PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This fall has started off with a bang! It's as if all of my clients got together and slammed me at one time with their writing request. A good, yet tiresome problem to have. Hence, the following:
InkwellEditorial.com E-Course: Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Because of my extremely busy work schedule and a personal goal I'm working towards (I've been training for my first marathon and will do it on Thanksgiving Day in Atlanta), I've put off publishing the e-course until January.
As a freelancer, you have to take good fortune when it comes. Once it quiets down in early December, I'll have time to put the finishing touches on the course. I apologize for the inconvenience, but I promise it'll be worth the wait.
InkwellEditorial.com's E-book Affiliate Program: Our e-books are being migrated to ClickBank. The affiliate program will be up and running as of October 7th.
Pitch Your Story the Right Way! Enjoy this writer's first-hand tips of how to successfully pitch your stories to magazine editors. She's a stay-at-home mom who shows you actual pitch letters that got her work.
I'll be posting regularly again after October 7th.
Y. Black, Publisher
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This fall has started off with a bang! It's as if all of my clients got together and slammed me at one time with their writing request. A good, yet tiresome problem to have. Hence, the following:
Posted by Yuwanda Black at Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: September 11th -- We haven't forgotten.
P.S.: This article was supposed to appear tomorrow, but I have an upcoming business trip, so I'm publising it a day early. I hope you find it useful.
Y. Black, Publisher
Continuing last Thursday's post, here we discuss five (six with our bonus tip) more ways freelance writers can make money -- fast!
6. Call Graphic Designers & Advertising Firms: Don't tune out! Don't cringe! This is easier than you think - and I'll prove it by telling you exactly what to say. So you don't think I'd tell you to do something I wouldn't do myself, I picked up the phone and called 8 companies.
I hadn't had to do this in years -- and when I did it was rare and I hated it. BUT, after being in business so long (over 19 years in the publishing industry) and getting bolder with age, there's not much I won't try to bring in the business.
To digress a moment, when you're 25 or 30, stuff like this seems kinda scary if it's not part of your nature -- and selling was NEVER my strong suit. Once I hit 40, I have to tell ya, my inhibitions went out the window! Things that used to scare the bejeezus out of me don't even warrant a fly swat now. This is a double-edged sword, but I have to say, it is liberating. I guess I'm becoming my crotchety old aunt -- and that's just dandy with me. Okay, enough about my aging.
This is what I said when called those 8 graphic design firms. NOTE: Not ONE refused to give me the information I asked for, were rude, or hung up on me -- NOT ONE!
"Good afternoon, my name is Yuwanda Black and I am a freelance writer. I'd like to send you some of my marketing materials for your files. Who is the appropriate party to address it to?"
Usually at this point, they will give you a name and they may go on to inquire about the type of services you provide. Of course, this is what you want. Tell them, succintly and professionally, what you do and THEN ask if they have any projects that they need help with RIGHT NOW.
If they say no, ask if they can refer you to some of their colleagues and/or clients who might. If they hesitate, tell them to go to your website (which, of course, you have, right?) to view samples of your work.
The reason this method works is I didn't give them a chance to say no and I wasn't asking, at least initially, for work right now. I assumed that they use/have a need for freelance writers, and I assumed that they would be happy to have my info on file for future use. Most will.
Eventually, you are going to run across one firm that needs your help like -- YESTERDAY! I had one firm tell me that they just got a new account and were going to be hiring some freelance writers. Ask me how quickly I got my stuff to him (I always keep a snail mail and an email package ready to go)?
Most clients will prefer email and most will assume that you have a website. So, make sure you have this before you call because you don't want to lose a potential client before you even get your foot in the door.
7. Write Resumes: Okay, it' s not glamorous. BUT, it can be lucrative and it is an evergreen need. The wonderful thing about writing resumes is that it is an easy part of your business to build up and outsource if you don't like to do it, or don't have the time to devote to it.
