Article by Wendy McCance
I have been reading a lot of posts on LinkedIn groups where new writers are asking about where to find jobs, and how much they should charge. Ultimately the question becomes, how quickly can you gain freelance writing jobs when you first start out? It occurred to me that it might be of interest to see how a new writer has developed their connections and created a full-time career out of writing.
I have never read a post by an author that detailed the steps they took as well as the assignments they got from taking those steps in any detail, so I figured I would share my experience with you. I hope the information below helps and inspires you to keep going after the dream of being a freelance writer. You really can be a full-time writer making good money even if you are new to the field.
Back around April of 2012, I was blogging and sharing posts on several LinkedIn groups. One day I received a message on LinkedIn from a financial marketing company. They asked if I would be willing to write a 500 word article for $65.00. They said that if they liked what I wrote up, I could have a steady freelance writing job 2 or 3 articles a week at $65.00 per article.
Back then, I panicked. I even wrote about this experience on my blog. I had no idea how to submit an article in a professional manner or how to go about being paid. Was I supposed to give them my personal information? I had many questions, few answers, and was scared but excited to jump in and just do it.
I wrote the article and submitted it. The company liked what I wrote and wanted to continue to use me. I declined. I don’t have a financial background and trying to come up with a topic and write a well-written piece was incredibly stressful. The company understood, but they were disappointed. I couldn’t believe I would let a writing gig go, but I knew deep down it was for the best. Even so, I had my first clip and a toe into a new career.
Over the course of a few months, a couple other offers came through in the same manner. I got asked to write after someone found my posts on LinkedIn. I realized that LinkedIn was a great place to promote my skills.
In March of this year, I made the leap to full-time freelance writing. I also added social media consulting to my repertoire. While I was working as a real estate agent, other realtors began to ask for help with social media. Many of the realtors were just starting out and couldn’t afford a lot of advertising. They realized that learning how to use social media would be worth the money. The amount of advertising you do is unlimited. It’s free and the best part is that whatever you put out there, will always be out there.
The first two realtors I helped, were never charged. I wanted to make sure what I gave them held value. Both realtors were thrilled with what I put together for them and offered to pay. I asked them to just mention my name to anyone who might be looking for help with social media. As a realtor, your job is to know as many people as possible. The more people you know, the more leads you get. Having two realtors mentioning my name would be a great benefit for me.
I got involved with a local Michigan business networking group. I came out of the very first meeting with two business cards from people wanting to use a freelance writer. One business man wanted me to write a bio for a local business magazine. A woman was interested in starting a blog and needed help setting it up. The ball was moving. It was slow, but I saw how my writing and social media consulting would gain speed. I pushed on.
Every day I figured out a way to prospect for business. I put a signature under my email that announced what I did. Every time I wrote an email, someone would see that I was a freelance writer. I also wrote an average of 30 messages on LinkedIn a day to people I was connected to offering my freelance writing services. This is where I got the bulk of my business. Suddenly, I got several assignments. It looked like this:
- Marketing company is interested and asks for quotes for content writing for websites they are creating. There are 4 clients who will be needing content on their new websites.
- Real estate agent wants to promote herself by adding a blog, Facebook page and a Twitter account. Wants me to help her set up profiles, create the Facebook page and put a blog together.
- PR firm wants two quotes for clients of theirs. I wrote a quote for a security firm and a clothing designer. I get the clothing designer job and will be writing content for their new website, blog and bio on LinkedIn.
- Entrepreneur with 3 businesses is overhauling their brand and wants to polish up their LinkedIn bio, flood the internet with their name by getting profiles on several social media sites and needs content on a website and blog.
- Business owner wants to start a blog, Facebook page and Twitter account. Wants me to set up these sites for them and write the content.
- CEO wants me to overhaul her LinkedIn profile and write the content. She wants the entire profile filled out as completely as possible.
By this point, I am seeing a definite pattern.
- LinkedIn is where I am getting 90% of my clients.
- Prospecting for work on LinkedIn works!!
- Everyone is on the social media bandwagon.
- I have found my niche.
Currently I am working with 2 realtors, a fashion designer, marketing firm, pr firm, 3 business owners, a newspaper and an attorney. I have meetings set up for a small business owner and a tv personality.
I started working full-time in March. I have never filled out an application for any online writing gig. I have never charged a few cents per word. If you are interested in what fees I charge, I have a page on this blog that shows my entire pricing structure. These are the amounts I have charged right from the beginning.
One final thing I would like to add, it may look like I am swamped with work, but projects move slowly. Some projects, especially when you are going through a company to work for their client can take months to complete. It’s the nature of the business. You can move quickly, but there are decisions the client has to make that can hold up the process quite a bit. Because of this, I am still prospecting. I can still take on several more assignments.
Determining how much work you can handle and getting the client’s pace down is probably the trickiest thing to figure out. I have slowly added additional clients as I have learned the pace.
The bottom line is that anyone can find freelance writing jobs if they are good at writing, have determination and can sell their skills.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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