My Top Tips for Freelance Writers

It’s been officially one year since I’ve began freelancing. So here are the things I’ve learned from this past year. Hopefully this blog post acts as the helpful friend I wish I had when I began freelancing.

Enjoy while you sip on your morning iced coffee!

Expand your entrepreneurial sights beyond “just writing.”

The more you know about content marketing, full-funnel strategies, call-to-actions (CTAs), and marketing best practices, the more you can charge for your time. Plus, if you expand your skills and learn beyond “just writing,” you can provide:

  • Content audits
  • Ad strategies
  • Email campaigns
  • Social media management
  • Graphic design
  • Content calendars

You can expand beyond just writing. It all depends on how you market yourself. If you want to expand what you offer, tell your existing clients. Update your website. Post on LinkedIn. Scream it from the rooftops. Just tell people. Just start doing.

Get away from time-based billing.

As you get more and more efficient at your job, the less time-based billing makes sense. I’m not going to sit here and say that some of my clients aren’t paying me by the hour. But for example, I recently created a LinkedIn ad strategy. Next time I do another one, a lot of it will be repeat information. Yet I can leverage the time I already spent by charing more for the project, rather than by how long I think it’ll take.

You want to get towards value-based billing. That means retainer billing or project-based billing.

Don’t be afraid to charge a pretty penny. Your work is more valuable than you believe.

The best writers keep it simple.

Keep your content as simple and straightforward as possible. Write in a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand style. Break down complicated topics into shorter paragraphs, using bullet points. Bold key terms and phrases if they are important.

Overall, you want to make it as easy as possible to read your article. Like you’re sharing information with a friend.

Create an online portfolio.

It might seem like a lot of work and a potential waste of money. But I swear, starting a blog was the smartest thing I ever did. I bought a domain and blog through WordPress. Soon after I uploaded all my published content, I landed my first job as a Content Writer. Having a website makes you appear credible and legit.

Investing in a website and domain will allow you to showcase your writing examples and detail your services, so that you can easily show clients what you’re capable of.

When potential clients come across your portfolio, they can see what you’ve done in the past and get an idea of what kind of writing style you have. This will help them decide whether or not they want to hire you for their project. You’ll find that a lot of content managers will hire you with little to no questions asked if you have a great website.

Plus, if you work on search engine optimizing your site, you can draw in potential clients with your website.

Don’t forget the human aspect of freelancing.

When working with a client, be sure you are clear from the start on their end goal. The best way to do help your client meet their goal is to ask them key questions at the start of working with them. Find out what makes them tick, what kind of content marketing the like, and what a successful project looks like to them.

I suggest creating a document with a list of questions you have about your prospective client. You can reuse this for every client. But don’t forget to truly enjoy conversations with your clients. It can make all the difference if you’re pleasant and polite to work with.

Give yourself realistic deadlines.

It’s great to be ambitious, but when you’re working alone, it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you have on your plate. I’ve been there! It’s important to keep in mind that you’re not just a writer—you’re also a business owner, so make sure you set realistic deadlines for yourself. Be honest with your clients about how much time you need…and add a few days onto the deadline for extra caution.

Not everything needs to be finished in a rush. Sometimes a slower pace leads to a better result.

Keep learning and stay inspired.

You are never too good to learn more about your craft. You can always find new ways to improve your writing, whatever level you’re at. And even once you’ve reached a certain level of expertise, there will always be opportunities for growth—you’ll just have to look harder for them.

Also, you should put yourself out of your comfort zone. If you’re not feeling like writing today, maybe it’s time to try something different. The point is: don’t get stuck in a rut. Keep pushing yourself to do new things, so that every day feels like an adventure!

Always be marketing, even when you’re busy.

When you’re a freelancer, it’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day tasks of writing and editing that you forget to actually make yourself visible to potential clients. The solution? Set aside a few minutes every day—even if it’s just five—to send out a quick email or post on social media about what you’re working on or what new projects are coming up.

Letting people know where they can find your work will help build trust with them and make them more likely to hire you down the road!

Give yourself breaks.

You’re a freelancer writer, and you know that means you’ve got to be on top of your game all the time. But have you ever thought about how much more productive you’d be if you gave yourself some breaks?

I know it sounds counterintuitive—rest is great for making us better when we come back. But when you’re constantly pushing your brain to its limits, it’s easy to burn out. So try to take at least one day off every week so that when you come back, you can be even more productive than before.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck on a project, take a little break. You’ll be glad you did!