At a super low price of $50 (I've been quoted rates of $250 just for a resume), doing only a couple a day can add up to a really nice full-time income. When I had an office in New York and clients could walk right in, this was one of the most frequent requests. And, you know what, it was usually a quick turnaround time and clients almost always paid in cash.
Upselling a package (eg, cover letter and reference sheet) was usually super easy, and clients were so grateful that this feeling alone was enough to make it worthwhile.
8. Proofread/Edit Student Papers: Ahhh, lovely, broke, DESPERATE students. Many of them don't have the time or, quite frankly, the skill level, to edit their own work. And, they will gladly pay someone to do it.
This is one of the easiest markets to target because all you have to do is contact the Student Affairs office and ask to put up a notice on the student bulletin board. Or, you could take out an ad in the college paper. Also, flyers posted around the campus works well.
Usually, if a student uses you once, they will always come back if they are satisfied with your services. The best part about this group? They have big mouths and they use them -- to tell other students about your services.
Students also need resumes, bibliographies and grad school essays. There are a plethora of services you can offer them successfully. I can tell you from personal experience that they are a great paying lot and are extremely nice to work with -- because they're usually desperate and are just happy to find someone who can work within their deadlines (think, "I needed this yesterday!").
NOTE: I DO NOT advise outright writing papers for students. I think it is unethical. However, proofreading, editing, suggestive rewrites -- these are all services that I have provided quite successfully in the past.
9. Format Screenplays: Another starving lot -- the playwright, author, writer, etc. When these artists submit their work to official agencies, producers, guilds, etc., they must be formatted a certain way. Screenplays have one format, treatments* another, manuscripts another.
There is software for all of this. As a full-service editorial firm, if you purchase the appropriate software, you can market to a certain group and establish yourself as a go-to service for that industry.
I did this for those who wrote screenplays. I purchased the software FinalDraft and took out an ad in BackStage, an industry newspaper for artists (actors, dancers, musicians, etc.). My first client paid for the software.
This was in 1997 and I think I paid about $230 for the software. But, the first job I did for this type of client netted me $375 (that I definitely remember!). The great thing about soliciting this type of client is that they always need revisions, updates, extra copies, etc. I charged for all of this, of course.
NOTE: I always told clients that I would store the most recent version fo their work for them for free. This made them feel really secure and grateful. Why? I found many artists to be forgetful and a bit unorganized. By offering this "FREE" service, they knew that if ever they couldn't find the most recent version or their computer crashed, that all they had to do was call me.
This built customer loyalty -- and led to immeasureable amounts of business over the years. The fun part about working with artists is that you get to see the creative process in motion.
I had two clients who worked on the same screenplay for over five years. They must have paid me a few thousand dollars over this time as they made changes, sent copies to different agencies, etc.
*Treatments: Treatments are one-page summaries of scripts submitted to studios for consideration. Most often, an artist will submit a treatment. If the studio likes the treatment, they will request the full (or a partial) script.
The reason for treatments? Simple time. Studios are bombarded and they simply can't read through everything submitted. This method gives them an idea of what a script is about without having to slog through the whole thing. So, in essence, what studios buy is an "idea", not a full-fledged script. This is also why what the author envisioned is often not what it turns out to be.
Ah, Hollywood -- gotta love it!
10. Write on a Timely Topic & Sell It: Daily news sources (eg, newspapers, news websites, etc. are always looking for timely, well-written articles) -- and, they will usually pay for them -- if they are thoroughly researched and you give them exclusives to the piece.
This will fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but it has worked beautifully for me over the years. Instead of sending a query, write a piece (eg, mortgage fraud and its effect on the economy, "white collar prostitution", etc.), research it well and offer it to daily news outlets.
I would send the piece to no more than one outlet at a time and give them a deadline by which to respond. Let them know that as it is a time-sensitive piece, you will give them "x" amount of time to respond (I usually offered 2-3 days) before offering it to another outlet.
Eventually, someone will pick the piece up if you follow the formula below.
