Get a Growth Mindset

Get a Growth Mindset

What would you do if your teenage daughter told you she’s just no good at math?

You could say, “Yeah, that’s probably true. You shouldn’t bother with any advanced math classes. Stick to the stuff you’re good at.”

What happened the first time your son tried to tie his shoes? He probably didn’t get it right.

You could have told him, “Figures. You never did have any dexterity anyway.”

Help your kids develop a growth mindset.

Or what about the first time your baby stumbled while walking and tumbled to the floor?

You could have shrugged your shoulders and sighed, “Guess you’ll be crawling down the aisle when you get married.”

You didn’t say any of those things, because you are not crazy.

Instead, you probably told your daughter (with perhaps just a touch of irritation), “You know, if you actually studied occasionally instead of spending all your time on your phone, you’d do better.”

You sat down next to your son and showed him, again and again, how to make the loops, cross them over, and tie his shoes.

And you clapped for your baby, helped up get back up on his feet, and beamed proudly as he toddled across the room.

Why is it easy to encourage our kids to try hard things, to work at them, to put in effort — but difficult to convince ourselves to do the same?

Sure, it makes you CRAZY when your daughter says she “just can’t do math,” but be honest: have YOU ever said something like that?

What is a growth mindset?

I can’t go to Zumba! There’s no way I can do those moves!

I’m hopeless at balancing the checkbook. I just don’t have a head for numbers.

That tech stuff is beyond me. I can never figure it out by myself!

Yeah.

Growth Mindset v. Fixed Mindset: How It Starts

You’re 8 years old. You come home from school proudly waving your perfect spelling test.

“That’s our girl!” says your mother. “You’re so smart!” She puts your spelling test on the fridge for everyone to see.

A growth mindset gives you permission to try new things.

Your mother had the very best of intentions, but here’s what she told you: you aced that spelling test because you’re smart.

Wait, what’s wrong with that?

Well, let’s fast forward a week, to the next spelling test. You got 7 words right. Out of 10. Not bad — but you didn’t get that 100 percent like last time.

And if you aced that first test because you’re smart, what does it mean that you came up less than perfect on this one?

You must not be so smart after all.

Hello, fixed mindset! When you have a fixed mindset, you believe you’re either smart — or you’re not. You have a certain amount of intelligence that you’re born with, and that’s it.

Why is a growth mindset important?

You can learn new things, sure, but you can’t change your intelligence. You’re a certain kind of person, and you can’t really do anything to change that.

On the other hand, if you have a growth mindset, you recognize that NOTHING is set in stone. That you, like your baby learning to sit up and crawl and walk and talk and do math — you also can learn new things, and you can learn them no matter how old you are or how many times in the past someone told you that you couldn’t.

When you have a growth mindset, you get joy from hard work and striving to be your best. You don’t have to be THE BEST, you have to put in effort and do YOUR best.

 

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Growth Mindset: Effort, Not Ability

You’re 8 years old (again). You come home from school proudly waving your perfect spelling test (again).

“That’s our girl!” says your mother. “You must have worked really hard!” She puts your spelling test on the fridge for everyone to see.

On the next spelling test, you get 7 out of 10. What’s the message in your head this time? Huh. I guess I didn’t work so hard this time. Okay, yeah, I didn’t really bother studying for this test, so I didn’t do as well as I could have. I guess next time, I should make a point of actually studying and then I might get another A+.

A growth mindset can affect every area of your life.

You haven’t failed. Maybe you have a time management problem — fitting in spelling words with your busy hopscotch schedule is pretty challenging — but there is nothing fundamentally wrong with you.

If you’re thinking to yourself that there’s NO WAY one TINY change could make that much of a difference, you’re wrong. And science can prove it.

Stanford researcher Carol Dweck tested hundreds of elementary school students across the United States. You can read all about her study — and you definitely should — in her book (yep, that’s an Amazon affiliate link), but the short version is this:

Kids who were told they did well on a test because they were smart (ability) ultimately scored significantly worse than kids who were told they did well because they worked hard (effort).

Some of the amazing findings from this study:

  • The kids who were praised for their effort enjoyed the work, even when it was difficult, and even when they didn’t get everything right.
  • The kids praised for their ability were not willing to try a harder task that might call their intelligence into question.
  • The kids who were praised for their ability lied about their scores.

When Carol Dweck talks about this, she says, “We took ordinary children and made them into liars, simply by telling them they were smart.”

Growth mindset prevents lots of disappointment.

Yikes.

No, seriously. YIKES.

Growth Mindset, You, and Your Kids

When your mom told you that you were smart, she certainly wasn’t thinking, “Ha! THIS WILL RUIN HER FOR LIFE!”

