Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer: Q&A to Start Freelance Writing



what's going on YouTube I wanted to give you this video to give you kind of an insight really about what it is to be a freelance writer I get so many questions from my email list and just from people I meet at events and just random strangers even friends that I you know haven't talked to a little while and I tell them you know I'm freelance writing I have a blog or podcast things like that people really don't really understand what that entails and what the day-to-day looks like so I know a lot of you are thinking about freelance writing or maybe you're already doing it and if that is you I have kind of a list of questions that I put together here and I just want to cover them and you know maybe answer some questions maybe you're just getting started and are having some trouble with productivity or figuring out your routines things like that so I want to just cover everything to really get it out in the open like how I make money what type of routines I have how I got my first clients and all the questions that you guys ask so hopefully enjoy this video and so the first question is do you work at home or do you go outside into the real world this is actually a pretty funny question because when I first got started as a writer really when I quit my nine-to-five I was so determined to never go back to corporate world never have to like sit next to people that were whining about traffic or how bad their job is and life is so it's kind of funny a an in-between an introvert and extrovert I think it's an ambivert that's kind of where I fallen when I was in the nine-to-five you know I really felt like I had to always be talking to people and be around people but towards the end of my six-and-a-half years or so it Yelp where I was working I just I got to the point right now I want to talk to anyone I just I would have my headphones in even though I didn't wasn't even listening to music sometimes so I got to the point where I wanted to like work up by myself do my own thing so now I when I got started like I was just like totally against going out into the real world I wanted to just work here hang out with my dog and just not ever leave the house and I did that for a while and you know it was fine it was I had no problem with it but as I've been at it for about two years now some days I do need to force myself out of the house and you know I will work at like a coffee shop I've tried co-working spaces but to be honest with you it reminded me too much of being back in the corporate world so I just I couldn't do it like I literally had like just like flashback nightmares of it and it was so awful so for me I did not want to do that anymore so basically I work at home I have a home office here just renovated it so that way it's you know YouTube friendly and just tries to have a little bit more creativity so I'll talk more about that one of the next questions here but yes I do work at home I go to the coffee shop sometimes but I will say if you are a writer or someone that works at home I think it is important to drag yourself out of the house some days even if you don't want to you know get some fresh air talk to people and just kind of get out sometimes alright the next question is how many hours do you work a week to be honest we they really depend I don't really have consistent hours worked per se I found that as I've been writing for a few years you just start to figure out best practices to actually write faster more efficiently less proofreading things like that but when I was first getting started I had zero balance and I'll talk more about why I don't really believe in balance in just a bit but the biggest thing for me was that I was I was working too much to where I couldn't even sleep because my mind was always on and running so I don't really have a specific set of hours but I do try and have some sort of flow going into the week so on Sundays I look at my clients deadlines what I have to submit that week because some clients need weekly work some clients have monthly work you know so that really just depends on what kind of deadlines I have because again I have my business my copywriting and writing business and then I have inspired your success so that again is my blog and podcasts and YouTube so I kind of juggling all that usually but as far as writing itself goes I am basically it could be two three hours a day it could be eight hours a day the biggest thing that I found is that it's super important to batch your content so for example with writing let's say I have a new client they need one blog post a week is 1500 words just for an example here so what I would do is I would make all of the outlines at once and then I would submit those to the client and then I would write each post individually and then I would edit and then I would do a final edit and send to the client so I kind of break it down into systems so if you're a freelance writer that's something that I highly recommend doing and actually if you're really in the 9 to 5 I mean looking back I think batching would have helped me a lot when I was in sales because I would have batched you know my emails my cold calls my follow-up sequences things like that so I think it's an important thing to do is to constantly have some sort of schedule and a plan but again you know that's the great thing about freelance writing one of the many reasons that I love freelance writing is you determine how many you work you find the time that you like to work because again it's up to you you don't have to right from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. if you're a night person you can right from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. you know as long as you hit your deadlines you keep clients happy that is really the biggest priority for