Get yourself an animal.

Just do it! Who doesn’t love an office buddy?

Recently, I listened to Kaleigh Moore and Emma Siemasko’s podcast, “Freelance Writing Coach.” They we’re talking about their desk setups, and what helps them most. 

By far, my best work from home “accessory” is both my cats. They always seem to know when I’m most stressed—that’s right when they walk across my keyboard, delete everything I was working on (thank you to the “undo” button), and demand attention and treats. 

They remind me to laugh at myself throughout my busiest days. They get me out of high-stress moods, where my work goes before anything else. They remind me to play, have fun, and enjoy my time on this Earth. And I swear you sleep best when a cat is purring on your chest. 🐈

Be yourself.

There are so many other freelancers out there, but no one else is YOU. You are your superpower.

You got this!

Entrepreneurship & Spirituality: Using Manifestation to Level up your Business

Now that I’ve been an entrepreneur with my own content marketing business for about a year now, I get a lot of questions about how I did it. And while I could dive into the actual practicalities of how I started my own business, the truth is: A lot of it has been “luck.” A lot of it has just worked out.

Of course, your game plan is essential. Knowing how to get started is essential. But so is a mindset shift.

A few years ago, I would have been embarrassed to admit my beliefs online, especially in connection to my business. But I think a lot more people nowadays are curious about spirituality and manifestation. If you’re at all curious about it, and how it can excel your entrepreneurial journey, then keep reading.

First, you have to be in a good place

If you’re in a really awful place, me telling you to “shift your mindset” and “just manifest” is probably garbage advice. Of course, there are some situations where you can’t just manifest your way out of it. This advice is much more useful for someone who has their basic needs met. They’re in a decent place looking to find a happier place, where they feel at ease.

My experience manifesting a career

First, before I talk about manifestation, I want to talk about my experience manifesting a career. As Gretchen Rubin writes in The Happiness Project, “I often learn more from one person’s highly idiosyncratic experiences than I do from sources that detail universal principles.” So here is my highly idiosyncratic experience—I hope it helps you on your own path.

In June of 2020, I felt heartbroken about my career. At this point, it had been over a year since I had graduated college. There was still no sign of a good job in sight. I was working minimum wage jobs that I knew I couldn’t go back to when the COVID-19 lockdown ended.

On lockdown, I was a heavy TikTok user. I lived alone, and it helped me pass the time. I had stumbled on a lot about manifestation, and while I didn’t necessarily believe it, I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. I mean, it couldn’t hurt, right?

There was one company I was interviewing for, and I really wanted the job. I had learned from TikTok that one method of manifestation is scripting. With this technique, you write what you want to happen as if it has already happened. I wrote in my journal, “I’m so grateful I am a Content Writer at Smart Training.”

A few days later, I got the offer letter. A few weeks after that, it was my first day on the job.

For me, that pretty much solidified that manifestation is real. At the time, I didn’t quite understand the complexities of it. But my experience was proof enough that it works, and that I should keep doing it.

At Smart Training, I would take a few minutes every day to write some of the things I wanted to manifest. I’d write:

  • I’m so grateful my career is successful.
  • I’m so happy I got a raise.
  • I’m happy to be thriving in my career.

Because even while I was happy with my job, I still wanted to keep doing better. I kept scripting almost every day. Then one day out of the blue, someone I had worked with at my previous job at CycleBar called me up. She said she had a position open for a Marketing & Communications Coordinator. I ended up getting the job.

Once I was in that role, I realized how much I had left out when I was trying to manifest a new career. I had been so focused on “moving up the corporate ladder” that I hadn’t thought about my own happiness, or work-life balance. I hadn’t thought about the fact that I want to be able to enjoy some days working from home. I hadn’t considered that flexibility and getting along well with the people I work with is so important.

Get specific in your manifestations

I had gotten what I manifested. But I hadn’t been smart about manifesting the right thing for me.

While at that job, I started manifesting differently. Yes, I still wanted to do well in my career and get a raise. But I also wanted to enjoy my life and not be constantly overworked. I wanted to move back across the country so I could enjoy dinners with my parents. I just started getting real with what I actually wanted out of life, not just my career. Because what good is a great career, if all you feel is burnt out and overwhelmed at the end of every day?

At the time, I had thought I wanted a full-time marketing role at the university I graduated from. However, I got rejected from that job, which made me question manifestation. Why wasn’t I getting what I wanted?

