By Maggie Linders
You know what feels great? Earning that first big chunk of profit as a professional freelance writer.
It makes you feel like you made the right career choice – like finally saying good-bye to your boring 9-to-5, taking that risk that you’ve been resisting, and making that first step towards your dreams was the best thing you could have ever done.
However, if it is true, and you are just starting out… perhaps you have to said to yourself, “2017 is the year that I finally become a full-time professional freelance writer!”
Even though the excitement and enthusiasm may still be there, it can feel like that glorious day -- when you can finally say that you have achieved your writing dream -- is still too far off to really feed or fuel the belief -- and the truth is, it is the belief that will put you on the trajectory that will thrust you towards that glorious day.
If you’re like me, when you first started hearing about this idea of being a freelance writer you probably were introduced to these things called “content mills” and bidding sites. I am going to be honest with you, this is exactly where I started when I was first went to work on building the foundation of my freelance writing business.
If this is where you are thinking about starting, I can’t stop you, but I will say this: content mills are no “gold mines”. They are good starting places to get your freelance writer “feet wet”, if you will. But let me be frank with you: Don’t go pitching your tent in these kinds of camps because they are not what is going to skyrocket your freelance writing business to the levels that you really want to go to.
Thank goodness, those aren’t your only options. You really can earn your first $1,000 as a freelance writer faster than you really think – long before your mortgage is due and the tax man comes calling. And you don’t have to feel like content mills are your only pathway to take as a freelance writer.
Here are just a few things you can start doing right now to get you were you want to be as a freelance writer faster than you ever thought possible, and maybe be able to bypass the “content mills” starting point right out the gate this year:
Start Utilizing Your LinkedIn Profile Like a True Professional
Scour your LinkedIn network and check out the websites of local businesses and companies.
Is there any group with a less-than-stellar website? You could probably beef up their web content and make a big difference. You won’t know unless you ask, and they won’t know that you are the writer they have been looking for if you don’t attempt to reach out to them and let them know that you exist.
Are any of your connections starting a new job? Find out if their company could use content help. Look, to every ONE person in your professional network there is 100 other possible clients or prospects that are looking for what you have to offer.
Is someone in the market for employment? Offer to write copy for their personal portfolio site. Or better yet, become skilled in resume and cover letter writing (business writing), and offer to write these important documents for them.
Getting Paid For the Project is Always Better Than Getting Paid by the Hour
If you want to start earning big money as a freelance writer fast, forget billing your client at an hourly rate. Instead, propose a flat, per-project rate for your clients. Do this you and you will be amazed at how fast you can get to your first $1,000 before the month is even over.
Factor in how much time the project will take you, as well as the value and worth of the experience, expertise, and skills you have, and come up with a fee that’s fair (but profitable!)
Over Promise and Over Deliver (Meeting or Exceeding Deadlines is Your Most Valuable Asset as a Freelance Writer)
Sure, that new client might give you a month to complete their new website content, but do you really need that long? More importantly, do you want to wait that long for your payment? The quicker you get to work, the quicker you get paid!
For BIG Projects, Get Upfront Deposits (or Charge for Milestone Payments)
If you’re working on a particularly large project, a great way to get your cash early is to ask for a deposit upfront. This is to reserve your time and protect you from getting stiffed.
Or, when using the milestone payment option, you can have the client pay you for each chunk of content you turn in – maybe per webpage you write, per blog post or per eBook chapter.
Remember, we all know that you want to provide the best quality service to your clients, but in the end, you are a professional running a business, and if you are not asking for the payment, then you will be well on your way to having to close your “doors” as a professional writing service provider for good. Speaking of asking for the payment…
Make it Easy for Your Clients to Pay You
Finally, don’t making you a hassle for your clients. Get a PayPal or Venmo account, and nix the old mailed, paper checks you’re used to. Bill clients via invoice sent to email, and let them pay you instantly and seamlessly online. It’s better for both you and them.
Earning your first $1,000 can seem like an uphill battle but it doesn't have to be that way. If you want a proven, step-by-step system to earning your first $1,000 and more in a short period of time, check out Freelance Profit Academy. This program has become very popular among freelance writers and has produced hundreds of success stories. Check out the Freelance Profit Academy (AFF)
Maggie Linders is the author of "Freelance Writing Riches," (AFF) an income-boosting blueprint for freelance writers. She is also the creator of the popular "Freelance Profit Academy," (AFF) an information-packed, coaching-focused membership program that teaches freelance writers how to start, build and maintain full-time, high-earning freelance writing careers.