Article by Wendy McCance
I have written several articles about creating a freelance writing career. You can check out many of the articles at the end of this post. What I haven’t done is tried to explain step-by-step how I got my writing career off the ground. Below, I will attempt to go over the steps I took to get moving when I began a career as a freelance writer.
1. I created this blog. It was the best thing I could have done. The blog gave me the opportunity to showcase my writing, practice my craft, connect to other writers and it gave me a platform for potential clients to look over my writing style.
The blog has become a lifesaver. I look at it as my own little storefront. I can advertise my skills, promote my services and write product reviews. Being able to say I wrote a review for a major company (for a product review) has helped me land some great assignments.
2. I bought two books that have become my go to books. I highly recommend the Writers Digest and Secrets of a Freelance Writer. The Writers Digest has all of the information you need if you are intent on writing for a magazine or dream of writing a novel. Secrets of a Freelance Writer goes over every aspect of the business side of having a writing career. You learn about prospecting for clients, how to put together a contract and how to handle a sales call. Seriously, every page of these books have the most valuable information I have ever read. I can’t say enough amazing things about these books.
3. I began writing to connections I had on LinkedIn. This was how I began getting assignments. I had no clips other than the articles on my own blog. If someone asked for samples of my work, I would send them a few of the articles I had written on my blog. No one ever asked who I had written for or where they could find the articles I submitted.
note: for a template of the letter I sent connections, read this post: http://www.searchingforthehappiness.com/using-linkedin-to-find-freelance-writing-assignments/ it takes you step by step through the process I use to get work from LinkedIn connections.
4. I made sure I flooded the web. I joined every social media platform I could find where I could write a profile. I also submitted my posts to mommy blogs and other specialty social platforms. The reason was so that if someone Googled my name, I would appear in several searches. I had pages of information where my name or articles would pop up. I was able to create the illusion of being a successful writer before I had landed my first job.
5. I joined numerous LinkedIn groups. I was able to submit my posts when certain subjects were raised. I was contacted a few times by different marketing companies who had seen my posts, liked my writing and wanted me to write for them.
By this point you should see a pattern forming.
- I was brave and took giant leaps even though I had little to back me up.
- I blew off all of that “good” advice that stated that you needed clips or a certain amount of proven experience before you should attempt to find jobs.
- I never did and never will use sites like Elance or oDesk. I don’t want to waste time competing for jobs that pay a small sum when I can use that same time going after connections that might not have anyone knocking on their door asking for work.
- I created a business off of my blog and by advertising on social media platforms.
Even after my business was humming along there are still things I did and still do today to improve my rate of success.
- I am constantly reading, researching and learning. There will always be something new to learn and creative ways to expand my business.
- I read all of the advice, but I don’t take it all to heart. I never had clips when I started out. I never picked an “area of expertise” to concentrate on and I didn’t have a degree in or a background in writing. I just followed my passion, learned everything I could and took a leap of faith.
- I’m not afraid to be a salesperson. I truly feel this is what holds up most people from gaining traction. You have to be bold enough to put yourself out there. Contact companies, go to social networking events and mention what you do for a living to friends and family. You have to be willing to make the first move by introducing yourself and your services.
Basically, that’s it in a nutshell. The biggest component for me has been my blog. I honestly feel I would have floundered without it. Part of getting many of the jobs I have been assigned was in being able to prove I had the social media skills to write good website content.
By having a blog, clients can check out my work and instantly get a sense of how readers feel about what I have written. Clients are more enthusiastic about using a writer who can write a thought-provoking article and really get a conversation going with the readers. Seeing the articles being shared is the icing on the cake and what cinches the deal when clients check out my blog.
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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