I ended up quitting my job as a Marketing & Communications Coordinator. It just wasn’t worth the toll it was taking on my mental health. I started freelance writing, thinking I’d only do it while I looked for another full-time role. But then it all just keep working out.

And then I realized: I hadn’t been manifesting the full-time marketing role. I had been manifesting my freelance career. I had the money I wanted, with the freedom and remote work I wanted. It had all worked out perfectly.

If you’re thinking about trying manifestation, what have you got to lose?

Persistence is key

I think the key was persistence. Even when I was happy with my job, I kept reaching for me. And on the opposite end of the spectrum—even when I was crying after work every single day because I hated my job, I kept believing that better things were coming to me.

It’s all about persistence. Through the good and the bad times. While you don’t have to script every single day, you do have to continuously believe with conviction that what you are calling in what is meant for you.

Monitor and shift your mindset

Anyone who has shifted their mindset knows it’s a continuous process. I definitely notice a difference in my luck if I have a negative mindset. If I’m thinking, “No clients would hire me,” guess what? No clients hire me. That’s because in manifestation, what you think is what becomes true. This is called the “law of assumption.” What you assume to be true is true.

But when I think, “My dream clients have found me,” guess what? My dream clients end up finding me. And I really don’t have to put that much work towards trying to land them.

If you start practicing manifestation, just know that you are in control of your mindset. It might take some time and practice. It’s by no means easy. But you can shift your mindset from negativity and limiting beliefs to positivity by practicing a “mental diet.” To put this into practice: Every time you have a negative thought, follow it up with a positive affirmation.

What’s a positive affirmation?

Positive affirmations are phrases you tell yourself that help you shift your mindset and beliefs. Here are some positive affirmations I use:

  • I don’t have to work hard to earn money.
  • Every time I enjoy myself, I earn money.
  • Money loves spending time with me.
  • Money is attracted to me.
  • I deserve to be financially abundant.
  • Positive freelance opportunities flow to me endlessly.
  • My dream clients have found me.
  • I am great at my job and I love what I do.
  • My clients value me for what I bring to the table.

Affirmations are part of my everyday, but I especially love them at night right before I fall asleep. I find that when I focus heavily on my affirmations before sleeping, I have a great quality of sleep that I don’t experience otherwise. For example, I’ll wake up earlier and feel more well-rested.

Expanding beyond affirmations

You can choose to stop at affirmations, but if you want to get even more spiritual, I highly recommend getting some crystals for your desk. For example, Tiger’s Eye helps you excel in your career and give you the determination you need to power through your work. Citrine can help you improve your wealth. Carnelian and Moonstone can make you more creative.

Taking inspired action

Of course, a mindset is nothing without action. In manifestation, it’s called the inspired action. Mia Fox writes, “An inspired action is when you do something because you feel the strong inner urge to do it, like having a gut feeling.” She continues, “You could also call it intuition. Or to have a creative idea or epiphany. And you are then taking action on it.”

Of course, inspired action includes working hard. But it also includes taking breaks. Or enjoying a simple conversation, which could lead to a prosperous business connection.

Feeling gratitude

One of the most important aspect of manifestation is to come from a place of gratitude. Even if you hate your job (like I did), strive to find things to be grateful for. Do you love your morning coffee? How cute your cat is when she sleeps? Nature walks with your mother? The ease of your own breath? Your health?

Whatever you can find that you love—cling to it. And emphasize it on a daily basis.

If you can’t find much to you’re grateful for, work to infuse your days with joy and happiness. Because once you start feeling grateful, there’s no limit on what you can manifest.

For example, even when I hated my job, I was still grateful to be learning so much. I knew it would be valuable in my career. So I clung to that.

In summary, gratitude is key for manifesting.

Entrepreneurship & spirituality

Think about it like this. If you don’t see your own value, how can anyone else?

When you have negative beliefs about yourself, they affect how you show up in the world. And unfortunately, they affect how other people see you. They might not want to hire you, or they might not want to pay you what you deserve. But when you have positive beliefs about yourself, the opposite is true. Your path to success becomes clear, simple, and dare I say it: Easy.

When it comes to entrepreneurship, I truly believe I wouldn’t be half as successful as I am if I never got into spirituality. Who knows if I would have even gotten that first career job at Smart Training?

Your Ultimate Guide: B2B Marketing on LinkedIn

In my personal opinion, LinkedIn is an extremely underrated platform for content marketing.

LinkedIn is all about building professional connections. It’s a great place to catch people where they’re already planning on doing business. The popular social media platform’s new slogan is: “Do business where business is done.” And it’s honestly the truth.

