24 replies
Hello,

I've posted in this forum about a couple random website ideas, but I haven't actually had the time or resources to follow through with them because money is a constant issue. I'm currently just trying to make ends meet working a day job I can barely stand.

Writing has always been my passion, and considering I have nothing to invest in an online business at the moment I've been thinking I should stick with the basics. I don't mind writing SEO articles, but still can't bring myself to grovel for pennies on one of the content mill sites. I could start my own blog, but again narrowing it down to a specific niche and gaining readers would require a significant amount of time and energy just to get things started.

Does anyone have advice on how to find decent and consistent work as a freelancer? I don't have experience in copywriting but would be more than willing to take a stab at it if I knew how to actually land a client without previous references... I know this is a general topic but I've been pretty frustrated trying to figure out where to start, so any thoughts are appreciated!
#content #writing
  • Profile picture of the author GodOfCPA
    If you're a competent writer, email a pitch to 500+ web design, SEO, PR companies offering your services for like $15-20 per 500 words (don't charge less) and there is a 100% chance you'll have more work than you can handle within a couple of weeks. Just have a portfolio to show them, and mention that you understand modern content marketing needs.
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    • Profile picture of the author losttraveler
      Originally Posted by GodOfCPA View Post

      If you're a competent writer, email a pitch to 500+ web design, SEO, PR companies offering your services for like $15-20 per 500 words (don't charge less) and there is a 100% chance you'll have more work than you can handle within a couple of weeks. Just have a portfolio to show them, and mention that you understand modern content marketing needs.
      Hmm ok but how would I go about finding 500+ companies to email? I'm a competent writer but definitely still a newbie when it comes to marketing my work.
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      • Profile picture of the author GodOfCPA
        Originally Posted by losttraveler View Post

        Hmm ok but how would I go about finding 500+ companies to email? I'm a competent writer but definitely still a newbie when it comes to marketing my work.
        Search every city in North America and UK like "Austin + SEO agency," etc. you'll easily find 5000 by doing that so it's no problem. The reality is, nobody can do this "content writing" stuff long term because it's simply too boring so there is a constant turnover and need for fresh writers who speak English as a first language. Totally a numbers game, and if you write a pitch that doesn't use broken English and charges over $15 per 500 words you will get work if you email enough companies, guaranteed.
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    • Profile picture of the author graeme_pc
      Originally Posted by GodOfCPA View Post

      If you're a competent writer, email a pitch to 500+ web design, SEO, PR companies offering your services for like $15-20 per 500 words (don't charge less) and there is a 100% chance you'll have more work than you can handle within a couple of weeks. Just have a portfolio to show them, and mention that you understand modern content marketing needs.
      That is such a good idea that I am going to do it myself!
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  • Profile picture of the author Ghoster
    Your options are to make your own site and then run a PPC campaign or use sites like Odesk/Elance. You can find decent jobs there but it takes a lot of work. PPC, on the other hand, is risky, but it can be effective.

    I don't recommend using sites like Textbroker long-term, but they are useful in the short term, especially if you have pressing bills. They will also help you find grammar issues you didn't know you had. But yes, move away from them ASAP.

    I would suggest starting a sales thread here, but it's not the same as it used to be. Everyone is always bumping their thread as soon as it falls off the page, so you don't get much exposure for your $20. I can't really recommend it.

    The most important thing is to establish a reputation for providing quality in a timely manner. If you do this, you will get referrals. Word of mouth will make up a great deal of your business.

    Don't be afraid to ask for payment up front when dealing with an unknown quantity, but switch to half up front, half on delivery as soon as possible.

    Once you decide on a per word rate, don't let anyone talk you into settling for anything less. It's a slippery slop to nothing from there. On a forum like this, you probably won't make more than .02-.04 per word. On a site like Constant Content, you can make .10 per word or higher, although CC isn't as good as it used to be.
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    • Profile picture of the author losttraveler
      Originally Posted by Ghoster View Post

      Your options are to make your own site and then run a PPC campaign or use sites like Odesk/Elance. You can find decent jobs there but it takes a lot of work. PPC, on the other hand, is risky, but it can be effective.

      I don't recommend using sites like Textbroker long-term, but they are useful in the short term, especially if you have pressing bills. They will also help you find grammar issues you didn't know you had. But yes, move away from them ASAP.