How to Know What to Write & How to Sell It
a. Select a timely topic: Watch the news and see what stories are making every headline. Eg, hurricane season is here and the anniversary of Katrina just passed. Think of a topic around hurricanes and/or hurricane season and give it a different slant (the effects of hurricanes on kids under 12, is hurricane insurance for the masses or the elite?, etc.).
b. Research thoroughly: Whatver topic you select, make sure you reference 2-4 well-known sources. For example, if you were going to write about hurricanes, call the National Weather Service and get a quote from an official there. Official news sources don't like to use unreferenced material; they want to say, "According to Bill Smith, the chief meteorologist at the National Weather Service, . . ."
c. Target daily outlets: Daily news sources are the ones who are most likely to pick up this type of article because they are constantly under the gun to keep the news fresh.
BONUS TIP THAT WORKS ALMOST 100% OF THE TIME! Call old clients. It is an old business axiom that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your clients. So, call your old steadies. Ask them if they have anything or if they can refer you to someone who might need your services.
I’ve found that the best way to go about this is to upsell something. For example, if you just finished a sales letter for a client, ask them if they need a brochure, postcard or newsletter to supplement that. Professionals realize that advertising and marketing is not a one-hit wonder. So, many are open to using more than one method to reach clients.
In fact, many use one method to reach clients (eg, a sales letter), and another to stay in touch (eg, a weekly newsletter). However, it may not occur to them to implement these procedures via one provider (you!).
So, it’s up to you to make them realize the value you provide. And, by thinking proactively, you look super sharp, professional and forward-thinking – which only means more work for you!
P.S.: Coming September 12th! InkwellEditorial.com E-Course: Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed!
At the end of this one week, five-step course, you will have a concrete business and marketing plan for your freelance enterprise. Even if you've been a freelancer for years, this course will help you "laser focus" your efforts and exponentially increase your income. Secure your first client within 30 days -- or your money back!
P.P.S.: Make money with our affiliate program. As of this month, our e-books are only availabe via ClickBank! Learn everything you need to know to work from home as a Freelance Writer, Editor, Proofreader, etc. How? Order an InkwellEditorial.com E-book. Receive 7 EBooks in All! Delivered right to your inbox immediately upon payment!
Posted by Yuwanda Black at Thursday, September 07, 2006
Freelancers are an innovative lot. However, almost daily I receive inquiries from those who find it hard to make a sustainable living. I attribute most of this to their inability to think outside the box.
There are so many ways to make money as a freelance writer that I keep a tickler file of ideas. Although I rarely find myself without a project on my desk, when assignments become scarce, I rifle through this file to tickle the brain cells.
Following are 10 ways for a freelance writer to make money – fast!
1. Sell to Professionals: What I mean by this is, target realtors, insurance agents, mortgage brokers, etc. with your writing skills.
A personal story: When I was a loan officer, I created a newsletter to send to prospects. Another loan officer in my office saw my newsletter and asked me how I did it. (I used Constant Contact software to set it up (ConstantContact.com)). I walked him through the steps and he started one.
When the owner of the company saw it, he asked me to write a weekly newsletter for the firm.
As this example illustrates, business professionals need a way to convert prospects into customers. A weekly newsletter was just the thing in this case. If you have 15 or 20 companies paying you to do a weekly, monthly or quarterly newsletter – and charge enough for it – this may be all the income you will ever need.
So, target professionals like these and offer to write a weekly column, newsletter, e-zine, etc. and watch your business grow.
2. Edit websites: This may require a bit of up front work, but can bring in dollars for years to come. There are so many sites in sore need of good copy, that all you have to do is turn on your computer to locate one. HOWEVER, the key is to target those who are willing to pay for your services. Once more, a personal story.
A friend of mine knows a chemist who created a skin care product. The product is sold nationwide through independent distributors. My friend told me to check out the website to see if it was a product I’d be interested in trying.
Once I logged on to the site, I immediately forgot about why I was supposed to be looking at the site. Why? The grammar, graphics and layout were horrible; especially the grammar! I rewrote the home page and sent it to the webmaster with a nice note saying that I’d be happy to redo the entire site for $X. Within a few days we came to terms and I got the job. You can do this too.
