“You don’t know what you don’t know.” Not exactly the most mind-blowing piece of advice when you’re trying to go from broke to well-paid professional writer.
This quote frustrates me every time I hear it—of course you don’t know what you don’t know.
As a newbie writer, I spent way too much time making mistakes, working for low rates, and racking my brain trying to figure out how to find well-paying clients. I didn’t know.
Fortunately, I’ve learned a lot from the school of hard knocks and other professional writers. And I thought it was about time to give that tired quote a makeover for up-and-coming freelancers:
“Here’s what you don’t know, that I do. Learn from me, and you’ll be ahead of the game.”
Ready for some mind-blowing epiphanies about being a professional writer? Here are 11 things you need to know:
Does your letter of introduction have the right ingredients to make prospects open your email, salivate over your writing skills, and hit reply?
It should. Writing a letter of introduction to a prospective client is a great marketing strategy for freelance writers. The more you reach out to prospects, the more likely you are to get paid to write.
But if you don’t include the right ingredients in a letter of introduction (LOI), it can turn out like a failed recipe nobody wants to eat.
Think of writing an LOI (letter of introduction) like you’re competing for the $10,000 cash prize on the reality TV cooking show Chopped.
Your letter of introduction needs to have specific ingredients to catch the attention of a prospect, provide a taste of your writing style and personality, and include just enough on the plate that prospects will ask you for more.
Want to know the recipe for writing a tasty letter of introduction? Here’s the list of ingredients and directions:
I wasn’t always a freelance writer. In fact, I used to be a brainy corporate accountant who made a six-figure income. But I wanted out in a bad way. And I made up my mind that I could earn a decent living by booking well-paying freelance writing jobs.
Here’s how it all went down. I raided my 401(k), a very un-CPA-like thing to do, bought a townhouse, renovated it and flipped it. Pretty smart, right? But I still needed freelance writing jobs lined up before I could quit my day job. And not the content-mill kind.
So I joined the Freelance Writers Den and went through the bootcamp, “Learn to Write White Papers,” by Steve Slaunwhite. That was my light-bulb moment. Writing white papers was the perfect match for my skills and goals to get freelance writing jobs that paid pro rates. Without hesitation, I named my new business and launched my site, “Savvy White Papers.”
With that done I busted my butt until I had a $250/hr contract in my hand and a check in the bank. Want to know how to land freelance writing jobs that pay top dollar? Here’s how I did it:
Like most new freelancers, one of my first questions after deciding to take the plunge into freelance writing was, “How am I going to find gigs?”
I knew I wanted to write for businesses rather than publications, but which businesses should I target? I looked at my experience and selected an industry where I had work experience and that tended to have healthy cash flow. Education — particularly ESL — was my strongest potential market.
As I began marketing to companies in this niche, I narrowed my strategy to four simple steps that brought me something I’d never imagined in my first year in business: a $10,000 freelance writing gig.
By KeriLynn Engel When I first started freelance writing full time, I was sending out email letters of introduction (LOIs) left and right, sometimes dozens in a week. Some writing gurus will tell you email marketing is just a numbers…