How to Escape Content Mills and Start Earning the Big Bucks

If you’re a brand new freelance writer, content mills can offer a great way to get your feet wet. While they don’t pay much, they do give you a chance to write for real clients, on real deadlines, for real cash.

But they’re definitely not a way to sustain your career.

The monotonous, low-paying work can get to you fast, and if you want to make the big bucks as a writer, you’re definitely going to need to look elsewhere.

Have you been using content mills to jump-start your freelance career? Is it time to move on and find new opportunities?

Here’s how to do it:

1. Use Job Boards

The best way to escape content mills is to start finding direct clients. You can do this by hitting up job boards like those on ProBlogger and FreelanceWriting.com. These offer a variety of job postings from many different outlets. Just touch up your resume and start applying!

2. Perfect Your Pitch

When looking for direct clients, you’ll need to pitch them on your ideas, your skills and your knowledge. Create a few pitch templates you can use in a pinch, and make sure to customize them for each and every job you apply for. Also, create a cold pitch, which you’ll use if you’re contacting a magazine or other publication out of the blue about a potential story idea you have.

3. Beef Up Your Portfolio Site

Spend some time beefing up your online portfolio site. Add samples, extend your bio and skills, and even consider implementing a blog where you can share news, insights and work. You want potential clients to see you as a true asset when they come to your site.

4. Become An Expert

The freelance writers who make the most are those who specialize in a specific niche or industry. They’re sought out by publications and business owners in their field, and they’re able to command the big bucks for their expertise. If you really want a lucrative career as a freelance writer, considering specializing in a certain type of writing, rather than taking a more generalized approach.

Escaping content mills is not always easy. It requires a well-thought out plan that includes branding and the right client communication. If you want to learn how to escape content mills quickly and get a proven, step-by-step plan on how to attract and land high-paying clients, check out the Freelance Profit Academy.

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How Freelance Writers can Be More Productive and Earn more Money

For freelance writers, productivity and efficiency are crucial. After all, the more we can get done in the day, the more money we stand to make – more money for our bills, for our family and, just maybe, for those hard-earned vacations we dream of.

But even though productivity is important, sometimes it’s hard to come by. There’s Facebook to distract us when we’re online, our dogs calling for a walk at our feet, and we’ve got friends asking us to lunch or happy hour…all while we’re enjoying our NOT-9-to-5.

It can be a struggle to say the least.

The good news is that there are a few tips and tricks that can help freelance writers stay productive and make more cash – even in the face of temptation and distraction.

Want to be more efficient and productive in your career? Here’s how to do it:

1. Carve Out Work Time

The beauty of a freelance writing career is that you’re not locked into certain hours, but do you know why employers require you work specific hours? It’s to ensure you get your work done and you are productive. While I don’t recommend keeping a strict 8-hour work day as a freelancer, carve out a few blocks of time each day for designated work-only periods. This will keep you on track and your eyes on the prize.

2. Carve Out “Me” Time

Enjoy the flexibility of your freelance career, whether that means meeting up with friends for a bite to eat or taking an extended break to enjoy the nice weather. You’ll enjoy your career much more when you reward yourself with “you” time! Set aside a few hours a week for this me time. It will give you something to look forward to, and it will keep you from trying to avoid deadlines with excursions and fun!

3. Use The Right Tools

You don’t need anything fancy to manage your freelance career, but there are definitely some tools that can make your job easier. A good calendar system, for example, is a great way to keep yourself on task and on schedule. Google Calendar is a great tool, as you can color code by client and set up alerts for upcoming deadlines. You can also use invoicing tools, accounting software, and programs like OmmWriter to streamline your processes and up productivity in other ways, too.

The more efficient you can be with your time, the more money you’ll make and the more rewarding, freeing career you’ll have. Take a few minutes to consider how you can get more done, and start taking steps toward higher productivity today.

If you want to learn more about productivity and time-management for freelance writers and see videos that explain a lot more about this topic, take a look at the Freelance Profit Academy.

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Top 3 Time-Management Tools for Busy Freelance Writers

We’ve all heard the saying, “time is money,” but for a freelance writer, this is more than a saying. Every second and minute matters to freelancers and time can either add to or detract from earnings.

After all, every hour wasted on Facebook, paying bills or even just looking for new clients and projects is time that could have been spent working, making money to spend or put away in savings.