Again, professionals are a great target market for freelance writers. Mortgage brokers, insurance agents, lawn care providers, etc. Most have websites – and many of them are not too good. So, edit/rewrite a page and send it to them with a proposal to do the whole site. Usually, if they use you once, they will continue to do so for years to come.
BONUS TIP: Offer to add weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. articles to the site to increase traffic. Many small business owners are so busy that they don’t think or know how to do this type of marketing. Point out the advantages and watch your client list grow.
3. Create an e-book: Okay, you’re thinking – everybody and his mother is doing this these days. BUT, why? Because it works. If you are knowledgeable about a particular topic, eg, how to stain a deck, pressure wash a house, quit smoking, make doll clothes – whatever it is, write a book about it.
Writing e-books is easy – it can be done in as little as 24 hours – and offer it for sale on a site like ClickBank or Commission Junction.
REMEMBER, most people look to the Internet for information. And, “how to” information is one of the most popular forms. So, rack your brain for what you like to do, write an e-book about it and sell it via a major distributor like ClickBank.
One book probably won’t make you rich, but it could bring in extra cash for years to come. The best part about this idea, once you create one e-book, you can create others and really build your income to the point where you can quit your dreaded day job.
4. Set up a CafePress Shop: This online marketer (CafePress.com) lets you create t-shirts, mugs, stickers, etc. and sell them without carrying any merchandise. There are no minimums, nothing for you to stock and no upfront fees. If you don’t sell anything, you don’t pay anything.
So, how can a freelancer capitalize on this medium? Quite simply, if you are mighty with the pen, then dollars can follow. Create cool slogans and witticisms and emblazon them on t-shirts, stickers, mugs, etc.You could be the creator of the next big fad T.
Remember the slogan, “Sh*t Happens?” I think this phrase was made popular in the hippie 70s. Can you even begin to guess how many bumper stickers and t-shirts were sold with this phrase? So, rack your brain and create some phenomenal pop culture!
5. Create a “Newspaper” and Sell Ads: This is a bit more ambitious, but once implemented, can really draw you a whole goo-gaggle of customers! Here as well, I would target a professional market.
An example: In my city, there is a very prominent real estate agent. In all my years in and around this profession, I had never seen this particular mode of advertising by an agent. He created a “newspaper” about his geographic area. It’s only 5 or 6 pages (11x17) and printed on newspaper stock.
It has all of the local activities, Chamber of Commerce Functions, what’s being built, how it will affect the community, etc. Of course, the paper is slanted toward real estate news, but has just enough of the other factors to attract a loyal resident readership.
In this paper, he sells ads to mortgage brokers, moving companies, title and loan companies, car dealerships, etc. If I’m remembering correctly, he’s been putting it out for 9 years. Now, when people go to sell their homes, who do you think they’re going to call? Him, of course! Because his name is in front of them bringing them news pertinent to their daily lives week in and week out.
How can you capitalize on this idea? Create a mockup, target five or six different professional groups (eg, the insurance agent, the mortgage broker, etc.) and offer to do something similar for their business.
Make them realize the value of being in front of customers in their geographic area week in and week out, eg, The XYZ Bulletin is Proudly Brought to You By the Following Sponsors:
I would start with no less than a thousand copies – these can be printed very reasonably at your local Kinko’s or neighborhood print shop. Also, make sure that it is a very tight geographic area. Remember, most business owners realize the value of focus, focus, focus.
MARKETING TIP: Target those companies who’ve grown beyond the one-man shop with this idea. Eg, an insurance company with an owner, 2 agents and a full- or part-time receptionist. Why? Because they are the ones who can most likely afford to implement this plan.
As you can see, there are a myriad of ways to make money as a freelance writer. It is only limited by YOUR imagination.
COMING TUESDAY, 9/12! 5 more ways to bring in the dough. I’ll also provide a bonus tip that works almost 100% of the time!
