I’m dead serious when I say that you should never be without at least a couple of decent paying opportunities.
The term “feast and famine” comes around a lot in the freelance world (especially writers), but it doesn’t have to go to those extremes. In fact, I will show you that you can make your next month’s goal (within reason) without having to send a prospecting email or make a phone call.
There are a few things that could hold you back, but not having enough work isn’t a problem, if you have a (several) fail safes in place.
That’s what we’re going for here. I have a list of several options that should keep you in the money. Some of them are fast, and some take some time to build up, but if you implement them during down time, you shouldn’t be in the dumps for long.
This is a good question, and I’m not sure I can answer it fully, but here goes. Here are least a few potential responses.
It seems that most of my freelance friends are always slow in January. Typically, you will be if you have clients that don’t order regularly. I have customers who always order a month’s worth of blog posts, and that provides consistency, but other clients only come calling when they need new content.
January is the time where many businesses do taxes, reorganize and evaluate things. Putting in a content order isn’t at the top of their priority list.
If we would only work with clients who want regular content, our businesses would take a long time to build. You need those one-time large projects to make your income work out. Let’s face it if someone offers you a decent rate you take it.
I just finished up an 84,000-word project for a new website, that I’ll probably never work on again. That client is working with me again soon, but it will be another large project and not necessarily a monthly deal.
That job ended in early January, and I had to scramble to find new clients to make my goals.
We’ve got kids, jobs, and spouses and can’t always be prospecting and working on client work. If you finish a large project and haven’t been trying to find new work, you are bound to hit a weak spot. It’s ok, too.
Because I’m about to show you a system that can help you when your work has seemingly dried up.
Being redundant in your writing is a one-way ticket to an unhappy client but in an alternate definition of the word you can find an answer to always having freelance writing jobs. Although, organizing your work and finding clients should be easily managed (normally).
Redundancy: The inclusion of extra components that are not strictly necessary to functioning, in case of failure in other components.
This definition is the engineering version and fits for us as well. Extra places that have work in the event of a failure in your primary way to work.
A Backup Plan
Or in my case plans.
The main way I get work is by looking for and contacting businesses that need blogs for their website (in my preferred categories). Sometimes I have a ton of regular work, but other times it’s thin.
If it is, I have several places that I go for work.
If I don’t have any work for a “business day” I first send out prospect emails (since my primary income model is to do so).
Next, I’ll log into several content sites that usually have work. Now is where you’ll want to pay attention. I don’t blog at your typical content mills. I have nothing against them, but over the last couple of years, I’ve found some real gold mines for content writing that are less known.
And I’m sharing them with you!
I’ll take a quick look to see if any possible things are going on here. This site ‘s incredible when you can find the work, but sometimes it’s sparse (that’s why you have more than one backup). It is a different kind of content provider. You have to pitch the article you would like to write and can usually get a hefty fee, but you have to be a high-quality writer. Here is an article that will help, but also check out their blog.
Bonus Tip: When you are applying to be a Scripted writer, you’ll have to write a post about a random subject (mine was about Giraffes). Use Google, write for the fictitious readers and run it through Grammarly and you only have a small amount of time.
The next place I end up is Zerys. This is a place that is more free market than other content mills. You choose your categories. There are 26,000, but you only get 100 so choose carefully. The most commonly needed are business and internet topics, but I’ve found some decent work in obscure topics (although, I’ve still not seen any for DisneyWorld, my favorite). The main categories are in the image below; they split off into thousands of others.
You have to be careful here. The businesses and agencies listing the jobs put a rate from less than a penny a word up, so you’ll have to factor in your time and worth. The neat thing about this site is that if the people you write for like you; they can offer work specifically for you.
Bonus Tip: Same as Scripted, you’ll have to write a sample. It’s actually from a category you choose, and you pick the topic and content, but run it through a grammar test before submitting.
This little beauty is my favorite. This is where the “never run out of work” thing really comes into play. BlogMutt is not your typical content mill. They have hundreds of customers from all over, and offer to pay writers $8 per 250+ word article! The math equals a little over .03 cents per word, not a bad rate.
The best part is that you choose the business, topic and keyword for your work. There are a ton of factors that make BlogMutt different (Many good, some not so good). I’m doing a more in depth tutorial/review of it to be published later.
With around 700 customers (by my count) who all need regular posts, you can write and write without ever seeing an end There are people on there who just write on that platform full time and make a good living. There are levels to get paid even more and a super helpful forum. The picture to the left is the number of posts that have to be written in the next five days alone.
Bonus Tip: Be careful with the sign-up. You don’t have to write a sample, but there is a grammar test that threw me off, and I had to try again via email. If you want my help, let me know by emailing me (you can share this on social media as a thank you; my email is Josh@sidewriting.com)
I signed up for Upwork last fall and have seen some pretty crazy results relatively fast. I subscribed to the free email list of a guy named Danny Margulies and his tips have helped. The picture (below) shows a little bit of my progress from last year.
Not too bad for my first four jobs. Like I said, it came from a lot of good tips from Danny. Sign up to his email list if Upwork is an option for you.
Bonus Tip: You want to be careful about who you work with on this site. Don’t view Upwork as a policing system. Treat it like you are finding clients for your business, not helping their customers.
This is the final tip, but it could be the most life-changing. I wrote my first book during a down month. It may be the reason that you are here. It has since earned several hundred dollars passively, even though I have treated it terribly. I’ve meant to update it and write more books, but that’s a whole other issue.
If you publish a book correctly, you can make hundreds of dollars in your first month (I made like $300 in month 1). If you are quick at writing about your favorite topics, you can pump out books like Lise Cartwright.
You can also write a blog post on a new blog (we prefer SiteGround to host this blog because they are way faster and better than our last host).
Bonus Tip: You should write for yourself. It will end up helping you, in the long run, earn more with less of your time.
Well, we’re rounding out at over 1500 word for this post, so I hope it’s been helpful. Don’t give up. If you’ve set aside time to work, then work. You can submit a pitch on Scripted or a proposal on Upwork. Or, you can just plain make money now, by working on Zerys and BlogMutt.
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