What kind of freelance writer are you?

Tell me, and I'll send you a customized report to help you earn more. (It's free!)

Get Your Report

As Seen On...

Forbes Inc. Write To Done Entrepreneur ProBlogger Copy Blogger

5 Tips to Boost Your Writing Income As a Proofreader

Stefanie Flaxman - Revision Fairy Logo showing characterized stephanie flaxman as a fairy holding a pencilBy Stefanie Flaxman

Have you ever thought about adding proofreading services to your repertoire?

One of the smartest things that you can do for your freelance business is diversify. If you’re a writer who has a knack for catching errors, put it to use.

Yes, Little Miss Aspiring Carrie Bradshaw, I know this sounds depressing. Your writer-life fantasy probably includes contemplation in a cozy office that smells of rich mahogany, followed by a ritualistic sipping of five-dollar lattes as captivating words waltz from your fingertips onto your keyboard.

By now you should know that a freelance writing career is no fairy tale. Marketing and expanding your services are always part of the mix.

Here are five tips to help you increase your income by offering proofreading services.

1. Impress your current clients.

Chances are that you don’t write all of the copy that an existing client produces. Browse Web content that you didn’t write, and make suggestions for improvement—you even may spot a glaring error.

Does the client need some writing just proofread? You can do that! After you’ve demonstrated your meticulous editing ability, the client may assign you more writing gigs.

2. Charge per word.

Metro PCS advertises that the total price of a wireless telephone plan includes all taxes and fees. Their slogan is “Not $40-ish. 40.” I dig the “no surprises for the customer” attitude.

Figure out an appropriate per-word charge depending on how fast you work. A client can quickly determine her fee with this model.

I offer three levels of proofreading services ranging from $0.01 to $0.02 per word. Since I specialize in fast turnaround for small business documents, I also charge an additional fee for turnaround time. Clients calculate cost with the formula, “total fee = (proofreading service fee + turnaround time fee) x word count.”

3. Use PayPal.

People trust PayPal, and the established payment transaction company helps you address a prospect’s fear of giving you her hard-earned money in exchange for services. Let a potential client know that you understand this apprehension by making a refund (if warranted) simple.

4. Meet deadlines.

I recently edited a 160,000-word novel and returned it by my deadline. An email reply from my client read, “Thank you very much for being the first person to get the book back to me by the time you said you would.”

I would never miss a deadline, but tardiness is common and oftentimes tolerated. Stand out by demonstrating punctuality.

Also, when a client wants a piece of writing edited, it is essentially perfect from her perspective (no matter how many mistakes you do find). Don’t make her wait for the final product.

5. Love it. Live it.

Find clients with complementary personality types and writing styles to create a powerful team.

I love working with writers. The best editors passionately enhance and perfect raw copy with an intuitive sensibility. The collaboration makes the writer’s intentions shine.

Although the writer is the “star,” consider “behind the scenes” work to contribute to the writing process, utilize your proofreading skills, and boost your freelance income.

Stefanie Flaxman corrects business, marketing, and educational documents in 24 hours. She’s a professional proofreader and the founder of Revision Fairy® Small Business Proofreading Services. Connect with Stefanie on Twitter.

The Webinar is coming up next Tuesday! Congratulations to Elizabeth, who is the winner of Wednesday’s free-ticket contest with her question about the best way to find better-paying clients.

Don’t miss out. Get your freelance-writing questions answered — live!


Tagged with: , , ,

Mailbag: How Much Can Freelance Writers Charge for Blogging?

How Much Can Freelance Writers Charge for Blogging? Makealivingwriting.comToday, I’m answering a reader question about how to earn more as a paid blogger. But first, I want to apologize — I’ve been neglecting the Make a Living Writing mailbag, which is now bulging! Promise to make mailbag a more regular feature again, starting now.

So — today’s question is on negotiating an ongoing blogging contract. It comes from freelance writer Don Sadler:

“I have an opportunity to become a regular monthly blogger for one of my magazine clients and am trying to figure out a good pay rate for this. The audience is corporate meeting and event planners.

