In the premiere episode of F-you, Pay Me (FYPM), Codeless founder Brad Smith shares his tips and insider knowledge on how to make real money as a freelance writer. Brad details his journey from making $50 per article to reaching a six-figure salary as a writer in just one year.
Information on how to get started, everyday practices that help you stand out in a sea of writers, and actionable ways to increase your revenue all combine in the first episode of F-You, Pay Me.
- What Brad changed in his approach to freelancing that took him from scraping by to making $8-9K each month.
- How to set achievable monthly income targets and demystify the earning process.
- Two key elements that influence whether a client chooses to work with a writer.
Okay. Well Brad, thanks for joining us today, right to have you here. And it’s, it’s exciting for me cause I want to talk with you about things that I’ve learned from you and hopefully you know, you can share some more insights that you’ve gained over the years. You have an incredible amount of experience as a professional paid writer and not only are you an exceptional writer yourself but you also so have the ability to get paid to do it, which I think is the thing that a lot of us out there don’t know how to do when we start.
Thank you. Yeah, I appreciate the kind words. I’ll try not to be, I’ll try to put anyone to sleep throughout the course of this.
Fantastic. So now we’re titling this F-You Pay Me, which is a little bit provocative for those of you out there. Hopefully not offended, but there’s a specific reason for that that we’re going to get to, but it is about how to get paid as a writer, whether that’s a freelance content writer, maybe writing articles for magazines or maybe even down the track looking at writing novels or something like that. If that’s, you know, an ambition you have as well. But the whole point is that if you have a skill or an ability, you want to actually get paid money to do it. And that’s the challenge a lot of writers have. So there’s really three parts to this. And today in this episode we’re going to talk particularly about the philosophy of F-You Pay me and also prioritizing cash, which, um, you know, something you’ve taught me and I’ve, I’ve really valued learning from you. So do you want to just give a little bit of background maybe on yourself, you know, how you got started as a writer and how you then progressed into becoming a paid professional writer. Would you mind?
Yeah, for sure. I’ll do the, uh, the cliff notes. Um, so I have been kind of like a marketer and writer for around a decade now. I started off just working kind of odd jobs, like as most people do, uh, got into college, joined a startup, made $10 an hour. Uh, that didn’t go as planned, unfortunately. It was a really cool opportunity, but really I was kind of doing a lot of odd jobs, which was, which was good. And it’s fun. I think you should do a lot of things, even if it’s not super glamorous initially because that’s where you learn. Uh, like for example, I was able to then join a travel company and I worked in marketing, but again, I was still writing, I was still editing. I was still, uh, working with designers. I was still doing a lot of stuff that had my hands in a lot of different pies.
Um, fast forward a couple of years and I wanted to go out and become self-employed as most people do, especially like every writer probably listening to this. Uh, the problem was nobody knew who I was. I didn’t really know what I was doing. Um, I didn’t have like a list of contacts or a network. And so, and I also too, like my personality, I’m not like a gregarious, outgoing salesperson where I was just gonna like shake hands and kiss babies and conferences and get clients that way. And so I always liked writing and trying to show my expertise, um, that way, like actually show what I was talking about or, how I knew hopefully what I, what I did know. Um, I started doing, I just started writing a lot for free for everywhere that I could get a blog post or an article on.
And then that continued again for a course of a few years. And so, yeah, there was a certain point a few years ago now. So, maybe in the middle of that decade where, I started, I, I needed money. Like most people, like most writers, I had a family to support. I was living in California as you know, not that a cheap state. Um, and so I needed more money and I was like, okay, well I need to, I can’t just write for free anymore. Like I need, I need like to support the hours and hours I’m spending on this. And I was fortunate to start to kinda like luck into a few opportunities where initially I was making like barely anything. Um, and then I found a few good opportunities and I started making decent money and that’s where the light bulb clicked. And I thought, okay, I can do this and if I do it the right way, I could really make a real living just doing this on top of the other stuff I was trying to do. And so it was one of these like,
like I mentioned with one of these epiphanies where within the course of a year I went from essentially like making $0 freelance writing to making about six figures I was doing around like 8k a month, 8-9K a month. Uh, like I said by myself, zero previous experience, freelance writing, one of my first freelance writing gigs, I was making 6 cents a word. So if you do the math on that, uh, it’s like minimum wage or less. Like I could have just gotten a job at Starbucks. So anyway, the point of all this is like, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I’m not the best writer in the world. Yet I was still able to like do it successfully in a fairly short amount of time. Because I kind of figured out how the the game, for lack of a better word is played.