Many consumers browse Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest with no intent to talk about business or work. They just want to enjoy and be entertained. Business owners that do extremely well on those platforms are often business-to-consumer (B2C) or direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketers.

That’s not to say that these platforms can’t be used for B2B marketing as well, but LinkedIn definitely takes first-place in the realm of B2B.

LinkedIn for B2B Marketing

LinkedIn is a great place to meet professionals where they are. Plus, they already expect to talk about business on the platform. If you specialize in B2B marketing, you will find this post helpful.

Plus, if you’re a freelance business owner providing content marketing, you need to market to businesses. When we market our services, we are performing B2B marketing. Personally, I leverage LinkedIn for my own content marketing services. The truth is: Most of my clients have come from LinkedIn.

I apply to freelance writing and marketing positions, and they call me. But I hope to elevate my LinkedIn personal brand and content marketing to the point that it’s a lead generation strategy for me. Obviously it takes time, effort, and consistency, so it may be some time before I see a return on my time investment. In my opinion, it’s so worth it.

Whether you’re working a 9-5 as a B2B social media marketer, or you’re marketing your own freelance business on LinkedIn, keep reading to learn my top tips, how to gain traction on the platform, and content ideas to start off with.

Why LinkedIn matters for B2B marketing

You might be thinking, is LinkedIn that important for B2B marketing? And if it is important, how influential is it really?

Here are some quick stats:

Clearly, LinkedIn is a viable channel to grow your audience on if you’re marketing to people who make business purchasing decisions.

Now that you know just how effective LinkedIn is, let’s dive into my tips on how to leverage the platform to its fullest extent.

To start out: conversions are more important than engagement

I heard this recently, and it really stuck with me. Conversions are more important than engagement.

Of course engagement is important. Of course it is! It boosts your content so more people see it. Plus, there’s an element of social proof when it comes to getting likes, comments, and shares on your post.

But what’s more important is that you’re engaging the right audience, and you’re converting them into sales. Conversions are the most important part of the LinkedIn game.

If you’re speaking to the wrong group, you could get 20,000 likes, but no one will buy. It’s essential to hone in on who exactly you’re talking to.

For example, in my freelance business, I aim to get hired by clients who need B2B content marketing services. That being said, I share relevant content to help them on their journey (as it relates to my services). The goal is: If I keep engaging and helping them, I’m building up trust. And one day, when they need a content marketer, they might think, “Oh, Katie’s been sharing a lot about this topic. Let me see if I can hire her.”

You might see other freelance marketers who are writing content for other freelancers. And that’s completely appropriate in some cases, for example:

  • You’re selling products to other freelancers
  • You’re trying to build your email list, and targeting freelancers
  • You’re aiming to connect with a community of freelancers

These are some cases where it does make sense to create content for other freelancers. But if you want businesses to buy your services, don’t create any content for other freelancers. It dilutes your message and makes it seem like you’re not sure who you’re talking to. These types of content definitely get a lot of traction and engagement, but at the end of the day, you want conversions.

But remember, while conversions ARE important: Posting on LinkedIn is not meant to be a quick sale. It’s about nurturing your audience and building that relationship and trust.

With B2B marketing, that can take a lot longer. These are more expensive decisions that could have business repercussions if they make they make a mistake. That’s why continually posting helpful, relevant content for your ideal audience is key. Over time, it builds trust, and when they need you, they’ll seek you out.

So don’t get discouraged if you aren’t seeing many likes or interactions on your LinkedIn account. Especially if you’re working on your client’s account, you may feel pressure to get likes and comments. But discuss with your client that while engagement is certainly amazing, conversions are the primary goal.

Give it a few months of consistent posting, and if you’re still not seeing increasing engagement, be honest with how you can create more helpful, specialized content for your audience.

The main goals of LinkedIn B2B marketing are:

  • Build trust
  • Nurture relationships with your audience
  • Provide value

Thinking about LinkedIn marketing with this framework, let’s move forward.

Quick case study

I just said not to get discouraged if you don’t see engagement at first, and that’s still true. Yet at the end of the day, of course engagement is amazing. Mainly because the more engagement you have, the more you will grow your audience. When people interact with your post (whether that be liking it, commenting, or clicking “read more”), LinkedIn shows more people your content. When you get your content in front of more relevant prospective clients, it increases the amount of chances you have to make a conversion.