When you tell your kids they’re smart, you’re not thinking, “YES. FIXED MINDSET KIDS.”

We don’t mean to turn our children into fixed-mindset people who are afraid of failure. When we tell our kids, “Wow, you did that so fast! You’re so smart!” or “Whoa, your drawing is AMAZING, you’re such an artist,” or “You’re like a prodigy on the piano,” — we’re just so proud of them, right?

But what our kids hear is:

If it takes me a long time to learn something, then I guess I’m not so smart.

I better only draw pictures of horses, because I won’t look like an artist if I try to draw anything else.

I should only play the easy piano pieces, because otherwise they’ll figure out I’m not that great.

It’s not that you shouldn’t praise your kids. You should! Kids LOVE to be praised. We ALL love to be praised. But the way we praise them matters.

How to praise your kids for a growth mindset.

When we focus on praising kids for “natural ability” or “intelligence,” instead of EFFORT and HARD WORK, we make it really, really hard for them to handle any kind of failure and NOT see it as a reflection of their own self-worth.

If you really want to help your kids succeed in life, the very best gift you can give them is the ability to love challenges. To look for hard things to do. To NOT fear making mistakes. To keep learning. 

And what about you?

When you believe that your ability is set in stone, that you can’t change anything about yourself, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment. You’ll never try new things, because you might not be good at them, so why bother?

Why launch that freelance writing career? You don’t have the skills. You’ll never get the clients. You don’t have what it takes.

STOP. Just stop RIGHT NOW, because YOU are AMAZING, and you absolutely have the skills to do this. You definitely can get the clients. You totally have what it takes.

Nurture Your Growth Mindset

From today forward, pay attention to the messages you give yourself daily. Any time you catch yourself thinking or saying negative things about your abilities, stop. Really hear what you are saying, and counter that statement with a positive message about your effort.

For example, when you find yourself thinking, “I’m just no good at marketing myself,” change that message to, “I’m going to put in the time to learn how to market myself effectively.”

Remember that change is hard — and it takes time. Most importantly, change requires consistency: you have to work at it regularly.

You won’t abandon your fixed mindset overnight, but with time and effort, you can develop a growth mindset and learn to do just about anything.

 

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5 Myths About Choosing a Freelance Writing Niche

5 Myths About Choosing a Freelance Writing Niche

Wanna be a freelance writer? Sure you do. And that’s super great — it’s an awesome way to make a real living and stay at home with your kids. You can scale your business up and down according to your schedule and your financial needs. You can meet cool people, learn new things, and have a lot of fun — and get paid to do it.

If you want to be the kind of freelance writer who makes money (as opposed to the kind who slowly starves…), one of the very first things you need to do is to choose a freelance writing niche. This is fancy writer-speak for picking the thing you’re going to write about. It’s one of the most important things you can do in ANY business, because when you have a niche, you know who you’re talking to.

Let’s say you have a dog-grooming business. You cater to dog owners, right? So you know about the things that they care about, the questions and concerns they have, and the things they want to know.

When you have a niche, you connect with the right people.

You don’t have to worry about alienating people who don’t have pets, because you’re not actually trying to win their business.

Now let’s go back to your freelance writing niche. Let’s say you’ve decided that you want to write for real estate companies. That’s your audience — you want to connect with Realtors, agents, and other professionals in that industry. You know their lingo, you don’t have to explain mortgages and home decor to them, because they know that stuff cold.

When you are looking for work, you can use your knowledge of the field to create a pitch letter and custom content that impresses the clients you want to work with — and you don’t have to worry what other people are thinking about. You don’t have to consider, for example, whether your aunt Sally can understand what you're saying, because she’s not your target market.

Choose a niche to make it easy to find the right clients.

By choosing a niche, you make your life much easier, and easy is awesome.

If you’ve been hesitant to choose a niche, or if you’ve had trouble choosing a niche, it might be because you’ve fallen prey to one of the many myths about choosing a niche, so let’s take a look at those — and get you back on track.

Myth #1: Choosing a Niche Makes It Harder to Find Work

A lot of new freelance writers are terrified to choose a niche because they think that means they’ll never be able to find enough work. Wrong! Choosing a niche actually makes it a lot EASIER to find the RIGHT work.

Think about it like this: would you rather work with 50 clients who are nearly impossible to please — or with five clients who love what you do, rave about you to everyone, and pay your invoices with a smile?

Kind of a no-brainer, right? Well, when you choose a niche, you make it a lot easier to find the clients in that second group, because you’re looking for people who fit a very specific profile.