Because of this, it’s important we freelancers are good at time management. Better yet, it’s VITAL we’re good at it.

If you want to have a profitable career and you don’t want to work yourself to the bone to do it, managing your time properly is key.

Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can help you do that and make managing your time easier.

1. Google Calendar

It sounds simple and obvious, but Google Calendar is the single, hands-down best tool you can use as a freelance writer. It lets you see your deadlines, appointments and obligations all in one handy place, and you can access it with any device you own – your phone, e-reader, tablet or computer. You can also color code by client, and share calendars with others you might be working with. Its alert functions are also hugely helpful when you have deadlines looming!

2. “Rescue Time”

Rescue Time does just what its name suggests: It helps you determine where and how you’re losing time so you can be more efficient and more profitable. This unique tool will track how much time you spend on certain activities such as reading a blog, surfing Twitter or watching Netflix. By monitoring your activity, you can gain insight into what’s keeping you from your full potential – and change it fast!

3. “Oh Don’t Forget”

Most of us get thousands and thousands of emails a day, so as nice as email reminders are, they sometimes can get lost in the shuffle. “Oh Don’t Forget” fixes all that. Instead of using email to keep you on track, it uses text messages. It can text you about that deadline you have later today, the call you scheduled with your client or even just your afternoon to-do list. Whatever you need a reminder for, “Oh Don’t Forget” can handle it.

Proper time management can mean the difference between a difficult, low-earning freelance writing career and a smoother, high-earning one. There are specific time-management techniques that work for writers, and in the Freelance Profit Academy, six-figure writer, Maggie Linders, teaches you all of her proven time-management strategies. She also teaches you how to start, build, and maintain a successful, long-term freelance writing career and provides personal coaching and support. Learn more about the Freelance Profit Academy.

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The Fastest Way to Earn Your First $1,000 as a Freelance Writer

You know what feels great? Earning your first big chunk of cash as a professional freelance writer.

It makes you feel like you made the right choice – like quitting your 9-to-5, branching out on your own and blazing your own path was the best thing you’ve ever done.

But if you’re just starting out, it can feel like that day is a long way away. If you’re starting off with content mills and bidding sites, you may very well be working for pennies – and that can take a while to add up.

Fortunately, those aren’t your only options. You can earn $1,000 as a freelance writer fast – long before your mortgage is due and the tax man comes calling.

Here’s how to do it:

Find A Few Clients In Need

Scour your LinkedIn network and check out the websites of local businesses and companies.

Is there any group with a less-than-stellar website? You could probably beef up their web content and make a big difference.

Are any of your connections starting a new job? Find out if their company could use content help.

Is someone in the market for employment? Offer to write copy for their personal portfolio site.

Ask For A Per-Project Rate

If you want to reach $1,000 fast, forget billing hourly. Instead, propose a flat, per-project rate for your clients.

Factor in how much time the project will take you, as well as your experience and skills, and come up with a fee that’s fair (but profitable!)

Exceed Your Deadlines

Sure, that new client might give you a month to complete their new website content, but do you really need that long? More importantly, do you want to wait that long for your payment? The quicker you get to work, the quicker you get paid!

Get Deposits And Ask For Milestone Payments

If you’re working on a particularly large project, a great way to get your cash early is to ask for a deposit or collect milestone payments.

With a deposit, you’ll ask for a certain percentage of your total fee upfront. This is to reserve your time and protect you from getting stiffed. With milestone payments, you can have the client pay you for each chunk of content you turn in – maybe per webpage your write, per blog post or per eBook chapter.

Make Payment Easy

Finally, don’t make payment a hassle for your clients. Get a PayPal and Venmo account, and nix the old mailed, paper checks you’re used to. Bill clients via email, and let them pay you instantly and seamlessly online. It’s better for both you and them.

Earning your first $1,000 can seem like an uphill battle but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want a proven, step-by-step system to earning your first $1,000 and more in a short period of time, check out Maggie Linder’s Freelance Profit Academy. This program has become very popular among freelance writers and has produced hundreds of success stories. Check out the Freelance Profit Academy.

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How to Get Started as a Freelance Writer Even If You Have No Experience

A freelance writing career can be very rewarding. You can create your own schedule, reach your financial goals, and work out of the comfort of your home. What more could you want?

