Pro Freelance Writers, Am I on the Right Track?

5 replies
This thread is directed at experienced freelance writers. Even if you're not still in the game, I'm seeking your advice. People like Danielle Lynn, Alexa Smith, John Coutts, Terra Kern... I'm lookin' at ya. See, I'm quite serious about joining your ranks.

I've noticed that every serious writer has a website. So I built one for myself. I don't know what the Warrior Forum's rules are about linking when you've recently joined, so I'll just place the URL below.

adamwahlberg.com

It's not quite finished yet, but it's nearly there.

1. Am I on the right track?
2. Am I speaking to the right people?
3. Is my tone too conversational and folksy?

Just like anything else in life, I'm well aware that the more I practice, the better I'll get. The better my work, the higher my fee. The more I network, the more people will get to know me. No one becomes a highly-paid professional overnight. I don't have any delusions of grandeur. I'm committed to this endeavor for the long haul.

The obvious next step is to build a portfolio; a few high quality articles that demonstrate my ability to write compelling copy.

To accomplish this, I imagine most people head over to Fivrr or eLance or somewhere similar. But I'm wondering if there's a smarter option. Any thoughts?

Here are some more questions:

• Should I build an email list on the site? Building a list is a lot of work, and I don't think the ROI would be high enough in this case. What do YOU think?

• How much can I charge? HOW should I charge? (Per article, per 500 words, etc.) How do I get paid?

• What's missing on my site that absolutely NEEDS to be there?

• What are some questions that your new clients ask you frequently? What are their objections? How do address them?

• Beside the obvious marketing initiatives (like social media, forum posts, etc.), what else can I do to elevate my profile, and let people know I'm open for business?

• How did you snag your very first client?

• Lastly: Who are the clients? What kind of business do they run? Where do they hang out? How can I reach them and meet their needs?
#freelance #ghost writing #pro #track #writers
  • Profile picture of the author AdamJWahlberg
    Apologies for bumping my own thread, I know it's not considered polite.

    Anyone care to speak on this topic?
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by AdamJWahlberg View Post

    People like Danielle Lynn, Alexa Smith, John Coutts, Terra Kern... I'm lookin' at ya. See, I'm quite serious about joining your ranks.
    I left those ranks in 2008, myself (haven't written a word for anyone else for a very long time).

    Anyway, I think your site looks good, and promising. And better than many article writers have.

    I think (but am not sure) there's some confusion possible over your use of the term "ghostwriter". I think that if you're intending to be - at least in the first instance - an article writer, or a content writer, you should use the terms "article writer" and/or "content writer" and not potentially confuse the issue with this term "ghostwriter". (Maybe it means something different in the US? I think of ghostwriters as being primarily writers of books, myself. And even if I'm wrong, I'm not going to be the only person who thinks that. And others won't quite know what to think and it will just confuse them? Maybe?).

    Originally Posted by AdamJWahlberg View Post

    1. Am I on the right track?
    I think so, broadly.

    Originally Posted by AdamJWahlberg View Post

    2. Am I speaking to the right people?
    Who are you speaking to?

    Originally Posted by AdamJWahlberg View Post

    3. Is my tone too conversational and folksy?
    I don't think so; I think it's a good tone.

    Originally Posted by AdamJWahlberg View Post

    I'm committed to this endeavor for the long haul.
    I'm slightly surprised, but perhaps biased: the short haul was more than enough, for me.

    Once I started getting curious about why people were coming back all the time for more articles at $50/$60 each and how they were profiting from them, and looked into how they were using them, I quickly wanted to be the person using them rather than the person selling them.

    Originally Posted by AdamJWahlberg View Post

    • Should I build an email list on the site?
    I just don't know, and will be interested to see others' answers to this question. It's hard to see a downside? (Unless it creates more work for you without increasing your income at all? But I'm guessing that would be unlikely?).

    Originally Posted by AdamJWahlberg View Post

    • How much can I charge? HOW should I charge? (Per article, per 500 words, etc.)
    I would think "per thousand words", or just "per article (800-1,200 words)"?

    You don't want to attract too many people who want 500-word articles, I think? Those are typically customers who don't understand how article marketing works, don't know how to use the product, and don't make good, regularly returning customers because their own businesses tend not to thrive.

    The big mistake to avoid is to "start cheap" imagining that you can increase the prices once you have some customers. This market doesn't work that way, and there are reasons for that. They're real and reliable and valid reasons and they'll apply to you just like they apply to everyone else.

    (If you have to write a couple of "cheapies" just to get your initial testimonials, then so be it, I suppose, but don't make a habit of it! ).

    Key concept (i): at the bottom end of the market, there are almost as many service-providers as customers, so that's the hardest way to earn anything.