Myth #2: If I Choose a Niche, I’m Stuck With It Forever

Hey, guess what? You’re a freelance writer. This is YOUR BUSINESS. That means that YOU make the rules. So if you wake up tomorrow and decide that you HATE your niche, YOU CAN PICK A NEW ONE.

Now, please don’t take this as free license to change your niche on a weekly basis. You can do that — because you can do whatever you want — but try to stick with a single niche for at least half a year. That’s enough time to dig in, get to know people, find great work, and rack up fabulous testimonials, which you can use when you want to transition into a new niche.

You can absolutely choose a new niche if you want to do that. Many writers start in one area — what they studied in college, for example, or whatever they did at their day jobs — and then leverage their experience and client referrals to move into a new niche a few months down the line.

When you’re a new mom, you might want to try your hand at the parenting market, which is vast and profitable. And then, you might — hypothetically — decide that if you have to write ONE MORE WORD about breastfeeding you are going to SCREAM. Ahem. Your niche can grow and change as you grow and change, is the point.

 

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Myth #3: It Doesn’t Make Sense To Choose a Niche as a Beginner

Imagine that you’re a dentist, and you’re looking for a writer to help you with your new website. You find two writers. The first says, “I love writing about all kinds of things! High tech, business, medicine, parenting, food. I can absolutely help you with your website, NO PROBLEM.”

The second writer says, “I work with dentists and orthodontists. Here’s a list of 20 topics I recommend we cover on your blog, and I can also help you create some informational handouts for your patients.”

Which would you choose?

Choose a niche so that you can help specific clients reach their goals.

EVEN if you’re a beginner — heck, ESPECIALLY if you’re a beginner, it’s better to get a couple of clients who need the same kind of work, because you get better and faster at doing the work, you know what works and what doesn’t, and you can make more money for the same work. 

Instead of earning $200 to write a blog post, why not earn $400 — or more — to write the same post? That’s what happens when you specialize. You bring more value to the table, because you know more.

Myth #4: If I Don’t Choose X As My Niche, I Won’t Make Any Money

Man. So many people believe this, and it is Flat. Out. Wrong.

You can make perfectly good money in almost ANY niche. You do NOT have to pick tech. And you shouldn’t, if technology doesn’t interest you and/or you don’t know a lot about it. Think about the things that DO interest you — or that you know a lot about — and start there.

Students in Writing for Money have chosen to specialize in many different fields — natural parenting, food, finance, travel, relationships, pets, and more.

You can make any niche into a profitable freelance writing niche.

Every student who has put in the time and research needed has found work that pays well, regardless of her chosen niche.

Oh, and by the way: you also don’t have to write about how to make money in order to make money. For 15 years, I wrote exclusively for clients and I made around $60,000 a year, working 4-6 hours a day, 5 days a week. I never ONCE wrote about “how to make money as a writer” during that time. In fact, I took a huge pay CUT to start training, because I didn’t take on any client work for about six months.

Myth #5: Too Many Other People Are Already In My Niche

There are a LOT of people in the world. And some of them write about YOUR topic. So, obviously, this means that you’re too late, and you have nothing new to offer, so you should just, you know, give up and walk away.

It's okay if there are other people in your niche. You can still stand out.

NO. That is NOT what you do. Not even a little bit. So what DO you do?

Let’s say that your niche is sports. And let’s say that you personally know five other people who are writing about sports, AND three of those people have already been published in Sports Illustrated (I actually know nothing about sports, so that’s the only sports magazine I know.)

The point is, these other people have experience. And credibility. And you don’t have any of that. You’re thinking to yourself, “I can’t complete with Sports Illustrated!”

So… Why did you pick sports for your niche? Because you LOVE sports. You love EVERYTHING about sports. You PLAY like 17 different sports. You’re on 3 different teams. YOU ARE PLAYING A SPORT RIGHT NOW.

You know what? don’t NEED to compete with Sports Illustrated. There are a LOT of people who write about sports, and there are a LOT of people who need sports content. And YOUR sports content has YOUR unique spin.

Put your own unique spin on your niche to set yourself apart.

Sports is a HUGE topic. You can focus on a specific sport, you can target beginners, hobbyists, or professionals. You can target specific age groups — you have so many choices.

If you feel like there’s too much competition in your niche, then think about getting a little more focused, which differentiates you from a lot of those other people writing in your niche. Think about WHY you chose your niche and what excites you about it. Hone in on that, and rock the world.

