Confessions of a Freelance Writer


Ever wanted to get into the minds of successful freelance writers and ask, how do you do it?

How did you land your first big client?

Why did you choose freelance writing in the first place?

For me, before I started freelance writing, I researched a ton of freelance writers. I looked at their web page, their social media presence, their guest posts, their clients, and above all, how they marketed themselves.

Those freelance writers helped me with my business and marketing strategies. I also learned about other freelance writers either by contacting them for help or learning about them through social media.

Since my blog is about helping freelance writers, I thought it would be beneficial to interview some of the fabulous freelancers I’ve come to know and learn from.

So, for February, I’m going to do a spotlight series on freelance writers that have helped me on my journey to success or that have inspired me with their successful business.

To kick start this series, I thought I might as well interview myself!

So, want to learn more about me? You might be surprised by some of my answers.

The SAHM With a Conundrum

I’m a mother and I have twin toddlers. Before I had my children I was a special education teacher helping children with special needs. And before this, I was a private behavioral therapist helping children with autism.

So, how did I jump into freelance writing?

The biggest deciding factor were my children. I finished my maternity leave and I had to make a decision if I was going to go back to being a teacher.

But, something was gnawing at me. I just couldn’t see myself leaving my 1 year old baby twins. They were too young, in my eyes, to go to day care and I couldn’t wrap my head around leaving them for 6 or more hours every day.

I also knew that daycare would be expensive for twins and any money I earned from work would go straight to paying the daycare providers. So, I had to think of something to bring money into our household.

From SAHM to WAHM

My husband works from home. He has always had his own company for as long as I’ve known him, and that’s over a decade.

He mentioned to me that there’s money to be made online. I really didn’t think it was for me. I couldn’t find an online gig that I liked.

I started reading mommy blogs and learning that many of these moms did freelance writing on the side.

So, I researched more about freelance writing and thought that this could be something I could do.

Once I get an idea in my head, I go with it full force. I put up a website, researched freelance writers and did what every new freelance writer does: start on content mills.

I went to iWriter and got paid less than $2 for a 300 word post. I hated it.

Then I moved to freelance marketplaces like Guru.

I must’ve not been good at these places because I never received work from them! I pitched and pitched, but nothing.

What Does Your Husband Think About Your Choice?

My husband has always supported my decisions and once he saw me latch on to the idea of being a freelance writer, he helped me as much as he could.

In fact, he designed my current website and helped me get a gravatar (which I knew nothing about except, whenever I posted a comment on a blog, I always wondered why my picture never showed up).

I’m fortunate enough to stay home and raise my children and still work. Family helps out as much as possible and it’s a relief to know that I can rely on family for childcare should a deadline loom.

Being Your Own Boss Has Its Dark Side

There are some limitations to being a freelance writer. Here are mine:

  1. No social interaction
  2. You have to work longer hours (at least in the beginning of your career) and often miss family obligations
  3. You’re often working every day
  4. No holiday pay (unless you build that into your rate)
  5. Online work can be risky. Clients may end up not paying you or you could be waiting months or years to get paid

However, there are freedoms of being your own boss:

  1. I decide my work week
  2. I choose how many hours I want to work
  3. I chose my rate
  4. There is no limit to how much I can make as a webpreneur

Authority Sites and Poor Communication

In the short time I’ve been a freelance writer, I’ve come across my fair share of winnings and challenges.

For my wins, I’ve secured some “big” clients within their niches.

As for challenges, I’m realizing I’m not the best communicator when it comes to email exchanges. But, that quickly changed.

I learned that less is more and that bullet lists are better in email correspondences.

How Long Did It Take You to Land Your First Client?

For me, it took me close to 2 months after I set up my website and did all my research to becoming a freelance writer (and after my iWriter and Guru phase).

I applied to an automotive website from a job board. I landed an interview a free weeks later and got the gig!

Innovative Ink’s Goals

I recently joined a mastermind group that meets on Google hangouts and one of the questions asked was what my goals are for my business. In all honesty, I really didn’t have any goals, just big ideas.

For example, I want to make more money. Or, I want to have more clients, so that I can make more money.

Well, during the mastermind group, I was introduced to SMART Goals, which stand for:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Attainable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-bound

Basically, in order to see progress in your business, setting up goals that are easily obtainable, can be measured,  clear and has a time frame are easier to accomplish.

So, based on SMART goals, I’ve decided to aim for a monthly income goal that can be reached easily. Once I reach that goal, I’ll increase my monthly income goal.

One way to increase my monthly income is to diversify my income. You can do this many ways, but for my business I’m going to start affiliate marketing.

Monetizing your blog is one of the best ways of diversifying your income. So, look out for that!

How Do You Secure Gigs?

I’m finding the main ways I secure gigs are:

  1. Inbound marketing – I often get requisitions through my contact form on Innovative Ink
  2. Social media – I’ve gotten gigs from Twitter
  3. Job boards – I recently joined Tom Ewer’s Paid to Blog Jobs board, so we will see if this pays off.

Top Three Resources for Newbies?

When I started freelancing, I found these websites to be hugely helpful:

  1. Enchanting Marketing – Henneke Duistermaat’s copy website
  2. Freelance Writers Online – Kirsty Stuart’s freelance writing site
  3. Writing Thoughts – Laura Spencer’s highly helpful writing site

My Ultimate Advice For New Freelance Writers

If I could give only one tip to new freelance bloggers, it would be: pitch to  you may not feel qualified for. Use any past experience to draw from when pitching.

The time you spent researching educational apps for your child could lead to a writing job at a start-up technology company. Or, that community college course you took on floral arrangements could open the doors to wedding writing or writing for an event planning business.

So, take a few minutes to write down times in your life where you tried something, learned something or experienced something new. You might be surprised at what skills you come up with to help you with your freelance blogging.

Hurry Up Before it’s Too Late!

I’m offering two freebies for anyone who signs up to my monthly newsletter. The catch? It expires January 31st.

So, if you don’t want to miss out on getting your free eBook to pitching to clients and a guide to key questions you should ask a prospective client, sign up today!

Look out for my first fabulous freelance writer I interview, on February 1st.

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