you all right the next question is what should I start charging as a beginner writer it's a great question and it's one that a lot of people struggle with in the beginning I know I did pretty much any writer that I talk with always seems to have trouble selling themselves in the beginning especially if you don't have a lot of experience so I think like when I first got started I want to say my first job wasn't wasn't much it was like eight cents a word or something like that you know now I'm over 20 cents a word and it really kind of depends on your experience and what you're writing about I talk more about the importance of like choosing a freelance writing niche in another video so check out the card above on that but that is a big thing is like what should you charge if you're brand-new you're a generalist you're just getting started I highly recommend at least 10 cents because if you start lower than that it really doesn't give you much wiggle room and again I don't want you just like taking small small paying jobs and like spending hours and hours for like 50 bucks so that kind of is demotivating so definitely don't want you doing that I think it's important again to understand what niche you're in and to understand your background and how confident you are as a writer so I always recommend that you're saying hire that way you can always go down and have some leverage and some negotiation with the clients so again get started there and then as you become more accomplished you just need to keep asking for raises keep investing in yourself you know I go to masterminds and seminars and hire coaches I'm always trying to upgrade my mind upgrade my skills because I know that I will be able to provide more value to the client the more value equals more money so again if you want to make more money as a writer don't always think you need to get more clients figure out how you can upsell and get raises from your existing clients because that is huge landing clients sometimes is hard and you might not find your ideal clients or you might lose some clients so it's important again to keep asking for raises but to keep investing in yourself as you prolong and keep going with your writing career alright I love this question how did you get started honestly for me I got started by literally going on job boards and just applying for random jobs you see when I started my entrepreneurial journey back in 2017 it was originally I was like you know what I'm gonna make money as a blogger right at the gate even though I don't know anything about webinars and videos and sales letters and sequences I just was determined to make all this money as a blogger because I read all these blogging income reports and things but I quickly found that blogging is a great way to make money online but it does take some time so what happened for me is I was basically growing my blog but again you don't really always see the results monetarily you might start to see traffic and followers and emails and stuff but if you don't have products and a clear monetization plan it can make it hard to make money so eventually when I left I was like well my bank accounts going down and I really need to make some money so I kind of think of freelance writing as the bridge from going from a full six-figure corporate job to becoming my own boss and an entrepreneur so when I got started writing I basically went on job boards and just started applying you know I kinda just had a shotgun approach I didn't have a writing website yet I didn't really have portfolio I think I had bought an online course about how to get clients on up work which I talked more about up were kind of in the channel some pros and cons to it but you know I got my first job actually of all things it was a golf writing job and it was I think it was like 60 bucks or 30 40 bucks I mean it was very small for like 2,000 words but even though it wasn't much it showed me that like someone would hire me to get paid to write online so I think there was kind of this limiting that I had like can you really make money online like do these people really do it like I I really had a corporate employee mindset so becoming an entrepreneur was a big shift there but that was that was really cool to get that first job and the biggest thing I always recommend for everyone else just getting started as a writer is to just start like whether you're applying on job boards reaching out to people in your network posting on social media Linkedin just have to start like it's easy as an entrepreneur or someone that's just trying to make a side hustle where you're you should want to see it all you want to have this plan you want a beautiful website a great business name an LLC a bank account all this stuff and then you end up never doing anything so that is huge my recommendation is to just get started again I talk a lot more about this in the channel and in my course freelance a 5k kind of the best steps to get going but my biggest recommendation is to just start next question is do I need a degree to get started as a writer you do not need a degree to get started I have a degree of Bachelors of Science or arts or I don't know something I don't ever use from ten years ago but the thing is is that you don't need a degree I've never once do you need to agree really for anything by the way like think about this like I've worked in these high level jobs I never once submitted my degree to own to say yes here's my degree right so it's kind of funny with freelance writing you don't need an English degree you don't need to you know have published a book or have all this experience or anything like that so you do not need a degree what you do need is a good work ethic you need to obviously invest in yourself learn how to write like the best practices how to charge clients you know how to build a pipeline things like that and