 

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How to Write a Pitch Letter (And Why You Should)

How to Write a Pitch Letter (And Why You Should)

Finding writing work online is not that hard. You can find thousands of people who offer to pay you less than a penny a word to write articles, blog posts, and other material. By working approximately 9,700 hours a day, you can eke out an almost-decent living.

Of course, if the idea of writing for less than a penny a word or the idea of working ALL THE TIME doesn’t appeal to you, you can still find plenty of writing work — but you have to go about it a little bit differently.

How to find freelance writing jobs that pay well.

One strategy you can use to find freelance writing clients is to send pitch letters directly to the clients you want to work with.

What Exactly Is A Pitch Letter?

A pitch letter is when you write to a potential client and pitch your services as a writer. You can do this in an actual letter that you send in the mail with a stamp, or via email.

A pitch letter needs to accomplish several things:

  • describe your service
  • get clients interested in what you do
  • convince prospective clients that they need your service
  • provide information that makes it simple for clients to hire you

In a nutshell, when you pitch a client, you’re sending a personalized message that says, “I can solve this problem for you.” That’s it. No problem, right?

Yeah, okay, writing a pitch letter is a little bit intimidating. But it’s absolutely worth the effort you’ll put into it.

Why Should You Write a Pitch Letter?

You should write a pitch letter if you enjoy things like eating regularly, living in a home with electricity and running water, and having money available to buy other things, ranging from iPhones to masking tape.

Find clients who pay well for writing

Seriously, pitch letters get you work. They also let you direct the conversation — you’re the professional, you set your rates, you set your terms, you are not competing against the entire Internet full of writers applying for an advertised job. You’re CREATING the job that you want and explaining why you’re the PERFECT person to do it.

One of the first things students learn in Writing for Money is how to establish smart habits that make it easy to send pitch letters out regularly — daily, or at minimum a few times a week.

Yes, really.

When you get in the habit of sending out pitches regularly, you take a LOT of the pressure off. If you have one pitch out in the world, you’re hanging all your hopes and dreams on one single hook. You’re checking and re-checking your email frantically, and if you don’t get an answer, or if you get a rejection, you’re crushed.

On the other hand, if you send out pitches daily, you have plenty of irons in the fire. Some people respond and ask for more information. Some people hire you. Some people never reply — and you keep pitching.

You keep sending your stuff out there. You show up and put in the work. Consistency is THE KEY to building a successful, sustainable business.

If you’ve sent out pitch letters every day for the past two months and you haven’t had a single reply, then you have a clear sign that something is wrong with your pitch.

Now you have information you can use — you can tweak your pitch, refine it, and send out the new version.

The Best (And Worst) Way to Start Your Pitch Letter

The most important thing to remember when you write and send a pitch letter is that you’re showing up uninvited and out of the blue, so you have nanoseconds to interest potential clients in what you have to say before they toss your letter in the trash.

That’s why you absolutely need to start your pitch with something that really speaks to the potential client. This part of your pitch needs to be personalized and specific.

Send a personalized pitch letter to get freelance writing work from clients.

For example, Your website doesn’t have any information on this super important thing that people in your industry need to know.

Or: The user manual for your WidgetMaster 3000 is confusing. On page 3, you say this, and on page 7, you say the opposite.

If I’m a business owner and someone is pointing out problems with my business, I’m going to keep reading, so you must open your pitch letter with something that will immediately capture your potential client’s interest.

Never, but NEVER start your pitch letter with, “Hi, I’m a freelance writer and….”

Seriously, think about it. Your phone rings. You answer. The person on the other end says, “Hi, Abbi, this is John from SuperAwesomeCompany. How are you?”

Maybe you’re nicer than I am, but I’ve already hung up, because it’s obvious to me that this is a sales call, and I’m not interested.

Do not start off your pitch letter by introducing yourself as a freelance writer. Your letter will end up in the trash.

Start your pitch off right to capture your prospective client’s attention. And then what?

 

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What Information Should I Include in My Pitch Letter?

You’ve seen that it’s important to start by catching your potential client’s attention. But what do you do once you have it? Well, you have to make it impossible for clients to ignore their problems. Most modern businesses understand the importance of having an online presence — but they don’t have time to fill it with content.

So you catch the client’s attention with your opening statement: Your website doesn’t have any information on this super important thing that people in your industry need to know.

How to write a pitch letter that will get you more clients for your freelance writing business.

And now you drive the point home:

The blog at YourCompetitor.com is updated daily. Posts on these 17 topics have over 40 comments each. Several of those posts also have additional content readers can download, and WidgetCompetitor also offers a free email course on how to determine if widgets are right for you.

YIKES! Now Ms. Client is painfully aware that her competition is CRUSHING her, and NOW you can present your awesome solution for her business.