    Key concept (ii): what attracts customers to buy the services of people who write articles for $5-$10 is the price: as soon as that increases, all the customers disappear (to become customers of one of the thousands of other people from all over the world offering the service at that price), and the service-provider effectively has to start all over again.

    Key concept (iii): the main reason you see providers of $5-$10 articles continually advertising and marketing is that their clients businesses' tend not to survive (mostly because they don't know how to use the product, rather than because the product itself is no good - though that can also sometimes be true), so they have to replace them all the time. The main reason you don't see providers of $100-$150 articles advertising at all is that their clients know how to use the product, profit from it and return regularly for more articles, with the effect that those writers tend to have all the work they want without needing to advertise at all. (A small proportion of those articles do actually change hands through Constant-Content, as well.) At lower prices, article-writers need continually to be marketing their own services. People who want their income to depend entirely on their own marketing skills should become marketers, not service providers.

    If you want some more information on the big, common mistakes involved in starting an article-writing business, these resources may prove valuable ...

    Warrior Forum resources:
    Writing Articles - I'm Done
    How much can you make writing articles?
    How do I make money writing articles???
    Would you still do freelance writing?
    Can anyone suggest good pay, high quality writing jobs?
    Content Writing - Still Viable?
    Are There Many Clients Who Pay $50/Article?
    The appropriate rate for written content is ?
    You must be a superstar professional writer BUT I can only pay you $2 per article - say WHAT?
    Any point in trying to find clients on Warrior Forum..?
    Is it hard to make 30K a year from writing?


    Other resources:
    Jennifer Mattern's blog
    Carol Tice's blog
    Free report
    on how to attract new freelance writing clients during a recession
    The Renegade Writer Blog
    The "Irreverent Freelancer" blog
    The Well-Fed Writer: Lucrative Commercial Freelance Writing - Land Lucrative Freelance Writing Jobs
    Words on the Page.


    I haven't, myself, clicked on all of these for a few months, so apologies in advance for any defunct links, above (which there easily could be, by now ).

    Originally Posted by AdamJWahlberg View Post

    How do I get paid?
    In full, in advance; no exceptions. Everything I've ever bought online, I've had to pay for in advance. Don't let your professional services be any different.

    PayPal is normal. It's not risk-free (for either party, actually), but it's how everyone expects to pay. I think you need either a personal premier or a business account.

    Originally Posted by AdamJWahlberg View Post

    • What's missing on my site that absolutely NEEDS to be there?
    Samples and testimonials. Absolutely essential.

    Originally Posted by AdamJWahlberg View Post

    what else can I do to elevate my profile, and let people know I'm open for business?
    You could sell articles on Constant-Content (don't dismiss it too readily as "just another content-mill": there are articles changing hands there every day of the week for three-figure prices).

    You could do a WSO or a Warriors-For-Hire ad? But don't expect it to sell much unless you drive traffic to its sales-post.

    Originally Posted by AdamJWahlberg View Post

    • How did you snag your very first client?
    I got my first online client through another forum, where I'd posted a bit about one of my hobbies, with absolutely no intention at all of writing articles for people, and he sent me a message asking what I'd charge for articles. I said $25 each (having absolutely no idea what they were "worth") and he bought, and came back for more and "brought a friend", and then I decided I could make some money from it. By this stage I'd done some research and worked out that $50 per article was a more appropriate price. One of my two existing customers "stood the rise" and the other didn't. And then I put up a little website (not as good-looking as yours!) at Weebly and found a few more clients - including one very good one whom I found offline, through a university. I never dealt with the "bottom end of the market" at all, as I could see those weren't going to be good, returning clients, and I knew that even then there were nearly as many service-providers as customers "down there". There still are.

    I can't help much with your other questions. I have far less experience of being an article-seller than the other people you mentioned, above: I just talk a lot.

    .
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Okay, I see Lexy has already responded. I've only scanned her comments so this may be redundant. Your site looks good, professional.

    Your introduction is a bit fluffy. People want to know exactly what they're getting right up front. With that in mind I'd cut everything before: My name is Adam Wahlberg...

    I'd start with the name introduction. What you've got is good. Add something like, I write because you don't have the time to, etc. I had a short paragraph like that when I was freelancing and I got a lot of comments from people who were able to relate to and appreciate it.

    As for the relationship building stuff, I'd suggest you put that in your about page before the numbered items. You might also consider having someone interview you and put that up somewhere. If you do that well it can be a great help.

    I know you know it but get your portfolio up there yesterday. That's what people really want to see. The rest is almost meaningless without it. Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdamJWahlberg
    Hey Alexa,

    Thanks for providing your input.

    You're absolutely right. Article syndication and building up a list of prospects who trust me is my endgame. Just like you! (I think.)

    In the meantime, freelancing is a way to generate cash. Or so I hope.

    Lots of great information here. Thanks again.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdamJWahlberg
    Thanks travlinguy, I'll make a few changes to the site!
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