Have a great weekend!
Yuwanda Black, Publisher
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a profitable freelance writing career in 30 days or less -- guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com to learn how.
P.S.: Coming September 12th! InkwellEditorial.com E-Course: Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! At the end of this one week, five-step course, you will have a concrete business and marketing plan for your freelance enterprise. Even if you've been a freelancer for years, this course will help you "laser focus" your efforts and exponentially increase your income.
Secure your first client within 30 days -- or your money back!
P.P.S.: As of September 8th, our e-books will only be availabe via ClickBank! Learn everything you need to know to work from home as a Freelance Writer, Editor, Proofreader, etc. How? Order an InkwellEditorial.com E-book. Receive 7 EBooks in All! Delivered right to your inbox immediately upon payment!
Posted by Yuwanda Black at Thursday, September 07, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: As I'm busy putting finishing touches on the e-course, "Launch a Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed!," I thought this an excellent article to pass along to get you to start thinking about how you're going to put your newly acquired skills to work once you know how to go about it.
Enjoy -- and remember to send me your email address if you want to be among the first to know once the program is released.
Y. Black, Publisher
Author: Willie Crawford, Copyright © 2006
Almost every day, I get at least one email or phone call from a subscriber or potential client who is in a financial bind. Often they need $1000 or more for rent or car payments within the next few days. They're looking for me to give them a quick-fixsolution, so that they can then focus on building a solid onlinebusiness.
I shudder when I hear someone say that they need to do something "now" because I've seen so many people in similar situations make very bad decisions. Often when they implemented poorly conceived plans it ended up costing them much more in thelong run.
Here are the top suggestions that I offer to Internet marketers who find themselves in the above described situation:
1) Write an ebook and offer resale rights to it. CurrentlyInternet marketers love resale rights to ebooks. If you can puttogether a complete package that includes a website that's evenbetter.
Writing an ebook is no harder than writing a high school research paper and then converting it to PDF format. If you are reallystuck, you could get a ghost writer to do it for you, but thatmeans you need capital upfront.
Creating a website is no harder than visiting any of hundreds of template sites (which offer many free templates) and choosing a suitable template. Then you edit the template in your favoritehtml editor.
If you do offer the website with the ebook package, then you also need to come up with the copy. The absolute easiest way to dothis (for me) is to pretend I'm explaining, to someone sitting across from me, what problem(s) the ebook solves and why they need it.
Then, you go back and add things such as a guarantee, bonuses, and perhaps testimonials. To get the testimonials, offer free copies of the ebook to online associates in exchange for feedback. If the feedback they give you is negative, then that tells you where you need to fix the ebook.
This won't give you the best copy in the world but will give you something that can be reworked several times. After you're out of that bind, if you want to become a really good copywriter, then you get a top copywriting course, such as the one I own (Yanik Silver's Ultimate At Home Copywriting Course): http://www.ultimateonlinecopymanual.com
After the ebook package is created, you can offer it to your list if you have one. If not, you can offer it prominently on your website. Make the offer irresistible. You can also offer it through online forums and community-type sites, where they allow you to advertise. In a real pinch, you can offer it through Ebay auctions, but realize that Ebay buyers are generally looking for a bargain.
2) Create, or have created, a piece of software and offer resale rights to it. Practically everything said about marketing the ebook package applies to a software package. You can go to numerous sites such as Elance.com and RentACoder.com and place a description of the software you want created. "Techies" registered at these sites then bid on your job. You review their bids, their references and portfolios and then choose one to do the job.
There are techniques and intricacies to hiring out work through these sites. I won't explain them here because there are countless articles on the topic that you can find through the search engines. Read several of these articles, and you should be equipped with the do's and don'ts of hiring out work through "lance-type" sites.
3) Offer your services. If you've been online for any amount of time and been seriously learning the skills required, then you should have marketable talents. Many online marketers do the tasks that they do best and outsource the rest. If you make it known that you are available to do some of these chores, you should be able find jobs.
