Regardless of how you feel about low pay vs. high pay, you can’t deny there are plenty of “easy” writing gigs out there. I call them “easy” because they’re easy to land, easy to write and they pay like clockwork. After time, we have to make a decision: Do we stick with the easy gigs or try and branch out to gigs that are a little tougher to land but pay much better money. Perhaps a mixture of both?
The choice is up to each individual writer. However, if you’re considering a move away from the easy gigs to more lucrative freelance writing opportunities, these suggestions might help.
We’ve talked about cold calling here before, and even cold emailing. There are so many places that hire writers but don’t advertise because they receive word of mouth recommendations or queries via phone or email. For some reason the idea of calling for work terrifies freelancers or makes them feel as if they’re on telemarketing territory. I can tell you the first few times are the hardest. After a while you begin discovering ways to schmooze the receptionist for information or getting past her to the people doing the hiring. Freelancing is all about sales, to be a success, you can’t be shy about selling yourself.
Hint: rather than navigating a phone menu to nowhere or leaving a message that won’t be returned, press “0” to speak with a real live person, or see if you can be put through to human resources or editorial. At the very least, try and get the name of the person who hires freelance writers so you can send him a letter and some samples of your stuff.
Do your friends’ clients have extra work? Are your friends outsourcing during the holidays? Do other bloggers and web masters hire writers? Does your brother’s firm hire freelancers? Does your aunt’s real estate business need someone to write captions for websites and local guides? How will you know if you don’t ask? Everyone has the potential to become a client, even friends, family and neighbors.
Hint: Keep business cards at the ready so you can hand it to potential clients to keep on file.
Take control of your own destiny by establishing your expertise and teaching others. Create ebooks and courses and apply for speaking engagements. These will put you on the radar and get your name out there. It will help to build your brand. It will help you to generate a residual income while between gigs. People looking for expert writers will land upon your courses or blogs and want to hire you to help them out. Those with a true expertise command very high paychecks.
Hint: Give sample copies of ebooks and courses to influential people to review. Their recommendations will help create new readers and new clients.
Network online and off. Build relationships with potential clients, other writers and influential personalities. When folks know your name, they’ll think about you for their projects. They’re more likely to hire someone they trust over someone they don’t know at all.
Hint: It’s all about relationships. Don’t just spam people with your stuff, create conversations. Talk with them. Build trust.
Think Outside the Box
Don’t only count on the job boards. There’s a whole, big world out there and it’s yours for the taking. Think about all the people who can hire writers and plan a strategy for approaching all these people and businesses. See what you can do to make yourself stand out. Why would this company want to hire you, a freelance writer they never heard of, over reaching into their pool of freelancers for writing projects? Don’t send a cover letter and resume. Tailor a creative pitch to show them you’re worth the money.
Hint: Make it your mission to thoroughly research each business before you reach out. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What can you do generate more sales or build up their clientele? How can you build up their products or draw interest to their websites?
What are some of your suggestions for moving away from the easy gigs.