Make More Money With Query-Free Freelancing

Make More Money With Query-Free Freelancing By Jennifer Mattern

Last week, I asked the question, “Many people want to make a money from their writing — but often get stuck writing for low paying gigs. What can freelancers do to break this cycle and earn more money from their writing”?

Jennifer was one of these freelancers who answered, but her response was so detailed that I thought it deserved it’s very own blog post. So here is her response on how to make more money with your writing.

I’m a big fan of what I refer to as “query-free freelancing.” This is where you build a network and professional presence with a built-in demand for what you have to offer. It involves attracting prospects, getting them to come to you rather than you seeking individual clients or writing gigs.

There are countless tools for doing this, and it’s up to each writer to decide what’s best for them in order to reach their unique target markets. Some examples of things you might focus on are blogging, search engine optimization of your professional website, e-books, e-courses, webinars, social media profiles, guest posting, and speaking engagements.

I’ve seen freelance writers focus on a solid platform and their professional network who fill their schedule with incoming prospects in a few months. And I’ve seen a couple of writers who managed to do that in just two to three weeks. It’s all about the upfront effort you put into building visibility and your authority status in your specialty area.

The challenge when you’re busy with low paying gigs is that you might not feel that you have time for platform-building and effective networking. This is why some writers get caught up browsing job boards and doing little else to find better work. But the fact is, most high-paying writing gigs are never published on those boards. They’re filled when clients search for writers online, get referrals, or when clients receive direct pitches from writers. If they aren’t finding you in at least one of these ways, they probably aren’t going to find you at all.

There are a few things I suggest doing to help ease the transition when you can’t simply drop all of your low paying gigs upfront.

Focus on productivity first.

Salvage as much time as you can during the day and allocate it to marketing to your new, higher-paying target market. Streamline research. Outline if it helps you finish a draft faster. Use a time-tracking app to make sure you aren’t wasting time without realizing it, such as by reading too many blog posts each morning or taking long breaks. You might even want to try something like the Pomodoro technique (I’m personally a big fan), where you work hard for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. After four sets, you take a longer 15 minute break. The frequent breaks coupled with the game-like timed sessions can help you get more work finished without feeling like you’re working any harder.

Make schedule changes.

If you still don’t have enough time to find better paying gigs, you might have to make a tougher decision: either cut a few of your lower paying projects or decide to put in extra working hours each week for a few weeks to give you the kickstart you need. Just don’t get caught up working extra hours for too long, or you’re at an added risk of burning out.

Make sure you have a specialty.

Specialists are almost always paid more than generalists. High paying writing gigs are often highly paid because clients are compensating you for your expertise even more than your basic writing ability. And no, specialization will not limit your available client base so much that it’s a bad idea. That’s a common myth. Yes, you’ll have fewer clients and available projects. But they will be higher paying projects, so you need to secure fewer of them, and you’ll have less competition for them. In the end, specialization works out in your favor.

Do your research.

Marketing to high paying clients in your specialty area is not the same as landing low paying gigs. You need to figure out who your target clients actually are, where they are, how they can be most easily reached, how they tend to find their contractors, and what things influence their hiring decisions. Then you need to create a marketing plan custom-tailored to that target market. If you don’t understand the needs of your target clients (or your competition) you won’t be able to market your writing services effectively. The worst mistake a freelancer can make if they want to improve their income is to not have a plan.

Pitch some prospects.

While I’m a supporter of query-free freelancing, your transition might need a different approach early on. While you build your platform for long-term client attraction, also take some time to identify specific websites, publications, or companies you would like to work for. Send out queries. Make some cold calls. The worst they can do is say “no.” In that case you’ve at least made a new contact, and you might come to mind if their needs change in the future. The best that can happen is that you’ll land a few new clients right out of the gate.

Diversify your revenue streams.

While building your platform, give a bit of extra attention to tools that can bring in revenue of their own. For example, you might sell a short report to prospective clients. These will help you bridge the gap between low paying clients and high paying clients. As they bring in revenue, you’ll have an easier time justifying letting another low paying client go in the pursuit of something better. And these additional revenue streams can soften the blow if you go through the common feast-famine cycle of freelancing.

Will these things move you from low to high paying freelance writing jobs overnight? No. But over time they’ll help you bring in more consistent income at whatever level you hope to earn. During your transition, combining tactics with immediate rewards and those that will help you build lasting demand will give you the best of both worlds. You might just be surprised at how quickly you can have clients coming to you, ready and willing to hire.

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and author. She owns 3 Beat Media, the parent company of All Indie Writers. Jenn began writing for clients in 1999 and began blogging and Web development projects in 2004. She currently owns and manages numerous websites and blogs covering topics such as small business, social media, writing, and publishing.

Powered by WPeMatico

Leave a Reply