Welcome to Training Module 1

Done right, working online is a sweet gig. 

Done wrong, you’ll hate your life and everyone in it.

The point, and what makes so many professionals gravitate towards freelancing, is that how and when you work become your choices to make. 

These training modules will teach you what you need to know to get started writing online. We’ll train you in how to do freelance writing right. 

Want to work from bed or out of a Airbnb on the other side of the world. Master remote work, and you’ll have the freedom to try a polyphasic sleep cycle or to choose to religiously pound out a 9 - 5 existence. 

Unfortunately, I can’t teach you how to write. Good writing takes years of dedicated time and effort. Great writing takes, well I’ll let you know when I get there.  

The goal of this course is to set your wheels in motion. If everything goes according to plan, before we are through, you’ll have earned your first dollar and have the tools at your disposal to make many many more. 

What is Freelance Writing?

I like to describe freelancing as running a business that sells you

Whatever skill you tack on after freelancing be it writing, coding or designing, that’s the product you’re being contracted to produce. Saying that freelance writing is just selling your writing is an oversimplification because there are so many other aspects to freelancing. 

You’ll work in teams, network, send proposals, respond to countless emails, and use other human-specific skills. These qualities come from you, not the writing. So I will reiterate, freelancing It is running a business that sells you

Furthermore, anyone who has actually worked as a freelancer will tell you that if you want some semblance of a work/life balance, you will inevitably end up a remote worker in an SMB

There is a romantic/incorrect notion surrounding freelancing that you’ll have a new client every Tuesday. You are welcome to try, however, I strongly advise that you get friendly with a company willing to weather your learning curve. 

Find a company that puts out consistent content and pick up weekly hours. An established company, in a developed country, will have no qualms paying $250 - $500 per post. Pick up 2 - 3 of these gigs, schedule your week, be good to them, and you will be a freelancer before you know it. 

There are many categories of online writing: 

Copywriting 

Content writing 

Blogging 

eBook writing 

Social Media post writing 

Email writing 

B2B 

B2C

Travel blogging 

All categories of writing can and should be placed onto a spectrum of where your ideal reader is in their customer journey

If the reader is still looking for general information, you write blogs and eBooks to inform and entertain them. When the reader is ready to make a purchase, you’re write landing pages and sales copy to convert them. Understand your ideal reader, and you’ll do very well.  

Why Do Companies Outsource Blogging?

Companies outsource blogging for all kinds of reasons. Maybe their in-house content team can’t keep up with the demand, or it could be that their main writer is on maternity leave. 

I’d like to quote content marketing genius Neil Patel “Blogging is an inbound marketing strategy that truly works. You can generate more qualified leads through blogging. Recent statistics reveal that marketers who blog consistently will acquire 126% more leads than those who do not.”

That’s a lot of leads. 

Content marketing is giving something away for free in exchange for attention. Attention can be converted into Adsense revenue, used to build authority, or as Neil said, lead to more leads in your funnel. When people engage with content, they are in a business’s marketing funnel, businesses see this as an opportunity to make sales.

You are in advertising. Congratulations.  

Another reason, and perhaps the more significant reason that businesses will pay you to write content, is that content ranks on Google. 

The order of pages in Google’s search results can make or break a business. When Google ranks web pages, it uses an algorithm. 

That algorithm crawls webpages, and along with other factors, considers the text on the page when assigning a ranking to the page. Optimizing, so that Google ranks you higher on the search results page is called SEO -- Search Engine Optimization. 

In later modules, we’ll cover SEO in-depth. It’s a pillar of writing content for the internet. The more you learn about it the better you’ll rank and the more you can charge. Being able to show prospective clients pages that you have gotten to the top of Google, is the ultimate validation of your online writing ability.  

