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The Secret Terrors of a Successful Freelance Writer

Secret Terrors of a Freelance Writer. Makealivingwriting.comEvery writer I meet seems to think they’re the only one who’s scared. That successful freelance writers don’t suffer doubts.

Many imagine that once you ‘make it’ and get some bylines or great copywriting clients, the fear goes away.

Let me burst that bubble right now.

Fear is a writer’s faithful companion, as ever-present in our lives as our laptop or our pen.

The secret is to learn to make peace with your fear demons. Don’t let them keep you from shining your light.

One of the most toxic fears comes from the suspicion that we are the only one who’s petrified.

But I’ve never met a good writer who doesn’t have their own private terrors. To prove it, I’m here to share mine.

But let’s start with the fears I’ve learned other writers have. I asked my readers two questions on Facebook this week about their writing fears — and the floodgates opened.

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How a Newbie Blogger Negotiated a 100 Percent Raise

Newbie Bloggers: Get a 100% RaiseIn early 2016, I landed my first freelance blogging client.

It was a big win for me, even though it wasn’t in my niche. The client reached out to me, after seeing some of my blog posts on Facebook.

But there was a problem. I had no idea what to charge — and the client wanted to know my rate.

I pored over everything I could find online, asked around, and finally settled on a rate of $50 per 500-750 word blog post. I sent the editor my rates, and voila — I had my first contract in place.

I jumped into writing awesome blog content for this client. But it didn’t take long to start second guessing my rate. Was I charging enough for this type of work? What were other writers charging for similar blog content? What would need to happen to raise my rates and keep this client?

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Desperate Freelance Writer? You Need This Type of Client

Don't Be Desperate: Get THIS Type of Freelance Client. Makealivingwriting.comAre you a desperate freelance writer, often running out of work and having dry periods where you’re frantic for income?

It seems like the vast majority of freelance writers I know are in this boat.

It’s terrifying, waking up in the morning and knowing no money is coming in. Often, that terror paralyzes you, so you don’t even do the marketing that’s urgently needed to drum up more clients.

By contrast, some freelancers never run out of assignments, and have billings every month. When I started back in as a freelancer in 2005, I vowed to be in this second category. After all, I had a family of five to feed!

I did it, too — I fairly quickly built a stable of clients where I always had work. I never had a ‘down’ month with no earnings. Seriously! Not in all of the 7 years, through 2011, where freelance writing was my entire income.

What makes the difference between feast-or-famine and steady income? For many freelancers, it’s finding one particular type of client: The fill-in client.

These clients may not pay as great as some of your other clients, but they’ve got as much — or as little — work as you need to supplement your other gigs, month after month. They fill in the holes, smooth out your income, and keep you from biting your nails or emptying your savings because you’ve hit a rough patch.

To help you land this valuable type of client, let’s first define what a good fill-in client looks like. Then, I’ll talk about how you land a fill-in client — and keep them happy.

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3 Content Marketing Tips to Level Up Your Freelance Income

3 Content Marketing Tips to Level Up Your Freelance Income. Makealivingwriting.com

Many freelance writers find themselves in a tough bind. Even the good writers.

No matter how great your writing is, you aren’t making enough money. You write too many words for far too little money. You spend way too much time looking for the wrong gigs. It feels like you’re running in circles, going nowhere.

Does this sound familiar to you, dear reader?

Here’s a secret I want to let you in on: You’ll land higher paid gigs by providing more than just quality writing. By understanding that the value you’re providing matters, and the solution isn’t necessarily more words.

The solution to getting paid more is to give your clients more of what they want: more traffic, links, leads, and ultimately sales. And you can do that when you apply content marketing strategies to running your freelancing business.

I know, because my first seven blogs never made a dime. But things have changed with my latest blog, The Storyteller Marketer, because I started using three key content marketing strategies to grow my business. Now I command rates 15 to 20 times higher than a lot of other writers.

Not only that, I began to connect with New York Times-bestselling authors, TED speakers, and the who’s who of marketing. All by changing my perspective to think like a content marketer instead of ‘just a writer.’

What changed? Here are the three things I did to help me take my freelancing business to the next level:

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How to Boost Your Freelance Writing Career With Live Tweeting

How to Boost Your Freelance Writing Career With Live Tweeting. Makealivingwriting.com

Ever heard of live-tweeting on Twitter? It’s a way to provide real-time coverage and commentary during a live event (conference, TV show, game, etc.) in 140 characters or less per tweet, using the social-media platform Twitter.

And it’s not just for politicians, celebrities, or play-by-play game coverage. You can use this social media platform to boost your freelance business the next time you attend a writer’s conference or other event.

Live-tweeting on Twitter can help position you as an authority and break the ice at a live event, even if you’re an introvert. Once other attendees see your photo in the conference feed, many times they’ll introduce themselves between sessions and thank you for sharing their tweets.

Plus, you can gain followers from people who check the feed from home. These are people who couldn’t attend the conference or event but want to know what’s happening. Many times these people will become some of your most appreciative followers.

Live-tweeting is also a useful skill that you could offer clients, and one of several strategies you can use to monetize conferences. Posting social media updates from a live event for a client is one of those strategies. Even if you aren’t getting paid by a client, I’d encourage you to live-tweet events from your own Twitter feed to build your personal brand.

Want to learn how to use live-tweeting to connect with more people, generate leads, and give your freelance career a boost? Follow these six steps for live-tweeting at a conference or event:

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12 Great Writer Websites That Magnetically Attract Clients

Writer Websites That Attract Great Clients. Makealivingwriting.comYears back, I did a post about great writer websites. It turned out to be one of my most popular ever.

But over time, websites change. So do best practices in website design (hello, mobile-responsive design!). Writers get staff writing jobs and shut their sites down. Links break.

And writers still need ideas, examples, and inspiration to create their writer website…so I’ve put together a sequel.

This time, I’ve collected a dozen different flavors of successful writer websites to show you. Got notes below for you about what I love about each (and what I’d tweak).

I’ve done a multi-hour training about writer website best practices inside Freelance Writers Den (and many of the sites you’ll see featured below are from current or former Den members who’ve taken advantage of that course). But to give you a super-quick overview, the important elements of a successful writer site include:

  • Clean design — No flashing or rotating items, nor too many different colors or boxes.
  • Easy to connect — Your email/phone are easily visible and links are clickable.
  • Photo of you — This helps reassure people you’re not some Internet scam.
  • Portfolio — The #1 thing prospects want to do on your site is read your clips.
  • Testimonials — These are a huge factor in convincing prospects to contact you.
  • Personality — Your writer website is a writing audition, and a chance to give prospects a sense of what it’d be like to work with you.

With that crash course in writer website design in mind, here are a dozen writer websites (in alphabetical order) that show the variety of approaches you can take to implement these fundamentals. As you’ll see, websites can always be improved, so I’ve got some wish-list tips on how even these could do better:

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