I recently took over posting on LinkedIn for one of my clients, and we’ve seen amazing success in the first month. The increase in engagement we’ve seen so quickly has been insane. Check out an inside peek:

Plus, we’re seeing very high-quality new followers. Our most recent followers have job titles that showcase authority, and they’re very specific to my client’s niche.

Now, let’s look at how I grew our engagement.

Tips to create effective B2B LinkedIn posts

1. Create high-quality images

LinkedIn posts with images get 2x higher engagement than other posts.

Of course, what is marketing without A/B testing? It’s definitely worth it to test your own audience. See if posts without pictures do better than posts with pictures. But for the most part, I recommend creating quality images that are engaging, interesting, unique, and branded. You can do this on Canva. They have LinkedIn templates that will create the perfect size photo for the platform. The templates are great places to generate ideas, and you can change the colors to match your brand’s colors.

2. Be consistent

Companies that post weekly on LinkedIn see a 2 times higher engagement rate. Plus, companies with pages that are complete and active benefit from 5 times more page views. The more consistent you are with your marketing on LinkedIn, the better. Plus, take time to fill out the profile sections.

By filling out all these sections and being consistent in posting, you can increase your engagement and follower rates. People don’t want to follow silent pages, so continuously show up (even if you’re not seeing increasing engagement yet).

3. Provide value

One of my clients recently shared a post that made me question myself. She asked, “Are you adding to the noise, or are you adding value?” The truth is: There’s so much noise in marketing. Everyone wants to jump in on content marketing (and clearly, it works, so that’s understandable). But to differentiate your brand, truly provide value that is relevant to YOUR audience. If it’s not relevant to your audience, don’t post it.

All the content you post needs to be driven by the purpose of providing value to your prospective clients.

4. Be as specific as possible

I was writing social media posts for one of my clients, and she pointed out that I wrote “environmental constraints.” She told me to be more specific. What constraints? I worded it way too vaguely. As a person with an environmental studies degree, I didn’t realize how general I was being.

Another recent example: I was writing posts for a client about an event they had coming up. I was tasked to write 3 posts about the event. At first, I was trying to squeeze way too much information into each post: Their booth number, the fact that my client was speaking at the event, a chance to win a gift card… it was just too much.

I sat back for a few days and thought about it. I realized it would be so much more effective if I used each post to dive into one specific aspect of the event. Here’s how I structured it:

  • Post #1: Introduction to the event
  • Post #2: Highlighting client and the fact that he is speaking at the event
  • Post #3: Describing that attendees can win a gift card if they do an online demo (and providing that link)

Poetry isn’t the same as social media (obviously). However, it can provide some excellent lessons when applied to social media marketing. Poems are similar to posts: You get way less time to pack a punch. Here are some quotes about poetry you can apply to social media posts (from Stephen Guppy’s Writing and Workshopping Poetry: A Constructive Introduction):

  • “Scrape away any verbiage that isn’t absolutely necessary and sculpt what you have left.”
  • “Poets try to go ‘down’ the abstraction ladder by choosing the most concrete and specific words. Never say ‘tree’ when you mean ‘elm.'”

Always be specific. Challenge yourself to really hone in on one particular aspect of your brand.

5. Don’t share links often

LinkedIn doesn’t highlight posts that have links in them, because they don’t want you taking their consumers off their platform. Essentially, when you’re sharing links, you’re driving consumers off their platform and to your site. LinkedIn doesn’t want that, plain and simple.

Of course, share links once in a while. But the key here is that it should be once in a while. Definitely avoid sharing a link in every single post. If you absolutely need to share an abundance of blog content, consider creating the content on LinkedIn’s blogging platform. Keep in mind: this feature is only available to PEOPLE, not brands. From a brand perspective, you could have the CEO share the blog on their profile, and share it to the business profile.

Sharing blog posts won’t bring your website traction, but LinkedIn will be more likely to show it to your audience.

Just based on my own personal research, when we shared a LinkedIn post that had a blog linked to it, we saw a 66% reduction in impressions. Email is truly the best platform to share blogs, not LinkedIn (or any social media, for that matter).

Again, of course share your blogs, and include links that drive your audience to do what you want them to do (for example, a demo). But this should be rare. For example, have 3 pieces of content that are meant purely for brand building (with no links). Then, have 1 piece of content that leads your audience to a blog post or links to a demo.

When you do share links, expect engagement and impressions to decrease dramatically in comparison to other posts.

