If you write because you love to, you simply write. To make money from your writing, though, you need clients who will pay you.
A steady stream of clients helps ensure that you stay busy, and make a good living as a freelancer. And getting more money for the work you do helps you increase your overall income.
Try these seven techniques to get more work—and make more money from it:
- Go public. Chances are you already have a Facebook page. Do your Friends know that you freelance? Get in the habit of posting occasionally about what you’re working on. You never know who might be in need of a writer, and people are more likely to think of you when they know you freelance.
- Go online. There are plenty of sites that offer freelance opportunities, including www.journalismjobs.com, http://craigslist.org; and www.problogger.com. Anne has a list of sites here. Check these sites every week or so to find opportunities that are a good fit for you.
- Customize your approach. When you contact a potential client, make sure that your email describes why you’re qualified to write for that market. A “one-size-fits-all” pitch almost always winds up deleted; instead, highlight your knowledge of the market and your relevant background in the first paragraph of your pitch or letter of introduction (“LOI”).
- Have a template. While you want to customize every pitch to the market you’re targeting, you should have a “standard” letter that you can adapt to each market. It’s much easier—and faster—to edit your LOI than to write a completely new letter each time.
- Be flexible. Many markets pay per-word or, in the case of blogging, per-post. But don’t be dissuaded by a market that may pay less money than you’d like. If a blog only pays $50/post, for example, and you can write a post in less than an hour, that’s an hourly rate of $50/hour—not bad for freelance work, especially if the client is coming to you with post ideas.
- Ask for more. If you’ve written for a client more than a couple of times, ask for a raise. You’ve presumably made the client happy (or he wouldn’t have hired you again!), so point that out when you ask for an increase in your rate. Try saying something like, “You know that I’ll deliver what you need on deadline—with that in mind, can we talk about raising my freelance rate?” The worst your client can say is “no,” and then you’re not any worse off.
- Write about the same things more than once. This is what I call “double-dipping.” When you write about a subject for a market, think of other possible approaches, and markets that might be interested in them—and pitch them as well. You’re not going to write the same story again, but your knowledge will mean that the research and writing doesn’t take as long as it did the first time, boosting your hourly rate.
Use these seven techniques to help you net more work—and be paid more for it!
What’s been your experience with these techniques? Got any secrets you’d like to share in comments?
Kelly James-Enger is the owner of Improvise Press, which publishes books for creative people who want to profit from their passions, including Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets and Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer’s Guide to Making More Money, second edition.
Image by Rob Lee