It seemed like a dream come true.
I landed a high-paying blogging gig on a popular software blog. I knew that the clients I wanted read this site, so they’d see my name there and come to me with gigs.
In my mind, this was the break I was looking for to make it big as a business writer. I felt like I’d finally made it as a professional freelance writer.
But it didn’t take me long to figure out it wasn’t the absolute dream job. The editor was nasty. Here’s how I handled it — and how it helped me in the long run:
Across the conference table, two business owners sat staring at me, as I explained why they needed to hire me as their writer.
I discussed what they needed — social media, blog articles, employee profiles — and to my newbie surprise, they bought it. All of it. They stood up, shook my hand and eagerly requested a proposal.
I shook their hands, smiled, and nearly collapsed into a puddle of anxiety after I left the room.
This was my first experience with a potential business client, and I had no clue how I’d move forward.
What do I charge? What do I put in my proposal? What do I do next?
Luckily, I had resources, and I put them to work. Here’s what I did to secure my first business client and first big freelance job — at a great pay rate:
This spring, I set a goal to double my freelance income over the next year.
I immediately ran smack into my first challenge: finding time to market to new clients while still delivering great work for my current clients.
I had to take a hard look at how I spend my time and decide what I could postpone or farm out over the next three to six months, in order to ramp up my marketing and grow my freelance writing career.
It wasn’t going to be easy — I’m a single, self-employed mom to a homeschooled teen and tween. I was doubtful I would find much time to free up. But I did — a whopping 70 hours per month.
Here’s how I got more productive:
When I decided to take the leap and leave my corporate communications job for a full-time freelance writing career, I knew I’d make most of my money writing for businesses. So I spent entire days creating a spreadsheet of hundreds of potential clients to pitch.
That spreadsheet hasn’t yielded a single client (or dollar). So I don’t recommend you do that!
Here are the more effective actions I took, which helped me bring in $11,000 within my first 60 days of freelancing:
Do you think all you can find are $5-per-article blogging gigs? And those stories you hear about freelance writers earning $50, $75, even hundreds of dollars per post are nothing but fiction?
Bottom-of-the-barrel rates are definitely *not* all that’s out there. I’ve compiled the stories of four freelance bloggers who are earning $200 and up for blog posts. No joke!
Here’s how they landed those gigs — and what better-paid blogging gigs are really like.
Are you trying to break free from writing for content mills?
You’re not alone. How to quit content mills and earn more than their rock-bottom rates is probably the single question I get asked the most.
It can be so easy to get sucked into content mill work, but it takes so much time and effort to write enough articles — and deal with the often contradictory edits — that it sucks up all your time, and you never can market yourself to find better paying work.
I’m doing a survey about content mill writing right now, and the pay rates writers report are appalling. We’re still collecting results, but with 300 in the can, I can report nearly half say they earn $5 an hour or less writing for mills, or for mill-type quickie-article gigs on the bid sites.
Man, that makes me mad to hear.
I’ve done quite a few posts on how to escape content mills, so I thought it was time to pull them together into one useful guide to help you move out of content mills and into better paying freelance writing gigs.