6. Don’t forget to include relevant hashtags

I always forget hashtags when I’m writing LinkedIn posts, but they’re definitely helpful! Try a mix of niche and non-specific hashtags to see what performs best. Hashtags are amazing to help new people find your account. They attract people who are interested in the topics you’re sharing about.

7. Not every post needs a call-to-action (CTA)

If your client or boss tells you every post needs a CTA, then include it. But in my personal opinion, and if you have the freedom to do so, don’t include a CTA every time. And when you do, don’t be afraid to mix it up. For example, you can say, “Did we miss anything? Comment below.” Or you could write, “Any thoughts? Please comment!”

Just driving engagement is a great CTA. But another way to have a useful CTA (without a link) is to offer something valuable (perhaps an eBook or discount code), and ask your audience to email you to receive it.

Again, you don’t always need a CTA. In my opinion, not having one is great. A mix of posts that have one and posts that don’t is my favorite way to approach it.

8. Schedule your posts

Scheduling your posts is just easier, plain and simple. It allows you to plan weeks worth of content in a day. A great paid option for this is Hootsuite. But if you’re a freelancer looking for a free option, turn to Buffer.

Now that you know my tops B2B marketing tips for LinkedIn, here are some hacks to make the process easier. ⬇️

LinkedIn B2B marketing hacks

1. To save time, recycle blog content (without linking to the blog)

Content marketing takes so much time, right? We all would like to cut back on how much time we’re spending on marketing. But chances are, you or your client has an excellent archive of blogs. Even if you have already shared all your blogs on your LinkedIn, not many people have seen the post or clicked on it.

Pick one great statistic or one great section that you can highlight. The key here: Do not link the blog.

This is such an easy way to recycle great content that not enough people have seen anyways. Plus, it’s easy and saves time.

2. Plan content by picking weekly themes

One of the best ways to have a cohesive identity on LinkedIn is by picking weekly themes. For example, this week I’ve been posting all about social media marketing (that’s what inspired this blog post, actually). In the past, I’ve focused on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips and blogging.

Just pick a theme, and focus on it for the week. This makes the process so much easier, from coming up with topic ideas, to executing them.

Quick LinkedIn content ideas

Here are some quick LinkedIn content ideas to help you to hit the ground running, whether that be for your freelance business or your company. Try sharing:

  • An interesting statistic
  • Industry news or trends
  • An answer to a common question
  • Provide a helpful tip
  • Share about an employee or CEO
  • Reveal behind-the-scenes: for example, your desk set up, what you’re working on, how you’re working on it
  • Post about top tools that would help your audience
  • Share a client testimonial

The most important aspect: Focus on your audience

Too many brands focus on themselves. The truth is: Consumers don’t care about your brand. They care about their problems, and finding solutions to their problems. Focus on your audience and providing value to them, and they are more likely to buy.

Of course, a personable CEO highlight or client testimonial is great to throw in once in a while. But the main purpose of marketing on LinkedIn is to build trust and provide value. Contribute something!

While looking at competitors is important, they might not be following the best practices. Focus on your own strategy, and if you follow the tips in this blog post, it will pay off in the end. You may need to be patient to see growth, but you will if you’re consistent.

To get more content on marketing, writing, and freelance topics, subscribe below. ⬇️

Freelance Writing: How it Expanded my Entrepreneurial Mindset

As an employee, you’ve probably experienced this: a breaking point, where you suddenly realize that working 9 AM – 5 PM, staying late consistently, working overtime, and getting more work piled on with no raise is EXHAUSTING.

I was there about a month ago. It got to the point that my mental health was suffering. Plus, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I didn’t enjoy going into the office.

I ended up quitting my full-time job, like many others have recently. We’re currently experiencing the Great Resignation, where millions of workers in the U.S. have quit their jobs. Suddenly, employees and workers have the power.

During COVID-19, the cooperations had the power. Now, they’re kind of lucky to find anyone willing to work a full-time traditional role (especially in-office).

After freelance writing for a few weeks, I understand why so many others have quit their jobs. The freelance and contract work life offers more money, more flexibility, and more happiness.

What is Freelancing?

When I tell people I’m doing freelance work, sometimes they’re confused. What I mean is that I’m not anyone’s employee.

Basically, the companies and people I work for are my clients. I am my own business (and maybe one day, I’ll outsource my work). I send an invoice, I’ll have a different tax form (in contrast to the employee W-4).

This type of work could be anything (but here are some great ideas if you need them). For me, it started with writing blogs, and quickly evolved into content marketing.

