.
So, are you thinking of trying Fiverr? let me know in the comments below!
P.S. time for a shameless self plug, but I am currently running a new Gig on Fiverr where I write blog content for small businesses. If you’re interested send me a message on Fiverr, I’d love to chat!
Hey guys! In this week’s podcast episode I wanted to talk about a bunch of things that are new in the digital marketing world. I talked about new digital marketing trends in 2021 and then specific news updates about individual social media platforms.
As always, I will provide the links to each article I mentioned in the episode. So let’s get into the episode!
I covered an article on PPCexpo titled “What’s new in Digital Marketing? Latest Trends in Digital Marketing in 2021.” Here are the trends I broke down in today’s episode:
Voice search. This PPCexpo article shares that “voice search is projected to account for more than 50% of all searches by 2020. With over 33 million devices already using voice search.”
Conversion optimization. Does your business have a landing page? This article says that you should have a few! Businesses that have 31-40 landing pages generate almost 7 times as many leads as businesses that have just a few landing pages. Note: For those who may not know, a landing page is a standalone page, separate from your website that serves a singular purpose. For example, realtors might make a landing page for an open house for a specific property they’re selling.
Content marketing is changing. If you’re reading this on WordPress and have a blog of your own I’m sure you’ll understand what I’m going to say next. Blogging has become such a saturated realm of the internet that it takes more than a standard text post about a common topic to get potential clients. You have to experiment with different formats like video and make sure that you’re sharing original, creative content.
You need video content. Many marketers are using videos in Emails and on their landing pages which can boost conversions by almost 90%.
Visual search is becoming more and more popular. Pinterest has invested heavily in this feature and even launched lenses (According to the article lenses is, “a visual search tool that enables people to use visual search to find products and buy them online.” Google Lens is another feature to look out for.
Podcasting is not in the past! It’s important to remember that even though there are so many Podcasts out there, so many of them are inactive, don’t post consistently, or don’t market themselves at all. Over 40 million Americans listen to an average of 5 podcast episodes each week. Don’t give up on putting out Podcast episodes and if they aren’t giving you the results you want, maybe rethink your podcast marketing strategy!
Track your analytics to get a realistic understanding of where you are now and in order to help yourself make more effective decisions about future advertising.
Embrace 2021’s trends to remain competitive.
This is the end of the first article we discussed and the beginning of a brief tangent I went into that I wanted to share. As someone who works around Real Estate agents during my full-time job, I’ve noticed a troubling pattern. Many Real Estate agents will pass around outdated information, watch videos that are several years old, and finally feel ready to share a trend as it’s dying out. I am a firm believer that knowledge doesn’t have an expiration date but when you go to research anything about social media, it’s important to watch newer content because of how often these platforms update. Whether it’s Facebook changing their rules for advertisements or Instagram adding Instagram reels, watching a video that’s just a few months old could be inaccurate and set you up for failure. Push yourself to hop on a trend as soon as you hear about it, not three months down the line. The social media world moves fast!
Next, I covered Instagram’s new blog post which sheds light on how Instagram’s mysterious “algorithm” works.
Instagram’s main point in sharing this information is to debunk the misconception that one algorithm is responsible for what people see and do not see on the app. This blog post discusses that there are multiple algorithms. They even reference fact that “by 2016 people were missing 70% of all their posts in feed, including almost half of posts from their close connections. This is their reasoning for why they use the algorithm they use today because they want users to be able to consistently see content they’re interested in. Something I’ve always heard is that watch-time is the most valuable metric on any social media platform that you’re using, so this logic also applies to Instagram’s motivation.
Another interesting thing Instagram shared was users’ habits when it comes to utilizing the platform’s specific features. For example, people tend to watch stories when they want to see content from their closest friends, but when they want to see something completely new they visit their explore page. I think that it’s extremely beneficial to remember this thought process when we’re developing strategies for our Instagram stories versus our Instagram feed posts.
