Friday, September 07, 2007

POST #11: 40 Days to a Successful Freelance Writing Career

PUBLISHER NOTE: If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know about the upcoming freelance writing seminar in October. Details.

Many have inquired about what will be discussed at the seminar. So, in order to answer your questions and to get you prepared for what to expect, I've started a series of posts entitled "40 Days to a Successful Freelance Writing Career."

To start at the beginning, click here. And, welcome to the blog. Now, on to today’s post . . .

A Successful Small Business Owner Speaks

Yesterday, I had lunch with Keith Bishop of Pitch Graphics, a graphics design firm. Keith will be a panelist at the upcoming freelance writing seminar in October.

Boy, was I in for a treat. I met with Keith to go over what I wanted him to focus on in the seminar – and boy, is he going to be invaluable. Keith has been in business for himself since 1982. As the seminar will focus on marketing, I quizzed him about some of his marketing methods.

25 Years of Success as a Creative Business Owner – What’s He Doing Right?

Remember when we talked about drip marketing in Post #7? Well, if you wonder about its effectiveness, consider this:

Keith said that one thing he had been doing for years was a mail-call program (he didn’t exactly use those terms, but that’s what it is). How does this work?

Want to learn exactly what to do to earn $100, $150, $200/day or more as a freelance writer, editor and/or copy editor? Inkwell Editorial's upcoming Freelance Writing Seminar will tell you how. Details. It's a career anyone who can read and write can start -- with the right information.
Keith says he makes 10 phone calls a week. He does this every week. He said he does 10 because it's very easy to make only 10 calls a week.

How does he decide who to call? He mails out 10 postcards a week. On the 3rd or 4th week, he will call the prospect he mailed to 3-4 weeks ago to see if they received his postcard.

He said two or three things usually happens: i) The prospect remembers the mailers and are willing to talk to him, turning what would have been a cold call into a warm one; ii) they pick up the phone and call him before he gets a chance to call them; and/or iii) say something to the effect of, “I’d been meaning to call you; I’m glad you called.”

Upon hearing this, I told him that I’d written about drip marketing a few days ago on my blog and its effectiveness. I told him this was exactly the kind of thing I wanted him to speak to in the seminar.

Talk, Talk, Talk, Yadda, Yadda, Yadda

What else did we talk about?

Web marketing (I was a little surprised at his experience with this); networking and how he uses it to get 97% of his business;

Other revenue streams he fosters as a creative business owner;

The effectiveness of various types of advertising/marketing;

The pros and cons of working from home as opposed to an office setting;

How hiring employees can increase your income – and give you a life;

Exit strategies for freelance business owners (eg, do you have a retirement plan in place); etc.

We had some similar experiences, and some not so similar experiences.

One thing we did agree on though was this: Creative types want to sit in their little cubby, as we termed it, and work on the project at hand. They don't want to market. We agreed that you can’t do this and that to be effective as a freelancer you must learn how to market.

Listening to Keith was eye opening on a couple of levels, ie: 1) It’s nice to get first-hand information from someone who’s been successful over the long haul; and 2) it was interesting to hear how, even though we both have creative businesses, some things that I’ve tried have worked for me, but haven’t for him – and vice versa.

In short, I know you will take a away a wealth of knowledge from Keith’s insight. The breadth of information he has to at his fingertips from 25 years in business can’t be beat.

And, he couldn’t be a nicer, more down-to-earth guy – very open to sharing. We’re lucky to have him for the day.

NEXT POST: In Post #12 on Monday, I’ll tell you why inexperienced freelance writers can get more business sooner than experienced freelance writers.

What do you think? If you have questions, comments or observations about this post, send them in. Email them to info [at]

Editorially yours,
Yuwanda (who is this person?)
Upcoming Features in Inkwell Editorial’s Newsletter

September 12: Gordon Graham. We ring in the “editorial season” by interviewing Gordon Graham, aka “that white paper guy.” Gordon writes and edits white papers and case studies. He charges $90/hour just to edit a white paper and a minimum of $4,000 to produce a white paper from scratch.

Now, do you see why I had to interview him?! Most freelancers don’t even dream of making this type of money. I can’t wait for this interview.

Missed the latest issue of Inkwell's freelance writing newsletter? The 8/15 issue featured an interview with B2B freelance writer, Meryl K. Evans. Want to break into this very lucrative market? Meryl's interview sheds some detailed light on how. Sign up to receive your copy to read what Meryl had to say.

Gain clients, web traffic and brand awareness. How? Let us interview you for our popular newsletter? Full details. Read the first issue here.
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