But I also realized: I don’t have to just do freelance content marketing. I can also use other skills. I have a lot of experience babysitting and nannying, so I can use those skills to land an easier babysitting role. By easier, I mean less scholarly thinking. More work that uses a different part of my brain.

That will give me time to make some money while I look for more quality content marketing clients. I can focus on lead generation of meaningful and valuable work, rather than accepting lower-paying writing jobs (which I’m currently doing).

If I have the income to be pickier about the clients I accept (by charging more), I will be able to work less hours and make more money. Which is what we all want to do, right?

With freelance work, you can continually increase your income.

Since you are making enough to survive, you can start saying no to people. You can start asking for more money. For example, I recently upped my babysitting fees to an absurd amount. Why?

For two reasons:

  1. I don’t really need the work. I have other babysitting offers that I’m going to turn down. I’m not desperate to accept lower-paying work, and honestly, there are plenty of babysitters in the area who are.
  2. I would rather take lower-paying work that has to do with my career to build my portfolio. While I probably will continue to accept lower-paying jobs in marketing, it’s to expand and sharpen my professional skills and build references/connections.

When you work a 9 AM – 5 PM, you cannot continually raise your own hourly rate. You also can’t really deny work. You need 40+ hours per week.

Whereas if you work as a freelancer, you can increase your hourly wages and work fewer hours per week. If you have one week where you don’t want to do much work, you can turn down projects.

Plus, you have multiple sources of income. So if one of your clients is giving you a super challenging time, you can cut the professional relationship off and know you’ll be okay because you have other sources of income.

What skills can you do freelance work with?

Honestly, you can do anything. I mentioned writing, content marketing, and babysitting, because those are my skills and those are what I like to do. But if you love pets, you could do pet sitting. If you’re an amazing plumber or technician, sell those skills. My sister sells cookies.

Whatever your skills are, take a moment to think, how can I use these to make money? And it doesn’t all have to be the same thing. Maybe you sell homemade candles and soaps, but you also transcribe audio for people.

It just takes time. Ask yourself: What am I good at? What would I not mind spending my time doing? Start jotting down your ideas.

How to Find Freelance Clients

Facebook Groups

Honestly, I’ve found a lot of freelance writing and babysitting clients on Facebook. I just joined Facebook Groups and posted or interacted with people looking for the services I am providing.

These groups have landed me some long-term clients for written blogs as well as a long-term babysitting gig. I got many other offers as well.

There are also multiple Facebook Groups for each “category” of services you’re providing. For example, I joined one group for babysitters needed in one town, and then a second group for babysitters in the town next to it. Both are in driving distance to me.

For one group, I had a lower hourly rate. When I got multiple inquiries from that one, I posted in the other increasing my rate. I just posted a resume geared towards babysitting and said I’m looking for some gigs. I got a comment, “Your rate seems high.”

I responded, “Yeah, I don’t need this work. I believe parents are willing to pay for quality. If you want to pay lower rates, there are plenty of babysitters in the area that would love to have the work.”

Because while I did take a lower-paying long-term babysitting job, it provides stability. Along with my content marketing role, any extra hours besides both of these gigs would just be overtime. So since I don’t need the work, and I have to make it worth it, I raise my rate. Simple, right?

Plus, it really only takes one person to say yes. And then you’ll be doing more work, but it’ll pay off.

Also, a lot of these groups are just valuable to be a part of. People share valuable information, and you can post within the groups. One of my posts got 230+ likes in that group. I could screenshot high-performing posts in those groups and use them to show my content creation abilities and engagement potential.

It’s easy to find these groups. Just search “Freelance Writing” or “Babysitting + your town name.”

LINKEDIN

Especially when you’re looking for work that’s more “scholarly,” such as content writing or graphic designing, LinkedIn can be an amazing tool. I’ve found long-term writing clients on there, and it’s also how I found the content marketing position.

There are a lot of freelance job opportunities on LinkedIn. Just set your search to “remote” and type “freelance” along with whatever position you’re looking for. For example: freelance graphic designer. Plus with LinkedIn Easy Apply, you can apply on your phone while you pet your cats (or dogs, whatever).

Don’t ignore LinkedIn! It’s actually amazing. I will never stop using LinkedIn for jobs. I’ve had so much success already that I don’t even think about going on Indeed.

Other ways to generate clients

First of all, build your personal brand. Create beautiful, engaging resumes targeted for the role you want, work samples, and more. I haven’t really started social media marketing enough yet, but I probably should. Work on getting a website or improving the one that you already have.

