Check out part one of this series here.
At this point you should have some real experience under your belt assuming you took action on the steps in part 1 of the series. You may be thinking to yourself, “am I going to work on freelance sites all my life?” Well, you certainly could make a livable wage that way, but what if you wanted more?
One of the best things about freelance writing is that there is a lot of opportunity out there. You’d be surprised at the different fields that are looking for writers to come in and provide content. A lot of these fields aren’t on freelance websites looking for people either. They have established PR companies that they usually go to for their business. The reason for this is that they don’t have the time or inclination to be rooting around sites trying to find out who is legit among a sea of people that can’t read or write english.
If you can manage to get yourself on the same level as some of these PR companies in their eyes, you could position yourself to get in on some of that business. The reason you would want to do this is for two reasons:
- These gigs usually pay way more money.
- These gigs could easily turn into recurring jobs for you as a trusted source.
The trick is getting on the same level as some of the PR companies. What you have to do is build up for yourself an authoritative name in the field. Believe it or not, it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
Make a Website
The easiest way to give yourself an authoritative name in the freelance writing game is to make a website for yourself. In a world where literally anyone can claim to be a freelance writer, it pays to stand out a little. The purpose of the website is to attract new customers, give yourself a brand, show what you can offer, and explain your business.
I have created a page specifically for showing how to start your own blog. The process for making your freelance writing business website is basically a stripped down version of that:
- Sign up for hosting
- Pick a free domain name when you sign up
- If you already have hosting, buy a domain
- Install WordPress on your site
- Install a theme on your site
Designing your site
First I’d like to talk about your domain name. I have seen a lot of personal freelance writing sites and people usually fall into two camps. They either have a domain that includes their name, or they attempt to build a brand behind their domain name. So something like yournamefreelancewriter.com or yournameseo.com vs something like chicagocontentwriter.com.
After you have everything set up you’ll want to start creating the content for your site. Now when you are first starting out it’s best to just get the site up to show potential clients you are a real entity. Don’t worry too much about design and just get your content correct.
Creating the content for your site is extremely simple and straight forward. Here’s the minimum of what to do. First thing is to create a menu and link to pages on your site. The pages to put on the menu are as follows:
- Home– Make this your first menu item and have it link back to your home page. With WordPress it’s default setting is to have a list of blog posts. Change this to a static homepage and write about what your business is, what you do, and what you can offer your customers.
- About– Make this page all about your history as a writer. Make sure to be professional as this lets clients know about you as a person. Let them know how you got into the writing business and what you bring to the table as a writer.
- Writing Samples– Remember building up that portfolio of work while working on freelance sites? Here’s where you showcase your best work. Make sure everything here is impeccable because you don’t want clients looking at your work and seeing mistakes. That may lead them to believe you can’t do the job. That’s bad.
- Rates– Post what kind of rates you charge for your work on this page. Hopefully you got a feel for what to charge when you were doing work on freelance sites. I’d consider bumping up your rates here though because you are working directly with agencies and they have the money. Plus, you’re time should be worth it at this point. Also of note is that a common tactic is to state that your rates are negotiable. This is done to negotiate bigger deals and recurring work. Don’t negotiate below what you are willing to work for on a single job. Respect yourself here first and foremost.
- Contact– Finally, use the contact form 7 plugin or whatever form service you find suitable to add a contact form to your site. On top of the contact form, give other ways to reach you such as phone number, skype, or email address. Make sure to place whatever contact information you are using on every other page of your site as well.
Remember, this is the minimum you want to be showing potential clients. Feel free to add upon this with a possible blog page with articles about freelance writing, seo, copywriting, etc. This takes a lot of work, but the benefit is that you could start ranking for certain terms and bringing in customers that way.
Now, with your site completed, all that’s left is going out and obtaining the high paying clients. Next week I’ll talk all about different techniques I’ve used to secure clients that no one is talking about.
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