you need to be able to fail I think that that is one of the most important things like I've lost clients you know I've had a lot of pitches where I thought I got them and I didn't get them like it's all part of the process you know as Les Brown always says you have to fail your way to success it's no different as a freelance writer so that has been huge for me when got started I just understood that you know what I got to keep going eventually nose will lead to yeses and it's kind of only a matter of time so if you don't have a freelance writing degree and you're in college maybe or you're you know someone that just never went to college and you're a student like you can still make great money as a writer so really just again it comes down to your work ethic and what you're willing to learn and invest in yourself alright the next question is where you actually find clients this is a great question these questions are awesome because where do you find clients right like this is one of the biggest things people want to know and you can find clients all over I talk more about this in the channel there's kind of three main ways there's basically job boards there's content mills or there's cold pitching so just to get started like a content mill is like an up work type of site or freelancer they're always redoing the name so those are more sites where people just post and then you go on there and it's extremely competitive sometimes it's not very high paying and it's just one of those things that people are like have this bad name from like is up work a scam and like things like that so you know up works not a scam it is a content mill which means that you get jobs and you have to give a percentage of your income for the job to up work so again it's clearly laid out in the Terms of Service it's not a scam but again you are spending money you're you having to pay them so that can be frustrating especially if you're just getting started and you don't have a ton of money coming in yet so that's kind of the first way and again it's not the end of the world you know if you see a job but they offer you less on there you don't have to take it people seem to think like you have to take this like slave labor wages that's just not the case so again make sure you're always choosing jobs that are gonna benefit you and your business the second way is with job boards so if you go to like pro blogger for example that's a really popular free job board and you can go on there and basically you can just find the different types of writing gigs that are available and then from there you basically fill out the requirements it's either an email or it is directly through the job board kind of just depends on what one you're using but basically with that you just sell yourself you have to you know sell yourself in a pitch you have to let them know that you want the job that you have the experience linked to your profiles and your website and your portfolio and things like that so like content mills oh those are super competitive to give you an example I had Mike one of my favorite golf clients that I write for I've been writing for him for like a year now it's just like just the coolest guy coolest client and I asked him after a couple months like you know how competitive was it like his golf writing that big of a thing he told me there was over 250 people applied for this job and he only picked me so that's crazy for one that 250 people think they can write about golf maybe they can I mean that just seems like a very niche down thing but that's the thing is it's super competitive so if you think about like personal finance or digital marketing or some of the more higher paying blogs you're gonna be in stiff competition so it's important to stand out with those you know really having a good subject line getting right to the point having great samples experience and again a little bit of luck sometimes so it's really about following up and making sure that you're you're being resilient to get those job boards because they're super competitive and the third way is good old cold pitching you know if you've ever worked in sales it was cold calling you know really cold call as much as a freelance writer I guess you could but for me you know cold pitching is really what helped me launch my career back in the end of 2017 and basically it's just finding companies you want to write for and going out there and pitching your services so that'll just be through an email you know a couple emails maybe you do give them a call but again you have to realize that this is much harder and most people won't do it though so that means it's less competitive because it's quote-unquote scary to reach out to strangers but like as an example when I was first getting started I was like I need clients now all right guys next question sorry the battery just cut out on this thing because this video so long but again hopefully it's helpful the next question was all about what is my writing routine so while the books over here are all about routines success habits tapping into the power of your subconscious mind and so I am a huge believer in routines pretty much every morning I have either my journal that I get into a read my vision of kind of my 3-year plan for my life I do some meditation usually 10 to 20 minutes of transcendental meditation basically just sit there in silence it's really really effective though and then from there I pretty much always workout and then get to writing so again not every day is the same I'm not like a robot for a while I was and it got super repetitive so I try and mix it up you know like I talked about earlier in the video batching is key so a lot of times I will just do you know the outlines in the afternoons the day before I'll wake up I'll hit the gym and then I'll get to writing so I think that's really important is to find