I used to think that the good writing jobs were just too hard to come by, that I would probably never make more than about $20 an hour, a decent wage to be sure, but not really good money for a real grownup. That’s what I used to think, but in the past year I have begun to unravel the code and what I found out surprised me!
First, I was not really prepared for the good jobs!
I think I believed I was ready, skill wise, and maybe I was. But the truth was, I had an outdated resume that wasn’t getting me any bites, and no website other than an outdated blog that really had nothing to do with my writing.
Hell, I hadn’t even gathered up what good samples and links I had, and there was a lot of my work out there to be found. But, when I was asked for portfolio samples, I always had to scramble.
Second, I was following Einstein’s definition of insanity!
Einstein is quoted as saying that insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results. So, how many time have you done this? You have convinced yourself that you are really, really trying to break into lucrative freelance work, but really, you are just doing the same stuff that didn’t work the last time.
That was me. I was talking to the same few connections, going back to the same low paying sources, expecting them to have magically upgraded, and then getting discouraged when my Craigslist ad got nothing but trolls and cheapskates. But, I really didn’t see it!
Last, but not least, I didn’t really believe I could do it!
Oh, sure, I could dream of the day that I was sitting in a café, on vacation, taking an hour out of my day to accept some really choice assignments that I could finish that night back at the beach house while my family slept, getting paid to vacation. But, I thought that there was something magical that would get me there, that my dreams were just a magic carpet ride away!
Then, I started paying attention to the guys who were getting work! No offense writer dudes, but you suck! I mean really! There were blatant typos in their work, and it was so basic I could have written it in my sleep in the eighth grade, but they were making bank! So, what was it going to take for me to believe I was worth that?
So, here are three things I did and you can do them too!
First, I got busy and made sure I was ready.
I updated my resume and put up this website as my calling card so I would have some place to send interested parties where they could see I was serious. I worked hard at making this my job and taking it seriously. Just because writing is a low energy way to make a living doesn’t mean you should approach it lazily!
Then I got out there and gathered up all of my samples and put together a list of just a few of the thousands of pieces I had written over the past six years, yes, literally, at one point I published over 3000 pieces for Demand Studios, mostly in home improvement, over the course of two years, so there is a lot of stuff out there with my name on it. I put it all in one easy to find place!
Second, I stopped doing what I was doing
And the first thing that meant was running back to my fall back trade of carpentry. In the past, every time a decent writing gig dried up, I would go back to it because I knew I could line up a thousand bucks work in a day or two and get the bills paid, but I hated doing it and dreaming of being a writer full time, consistently!
Then, I pulled the Craigslist ad down and started talking it up on Facebook with some new circles I was part of. I had made it a point to get some new Facebook friends. No, I didn’t abandon the old ones, they are my real world friends, but none of them hire writers, so I branched out!
Then, I started thinking about the kinds of job sources I wanted and started searching for them. I wrote down a list of what I wanted and one thing I put on this wish list was a site that incorporated ALL of the Craigslist writing jobs in one place, within hours I had found it!
I determined to apply for every single position that I thought I was an even half decent fit for!
This was a big shift in my thinking, since I had allowed my ill prepared portfolio and resume stop me from inquiring about gigs. Now, I had a decent list that was added to daily and I started plowing through it, applying for ten a day, at least, sometimes twenty.
After a few days, some responses started to come back and most of it was crap. I got tons of recruitment for the Empower network, NO DO NOT GO THERE, IT IS A SCAM! Lot’s of links teaching me how to make money teaching people how to make money by teaching people how to make money, and lots of legit but very low paying work. We are talking less than a penny a word!
Before I knew it though, there was a legit offer from a guy who had a group of blogs he had monetized and needs regular content for. He was ready to pay a decent price and he liked my stuff! (my resume and samples had paid off!) then I got another call and another. Not all of them worked out, but enough did to call it a real job, within about a week.
Now it’s mine to lose!
Now that I have it, the key is not to grow complacent. A few good paying clients will pay the bills, but even long term clients eventually make changes, meet new people, sell the business, retire, anything can happen. So, I make it a point to check my sources at least every two or three days and put in applications for everything I like.
As I progress, I am gaining more high profile samples, in a wide variety of industries. Even the sites that reject my offers are quick to point out my experience, but I am not a fit for everybody, and I don’t want to be. I am working to diversify my client base. So, that when one quits me, I simply shift my focus to others until I can replace it.
You can do it too!
You may be where I was when I started out and making $10 an hour to write from home sounds like a dream job. Or, you might be more like me, looking for that $40- $50 an hour paycheck and more. Wherever you are, these steps can take you to the next level. Work your writing like you would a job. Some of it is busy work, like checking the jobs lists daily, but more and more you will be able to have enough billable hours to realize your potential earnings. When you do, like me, you too will wonder what took you so long!