Another way to generate clients is through word of mouth. Do you know anyone that needs the services you’re offering? Or does anyone you know have a friend who needs your services?

Tell others what you’re doing. You never know what might come your way.

Think of one of your “jobs” as marketing yourself.

As an entrepreneur, you need to “sell” or market yourself. You don’t have a 9 AM – 5 PM job, so you need to find work for yourself.

As you build your own brand, start asking yourself how you can improve your personal marketing tactics. Maybe if your website has built up subscribers, you can start to send them engaging newsletters to continue growing your business.

It’s easy for me to think about marketing yourself, because I work in content marketing. But basically, all you need to do is provide content that is personable, entertaining, and informative. This content could be writing blogs, email marketing, social media, a podcast, whatever.

Wherever your ideal clients are, market yourself there.

While I said it’s easy for me to think about marketing yourself, it’s hard for me to imagine consistently doing so. On top of all your other work, content marketing for your own business is A LOT of work.

But maybe one day, when you’re generating enough income to do so, you can hire another freelancer who specializes in the marketing work you don’t want to do.

But until you get there, try to get your name out there and stick to a consistent brand and style while creating your graphics. For example, pick 2-3 fonts to stick to, a few colors, and maybe a certain type of aesthetic. Create business graphics on Canva!

You’re not stuck in your 9 – 5.

I know it seems like you are. I know it’s scary to leave the stability. But once you grow confident in your skills, freelancing can lead to a higher hourly income and less need to cling on to one employer when you have a variety of income sources.

All it takes is a little thinking outside the box.

Maybe you love your 9 – 5. That’s totally fine! But it’s not the only way.

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What’s the Difference Between Content Writing and Copywriting?

What’s the difference between content writing and copywriting? It’s a good question. In many cases, the two go hand-in-hand. Because they do have some similarities, they are often confused.

When you’re hiring for a writer, it’s important to know what type of writer you’re looking for. There are writers who excel at creating content, while others focus on creating copy that converts.

Let’s take a look at some of the differences between content writing and copywriting.

The difference between content writing and copywriting is in the intent.

Content writing and copywriting both have purpose and place in the world, but they serve different needs for businesses. They both are are written to get someone to take action, and both have their place in marketing. but think of content writing as long-term relationships that lead to sales.

Content writing builds brands

Content writing creates long-term relationships that lead to sales. Content is written with the intent of entertaining or educating, not necessarily sell. It’s more about creating content that helps your audience trust you.

Content writing is written to build your brand. It’s written to help people find your business and get to know your company. The content is written to entertain or educate. For example, think about the American Council on Exercise (ACE). They write blog posts to inform anyone about exercise science and personal training. This content is written to establish their credibility and help answer their audience’s questions.

Copywriting sells

Content writing often does not come without copywriting. At the end of the ACE blog posts, they have a CTA to buy a course of theirs. That’s called a “hard sell.” They’re explicitly telling us to buy their products. This is copywriting, because the purpose is to be persuasive, convince you to take action, and buy.

Copywriting is written to sell. It’s called a “hard sell” in the marketing industry. It’s written explicitly persuade someone to buy a product or service from you.

Content writing can come without copywriting

However, not all content writing has to come with a CTA or selling moment. A lot of content is written purely to inform, inspire, and build a brand. These blogs that are purely for building a brand don’t come with a “hard sell,” or any CTA.

Content writing and copywriting are often interconnected

Some of these blogs do come with a “soft sell.” For example, a company blog might say, “Interested in our content? Sign up to receive our newsletter.” That’s a soft sell because they’re not asking you to buy anything, but they are asking you to allow them to build a relationship with you via e-mail. This is still considered copywriting, but it can come off as a similar tone to content writing because you’re still just trying to be a good resource for them (and get them thinking of your brand).

If you’re hiring a content writer, always make sure they know what type of CTA you want. Chances are, they can easily write copy, if they know what action you want your readers to take.

Incorporating copywriting in soft ways

Companies have to make these decisions by identifying their top priorities. Do you want to grow your email list, or get demo sign-ups? Let your content creators know what your goal is with each piece of content.

Personally, I believe that copywriting has to make sense in context with where you put it. It has to make perfect sense. When a piece of content doesn’t relate to its CTA, it feels off to consumers. Plus, copywriting should come off gently (in my opinion). For example, “Try our free demo,” rather than “Buy our product.”

People are so used to getting sold to all the time. I think the beauty is when marketers are able to market in such a subtle way that people don’t even know they’re being marketed to.

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