Now let’s get into how Instagram ranks your feed and stories. Your feed and stories are all recent posts from people that you follow. Instagram calls information that they have about what was posted and who made the posts “signals.” Here are the most important signals they mentioned:
Information about the post- The app looks at how many likes a post has, when the post was posted, how long video posts are, and what location is attached to the post.
Information about the person who posted- The app looks at how many times people have interacted with that person in the past few weeks.
Your activity- This looks at factors like how many posts you’ve liked to figure out what content you are interested in.
Your history of interacting with someone- For example, if you comment on someone’s post, this shows how interested you are in seeing posts from a particular person.
After the app takes these signals into account, they start to make a series of educated guesses. These guesses are to try and figure out how likely you are to interact with a post in different ways. In your feed, they look at 5 things- how much time you spend looking at a post and how likely you are to comment, like, and save a post. They also look at how likely you are to click on the profile picture of the person who made the post. They add and remove these “signals” over time, constantly trying to modify their algorithm to get better at finding what you like.
A couple of other interesting tidbits that were shared are that Instagram wants to avoid showing you too many posts from the same person in a row and they mentioned that until recently they valued stories that were re-shared from user’s feeds less because they kept hearing that users were more interested in original stories. However, when big events happened like the Olympics for example, they saw a huge burst of re-shared posts and knew their users were expecting their stories to reach more users than they actually did, so Instagram changed this.
They also briefly discuss how important it is to follow the community guidelines and call out misinformation. A PSA that I think is important to mention is that third-party fact-checkers can label your posts as misinformation and apply a label to the post without taking it down. However, if you’ve posted misinformation multiple times, Instagram themselves want you to know that they may make all of your content harder to find.
Read more of Instagram’s blog post that I linked down below to learn more about how they rank explore, how they rank reels, shadowbanning, and how you can influence what you see.
Now for the perhaps messiest but most intriguing news, I’ve seen recently in the digital marketing world: Facebook and Apple, the feud continues.
Facebook has announced that they will be launching a new interface that will show influencers how much money Apple and Google take from them. You love to see it.
In an article posted on the Verge written by Jay Peters, the author goes more into detail about what this new interface actually is. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO announced that this new interface will show influencers how different fees affect their earnings on the platform. This release is happening while Apple is getting a lot of negative attention for their App store fees.
Zuckerberg didn’t say when this new interface will be released. The CEO also made sure to note that Facebook will keep paid online events, fan subscriptions, badges, and their upcoming independent new products free for creators until 2023. Initially, Facebook promised not to collect fees from the events feature until at least 2021 and that when the company finally does do a revenue share for this feature, “it will be less than the 30% that Apple and others take.”
This is conveniently happening while Facebook and Apple are still engaged in a public feud because of Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency feature that was introduced with the iOS 14.5 update. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has publicly stated that privacy should be a human right in regards to Apple’s new feature, while Zuckerberg continues to state that this update will harm small businesses and raise costs throughout the internet.
I want to make a point to state that even though I include short opinions about both of these platforms and updates, I don’t think it’s as simple as being right or wrong. I think both privacy and supporting small businesses are important. I think both companies have come out with some amazing features and some not great features. Most importantly I believe every company, especially ones that completely dominate a specific field should be continuously challenged and forced to evolve. I think it’s interesting that Apple, which is a company that also gets scrutinized often for their alleged violations of privacy, is the one to challenge Facebook, but maybe that’s more effective. Maybe a major company forcing another major company to evolve is more effective than other routes that we’ve seen taken over the past few years.
Even this new Interface that Facebook is releasing, sounds amazing. Apple should be scrutinized for its prices if its client base isn’t happy. If any company has a large percentage of their client base upset at how they do business, it might be time to evolve. Competition is crucial to making sure that users are satisfied and a company never remains stagnant. I think it’s interesting to see that not only has this feud between Facebook and Apple not died out by now, but they are still actively and publicly continuing this feud by releasing helpful features for their users. It’s a strange way to put out some unexpected positivity to both of their loyal client bases.