But unless you’re coming out of a professional job as a journalist, it might be a little scary to make the jump from 9-to-5 to freelancer. After all, you’ve got bills to pay, maybe a family to care for and other responsibilities. You can’t just up and quit!

Fortunately, getting started as a freelance writer is easier than you think. You don’t even need experience in writing to be able to do it.

Do you want the freedom and flexibility of a freelance writing career? Don’t worry about having the right experience or background. The experience will come in time. Start with the steps below:

1. Assemble An Online Portfolio

The first thing you need to do if you want to be a freelance writer is to create an online portfolio. You can do this using one of many portfolio website platforms. To find one, type into Google “writer portfolio website” and you will see a few come up. Or, use a more customizable solution like WordPress.

In your portfolio, include your bio, details about your education and expertise, and samples of your work. If you don’t have samples, don’t fret. Just create some! Write a few sample articles, or start a blog that shows off your skills. You simply want a way for potential clients to evaluate your skills.

2. Get On LinkedIn – And Get Active

LinkedIn is one of the most important sites for freelance writers, and prospective clients can find you easily when you are on this platform. Create a free account and optimize your profile by changing your headline to something like “Freelance writer for hire” or “Freelance business writer”. Think in terms of what potential clients would search for. Also be sure to make your profile as detailed as possible. Add samples, fill out your background, and ask for recommendations from past employers and colleagues.

3. Get Your Feet Wet

If you don’t have much experience, dip your toes in first. Consider joining a content mill or signing up for a bidding site to snag your first few jobs. These may not pay the big bucks, but they’ll give you good samples to show off to potential clients, and they’ll help you get a feel for the new industry you’re working in.

Getting started as a freelance writer is not difficult, but it can be frustrating if you are trying to compete with seasoned writers who have much more experience than you. If you want a fail-proof formula for not only getting started as a freelance writer among the competition, but also experiencing quick results, check out Maggie Linders and the Freelance Profit Academy.

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How to Overcome the Fear of Turning in Freelance Writing Work

When you’re new to freelance writing, every looming deadline can feel like a weight on your shoulders. It can be scary to turn in copy you’ve worked so hard on, and let others see it, read it and judge it.

Fortunately, turning in your work gets easier over time. But if you don’t want to wait months to get over that deadline-fearing hump, here are some tips to help you overcome your fears quicker and more easily:

Let Someone Else See Your Work First

It can be pretty scary to turn your work into a client – one who’s paying you for your talents and expertise.

To take some of the edge off, show your work to another third party first. Maybe it’s your spouse or your best friend, or maybe you have a friend who’s great with grammar, or you know a professional editor. It doesn’t really matter who it is, but send your work to them first. Get their feedback, make a few changes based on it, and send your revised version over to your client. You’ll feel much better about sending over a second draft rather than a first!

Go Back To Your Assignment

Take a few minutes to go back over your original assignment. Does the work you produced answer the questions or address the issues it needs to? Does it meet your client’s expectations?

Try to read your assignment and your copy back-to-back in the same sitting. If the two match up well, you can feel more confident handing over your work when the time comes. If they don’t, head back to the drawing board and make some revisions.

Assure Yourself

Sometimes, you just need a little boost in confidence to get over that hump.

Before turning in a project, set aside some time to do self-affirmations. Say to yourself “I am a talented writer, and I produce great content my client will love.”

Build yourself up, and feel good about what you produced. No one else could have done exactly what you have. It is completely unique to you and your talents! Revel in that.

Turning in your work gets easier and easier with time. Over the months and years of working as a freelance writer, you’ll become more and more confident in your abilities, your talents and your work. But until then, use these tips to help you feel more at ease when deadlines loom.

If you want actionable steps you can take to overcome fear and lack of confidence, Maggie Linders can help you. She was a shy, fearful aspiring writer who, with a little work, learned how to get past her obstacles to become a six-figure freelance writer. To help her fellow freelance writers, she developed a system called the Freelance Profit Academy where she teaches you all of her tips and tricks to help you gain confidence and start and maintain a successful writing career. Learn more about the Freelance Profit Academy, Click Here.

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How Much Should Freelance Writers Charge for Their Work?

How much should you charge for your writing?

This is one of the most common questions from new freelance writers. Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer.

The rate a freelance writer should charge depends on so many variables, and many times, one writer’s rates can change daily, weekly or even hourly if the projects are different enough!