Keep the focus on the client and her needs — like this:

Would you be interested in regular, engaging content on these 5 or 6 highly targeted topics that relate to widgets and clearly show that I’ve looked closely at your website and your specific focus on widgets?

Oh, hey! A specific, targeted solution! NOW you can give a bit of information about why YOU’RE the right person to do the job. For example:

I’ve written about widgets for the last X years. This post on WidgetWorld.com has 97 comments. Here are links to some other samples, not necessarily about widgets, but that show I know how to write in an engaging, conversational style that’s appropriate for a blog.

See how that works?

Your pitch needs to focus on the benefits clients get. The greater your perceived value, the more you are worth to clients. In plain English, you can charge more money.

Here’s another example.

Pitch letter template use this to get freelance writing jobs and freelance writing clients.

Dear Ms. Client:

The user manual for your WidgetMaster 3000 is confusing. On page 3, you say this, and on page 7, you say the opposite.

Do you need help creating user-friendly manuals that will reduce help center and support calls, and make your customers feel they can trust your brand and your products?

I’d suggest rewriting this manual entirely. Here’s a quick example of what I mean:

[Screenshots of A FEW LINES of original and proposed rewritten text.]

If you’re interested in exploring this, please be in touch! I have several other ideas for improving your user guides and manuals.

Thanks so much!

Your Name

By choosing your niche and targeting people in one area, you’ll build up your own expertise in that area, and you’ll get to know the nuances of that industry as well.

For example, you’ll know instinctively that widget owners use certain language when talking about themselves, and using certain other terms immediately marks you as an outsider. You’ll know that the industry standard is this program, rather than that one. And all of that together will help build your credibility and help you land higher-paying jobs.

What Shouldn’t Be In Your Pitch?

Just as important as what you DO put in your pitch is what you DON’T put in it.

Don't include these things in your pitch letter to clients.

Remember, this is a professional pitch designed to sell you as a professional writer. This means that you should not include any of the following:

  • Information about your love of writing. Does your dentist talk to you about his love of teeth? No. Does your mechanic tell you about the cars he rebuilt as a teen? No. So save your stories for your cocktail parties.
  • Information about your education. Clients do NOT care about where you went to school. They care about making more money for their businesses. Your degree from Harvard or your local community college does NOTHING for them. Really.
  • Information about your (lack of) experience. DO NOT TELL POTENTIAL CLIENTS, “I just started working as a freelance writer.” You DON’T need to pretend you’ve been in business for years, but give yourself a chance! Show great samples, talk about how you can help potential clients, and leave the rest alone.
  • Information about you and your life in general. This isn’t a letter to a friend. It’s a business letter to a potential client. So cute stories about your kids aren’t appropriate. YOU know this, but you’d be surprised at how many OTHER people don’t.

Like so much of the work you do as a freelance writer, your pitch letter should not be about you. It should be about your clients: the problems they face, what they need, and how you can help.

 

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3 Smart Ways to Find Freelance Writing Clients

3 Smart Ways to Find Freelance Writing Clients

The decision to start freelance writing feels like it has to be momentous, you know?

Like, in your head, you think, Am I allowed to call myself a freelance writer? I didn’t major in English. I’ve never written professionally. Is this even legal?

How to find freelance writing clients.

You will (probably) not get arrested for calling yourself a freelance writer.

You can agonize over this decision for weeks, wondering if you’ve earned the right to label yourself a writer.

Then, you finally decide that, yes, you ARE in fact a writer, and you face this whole new problem: How to find writing jobs that will pay you money.

Little secret for you: everyone has to start somewhere.

At some point, every single freelance writer has to get that first writing job.

Sure, some people go freelance after they’ve worked for a few years. Maybe they wrote articles for a magazine as a staff member or worked in the marketing department of a company. But at some point, they started at those jobs, and it felt just as intimidating.

Every writer has to write a first piece at some point. For some, that beginning is so far in the past they’ve forgotten the details. For others, the starting point is literally just a few steps behind them.

Everyone starts somewhere — and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

You don't need anything special to find freelance writing clients.

Here’s a list of things you don’t need to do to start freelance writing.

  • Build a website.
  • Update your resume.
  • Go to networking meetings.
  • Get a degree in English.
  • Get a degree in anything.
  • Graduate high school.

Here is the only thing you need to do to start freelance writing:

  • Clients who will pay you

That’s it. Seriously. There’s no big initiation process, no forms to fill out, no need to spend weeks planning.

So… where do you find these clients?

