Let’s say you’ve looked around the internet for freelance writing clients. You’ve done a few jobs on Fiverr or Upwork here and there, but you’re feeling discouraged. Because you are earning pennies compared to what you could make at a 9-to-5 or even on minimum wage!
The key to becoming a full-time freelance writer is making more money for your time. This means you have to both offer insanely awesome value to clients (be good at what you do) AND find valuable, higher-paying clients.
This post is about the latter.
How I landed my first $1k freelance writing client
I landed my first $1k client about 3 months into freelancing. He was a sales funnel expert and he posted looking for a copywriter to write a video sales letter (VSL) and some emails on the Cult of Copy Job Board Facebook group.
At that point, I had been stalking job boards like this like crazy and applying to everything I could even remotely imagine myself doing. Here’s how I pitched myself to him through private message:
I’m responding to your post on the Cult of Copy job board. I’m a freelance writer and content marketer. I have a ton of experience in blogging and website content but want to learn sales copy. I was going to wait until after I had results from a squeeze page I just put up today for my boyfriend’s project management tool ([squeeze page url]) to look for sales copy gigs but saw your post and decided to go for it anyway.
– I’m extremely resourceful – Used to be a researcher (like professionally) so this is my thing
– I’m professional, communicative, and deadline-driven
You can check out my freelancer site at http://michelle-vogel.com
I think of myself as fresh talent – I have the potential to be great at this but need a shot to prove it. I can do the job as requested for $1100.
Let me know what you think!
Hope to hear from you soon,
He got back to me about a week later. He hired me for a different project: a VSL and email sequence for one of his clients who was an “infopreneur” selling a high-ticket online product:
And the rest is history.
The takeaways: How YOU can get high-paying freelance writing clients
Don’t fake anything about your skills and experience but show lots of confidence in your abilities.
I had never written this type of copy (VSL) before. Instead of trying to pretend I had, I marketed myself as “fresh talent” looking for an opportunity to show what I could do. I still included samples of my writing though to show I had potential.
I used direct and confident language in my pitch. I never said “I think I can help you out” (this is a phrase that comes out naturally when you’re new and pitching but it makes you sound unsure); I talked myself up, saying I was super resourceful and deadline-driven.
Have a *quality* online freelancer site or portfolio to refer them to.
I had a freelancer site to refer him to. I knew this was important in his decision to get back to me because he actually quoted some things I had written on my website back to me during our first call.
Aim high; expect to be negotiated down.
He had asked for a project quote in his job posting so I made sure to include on in my response. I had never charged this much for any writing project before but I just went for it. I expected he might flat out say no or try to negotiate me down.
The thing is, the clients who don’t want to pay very much for your work also don’t value your work as much. I’ve found they tend to be the most difficult and lowest quality clients. So aim high and be grateful if you don’t get the job because they only want to pay pennies for a massive amount of work!
Be conversational in your message (or whatever tone they want for the project).
I was aware he was looking for someone to write a video sales script, so I made sure my message to him sounded conversational. Most writing online is in a conversational style these days so don’t be afraid to “write like you would speak”. I’ve seen some people respond to job opps on Facebook sounding so stiff and academic, or like they didn’t have full mastery of the English language (sorry not to offend but you do need to write like a native speaker if you plan to make a living as a freelance writer in English).
Overall, I would make sure your message matches the tone of writing they are looking for.
So yeah that was my first high-paying freelance writing client. It was a one-off project, which is okay for me because I’m not sure I love writing video sales letters in the end! But I would have never known that if I hadn’t done this project.
I hope that helps to inspire you. You can steal some of my wording from the message next time you pitch yourself for a job!