Could You Be A Writer?
We all know something about something – and I would bet all the money in my pockets that someone out there would like to know about it, too.
If you have any form of specialized knowledge, whether that’s through professional experience or personal exploration, then you could put it to work as a freelance writer and build up your cash flow as a result!
Here is the very first step you want to start a side hustle as a writer.
Day 1: Figure out what your ideal freelance career looks like
What kind of freelancer do you want to be?
This is a serious question. It’s a lot easier to achieve a goal if you can visualize it in advance, so your first assignment is to figure out what your ideal freelance career looks like.
Some of you probably just thought to yourselves: “Oh, I know the answer already. I’m going to be a [fashion blogger] [parenting blogger] [pop culture journalist].”
Great. Now answer these questions:
- How much freelance work do you want to complete each week? One 900-word article? Five 700-word articles? The first interview in your 3,000-word investigative journalism piece? (As a rule of thumb, I can generally get 600 freelance words written every hour — though I often need to take 20 minute breaks between each 700-900 word article. I’m also an experienced freelancer and a fast typist.)
- When will you complete this freelance work, and how much time do you have available? Do you have one hour in the morning before you go to work? Do you have three hours in the afternoon before you pick the kids home from school? Is this time going to be consistently available?
- How much money do you want to earn as a freelance writer? Is this a “having extra money would be great” situation, or a “we need this money to pay rent” situation? Some of the most creatively interesting blogs, like The Toast, pay much less than, say, doing sponsored content for a major website. Knowing whether you’re in this for fun money or serious money will make a difference in how you plan your career.
One last question:
By this time next year, what five publications would you like to have bylines in?
– via Creative Class
From Thoughts To Actions
Now that you’ve answered these questions and know what TYPE of writer you want to be, it’s time to take the first step! Increased cash flow is all about action, right?
And while there are plenty of great things you’ll want to do over the course of developing your freelancing side career, the very first step has to be getting clients! And not just 1, you want 3. Here’s why.
Your first goal: Get 3 writing clients
Don’t start a blog.
Don’t start “social media marketing.”
Don’t start SEO.
Complex marketing strategies like SEO, blogging, and viral marketing appear both easy and discreet, when in reality they’re often an excuse for you to avoid the hard work of finding actual people who will pay you for your services. Do you know how long “SEO” takes to work?
Stop building complex marketing strategies for clients you don’t have. Your first goal is to get 3 clients. Do you really need a blog to do that?
And notice I said 3 clients, not just 1 — that could be a fluke. Get 3. Once you have 3 clients, you’ve proven that you have a reliable base of people who’ll pay you for your services. You can test service offerings and prices on them. And now you can start with more complex marketing strategies.
Remember: Skip all the fanciness and get 3 people to pay you first.
Getting your first client is a 2-step process that I call Locate and Communicate.
Step 1: Locate freelancing clients
Who is your exact client, and where do they go to look for a solution to their problems? Where are people already looking for solutions to problems and how can you make a match between them and your service?
Identify very specific leads in your very specific target market and figure out where they go to look for a solution to their needs.
Here’s how you find them:
First step is to niche down your market. Do not try to find every business that might need writing services — reports, copywriting, websites, emails, etc. NICHE IT DOWN. By location, size, revenue, type of business, and so many more options. (This is something we explore in my premium course Earn1k.)
Next, find out where they go to find writers. Get in their heads.
Research your audience. Email a few people. Take them out to lunch.
Could you pitch one potential client each morning? You probably could if you created an email template. How about 10 over the weekend, playing with different headlines/offers so you can see which ones work better?
It doesn’t have to take a long time, and it doesn’t have to be agonizing…which brings us to step 2.
– via I Will Teach You To Be Rich
Have you ever thought about taking up a side job to bump up your cash flow?