Suggested Reading to Learn SEO

https://buzzsumo.com/blog/most-shared-headlines-study/

https://neilpatel.com/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-writing-blog-posts-that-rank-in-googles-top-10

https://www.thepersuasionrevolution.com/380-high-emotion-persuasive-words/  

3 Simple Steps To Land You First Client

Good job, you are really sticking with it. In this section, we are going to try and get you your first client. I will make the assumption that you have never written professionally before and suggest some strategies to overcome that barrier. This section has a lot of pre-work. It’s recommended that you spend between 2 - 4 weeks working on the steps outlined below.

Starting out can be really discouraging. You’ll invest hours and hours, and see no return for weeks. Stick with it. Don’t quit your day job and trust the process.

Step 1: Build a Portfolio

Online writing is one of the few careers where employees care more about what you have done then about your degrees and qualifications. If you want to break into online writing, all you really need are samples that prove you can write. Word documents aren’t going to cut it either. You’ll want to get your work published ASAP. 

Pick a Niche

We will cover specialisation throughout this course. Your first niche probably won’t be your last, but when building your portfolio it’s a good idea to start writing the type of content that you want to be paid to write as soon as possible. 

Publish Something

Medium

Publishing samples on Medium is a great way to get a sharable link to an article with your name on it. Write your pants off. Go full try hard and pump out a hard-hitting, page scroller. Don’t write the post in a single afternoon. Think of it as an investment. Put days or weeks of dedicated time into it. Then edit it until it glistens and there isn’t a comma out of place. 

Well written posts on Medium will get claps, shares and feedback. Take screenshots of your analytics and show clients how much engagement your Medium posts are getting. Ask your friends, colleagues, or mum to give your post claps. 

If you wear a darker shade of hat, boot up the VPN, make a new medium account (or 70) and give yourself a standing ovation of medium claps...More on blackhat practices and gaming the internet to come. 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has a publishing platform. Post blogs on in, comprende? Everything you write for Medium should also go on your LinkedIn page and vice versa. Then link between your Linkedin and Medium page for free backlinks and try to send readers from one to the other.

Your LinkedIn posts will attach themselves to your profile. LinkedIn isn’t as good as it used to be for writing jobs, but it definitely still plays a part. I always get notifications that prospective clients who are looking at my LinkedIn, either after I contact them directly or apply for their jobs on freelancing platforms.

Step 2: Contact Prospects

Okay, it’s time to throw yourself out there. When applying for remote gigs there are two main paths you can take. Either join a freelancing platform like Upwork, Freelancer or Fiverr, or you can try to source your own leads and reach out to companies directly. 

Platforms

Platforms can be a tough nut to crack. I’m reminded of this meme.

Yes Frodo, on a freelancing platform and without a feedback rating, it might take a 100 proposals before you hear back from anyone. 

There are steps you can take to incentivise your services. 

When first starting out, offer your services at a discount or take quick jobs for 5-star feedback. Some advice, be a little selective. If the client is speaking heavy chinglish, and you can’t understand the requirements, a thanks but no thanks, is better than tarnishing a new account with a bad rating. 

Which Freelancing Platform is The Best

In truth, every successful freelancing platform can potentially fill your coffers and connect you with more clients than you know what to do with. There are pros and cons to all of them. Choose one, master its inner workings, and then try to build up a reputation. 

Upwork

The Good:

Upwork is the largest freelancing platform on the internet. Three million jobs are posted annually, on the platform, worth a total of $1 billion USD. A solid profile with decent feedback on Upwork is the best marketing tool a freelancer can have. Set it up well, and you will get enough invitations to interview and offers from clients, that you can just focus on writing and let the clients come to you. 

The Bad:

Upwork is notorious for its fees. They take 20% of the first $500 you earn with a client. Once you have moved into tier 2, they reduce the fees to 10% of everything you earn. Still not great. 

It takes a really long time to get paid. For hourly contracts, the work week ends on a Sunday. Upwork will then count up all your hours and put a pending status next to the money in your earnings. You won’t see any of that money until next - next Wednesday. That means that if you work on Monday, it can be almost 3 weeks before you are paid for your efforts.  

Upwork now charges 0.15 cents for a connect, and they have closed the gates to new accounts. There was a time when you could create an account in the morning and be applying for jobs by lunch. Now, there is a lengthy approval process and only a select few accounts are given the keys to the walled gardens.