      I would suggest starting a sales thread here, but it's not the same as it used to be. Everyone is always bumping their thread as soon as it falls off the page, so you don't get much exposure for your $20. I can't really recommend it.

      The most important thing is to establish a reputation for providing quality in a timely manner. If you do this, you will get referrals. Word of mouth will make up a great deal of your business.

      Don't be afraid to ask for payment up front when dealing with an unknown quantity, but switch to half up front, half on delivery as soon as possible.

      Once you decide on a per word rate, don't let anyone talk you into settling for anything less. It's a slippery slop to nothing from there. On a forum like this, you probably won't make more than .02-.04 per word. On a site like Constant Content, you can make .10 per word or higher, although CC isn't as good as it used to be.
      Thanks for your response. I joined Constant Content and wrote one article for them that was approved but never purchased (it was a pretty hit or miss topic related to a specific holiday). I'd actually prefer sites like Elance but haven't followed through with making a profile yet.

      I'd never even heard of Textbeoker, so thanks for the suggestion! I can't afford to be picky right now so it's something to consider.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by losttraveler View Post

        I joined Constant Content and wrote one article for them that was approved but never purchased
        What was it that made you stop after one article rather than writing 30 of them and seeing if 20 of those sold (as so many other people have done)?

        I'm no great enthusiast of content-mills, myself, in general, but there seem to be plenty of people making $1,500-$2,000 per month, at Constant-Content?

        .
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        • Profile picture of the author Ghoster
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          What was it that made you stop after one article rather than writing 30 of them and seeing if 20 of those sold (as so many other people have done)?

          I'm no great enthusiast of content-mills, myself, in general, but there seem to be plenty of people making $1,500-$2,000 per month, at Constant-Content?

          .
          I don't consider CC a content mill. Their Writer Pools pay extremely well, and I've sold articles in their open catalog for $100 that took me 30 min to write and edit.

          Edit: Although lately I've seen some awfully cheap client-submitted Writer Pools, so maybe they are slipping.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Ghoster View Post

            I don't consider CC a content mill. Their Writer Pools pay extremely well, and I've sold articles in their open catalog for $100 that took me 30 min to write and edit.
            Yup ... "content-mill" was a bit of a derogatory/lazy term for Constant-Content, wasn't it? Not intended that way. I also think of them as a step above that, really.

            .
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  • Profile picture of the author SnackMemory
    Originally Posted by losttraveler View Post

    Hello,

    I've posted in this forum about a couple random website ideas, but I haven't actually had the time or resources to follow through with them because money is a constant issue. I'm currently just trying to make ends meet working a day job I can barely stand.

    Writing has always been my passion, and considering I have nothing to invest in an online business at the moment I've been thinking I should stick with the basics. I don't mind writing SEO articles, but still can't bring myself to grovel for pennies on one of the content mill sites. I could start my own blog, but again narrowing it down to a specific niche and gaining readers would require a significant amount of time and energy just to get things started.

    Does anyone have advice on how to find decent and consistent work as a freelancer? I don't have experience in copywriting but would be more than willing to take a stab at it if I knew how to actually land a client without previous references... I know this is a general topic but I've been pretty frustrated trying to figure out where to start, so any thoughts are appreciated!
    to get job as a freelancer... understand English well, get very good reviews, show off some of your work, start cheap at first, really listen to what the buyer has to say.
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    • Profile picture of the author losttraveler
      Originally Posted by SnackMemory View Post

      to get job as a freelancer... understand English well, get very good reviews, show off some of your work, start cheap at first, really listen to what the buyer has to say.
      I've had a few freelance articles published in the past, but they weren't paid. I didn't see myself going in this direction as a writer, but I'm willing to start cheap and consider myself capable of producing high quality articles. Although I'm actually typing this from my phone, so my grammar could probably use some improvement..
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    • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
      Originally Posted by SnackMemory View Post

      to get job as a freelancer... understand English well, get very good reviews, show off some of your work, start cheap at first, really listen to what the buyer has to say.
      Why would you start cheap at first? That's the most self defeating thing anyone can do. Start at your skill level. Starting cheap is likely to keep you in the low rent range.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by SnackMemory View Post

      start cheap at first
      This is exactly what makes so many people fail, at this endeavor.

      You probably won't find a better "content mill" site than Constant-Content. It's relatively easy for people who can write competently to earn $1,500+ per month there. But it takes time, because the best-paid work there is all "private commissions" and you're not eligible for them until you've sold some "general articles". Some people try it and give up much too early.