Well, let’s take a look at three smart ways to find freelance writing clients:

  1. Upwork (and other marketplace sites)
  2. Online job boards
  3. Business directories

Now we’ll take a closer look at each of these methods.

 

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An Upwork Profile Lets Freelance Writing Clients Find You

Yeah, I’ve mentioned Upwork before. That’s because it works. It’s an incredible way to start freelance writing online quickly. You can read a lot more about how to write an amazing Upwork profile, how to build your Upwork portfolio, and making sure that you’re doing the right things to attract high paying freelance writing clients.

Use Upwork to find freelance writing clients.

When you build your Upwork profile, you make it possible for potential clients to see what you have to offer. They can then invite you to apply to specific jobs that match your skills, which saves you lots of marketing time.

Upwork has some membership plans, but you don’t need any of them. You can use the free, basic Upwork membership and get plenty of freelance writing jobs that pay well.

A lot of writers will tell you that Upwork only offers low-paying jobs. That’s simply untrue. I’ve been hired at my full hourly rate of $125/hour many times on Upwork — and there are plenty more well-paid freelance writers who use Upwork all the time.

Upwork does charge a fee — BUT they only charge you a percentage of what you earn from clients you would NOT have met otherwise. And you can adjust your rates to ensure that you are making the money you want to make.

This post won’t go too deeply into using Upwork — because all those linked posts above will tell you everything you need to know. Just remember that you do need to know what to look out for at Upwork and other marketplace sites, and make sure that your profile is all about your clients and what they need — and NOT about you.

Find Freelance Writing Clients Through Online Job Boards

If you want to improve your chances of finding relevant freelance writing jobs that pay well, take a look at some of the popular freelance writing job boards.

Almost everyone loves the ProBlogger job board, and with good reason: you’ll find a handful of high quality freelance blogging jobs here. Companies pay $70 to advertise on ProBlogger for a month. You pay nothing to look at those listings.

Companies that pay to list jobs are typically more serious about paying writers decent rates. You won’t find hundreds of listings offering you the chance to work for exposure. Add ProBlogger to your list of sites to check regularly — you won’t always find freelance writing clients who need a writer with your specific expertise, but when you do, you can apply.

If you can get past the design, Writer’s Weekly provides an in-depth look at a handful of markets each week, and compiles a weekly roundup of current job postings from around the internet. These are jobs you can find in other places, but why not let the Writer’s Week staff put them all in one place for you to quickly skim?

Search job boards to find freelance writing clients.

Another popular job board is MediaBistro. Refine your search to quickly skim through the freelance writing jobs posted here, and apply to any that interest you. You won’t find dozens of new posts daily, but you will find interesting jobs with decent pay rates.

Many freelance writers ask about joining paid job boards. These boards are rarely worth the money you spend on them. They are a GREAT source of affiliate income for the writers who promote them and offer you “special discounts” on signing up via their affiliate links. If you’re paying for access to a job board, you need to get some sort of AMAZING benefit. Otherwise, you’re basically paying someone to use Google for you. NOT a great strategy.

There is ONE paid job board that I SOMETIMES recommend to specific freelance writers who are looking for work in specific niches. I DON’T write public posts about it in order to earn affiliate income — I get paid for freelance writing and for teaching moms how to get started in freelance writing. I’m not interested in earning money by recommending products and services that won’t help you make a real living from freelance writing.

Use Business Directories to Find Freelance Writing Clients

Business directories are awesome. Seriously awesome. With these sites, you can type in your niche or the type of business you want to write for and get a list of businesses in that field. You can find local business directories, directories for specific industries, directories that specialize in businesses of different sizes, and so on.

For example, head over to http://www.manta.com/business and you’ll see this:

You can use business directories to find freelance writing clients

Enter your niche, and then choose “don’t use a location” to maximize your results. When you type in your niche, manta will start to make suggestions. When I typed in “relationships,” Manta came back with some options for me:

You can find freelance writing clients with business directories.

I chose “relationship counseling center” and got hundreds of results. If you wanted to target counseling centers, you could spend some time checking out the various entries. If you chose 20 to look at each day, and set a goal of sending out pitches to 3-5 of those 20 each day, you’d likely win some work within two weeks.

Another business directory is hoovers.com

Search Hoovers to find freelance writing clients.

If you search the “counseling” industry at Hoovers, you’ll be prompted to choose from a list that includes weight reduction services, social assistance, and mental health professionals. You can then run searches for those terms on Hoovers or head back over to Manta to find specific businesses to pitch.

These services have free tiers, and you should be able to get all the information you need without paying for a membership.