Freelancer

The Good

Freelancer.com has low fees. They will only take 10% of the money you earn up to $5. Whatever comes first. If you earn, $20 they take $2. If you earn over $50, they still only take $5.  

The platform has more of instant messenger feel and clients tend to respond to you in the minutes or seconds after you apply for their job. Also the constant notification stream, makes it really easy to apply for jobs when they are first posted. It might not interest you now, but there are trophies and awards that let experienced freelancers stand out. Something to work towards. Freelancer also has great insights and analytics that help you want to track your earnings and progress over time. 

The Bad   

Rather than settle for on USD standard, Freelancer decided that gigs will be advertised in the client’s local currency. It makes it feel more worldly, but honestly, it is just annoying. You will constantly be converting IDR to USD and Ringgit to Euros. 

You can only apply for 8 jobs a month. if you want to bid on more projects, you’ll have to pay for membership. It isn’t expensive. $1 a month will get you 15 bids. Technically, it is still significantly cheaper than Upwork’s paid connects. You also need to pay for a membership to big on high-value projects.

People Per Hour

The Good 

There are 0 fees. 

PPH is monetized through featured projects and other promotions. If you are freelancing or buying on their platform, it won’t cost a cent. This makes it great for newcomers. While not as popular as Upwork and Freelancer, there is still a decent amount of traffic on their platform, so you won’t struggle to be seen. Another feature that might persuade you to start out on PPH is that you can invite previous clients to add testimonials to the site on your behalf. 

The Bad 

You only get 15 proposals per month. This is hard to work around when you are first getting started. It is free to send the first bid for a project, however credits do not roll over, and buying additional bids stupidly expensive. I encourage you not to do it as a matter of principle. 5 proposals costs almost 9 USD. Unless you are a respected freelancer on their platform, your proposal bounce rate is probably in the high 80 - 90 percentile.

Direct Contact

Negotiation is more of an art than a science. Master your pitch and find the right clients and you’ll never battle for work again. 

First, pick a niche you want to write in. Then make a list of 50 - 100 relevant websites/publications. 

Once you have your list, try to find an email address for someone in that organisation; ideally someone who can make a hiring decision and reach out to them. 

To find people’s email address use Clearbit. It is a tool that’s both free and magic. 

Your email needs to contain: 

Links to your samples

Availability

Experience

Rate 

Why them

A close 

Recommend Reading 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/abdullahimuhammed/2016/08/18/5-steps-freelancers-can-use-to-craft-a-cold-pitch-for-a-client/#7547d2a32413

https://elnacain.com/blog/my-first-freelance-writers-pitch-that-landed-the-gig/

Don’t forget to close. Pitches die because the prospect is left floundering and doesn’t know what to do. Give them the next action. “Message me back and we can discuss this further”. 

I find a trial period is a good close. When freelancing you can be fired at any time. It’s always a trial period. All they have to do is stop responding and trials over, but there is something about offering a (paid) trial that convinces clients you know your stuff. 

Step 3: Do The Work

The harsh reality sets in. You mean this is a job? Unfortunately so. Once you land a job, it’s time to do something difficult in exchange for money.

Go do it. Do it better than you thought you could. Write it as well as you can, and then edit it until it better. In the coming sections, we will cover tips and tricks for better writing. For your first job, I’d strongly advise frequent communication. Client’s will overlook a lot if they like your character. Always confess your willingness to change things they don’t like and be open to making reviews. If you aren’t, then someone else will be. When working online, you’re competing against the whole world. You have to perform to get ahead. 

Step 4: Repeat

Do it all over again. 

You Have Completed Module 1

Your writing career beacons. In the next module we will cover practical writing tips you can implement right now to sound like a pro. 

With only a few, small changes you can transform weak average writing into attention grabbing copy. No matter the style or subject, module 2 will dramatically improve your quality of work. Get over there. 

Click Here To Move On To Training Module 2