Think you’re too old to launch a freelance writing career? Think again.
Have you been working a day job for decades? Are you an empty nester with a few gray hairs? You might think you’re too old to go freelance, but you’re not.
You can do this. Believe me. I know what it’s like to launch a freelance writing career when you’re older.
For more than 30 years, I worked in banking and law, and did a lot of writing. I dabbled with freelancing to make extra money, and thought it might be my path to retirement.
But that all changed when my employer went out of business.
Not quite old enough for Social Security, I wasn’t interested in starting over in another office. But I still needed an income, and I wanted more time and more freedom to enjoy life.
Want to know how I made the move to full-time freelancing…at my age?
These five steps helped me launch my freelance writing career:
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If your client work has all but dried up, or you’re trying to jump start your writing career, take a look at your freelance marketing efforts.
Maybe you’re not doing enough marketing. That’s the elephant in the room for many of the freelance writers I’ve coached over the years.
Or maybe the marketing you are doing isn’t working. Then what?
Don’t get caught in shiny-objects syndrome, jumping from one strategy to the next.
Instead, be more strategic about how you market your writing. New ways to reach clients keep emerging, so keep an open mind.
Take a look at this list of 40 ways to market your writing I developed with the help of veteran freelancer Anne Wayman.
Then get to work. The more freelance marketing you do, the more likely you’re going to move up and earn more.
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It’s a strategy every top blogger tells you to pursue: Contact successful bloggers and ask them for a guest post, link, or interview. But blogger outreach isn’t quite that simple.
Now that every blogger is constantly hit up with requests, you’ll have to be a bit more sophisticated than shooting them an email that is essentially just, “Hi total stranger, would you do me a favor and help build my blog career?”
To help you avoid wasted time on blogger outreach that goes nowhere, I’ve pulled together three recent examples of outreach gone terribly wrong in pitches I received. There’s also one terrific example of outreach done right.
Wondering what basic mistakes to avoid? Read on:
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No one uses direct mail to market anymore. Email marketing is the way to go, right?
I don’t think so. When I was working my day job in the marketing department of a credit union, I wrote a fair number of direct mail pieces to sell financial products to current potential members. Since going freelance, I realized I kind of missed writing those letters.
Email marketing is ubiquitous these days, so sending a direct mail pitch sets you apart.
And, when it’s not a bill, people like getting mail. Direct mail gets opened more often than email. People spend much more time reading a mail piece. And even millennials say direct mail influences their purchases.
So I decided to put my old-school direct mail marketing skills back to work and create my own campaign to find freelance writing clients. And it worked amazingly well.
Here’s how I did it:
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How do you achieve freelance success with so many other writers out there? It’s a question that’s come up a lot lately, as well as four years ago, when I first published this post. The answer might surprise you. Enjoy!–Carol.
Ever worry about competing with other writers in your niche for freelance success?
After all, a lot of writers with more experience than you are hustling every day. Can you really make this work, or do you feel like it’s hopeless to even put yourself out there?
Spend a lot of time worrying about other writers, and it might seem like those established pros already have the market for writing all sewn up.
I had one budding freelance writer tell me:
“I know the healthcare industry from my job, but when I saw how many members the healthcare writers association had, I just gave up! It seems like it’s too competitive.”
Or if you’ve been around a while, maybe you’re up nights worrying about all the hot young, social-media-savvy writers who’re coming to eat your lunch. Now what?
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How do you know if an online writer platform is legit? Since new sites are born every week — promising ample assignments and fat paychecks for beginning writers! — I can’t do investigations on all the possible writing scams out there (though I’ve certainly looked into some that turned out to be outright ripoffs).
This blog has other topics to cover besides writing scams, like finding courage to put your writing out there, self-publishing, blogging best practices, and finding great freelance clients. So it’s important to know how to do your own research.
This post takes you through easy, quick steps you can take online to gather information about websites you’re thinking of paying for access to resources, job boards, or publishing opportunities.
I’m going to use a site I learned about recently as an example: Master Writing Jobs (no, I’m not going to link to them in this story and give them a backlink that might drive more traffic to their site. You can Google them if you want.)
I spent perhaps 30 minutes tops, researching this site to see what I could learn. And it wasn’t tough to see they weren’t a good value, even at their current ‘sale’ price of $34 for lifetime access.
If you’d like to avoid writing scams and learn how to verify online offers, read on:
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