something that works for you my routine is I'm a morning guy I love doing in the morning I absolutely hate writing at night like it's just the worst like for me I though quality is terrible I usually captal redo it to next day so I don't even really do it anymore so for me again I'm a morning guy get up anywhere from 4:30 to 5:30 usually in the morning so that's the biggest thing for me and then you know I try and have a distraction-free environment easier said than done you know we have social media emails and 1,200 other things but for me I try and turn the phone off and I put it in airplane mode not next to me I usually just have my window open where I'm writing at and that's really key so again make sure that you're doing that if you're working at home or you're a writer is to have a distraction-free kind of workplace alright so this is one that a lot of people have asked is how you find balance between your writing and your business and your the rest of your life so you know I've had a lot of really really cool entrepreneurs on my show and met a lot at event and the biggest thing that I found from them is that they absolutely laugh when people ask them you know how do you find balance because to be honest with you if you want to be a high achiever if you want to achieve you know great things and you know make a lot of money and change the world and do all these awesome goals balance usually doesn't exist like Elon Musk doesn't have balance and the guy's taking this to Mars right so I think balance is overrated personally I don't really have balance because my life is my business and I like that like that's my identity so for me I'm basically there working on my business working on my golf career or I'm hanging out with warrior Munchie I mean I have you know some friends and stuff but for the most part like I'm just keeping it simple and like people I think strive for this balance so much but for me like if you really like what you're doing you know most of the time it's not you don't need balance like for me I always tried so hard to find it and then I'd beat myself up if I didn't have balance and again like just know if you have of ambitious goals like I do which I'm sure you do if you're watching this channel it's gonna take some time it's gonna take a lot of hard work and you know you're gonna have to change who you are and who you hang out with and how you get stuff done so I wouldn't say this strive for balance I would say to strive for happiness and you know that can be working six hours a day it could be working 14 hours a day so again you just have to realize that if you wanna you know make it as a freelance writer it's gonna take some time in the beginning it's gonna take you know a certain number of clients to reach your income goals and it just comes down to your work ethic to make sure you can get it done alright this is a good one how do you lost clients or got fired yes and yes so this is a big one because oh man probably like two or three months into my writing you know I have all kinds of little gigs and you know 50 bucks here 100 bucks there 200 bucks here you know nothing crazy I was making a few thousand maybe a month and then I got a really really big offer and I've been pursuing this like a shark I mean it's been like two months of follow-ups and I think I had an axe interview on the phone and that's the only time I've ever had that but I can't say what the client was because I signed an NDA but I will say it's a best seller that is the author is in this list over here book so very very successful best-selling author and I got basically the ghost writing gig form and just didn't work you know I wasn't very good yet and I was horrible at time management and to be honest with you my editing was just shitty like I lost the client for good reason I wasn't very good I actually look back at some of those and I'm like man I had to served it but it's kind of funny because I actually got ghosted more than anything they never even said like you're fired it was just like hey you're you know supposed to make two or three grand a month on retainer and then they just stopped emailing so I'm pretty sure I lost them but you know it's one of those things where it's just a learning moment everybody gets fired or you know dropped from clients and things like that so for me again it was 100% my fault I learned from it so the biggest thing I recommend to you is one understand that it could happen it probably will happen but make sure you're losing the clients that you don't necessarily want as much or just part ways before it gets there right so again I had that happen and that was a big morale blow for me because it was my highest paying client it was the most cool the coolest highest paying one and like the most famous one I guess so you know that was kind of tough for me but again it's part of the process like not worried about I don't think about it anymore so I've lost other clients as well just kind of parted ways sometimes you know when I stopped writing about personal finance that just didn't really work as well for me and the clients so you know that was totally cool but yeah losing clients is part of the process and again you always want to be leveling up so if you're making 10 cents with this client try and find a new one for 14 cents or 20 cents to replace them because again then you can keep creating that awesome workflow and getting paid more for your time what has been your biggest mistake as a writer mmm biggest mistake I would probably say not having any structure and just trying to do everything at once so I used to try and do the outline and then I'd add it and then that submit and things were bad like I was just not very good at that so that's again when I talked about the importance of batching because if you just write four thousand words about anything it's very hard to detach