If you’re struggling to determine what you should charge for your freelance writing work, there are a few factors you’ll want to consider.

Your Experience

How long have you been writing? More specifically, how long have you been writing the type of content your client or project requires? Generally, the more experience you can lend to a project, the higher rate you can command.

The Venue/Client

What’s the client like? Are they a small business or a big-budget corporation? Where did you find the gig? Was it on Craigslist or a job board that requires payment to post?

Try to gauge how much your client has to spend, and use that as a basis for building your rate.

The Time Required

Take a look at the project as a whole and try to determine how long it will take you to complete. Though you may not be charging the client hourly, you still want to make a profitable hourly rate once the project is complete. Be sure to add in a little cushion for editing and revisions, too. Those will probably take at least a few hours.

Your Goals

What are your career goals?

Are you wanting to make $100K a year and work 20 hours a week, or are you okay with working 40 hours a week and making only $50K?

You’ll have to charge higher rates the more you want to make and the less you want to work.

To figure out how much you should charge, determine your monthly salary goal and divide it by the number of hours a month you will work on freelance writing. Make sure to use only your billable hours in your calculations as some work you may be doing could be related to your business but it may not be actual writing. Only calculate your “writing” tasks hours when you are determining your target hourly rate.

Your Financial Situation

How much do you need to make to cover your bills and expenses?

Figure out what hourly rate you’ll need to charge to make that amount. This should be an even bigger consideration than your financial goals. After all, you have to be able to pay that Internet bill to keep on working, right?

With freelance writing, you can charge by the hour, per word or per project – whatever works best for you and your client. It is recommended to charge per hour or project since sometimes clients can balk at an hourly rate even though they would pay you the same amount of money should you quote per hour or per project. Consider all the factors before presenting your rates to make sure you’ll end up with the profitable side of the bargain. Don’t be afraid to ask for the high rate you know you deserve! There are clients out there willing to pay it.

The rate question is a complex one to answer but the Freelance Profit Academy can help you come up with exact rate figures. Click Here to learn more about this.

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The Top 4 Places to Find Freelance Writing Jobs

You can find freelance writing jobs virtually anywhere – through old employers and colleagues, on Craigslist and bidding sites, and even on social media.

Freelance writing opportunities are all around us.

But as nice as it is to wade through the numerous opportunities, it can also make the process of landing new freelance gigs pretty time-consuming.

Do you really have hours to scour the web, checking in on every possible job site, social platform and blog? Definitely not – at least not if you want to be profitable!

Thankfully, you don’t have to. Below are a few of the best possible spots for finding gigs – gigs that can be lucrative and interesting and get you on the fast track to earnings.

1. Morning Coffee Newsletter

This handy newsletter found at freelancewritingjobs.com sends daily job alerts straight to your inbox.

It features 10 to 20 handpicked freelance writing jobs from across the Internet, each with a different client, pay and focus. Some come from Craigslist (which means you don’t have to scour the dozens and dozens of city-based Craigslist ads for gigs!) and some come from other job sites across the web.

The main point? The work is already done for you. Just sit back, check your email, and apply for anything that sounds like a good fit.

2. BloggingPro

The BloggingPro job board is a great place to find high-paying, legitimate freelance writing gigs for one big reason: Clients have to pay to post a job on it.

Sure, it’s only $30, but when there are alternative sites that are absolutely FREE for posting, you know a client means business if they’re willing to shell out cash for their post! You’ll find everything from niche, industry-specific gigs to full-time remote opportunities for single clients. It’s a must-see stop on your weekly job hunt.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn can provide freelance writing job opportunities in two ways:

  1. Job postings on the site
  2. Easy and seamless networking.

Though networking takes a little more work, you can often spot opportunities for gigs just by checking your feed daily.

Did someone change jobs or get promoted? Reach out and see if they could use your services.

Is someone launching a new website? Ask if they could use help with web content. You never know when a job is right around the corner.

4. Freelance Profit Academy

Job scams are plenteous on the web, and unsuspecting freelance writers can get caught in their devious web easily. Thankfully, the Freelance Profit Academy houses a daily, scam-free job board that weeds out scams and supplies you with the highest-quality jobs sourced from around the web. Six-figure freelance writer, Maggie Linders, and her knowledgeable team review each and every job to provide you with only the best ones. Visit the Freelance Profit Academy to find out more.

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