“The client wants to pay by the word, just like they do for regular magazine and  e-newsletter articles. This will be for 2-3 blogs per month, I’m guessing 300 words or so, plus one more in-depth e-newsletter article like I’ve been writing. I’m looking probably at about .40/word, so $250-350 for the blog portion.

“Does this sound decent to you for 2-3 blogs a month? This is my lowest paying client — I don’t make less than $.50 a word anywhere else — but it’s steady, monthly work. Thanks for your input.”

My general rule as a paid blogger is that I try not to take less than $100 a blog, no matter what. I’ve made as much as $300 per, depending on what they require. So on the face of it, your rate sounds fine — about $120 per post.

But I see a lot of potential problems lurking here. In the months since you originally sent me this query, Don, I’ve had many small-business and publication blogging clients. And I’ve learned a few things about what makes paid-blogging projects successful, and what makes them fail. My suggestions:

1. Define your project. You sound like you’re bidding in a bit of a vacuum. You’re guessing how long the posts will be and what they will require. I’ve found that when you guess about blogging gigs, you always lose. Find out and get a commitment on your expected post lengths.

Do the posts require interviews? If so, the rate is definitely too low. Will they hand you the topics, or will you have to run Google Alerts daily and scan them to develop post ideas? This latter makes a real difference in the time you’ll spend on this project.

Do they really want them 1,000 words long? Many outlets don’t really understand blogging or the advantages of having short posts — you may have to sell them on that. If the length is longer than 300 — and in my experience, it often is more like 400-500 words — your per-word rate is too low.

To sum up, don’t imagine you know what your publication thinks of as a blog post. Find out, and then bid accordingly.

Final word of warning on this — I’ve discovered that some publications and companies like to call assignments “blogging” so they can pay less, but what they really want is fully reported stories. Be sure you know which one you’re signing up for before you price this gig.

When you assume about pricing writing jobs…you often make an ass…out of your bank account.

2. Sell them on more frequency. There’s a real dark side to this offer, Don. It’s that blogging twice a month simply won’t accomplish anything. In my experience, anything below once a week just won’t get any traction. It’s not enough frequency to build an audience, get subscribers to the blog, or ultimately, paying customers. It’s a proposal that is doomed to fail.

I’ve often had small businesses approach me with this premise — that I should post for them once or twice a month. I always turn it down. The most important thing as a paid blogger is to be associated with successful projects. You want projects where you’re able to drive traffic, get retweets, and the client will give you a testimonial about how great you are. So I consider these twice-a-month type proposals to be loser projects from which I run swiftly away.

From hard experience, I’ve developed a minimum blogging contract. It’s for one post a week, or four posts a month, for $500 — for a minimum of two months. My feeling is you have no chance of getting results in less time or with fewer posts, so that’s where I’ve set my bar. Just my personal philosophy on it.

Bonus: Often, clients will buy your logic and commit to more frequent posts — and that means more money for you, and a greater chance of an ongoing, successful gig.

3. Sell them social-media consulting. Here’s the final problem with this proposal: There is no social-media component.

This is where many blogging projects fall apart. Either the client is imagining you will promote the posts without additional payment, or (more often) they simply don’t understand how blogging works. They think once the posts are up, the Internet will magically bring them new customers.

A quick cautionary tale about this: I recently signed a small-business client to a twice-a-week blogging contract. Unfortunately, they were a startup with a small team, and no one had time to focus on the blog. In the six weeks I worked the contract, they only bothered to put up about half the posts I created. They changed the focus of what the blog should be about twice, and changed its location on their website once as well. No one focused on promoting the posts.

What did I hear next? No surprise — the client wanted out of their two-month contract because “The blog isn’t building traffic like we expected.”

I like to describe paid blogging as creating a tool for clients. The next step: Someone has to use the tool. They — or you — have to get out there on LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter et al and let the world know the posts exist.