      In the long run, it's better to have your own, private, paying clients and to choose customers who will return for more (i.e. customers who know how to use the articles you write!). To get them, however you market your services, you'll need a small, professional, simple, clear, non-hypey, non-salesy website with at least two specimen articles on it, and at least two good testimonials from customers, and to state your prices and terms of service very openly.

      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 ).

      .
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  • Profile picture of the author Ghoster
    CC is a very hit or miss. However, I've sold 80% of what I submitted to their open catalog, which equates to a few thousand bucks. I'm not bragging or anything. Just letting you know what's possible. Stick to topics that are always in demand.

    I would recommend staying away from the Writer Pools. They pay well, but you might go mad because the subject matter is so boring. And the editors sometimes contradict themselves. You also can't be late. At all. Or they will blacklist you.

    If you intend to charge .10 per word or more, starting your own site is a good idea. PPC on LinkedIn generally gets very low CTR, but as you might imagine, advertising a content service there gets a decent response. Quality content is always in demand, and LinkedIn users are decision makers. Linkedin PPC is pricey, though: ~$2 a click.

    Cold contacting SEOs can work, as someone mentioned. You need to have a good portfolio ready to go, and don't expect them to pay .10 per word.

    One other thing: don't start cheap. It's generally impossible to raise rates on cheap clients. You aren't Time Warner Cable.

    If someone is only willing to pay $5 per word, that's all they will ever pay. Same goes for any other price range.

    You might notice that I charge $10 per 800 words here. That's because I am well-versed in Internet marketing practices. I don't need to do a lot of research to write for people here, so I can charge a lower price.

    Always consider how long something will take you to write and price accordingly.
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  • Profile picture of the author ashleydaniel
    Worthy discussion for all who are interested in writing articles.
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  • Profile picture of the author allyssaallyson
    You need to make a good profile. then you have to add some previous work, you can write anything by yourself then add there. If your writing quality is good, there are many people will knock you to work for him. It is very important to write good content, no plagiarism, correct spelling with no grammar mistake. that all for the time being. Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Pootur
    It is important to pick some method and stick with it. If you choose Elance then try to make it work. The more jobs you get the more work you potential will have and the more money you can make!
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  • Profile picture of the author Work1099
    Your concern about landing a client is more to do with knowing how to sell yourself or not ... than if it is or isn't doable. Copywriters have to learn two skills. Selling their clients products ... and selling themselves. The two have a lot of overlap, but also many differences.

    You may consider learning more about selling yourself so you are able to get started with getting clients.
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    Get 600+ Proven Business Models and Money-Making Ideas at: http://work1099.com
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  • Profile picture of the author MatthewWeaver
    If you really want to be successful and get rid of that 'day job you can barely stand' it's still going to take a lot of work right?

    Even if you don't use your original website ideas and turn to freelancing it's still going to take a while to build up a good reputation and online presence, which will still mean coming home from the day job
    saying hi to the dog/family and getting your hustle on in your free time, and at the end of all this you'll still be working for someone else.

    I personally would stick with your original ideas, it just takes a little hard work, it can be done!
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  • Profile picture of the author goindeep
    Just do it.

    That's the beauty with writing, you can, just do it and it will offer up all sorts of other opportunities.

    Stop over thinking and analysing and instead get stuck into it. You can advertise your services on this very forum as well as Freelancer.com and many other places online. The key is to find a niche, get good at it and stick to it. When I wrote content on the warrior forum I opened up the very first humour and comedy writing service, to this day I still write humour only I do it for myself now via a blog.

    Working a day job shouldn't be an excuse most people started their ventures while in college or working a day job, I know I did.

    Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author tudexo
    Originally Posted by losttraveler View Post

    Hello,

    I've posted in this forum about a couple random website ideas, but I haven't actually had the time or resources to follow through with them because money is a constant issue. I'm currently just trying to make ends meet working a day job I can barely stand.

    Writing has always been my passion, and considering I have nothing to invest in an online business at the moment I've been thinking I should stick with the basics. I don't mind writing SEO articles, but still can't bring myself to grovel for pennies on one of the content mill sites. I could start my own blog, but again narrowing it down to a specific niche and gaining readers would require a significant amount of time and energy just to get things started.