So, that wraps up today’s episode! I am genuinely so interested to read your comments down below and to see what your opinions are on this feud between Facebook and Apple. Please leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts! See you in next week’s episode!
Hey guys! Just like last week, I wanted to have this week’s Podcast episode available both on audio and in a blog post so that everyone has access. This week’s topic is a bit more technical. I have just started this journey of learning to become a Freelance writer and so I wanted to give other people some advice on where to begin your Freelance writing journey. Some of this stuff I have already done, I’m in the process of doing, or I haven’t even started it yet. Keep in mind I’m still in the beginning stages so I have so much more to learn but I have been building my knowledge in digital marketing for about a year now, so I definitely have a few tips I can share. I currently have a couple gigs where I get paid for my writing and I noticed when I was brand new to this job, I couldn’t find any resources that really taught me how to get started.
I wanted to give you some simple straightforward tips on where to start. So, let’s begin. The first tip I would give is to pick a niche. Some examples of niches you can pick are travel, fitness, CBD, cooking, or real estate. I’m a bit of a hypocrite. I haven’t committed to a niche yet. Real Estate is my “back-up” niche because it’s what I have the most experience in but I’m not sure if it’s what I want to commit to yet. Don’t panic if you don’t have a niche right away. I’ve actually been using Fiverr to eliminate niches that I’m finding aren’t a good fit. So far I’ve ruled out the tech, science, and medical world from my area of expertise since I don’t know nearly as much about these subjects as I do about other subjects.
Next you should set up a website or a blog. You can do this for free on plenty of platforms like Wix or WordPress. I will say I have made a free website on Wix before and this blog I’m currently using is a paid WordPress blog. Wix has some insanely fun themes and it’s very user-friendly but it doesn’t have nearly as much SEO as my paid WordPress blog. If you are a blogger, even if you are using the free option, I will recommend WordPress over any other platform every time. The research I did before I bought this blog all pointed to the same conclusion as well. A feature to note that doesn’t get talked about enough is WordPress reader. I follow at least 100 blogs on WordPress, so when I click the WordPress reader button it creates a feed of recent blog posts from everyone I follow and I’m able to like/comment on all of their posts. It’s like a social media platform but only for people with WordPress blogs. Here I have been able to gradually increase my followers and likes each month. I get a lot more guaranteed views now because I utilize this feature and I get to find new blogs that I want to follow which gives me tons of inspiration to keep posting!
The next tip I have is to get your sample work prepared ASAP. This is actually kind of a controversial topic among Freelance writers. Seasoned writers often have the expectation that they will be paid when asked to provide a sample. I think it’s important to note that some experienced copy writers/freelance writers have been doing this job for 10+ years, so the expectations they have will differ from some of the expectations a beginner should have. The truth is you haven’t proved yourself yet in the eye’s of a potential client. It’s normal to be asked for samples of published work you’ve written for other people. Here’s a hack I used when I first started. I would go on Indeed and search up “Freelance Writer” jobs and “remote” for the location. I would scroll through several job descriptions all giving prompts for what sample work they wanted. I would write these samples and save them on a folder on my laptop without actually applying to these jobs. You don’t have to be published in order to have sample work and also your website or blog that you’ve built can serve as a portfolio. There are tons of options for beginners to provide sample work. I suggest creating sample work for the clients you want to attract. So for example, if I want to work for a Real Estate agent, I’ll send them a sample writing titled “How to buy a home in a seller’s market.”