You can get super-specific with your business directory searches, which is really awesome, because you can hone in on exactly the kind of client you want to work with. Choose directories that specialize in small businesses, Fortune 5000 companies, publicly traded companies, local businesses, and so on. Pick the business directory you prefer to work with, and use that one to identify clients you want to pitch.

Once You Find Freelance Writing Clients, What's the Next Step?

Now that you've put in the time to find freelance writing clients, how do you get them to hire you? Well, it starts with creating a smart pitch that you can send them. And recently, I held a free workshop on how to get that pitch written and ready to send out.

You can catch a replay of the live workshop!

This is a totally free, hands-on workshop where you'll work on your pitch, following the exact steps described. You'll learn:

  • Exactly how to write a pitch letter that you can start sending out to clients IMMEDIATELY so that you can get work.
  • How to identify YOUR ideal client, and where to go to FIND that client, so that you know exactly WHERE to send your pitch.
  • What you need to know about following up, and how to avoid the mistakes that could cost you LOTS of money.
  • How much you should charge for your work, and how to talk confidently about money with clients.

When you sign up for the workshop, you'll get access to a TWO workbooks. You'll get to see plenty of real examples, and you'll discover exactly how to put all the pieces together.

Sign up for the workshop, and kick off your freelance writing career.

 

Ready to get PAID for your writing?

Watch 5 Steps to YOUR Successful Freelance Writing Business!

The Difference Between Bloggers and Freelance Writers

The Difference Between Bloggers and Freelance Writers

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’ve been thinking about starting a side hustle, or you’re at home with your kids, and you’re looking for a way to make money. Online. From home.

You’re not interested in trying to sell makeup or juice or bags or essential oils to all your friends, because that would involve, like, interacting with people.

You’ve always liked writing, and you’ve seen that it’s totally possible to make money writing on the Internet. I mean, people are publishing these epic blog posts all the time about how much money they made in 3 hours because they did this one tiny thing.

Writing sounds good. So you figure you’ll be a freelance writer.

You start doing your research, and you quickly figure out that you need a website, which is basically the same as a blog, right? So… are you a blogger?

Hang on.

Is there actually a difference between freelance writing and blogging? Are they basically two different ways of saying the same thing? And if they are different things, then which one should you be?

As it turns out, bloggers and freelance writers do have quite a bit in common, but they’re not exactly the same. Let’s take a closer look.

What Bloggers and Freelance Writers Have in Common

Freelance writers and bloggers both write — and they both write with the goal of earning money. That money bit is super-important, because money is a good thing. With money, you can buy food and shelter and iPads and other things.

Blogging is a job, and freelance writing is a job, but they aren’t the kind of J-O-B where you go to an office and have a boss. Instead, they work as independent contractors. This is a fancy way of saying, “You’re on your own, baby!”

As in, you have to find your own work, find the place to do that work, and get the equipment you need to do that work.

You can learn how to be a freelance writer.

You can probably get by with a laptop, an internet connection, and a comfortable place to sit. (The seat is optional. I actually work on a treadmill desk. Really!)

Freelance writers and bloggers also have to handle all the administrative work that goes along with being in business — for example, paying taxes, sending invoices to clients, and then following up to be sure the client actually sends the check.

Broadly speaking, those are the major similarities between bloggers and freelance writers. Now let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

What Is A Blogger?

A blogger is someone who writes online, either for her own blog or for someone else’s. Typically, she writes about one specific topic, which could be absolutely anything: knitting, pet care, food, digital marketing, organizing, science — seriously, anything. Name a topic, no matter how specific, and you can find at least one blog about it.

Build a career as a blogger.

A blogger is an expert in her niche. Whatever it is that she writes about, she knows that topic as well as she knows which of her children will eat Honey Nut Cheerios and which will ONLY eat fish sticks that have been toasted at precisely 200 degrees for 4.8 minutes and then de-breaded, dipped in ketchup AND milk, and served on the Bob the Builder plate.

My point is, girlfriend knows her stuff.

How Do Bloggers Make Money?

How exactly does writing about knitting or pet car or whatever translate into dollars? For our purposes, let’s consider the blogger who has her own blog, rather than one who writes for someone else’s site. Generally speaking, bloggers create multiple revenue streams — which is a fancy way of saying they bring in money through different sources.

What might those various revenue streams include?

You can create multiple streams of revenue in your online business.