At this point, unless the client tells me they have a social-media-savvy marketing team ready to go out and socialize the posts, I insist on at least one hour per month of social-media consulting work in the package. I bill it at $100 an hour, which is my general hourly rate. Then I have a chance to offer some training to their team on promoting the posts. Now, the project has a hope of succeeding.

So to sum up — ongoing contracts are desirable, so that’s definitely worth some modest discount on your usual rate, Don. But find out what this blogging gig really entails before you bid.

Do you have questions about how to earn more from your writing? Learn more in my freelance writer community — take ecourses, attend live events, ask writing pros your questions in our forums, and use our exclusive Junk-Free Job Board.

Join my freelance writer community


Tagged with: , ,

Why Freelance Writers Shouldn’t Bet on Demand Studios

Why freelance writers shouldn't bet on Demand Studios. Makealivingwriting.comFor anyone who hasn’t been following along, Demand Media — owner of popular content mill Demand Studios — finally went public last week and netted about $77 million, after many months of seeking buy-in from investors. The company’s business model raised quite a few eyebrows, especially its lack of profit despite many public claims to the contrary, heavy reliance on Google to drive traffic to its sites, and dubious accounting method in which they amortize your measly $15 writer fee across five years.

But the deed is done now, and Demand is a publicly traded company, at a valuation that for a brief moment there was, surreally, greater than that of the New York Times.

What does Demand’s IPO mean for freelance writers? Let’s put it this way: I’m not buying their stock. And if I were writing for Demand, I’d be planning my exit strategy.

Harsh scrutiny hits Demand

I wanted to wait a week and see what happened with their stock price before I wrote about Demand again, to watch investors’ reactions. So here’s what it did: After a brief bump up — it priced at $17 a share, above its planned range — Demand stock has gone nowhere but down, as you can see in the chart at right.

Why is that happening? Skepticism has already set in within the investment community. For instance, at the influential investor blog Seeking Alpha, Kevin Berk suggested the company’s true value is more like $10 a share and strongly recommended investors sell it. Popular personal-investing site The Motley Fool named Demand “the market’s best short opportunity” — meaning investors could profit by purchasing options that essentially bet the stock’s value will decline.

It probably didn’t help that nearly the moment Demand went public, Google announced changes to its algorithm to crack down on spammy, plagiarizing sites. Demand said that wouldn’t affect it…until oops! It acknowledged maybe its sites do have a plagiarizing problem. And now they’re going to work on fixing that. Really. More Google changes are expected, and they could drastically affect Demand’s ability to draw viewers to their sites.

I think going public isn’t going to work out well for Demand, or for its writers.

As some observers have pointed out, Demand flourished in part because a lot of people were out of work and desperate, willing to work for a few quick bucks. Now, the economy is recovering, and soon the unemployment rate will likely begin to decline. It’s unclear how Demand will continue growing and get big enough to become profitable under this scenario. It’s a bit of a mystery why it’s not profitable already, given what they pay writers and editors versus what Demand makes, as I outlined in my earlier post on Demand’s IPO.

What it means for Demand writers

I think writers who depend on Demand for income should pay close attention to what’s happening here. Professional investors — people who analyze companies’ prospects for a living — are betting against Demand. They’re not seeing a profitable business model in here.

It’s worth noting that Demand’s IPO hasn’t paid off its debts. Far from it — it’s raised more than $300 million in venture capital. The IPO has bought it only modest breathing room. Translation: Don’t expect a rate raise. As Demand’s stock declines, the company’s value shrinks and its ability to borrow will shrink, too, limiting the company’s ability to spend for growth.

Now that it’s public, Demand will be under more pressure than ever to squeeze out costs. If anything, pay rates will likely only go down — that is, if Google doesn’t pull a shift that vaporizes Demand’s whole business model. Google is under its own pressure, from competitors such as Blekko, which is already filtering out junk-content sites such as Demand’s.

Demand Studios may soon find its new-media empire is built on sand that could shift or blow away. Here’s hoping Demand’s 17,000 freelancers are ready for the changes.

