HOW LANDING MY FIRST FREELANCE CLIENT BEGAN
I'm pretty sure that everyone who heard about my "dreams" of becoming a full-time freelance writer thought I was out of my mind.
The idea of making money online is mystical to people. They seem to either think that it isn't possible or only for the very elite.
However, neither could be farther from the truth.
Freelancing is an incredible option that allows the average person to have greater control over their career and their time. As more companies transition to remote work, hiring freelance workers on contract is becoming a popular option.
According to a report cited in Entrepreneur, the freelance business grew by over 500% between 2010 and 2014. Three years later, it's still growing.
This means that over 53 million American's are freelancing.
The best part? You could easily be one of them.
HOW I BEGAN FREELANCE WRITING
Starting a blog was my entrance to the freelance world.
I actually have had three of them. I failed at two of the three. Like miserably failed. Even the third (this one) has almost entirely changed from it's original design.
However, it's the third and final one that opened my world up to the side hustle.
It started because my obsession with blogging was costing me money. My obsession with it's design was overwhelming, expensive, and honestly quite hopeless.
Simply put, I had to change my mindset and my attitude and fast.
To pay for this new hobby of mine, I turned to freelance writing.
WHAT PIVOTING MEANT
To gain freelance work, I started by putting more effort into my blogging content, and less into my blog's appearance.
I'm a naturally good writer. but that doesn't mean that I don't make major mistakes when I'm tired. At this point, I was always tired. I was still working full-time at my regular job (more than full-time some weeks), trying to finish my masters degree, and running this side hustle.
Pretty much everything I created was garbage.
So I decided to treat my blog like a resume instead of a project. I would spend an hour every night improving my content. That was it.
Best. Decision. Ever.
I FOUND AN AUTHORITY SITE
After things were "tidied" up, I decided I needed to get my name out there. This meant being a contributor on an "authoritative" site.
If you aren't familiar with these sites, they are actually websites that generate HUGE amounts of traffic. Think Huffington Post or Forbes.
I ended up getting my first opportunity at Lifehack, writing on psychology and personal development topics. Although it did provide a little bit of traffic to my blog, it looked incredible on my resume.
Keep in mind, it was my blog (and I suppose a bit of my academic experience) that landed me my job at Lifehack.
HOW I FOUND OPPORTUNITY
After developing a portfolio, it was time to finally get paid.
Now there are a few ways you can get work.
However, at that time, I was terrified of cold pitching (therefore not an option). I also refused to try content mills (think sites like Upwork).
That left me with job boards. Not as good as cold-pitching companies, but not as bad as low paying content mills.
Of course I wanted the best job board I could find.
So I went straight for Contena. If you aren't familiar, Contena is an academy, job board, and coaching service all mixed into one.
The thing about Contena is that it's useful and costly. Like really costly.
Although having a coach is amazing, it definitely didn't justify the cost. The job board was a quick resource, but everything could be found elsewhere if you want to put the time into it. Keep in mind, taking the time means finding work for free.
I recommend finding it for free.
The worst part of applying to jobs was competing.
At first, I applied to TONS of opportunities. My resume wasn't up to par and my pitch was weak. Once I improved both of those, I landed my first job.
Let me tell you, it was the BEST feeling in the world (in fact, you can read about how it led to me leaving my job here).
Here is how I landed it:
I sent an intro email explaining why I was qualified. I included 3 links. These links included a blog post, an authority site, and published work from my full-time career.
I then attached a link to my email and offered to write a test article.
Before long, I knocked out the test article and signed my first W-9 (taxes to get paid).
Keep in mind, it was a lot of work to get hired.
Thankfully, I enjoyed the process.
Let me start by saying that they never end.
Freelance writing is challenging. Some clients will try to rip you off, some client's will never be happy, and some will simply make you want to cry.
However, those are definitely the minority. When you do make a client happy (and receive your pay check) it's one of the most rewarding feelings you can have.
However, my early mistakes have costed me.
I wrote far to much for free, I didn't ask for testimonials, and I was way, way, way to shy.
Lets just say, I'm not shy anymore.
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