However, there’s a reason sample work is such a sensitive topic among freelance writers. Writers get screwed over. Like a lot. This happens in many different ways. One, you might see a job post on a platform telling people to submit a sample writing with their application on a topic the company has chosen and if they hire you, they will pay you for your work. The issue with that is obvious. Only one person is going to be hired, so apply to positions like this at your own risk and don’t invest too much time into it if you have other money-making opportunities available. Now, what happens if you write sample work about a specific prompt a company has given you and they don’t have such great integrity? Meaning, they take your post, don’t hire you, don’t credit you, don’t pay you for your work, and then publish your post. It’s disgusting but it happens! It might not even be legal but when you’re a small business or independent contractor going up against a multi-million dollar company in some cases, most of the time you’ll have to end up accepting your losses and moving on. I want to make sure I haven’t scared you. Being asked to provide sample work is fine and you shouldn’t act above it. However, go with your gut or ask for advice on Freelance Writing Facebook groups you’re a part of when you get in situations where you feel like you’re being exploited. It happens! I just want to make sure anyone reading this is aware and prepared for the possibilities.
Next we get to a tip that I call selling in the DM’s. I’m mostly going to be talking about Instagram and Email for this part, since these are my primary platforms that I use. So, this is really where you’re going to find your clients when it comes to freelance writing. Start by going to your search bar on Instagram and looking up a hashtag that your ideal client uses. For example, if you want to work for a realtor you’ll look up something like #realtorsofinstagram. Then you’ll scroll through posts and click on the person’s profile. Scroll through their page and ask yourself a series of questions. Do they consistently post content? Does any information in their highlights or on their bio seem outdated? What’s their following like? How much engagement do they get on each post? Do they post professional content or just personal content? These questions are great if you would like to be hired to write social media content for people. If you would like to be hired to write blog content for people, try following these steps. Click on their link in bio and go to their website. If they have a blog on their website ask yourself how often they blog and if they’re blogging valuable information. A realtor in this example who has a low following, outdated posts, and no clear social media strategy could be an amazing potential client!
This is where the selling in the DM’s starts. Number one, please don’t follow the steps I give without adding in your own additional steps or tweaking my advice to fit your specific niche. Beginners have a bad habit of wanting a script or fool-proof formula for being successful. I am only here to provide a general outline as I am still learning myself. Also, do not use a set script for each potential client you message. As someone who runs an Instagram account for Real Estate agents I can tell you that they get multiple DM’s a week from photographers, digital marketers, etc. all who seemed to go to the same class and end up with the same exact copy & paste script. It feels disingenuous and spammy. Some of this advice might sound harsh but I really want each of you to be successful, so I always want to be brutally honest. Once again, having a general outline is perfectly acceptable but don’t take a rigid approach by using a set script that can hinder your ability to individualize your pitches.
Now, here’s what to do next. The most important thing is to show that you have done a little research about the business you’re approaching. This means that you’re mentioning specific details you have seen on their page. For example, “I see that you have 200 followers and your last post was two months ago.” This way they know you’re not DM’ing them just another copy & paste script. However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Your first message to someone should be a warm greeting that genuinely expresses interest in their profile or content. Sometimes we get so excited about gaining a new client and growing professionally, that we forget to simply enjoy a conversation. This is also a great way to see if they even respond to you in the first place. Now, once you have sent them a message detailing what services you provide and why you think you can help them, think about where you want to direct them next. End your message with a call-to-action.
If they engage with you and seem interested in the services you’re offering, maybe offer to set up a Zoom meeting. Make sure if this is the case, you are prepared and everything is ready to go on your end so if they agree to setting up a Zoom meeting, you already have an account set up and know exactly how to send them a link. You can send these pitches either through DM’s on Instagram or send it to whatever Email they provide in their bio (not everyone will provide an email address).
Lastly, I would recommend looking at job boards like Indeed. I’ll discuss this very briefly. Like I mentioned earlier, you can search for remote, freelance writing jobs on Indeed. I’ve had incredible luck with this method. I am a freelance writer who also has an interest in digital marketing so I use this platform to find jobs for both of these fields. This is a great place to start, especially if you aren’t comfortable DM’ing people yet. We should all eventually be prepared to pitch ourselves but if you’re just starting out, you don’t have to stress about that right away. Just take a deep breath and start by applying for freelance jobs on a job board. It’s less intimidating and an excellent resume builder.