Chart via Yahoo! Finance

What can you do besides write for Demand? Find out in my new learning community for freelance writers.

Join my freelance writer community. Makealivingwriting.com


Tagged with: ,

How to Make Good Money on Freelance Bidding Sites

Stephanie Mojica

Stephanie Mojica

By Stephanie Mojica

I’m not one to knock legitimate writing opportunities. And yes, those “content mills” like Demand Media Studios, Bright Hub, and Break Studios will pay you on time for rather formulaic writing work.

But what if you’re a slow writer, don’t believe in content mills, or are simply sick of churning out article after article?

What if you have some great writing samples (either print or online) and are ready to focus on quality rather than quantity while earning the money you truly deserve?

Job bidding sites like Guru and oDesk have given me even more economic and creative opportunities than mills, especially as a blogger and book editor. It literally is like an eBay for writers and all types of work-from-home professionals.

I have garnered numerous clients on bidding sites for press release writing, environmental blog writing, horoscope writing, financial blog writing, divorce blog writing, book editing, and publicity campaigns.

Like any site, once you learn the system you can and will succeed. If you take the right action steps, it’s not a matter of if you will succeed but when.

Good rates are possible on the bidding sites. I have consistently made at least $90 an hour and usually $150 to $300 an hour devoting my time to writing clients I’ve found on Guru.

If you have a resume and a few writing clips to show potential clients, you can do the same. My tips:

Bid only on jobs that pay what you’re worth. This is extremely important. So many writers give in to deprivation thinking. Twelve-step groups like Underearners Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous, and Workaholics Anonymous are full of writers with financial problems. Believe me, I personally know this. Part of the problem is that so many writers think it’s not “spiritual” or “creative” to ask for a great wage, I eventually discovered through working with author and life coach Sheri Kaye Hoff.

Set a goal of how many bids you will make per day. It’s a sheer numbers game, my friend. The more bids you get out there — especially at first when you have little or no client feedback posted online — the better you will do.

I’ve competed for jobs listed in online ads with 1,000 people. On Guru and oDesk, I’ve often been the only bidder or one out of three, five, six, 10, or 20. I’ve seen projects that I haven’t bid on with identical odds.

I wish you the best of luck in your journey to financial freedom and creative prosperity.

Have you used bidding sites? Share your experience in the comments below.

Stephanie Mojica, a writing and business prosperity coach, blogs at “Hot Freelance Writing Secrets” and is the author of several eBooks including“5 Business Prosperity Secrets.” Her credits include The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Virginian-Pilot, Louisville Magazine, USAToday.com, and SFGate.com.


Tagged with: , ,

Top 10 Articles for Writers — January 2011

Top 10 Articles For WritersWelcome to the first best-articles edition of 2011!

A few notes about these best-of posts: I have to say I do weigh in favor of lesser-known blogs and writers, and I do try to vary who appears. Don’t want this to end up being a list of five posts from Copyblogger and five posts from Problogger every month (though some big names do make an appearance this month!). For the most part, I try to spotlight folks you may not have heard of.

I definitely see the influence of my fellow Top 10 Blogs for Writers Winners in this edition — been checking out their stuff and loving it!

A confession: I tend to cut off the judging about the third week of each month to get the post ready. So if you find a post from the previous month in here, that’s why. This isn’t necessarily the 10 best articles published this month — they’re the 10 best I read this month. In my own private opinion. Just my two cents here.

Hope everyone enjoys these — thought it was a particularly choice batch this month.

7 Deadly Freelance Sins by Lori Widmer at Words on the Page NOTE: As of 11/2016, this blog no longer exists.

7 Reasons Why Your Posts Aren’t Getting Retweeted by Stanford on Pushing Social [NOTE: As of 12/30/18, this article no longer exists.]

14 Ways to Create Multiple Articles on a Topic by David Arthur Smith on Writer on Fire [NOTE: As of 12/30/18, this article no longer exists.]