  1. Ads. When bloggers hone in on a specific niche, they can attract people who are extremely interested in the content they create. So they draw in traffic that really cares about, say, knitting, which means that companies that make products or offer services for knitters may be interested in advertising on the blog.
  2. Sponsored posts. Bloggers might also be asked to write about a specific product or service in a sponsored post. The blogger is paid to write about her experience with the product or service.
  3. Selling products and services. Many bloggers also sell their own related products and services — for example, our knitting blogger might offer some of her hand-knit products for sale. She might also offer patters for sale. Or, she might create a course on how to sell hand-knit items on Etsy.
  4. Affiliate sales. In addition to selling their own products and services, bloggers might also offer products and services created by other people, in exchange for a commission on each sale. Large sites such as Amazon pay a small commission on items purchased through a blogger’s links, and other bloggers might also have courses, products, and services they want to sell — again, in exchange for a commission.

 

Ready to get PAID for your writing?

Watch 5 Steps to YOUR Successful Freelance Writing Business!

What Is A Freelance Writer?

A freelance writer is someone who writes for others — companies or individuals — on a per-project basis, for money.

Learn how to be a freelance writer.

Freelance writers do a lot of different things, depending on their interest and abilities. Some freelance writers write blog posts — for their own blogs, and for other blogs. Some freelance writers specialize in blog posts for businesses.

Some writers focus on articles for print and online magazines, and others write technical manuals and software user guides.

You can find writers in almost any area you can imagine: corporate marketing materials, ebooks, white papers, press releases, and so on.

How Do Freelance Writers Make Money?

The primary difference between freelance writers and bloggers is apparent in how they make money. Like bloggers, freelance writers can have multiple streams of income, but typically, those “streams” come in the form of different clients.

For example, in the past year, I’ve written an ebook for an Australian Agile consultant, technical white papers for a US managed services provider, blog posts for a tech startup, and a software user guide for an app developer. Each client contracted with me for a specific project, and each project was its own, independent income stream. (By the way, I got a lot of these projects by pitching clients on Upwork, which is a super-easy way to get started.)

You can work with multiple clients as a freelance writer.

Which Path Is Right For You?

The best part about building your own business is that you get to make all the decisions. You get to decide if you want to be a freelance writer, a blogger, or both!

But how do you know which path is right for you?

Well, you need to think about how you want to spend your time. Do you want to work with clients, writing the things that they specifically need (those press releases, ebooks, articles, and so on) about the topics they are interested in? If the idea of writing a lot of different kinds of material and learning a lot about different topics appeals to you, then freelance writing could be an excellent choice.

If you know that the ONLY thing you want to write about is knitting, on the other hand, then blogging is probably the route you want to take. If you want to be the one who decides exactly what you’re writing and when you’re writing it, then you’re more suited for blogging than you are for freelance writing.

I Want It All!

Look, the tagline at Successful Freelance Mom is “Because we can have it all.” So if you want to be a blogger AND a freelance writer, I am totally in favor of that decision. Remember, it’s YOUR business, and you get to do WHATEVER YOU WANT.

If you’re doing this in order to make money, however, it’s important to have a clear plan, and to be strategic with your choices.

Plan your strategy to get started as a freelance writer

For example, let’s say that you’re interested in writing for health coaches. It might make sense for you to blog about the issues health coaches face when building a business, getting clients, and so on. And you might offer some related products — templates that health coaches could purchase and personalize, for example.

Or, if you’re interested in writing for tech startups, you could blog about effective workflows, evaluating user experience in app development, and other topics that would be highly relevant to tech startups.

You probably wouldn’t want to blog about localization of apps if your market is new health coaches who work with pregnant women.

For close to 15 years, I worked exclusively as a freelance writer doing the kind of work I mentioned above — ebooks, white papers, user guides, and other materials for businesses, mostly in technical fields. During that time, I had a personal blog that was completely disconnected from my business. I wrote about my kids, particularly about the experience of rearing my special needs son.

You can be a blogger and a freelance writer

My blog and my business were not even remotely related; I never thought of my blog as anything other than an online journal, and it was never designed to make any money. If you want that kind of blog, that’s totally okay — mine was an important part of my life and my mental health for many years.

If you don’t know my story, you might not know that in 2013, I had to shut down my business when my son was diagnosed with leukemia. When I started working again in late 2016, I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to do, and I decided to start working with moms who wanted to get started in freelance writing but didn’t know how.

(That sentence makes it sound like there was a very organized thought process. The reality was a lot of crying on my kitchen floor, but hey! Details!)

Successful Freelance Mom is about supporting moms who are just learning about freelance writing. The content here is designed to support you as you learn about the different types of writing you can do — and get paid for. I don’t use ads on my site, and so far I don’t sell other people’s products for commissions. I do offer my own course. You can build a model just like this.

 

Ready to get PAID for your writing?

Watch 5 Steps to YOUR Successful Freelance Writing Business!