There are also job boards built for freelancers to sell their services, like Upwork or Fiverr. I have zero experience using Upwork so I can’t say too much about it. Some people are able to make a full-time income using Upwork. You’ll probably have to have some work already published before you get accepted and it has a better reputation than Fiverr when it comes to scoring high-paying jobs. If this platform works for you and you can get verified, I say go for it! I’m mostly going to talk about Fiverr since that’s what I have the most experience with. I’m not the biggest fan of Fiverr, however I definitely want to do some more experimenting before I call it quits!
I’ve ran about 3 or 4 gigs so far. My most recent gig easily got the most traffic, but if there’s one thing I regret it’s making the gig so general. I opened up the gig to any niche, so when people contacted me asking me to write a blog about the tech or medical industry I couldn’t deliver. This was a big learning lesson when it came to niches that I could officially rule out so that was helpful! I’ll leave you with a few key takeaways for Fiverr. Number one, getting your first client is the hardest part. Don’t be alarmed if you have to run multiple gigs before you finally get a message, that’s normal! Try making something different about each gig so you can run them at the same time and see which one performs the best. Lastly if you’re still struggling to understand Fiverr’s features or how to get your first client, who better to teach you then Fiverr themselves? They provide educational videos teaching you about the different features and they even give you tips on how to successfully get a client.
When it comes to promoting your business to a mass audience for the lowest price, what’s the best way to go about it? That’s right, social media! In this Podcast episode, I told you guys that I boosted a Facebook post promoting my Podcast for $10 and I shared the results with you. The post I boosted was a picture of my Podcast cover art with a lengthy caption detailing who my Podcast is for and what I talk about on there. Full disclaimer, if I were to re-do this I would completely change the caption, mostly the hook. I would have an attention grabbing sentence, calling to other freelance writers. My hook was a complete fail! So the results I’m sharing with you today is by no means the fault of Facebook, there are some major changes I would make on my end for the next time, because there will definitely be another ad experiment soon. My post ran for 5 days and the goal I selected was to get more website visitors. Total I received 8 link clicks and reached 1,667 people. There was a $1.25 cost per link click. Honestly the cost wasn’t worth the results, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see an increase in my Podcast viewer stats because I definitely have! Once again, I also take full ownership for not choosing the best caption to boost. I thought this might be helpful for you guys to have a realistic understanding of how boosting a post works and to see if it seems like a feature you would want to utilize. Ads are a fantastic way to gain new traffic to your website but it’s definitely a step to consider after you’ve set yourself up for success by completing the other steps we’ve talked about first.
Finally my last talking point during this episode was explaining how the new iOS update affects Facebook ads. So Apple has released a new update that allows users to choose whether they want to disable tracking. This means that people can choose whether they want to see Facebook Ads or not. Obviously, this will result in Facebook losing some money. However, I’m not sure if you know much about Facebook but…they’re not exactly hurting for money. This change by no means will be detrimental to their current income. Android users still can’t disable tracking and besides some Apple users with the iOS update are still choosing to allow Facebook to show them ads. However, the fear here is that Facebook will increase their prices when it comes to running ads in order to make up for this loss in income. That hasn’t happened yet and Facebook has not stated that will be happening. For now, it’s important to keep calm and just ride the wave. I think it can be a great thing that one of the most successful social media platforms of all time is being forced to adapt to what their users now want. Facebook is by far one of the most affordable platforms to run advertisements on so trust me, I understand the panic especially if you’re used to running ads on a daily or weekly basis. Just something to keep in mind, you will have around 20-30% less reported conversions if you do choose to run Facebook ads because of the changes. Just take note of this and don’t feel discouraged if you feel like your conversion rate has been decreasing.
Alright, that about wraps it up for this week’s Podcast episode! If you have any questions about any of the information I shared or you want to suggest a topic for next week’s episode, comment down below! Otherwise, I will see you guys in next week’s episode!