One problem that I've noticed in this area is that someone will offer to pass along work to another person (as a favor to get them out of a bind), and the person gaining the work will quote outrageous fees. Don't do that! The person offering the work will just go find someone who charges reasonable fees.
The are numerous Elance-type sites where you can go to list your availability and/or to see what jobs may be listed. You can also post your availability on certain discussion forums and community-type sites.
4) Sell an affiliate product using article marketing. This is one of my favorite selling techniques, and one that I teach often to "serious content marketers" such as members of ContentDesk where I sometimes help conduct webinars. It's at, appropriately enough: http://MassiveCashFromArticles.com.
My system, which should be easy for you to adopt, is to first identify a product that's really needed and wanted by your marketplace. It should already be selling well. Identify the problems that this product solves. Then you write an article about the PROBLEMS. Emphasize why these are really serious problems that your reader really wants to solve. Then you show why the affiliate product that you are marketing is the perfect solution. This is a proven formula!
After you've written the article, you can distribute it to article directories and publishers using article submission software. You can also use article submission services which may be a little more expensive (but can also be more convenient). The software that I use submits to over 700 sites and comes as part of my membership in Content Desk.
You can also submit your article directly to the publishers of your favorite ezines. Use a personal approach with each one. Explain that you are a longtime subscriber and why you feel this article is perfect for their ezine. Explain how their readers would benefit from the article and therefore be further endeared to the ezine. By explaining the "what's in it for them and their readers" you increase the chances of them using your article dramatically.
5) Run a sale from your site of specially selected product(s). If you have a steady flow of repeat visitors, this can solve your cash flow problem very quickly. What's critical here is that you make absolutely certain that the product is fresh, in-demand and properly priced.
After identifying a product that you plan to sell, do a search onEbay to confirm it's not being sold dirt cheap over there. Then do a search on your favorite search engine for the product and visit a few sites selling the product to see what they're selling it for. Unless it's your own product, or brand new, you should be able to find it in the search engines. If you see a lot of sites giving the product away, that a sign that you should seek another product (one that's not being devalued).
Find, or have created, a good product, place it on its own page on your site (with NOTHING else), and then direct traffic to that page. Then use standard copywriting techniques to sell the product. Prove to them that your price is better than they can find it elsewhere. Prove to them that the product will solve their problems. The easiest way to do this is with testimonials. Ask them for the order and make it as easy as possible to place the order.
Any of the above five techniques will enable you to generate some quick revenue in a pinch. I've used 1, 2 and 4 numerous times with fantastic results, although I wasn't in a pinch. The reason that I don't use number 3 is that I don't like trading time for money, which is what you're doing when you offer a service. Your earnings are limited by the amount of time that you can offer. I rarely use number 5 but when I have used it, it's worked well too.
The final thing you have to do after deciding to use any of the above techniques is to DO it. Make a plan and then take massive action. Don't over-analyze. That's what stops too many people from extricating themselves from that crisis! **************************************************************************
About the Author: Willie Crawford has been teaching Internet marketing for over9 years. Take advantage of his uncanny insights and unusual candor by subscribing to his free, information-packed newsletter. Also, visit his top-rated blog. Do both at: http://WillieCrawford.com/blog/. Read More Articles From Willie Crawford: http://thePhantomWriters.com/free_content/d/index.shtml#Willie_Crawford
P.S.: Coming September 12th! InkwellEditorial.com E-Course: Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! At the end of this one week, five-step course, you will have a concrete business and marketing plan for your freelance enterprise. Even if you've been a freelancer for years, this course will help you "laser focus" your efforts and exponentially increase your income. Secure your first client within 30 days -- or your money back!
P.P.S.: As of September 7th, our e-books will only be availabe via ClickBank! Learn everything you need to know to work from home as a Freelance Writer, Editor, Proofreader, etc. How? Order an InkwellEditorial.com E-book. Receive 7 EBooks in All! Delivered right to your inbox immediately upon payment!
Posted by Yuwanda Black at Saturday, September 02, 2006