    Does anyone have advice on how to find decent and consistent work as a freelancer? I don't have experience in copywriting but would be more than willing to take a stab at it if I knew how to actually land a client without previous references... I know this is a general topic but I've been pretty frustrated trying to figure out where to start, so any thoughts are appreciated!
    EVERYONE in the service industry is looking for clients. I repeat EVERYONE. That's the basic requirement per se.

    If you want to establish yourself as a writer, you have to start small and then scale up. Charging $20 a page is the easy part. Getting people to pay that, especially if you don't have any reputation is the tough part.

    Doesn't matter if you start your own blog or sell writing services. Manna wouldn't drop from heaven right on day one. I hate to say this but yes there's a learning curve and you HAVE to use some elbow grease.

    So, how do you get clients?
    Sign up with content mills and create a portfolio first. With permission from your customers showcase your work on your own website. Drive traffic to the site from paid or unpaid sources depending on your budget.

    You could also start a WSO here on the Warrior Forum offering writing services. You won't make too much off each page here because prevailing rates here are on the lower side aka competitive. And trust me when I say this, a bunch of writers here offer impeccable quality for rock bottom prices. There are several other forums also. You can try your luck there too.

    The other way to do it is by getting in touch with design and SEO companies. Don't spam them with unsolicited emails. Try offline methods. Join Skype groups, facebook groups or even call them.

    Marketing isn't easy. It wasn't ever. Don't get me wrong, but if you want to make it big, you have to get down from the high horse and start small.

    Originally Posted by losttraveler View Post

    Hello,

    I've posted in this forum about a couple random website ideas, but I haven't actually had the time or resources to follow through with them because money is a constant issue. I'm currently just trying to make ends meet working a day job I can barely stand.

    Writing has always been my passion, and considering I have nothing to invest in an online business at the moment I've been thinking I should stick with the basics. I don't mind writing SEO articles, but still can't bring myself to grovel for pennies on one of the content mill sites. I could start my own blog, but again narrowing it down to a specific niche and gaining readers would require a significant amount of time and energy just to get things started.

    Does anyone have advice on how to find decent and consistent work as a freelancer? I don't have experience in copywriting but would be more than willing to take a stab at it if I knew how to actually land a client without previous references... I know this is a general topic but I've been pretty frustrated trying to figure out where to start, so any thoughts are appreciated!
    Originally Posted by GodOfCPA View Post

    If you're a competent writer, email a pitch to 500+ web design, SEO, PR companies offering your services for like $15-20 per 500 words (don't charge less) and there is a 100% chance you'll have more work than you can handle within a couple of weeks. Just have a portfolio to show them, and mention that you understand modern content marketing needs.
    How would he pitch 500 emails without his own SMTP server? Free email services won't let him "spam" like that! He has to worry about inbox rates too. Setting up your own server is a costly affair and the OP has mentioned money is a problem for him.

    Also, no serious business appreciates email spam!
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    • Profile picture of the author graeme_pc
      Originally Posted by tudexo View Post

      How would he pitch 500 emails without his own SMTP server? Free email services won't let him "spam" like that! He has to worry about inbox rates too. Setting up your own server is a costly affair and the OP has mentioned money is a problem for him.

      Also, no serious business appreciates email spam!
      To be fair, no-one was suggesting sending 500 emails at the same time - you'd never cope with the incoming workload! He could send 15 a day over a month, or even 5 a day over three months. It is the consistency, rather than the volume, that will win out.

      And if you think that emailing a business once to offer your services is "spam", you may be in the wrong business! It is marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author smoor2012
    There is quite a bit of good advice on writing and pricing in here, and I am learning the ropes of copywriting myself from reading books on the subject and getting as deep as I can into it.

    It sounds like you are a pretty good writer now, so I would say to try and start a blog, which you can do pretty cheap and write as close to everyday as possible. Submit your blog posts to places like stumbleupon and social media each time you write a post. Life happens but write as often as you can.

    There are plenty of sites advised here to set up a profile if you need to get yourself out there to get some assignments. Since you have some experience and confidence in your writing, I would say you need to get set up and try to get established on those sites mentioned here.

    Whatever you do, keep writing and don't talk yourself into slacking off. Be tough, be consistent as possible (I have a family and work for a living, so I understand that some days there are just too many obligations that have to be handled in a 24 hour period) and stay focused on what you want.

    Keep writing....keep putting out value to the marketplace in some fashion....good things will happen
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