15 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging by Daniel Scocco on DailyBlogTips

Don’t Ask Why — Dig Deep, Find the Answer to Why Now? by JC Hutchins on Writer Unboxed

How to Stop The Internet From Sabotaging Your Writing Routine by T.S. Bazelli of InkStained, on Courage2Create [NOTE: As of 12/30/18, this post no longer exists.]

Saying No by Chris Garrett at chrisg.com

Three Quick Steps to Clear Writing by Brian Clark on Copyblogger

What’s Your Excuse for Not Achieving Your Goals? by Robert Bruce on Copyblogger [NOTE: As of 11/2016, this post is no longer live.]

Why Writing Every Day Isn’t Enough by Michelle of Wicked Whimsy, on Problogger


Photo via stock.xchng user caffe

Tagged with: ,

What Freelance Writers Should Really Fear

What Freelance Writers Really FearIn recent weeks, I’ve heard a lot of writers confess their fears about taking the plunge into freelance writing. Today, we’re going to talk about something that’s even scarier.

It’s having a job.

Workplace experts have been watching how employers hire workers since the downturn began in 2008. Here’s their conclusion: Roles like writing are going to be done freelance in the future. Many of those jobs aren’t coming back as full-time gigs.

Freelancing is the new normal for writers.

While struggling to survive the downturn, many companies tried outsourcing. They liked it. Websites such as oDesk and Elance have made it easier to connect with freelancers, monitor their work, and pay them reasonable rates (or rock-bottom ones). This accelerated a trend that pretty much began the minute the Internet was invented. The fact is, tools exist now to make working remotely easy — Skype, Basecamp, email, PDFs, videoconferencing…it all makes it easy to plug use freelancers.

I spoke recently with a small-business expert, Steve King at Emergent Research. His firm’s estimate? Currently, 25 percent of design/writing/coding type jobs are being done freelance. By 2020, Emergent expects that figure to rise to 50 percent. That’s right — half of all the writing work will be done freelance, soon. Or, put another way: Twice as much freelance work will be available a decade from now.

If you’re wondering, King considers Emergent’s estimates conservative. Other industry pundits have forecast 75 percent of creative jobs being done freelance in future.

Which is really riskier?

Since 2008, I’ve watched friends of mine lose their jobs, get divorced, go bankrupt, have heart attacks from the stress, and lose their homes. Having all your income tied up to a single employer, we’ve learned, is actually very risky. That gives one company the power to devastate your family and destroy your lifestyle, overnight.

Finding another single, big fat job to replace the one you lost could take years, or may never happen. People who don’t know how to survive without sucking off the teat of Big Momma Corporation are facing radical changes in their quality of life.

By contrast, during the downturn, every editor I worked for either left or was fired from their job. All my gigs shifted around. But not all at the same time. I kept finding new clients to replace the old ones, because I’d learned how to market myself. Result: I lost gigs, but my income kept rising. My family life remained stable. I’m still living in the same house, eating out, sending my kids to camp, and putting away money for retirement.

After 12 years in staff-writing jobs, and now five as a freelancer, I can say I feel far more secure now than I did when I got only one paycheck instead of many smaller ones. I feel secure because I know how to find assignments now, no matter what. Also, my earning potential is unlimited, where at a job it was always capped at my salary. Maybe I could squeeze out a tiny raise each year, but that was it.

Still think freelancing is too scary? Here’s the reality:

Freelancing is the future.

The longer you hang on, fantasizing that things will go back the way they were, the more of a disadvantage you create for yourself in the marketplace. If you’re not freelancing now, you’re not out learning the vital entrepreneurial skills you will need to earn well in the years to come — skills like how to market and manage your freelance writing business.

I believe there’s never been a better time to learn how to be a successful freelancer. By getting started now, you’ll position yourself to gain experience, while many others are still clinging to their day jobs. You’ll be more established when more writers get laid off, and are scrambling to catch up.
Which do you think is more secure — a day job or freelancing? Leave a comment and let us know which — and why.

Photo via stock.xchng user brainloc

Tagged with:
1 174 175 176 177 178 202