yourself from your head and then read that to edit it because you're not gonna have an editor for the most part for a lot of the content writing gigs that I've had and so if you turn in bad work they're gonna be the first to let you know so that's been the biggest thing for me is to separate writing from editing time because again that can lead to losing clients and losing clients like I talked about it's part of it but you don't want to make it a regular thing right so it kind of sucked but again that is part of it editing has never been my strong suit so if you read any articles sorry about that if there's any misspelling but for the most part again that has been the biggest mistake is trying to do too much at once so I always recommend getting started earlier on the project turning things in early that way you give yourself more time life happens you know you might have something with your dog or your kid or other clients and stuff like that so I'd say structuring and planning your writing clients is super important all right it's just coming up here to the end the second the last question is what it was your best job and what was your worst job man let's the best job I've probably had I've had a couple different ones that I really like the Gulf clients I've written for I still can't believe I get paid to write about golf obviously I love it and it's fun to me so that's cool I've you know made thousands and thousands of dollars from certain golf clients and then you know I had another client that I got paid about four or five thousand dollars for e-books that I wrote and again they were all about the brain and personal development and stuff so I loved that stuff so again when I'm writing about things I'm super passionate about it really doesn't feel like work to me so that was really cool worst jobs I would say for awhile I was writing for this like app I don't even know if it's a real app yet or if it's in beta still but it was this app that uh like did quizzes and I was like writing quizzes about personal finance I got paid like fifteen dollars for each one or I mean some some random thing it took me like five minutes so I was like well it's worth fifteen bucks if I could do you five of them were ten of them a week but super random so yeah sometimes you gotta you gotta kiss a frog before you can really make it but yeah I mean again I always recommend to you know just find find what your lowest rate is and then just don't budge and then always keep going up from there and making sure you're you're always getting raises all right final question here in this freelance writer QA is what is your biggest piece of advice for someone that's in a 9 to 5 and is thinking about quitting you know I would say it really really comes down to you figuring out what you want to do with your life because the biggest thing I've learned from all these books and all these events and seminars I've went to is that we are running on programs these programs were put into us from a young age your mom your dad your aunt your uncle grandparents authority figures teachers everyone told you what to think feel do how to be in the world but if you never change and actually take a like a moment whether you write in a journal or you just kind of take some quiet time and think about your life where you're at that is key because for the most part most people just kind of go through their whole life operating from that state and unless you take the time to actually go in and think about it and figure out what you want not what your mom wants your spouse your brother or sister anyone like that what do you want so that is the biggest thing for me when I was in a 9 to 5 I was making six figures I was in my 20s you know I barely even worked when I was there but it was not what I wanted I wanted to play golf I wanted to build an online business I wanted to have freedom I wanted to have the ability to make unlimited income I wanted to literally make awesome relationships and donate to charities and travel and do all these things that I just couldn't do when I was in the nine-to-five so the biggest thing for me is that I thought where am I where do I want to be it wasn't that cool it took years to figure out things like that it wasn't like I just had one epiphany and I was like boom there I go so it's important to know it's a process but if you're thinking about quitting don't just quit to quit or quicks you had a bad day you can get a promotion make sure you're setting a plan for your life whether you want to be a writer a blogger a podcaster youtuber ecommerce something else totally different that I'm not thinking of right now but like figure out where you want to be what you want to do and how you want to spend your time because even if you made 50 million dollars today in the lottery the next day you're just gonna want to do something still so no matter what kind of money you'll have in your life you're gonna always want to do something right so again if you're in a 9 to 5 you're not happy then make sure you know what you want and then make a plan and reverse-engineer it to go get it well hopefully that was helpful again I am trying to be as transparent as possible I want to share with you the goods the bads the highs of the lows of being an entrepreneur of working at home of being a freelance writer so hopefully this resonated with you if you have more comments or questions again hit that comment box I want to answer and help you speed up success so if you have any other questions again let me know and if you like this video give it a like subscribe turn the bell on all that good stuff because again I'm pumping out a lot of great content about writing and digital entrepreneurship for you because again if I did it you can do it too so thank you again for watching as always have an epic day

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