And that’s where the, the title of that article comes from. F-You Pay me, it’s a good fellows reference part of it. It’s Joe Peshy saying like, Oh, what’s the matter? Your whatever stoves broken like F-You Pay me. So the idea is like, um, professional writers should approach writing in a different way that I think a lot of articles and existing content out there that tell you how to become a freelance writer. I think sometimes they miss the mark. And so that’s why I kind of wanted to like set the record straight from someone who’s actually done it and, and doesn’t think that I’m, no unicorn like many other people could do this if they just changed their attitude and their approach basically.
Yeah. Yeah. And it’s a good way to come at it, I think, because I know for myself, you know, you go through a phase where you’re kind of, you don’t really think of yourself as a writer because you haven’t been paid, right. You love to write and you might’ve written a few free pieces or you might have your own blog or whatever. Maybe people even like what you write, but until you’ve actually been paid, that’s kind of like the line where you call yourself a writer. If you actually start saying, you know, I’m going to prioritize getting paid the same as I prioritize actually becoming or practicing writing that changes the whole game.
Yeah, exactly. I think getting paid and then getting paid well. So for context, at the very beginning, I was making 6 cents a word. That’s like 50 bucks an article. Uh, and then by the end of that year I was charging 500 bucks an article. Now, I run a content agency where we work with writers and editors and we do a lot of marketing stuff too in that, in that writing. But we charge $1,500 for an article and more so, is that, because I’m, I became like an amazing writer within a year. No. Like we just, we just learned like what we figured out, like what was the market that and what are they looking for and then how do we continually increase the value that we deliver? And this will come in later stuff, but what does value mean to those people? And then how do we enhance that so we can justify, you know, the bigger rates.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we’ll definitely get to talking about specializing and understanding what the value is to your particular audience as well. So just to start within, for most people starting out, and it may be your, you know, a little bit further down the track in terms of, let’s say you’re starting over again today, if you think of it that way. Um, in terms of ways to get clients as an emerging writer or a brand new writer, what’s your, your advice then? Is there, you know, job boards that you go to? Would you look for referrals? I mean, how would you begin just getting paid gigs.
For sure. Yeah. The uh, job boards and referrals are the two kinda slam dunks so to speak. Um, there’s a book I read called 80 20 marketing and sales by Perry Marshall and you might remember this better than I do, but he talks about this, this concept of finding a ready and willing audience and racking a shotgun and like the people who look around and notice, uh, or recognize what that sound is, that’s the audience. Like those are the people that you, you need people who are ready to willing and give to give you money. Now I say that because you see like small business people and solopreneurs do this all the time where they just like, they’re trying to like promote their business on Facebook so their friends and family and like their friends and family could care less about what they’re trying to offer them, you know?
But they keep doing it. They just keep beating a dead horse. And the problem isn’t there. The intentions are good and what they all have to offer is probably good too. The problem is the wrong audience. So referrals are good if, again, it’s the right type of referrals. If those people understand what you do, what, what your value is, uh, what you charge. If it’s, if it’s a fairly commercial transaction in nature, um, otherwise job boards are overflowing literally with people looking for writers. So then the game becomes, okay, how do I make, how do I go 80, 20, how do I just prioritize the activity that’s going to result in the most amount of initial cash up front because I got a pay a certain amount of bills, you know, to justify this. Um, so then it’s like you could be doing all these activities initially, but at the very beginning just spend like an hour a day responding to job boards. And then if you’re, if once you figure out how to position yourself and all that kind of stuff within a month or two months, you should be overflowing with, you know, work.
Right. Yeah. Cause I’m guessing a lot of people aren’t bothering to do that. So you’re spending an hour a day, it’s suddenly put you ahead of the curve. Right?
Yeah, definitely. That’s part of it. And then the other consistency, like people don’t [inaudible] same with writing too. I had to become a better writer. You write more like how do you get more jobs? You, you, you respond to more job boards. But the other part of that too is like, um, making sure that what the things that you are replying to are the right ones in the first place and that you’re going above and beyond to distinguish yourself from all the other junk that’s, that’s getting uh, replied to as well. So, that is the downside is you’re going to have maybe 200 people reply to the same ad, let’s say. So how do you make sure that you’re sticking out above that? And I say that from experience on both sides where we have, we run job board ads all the time and we like 70%. I would say writers don’t follow the directions we give them. Right. And so that immediately pulls you out of contention. And so that hour a day is wasted if you’re not just covering the basics and making sure that what you’re, whatever you’re applying to is worth like effort.
Yeah. Gotcha. That’s a great point. Any other specific tips? So you know, why is it, you know, you stood out, in the beginning, to get through those initial applications?
Yeah, I’m a part of it is part of it comes down to specialization and positioning and I don’t know if we’re going to go totally deep into that in this session or not. But what I mean by that is let’s say somebody, depending on the style of work you’re looking for, I would recommend if you’re in like the business space for example if you’re freelance writing for businesses, technology, anything like that, Pro Blogger job board is always pretty good. Um, and they have like a pretty good volume, of work too. So let’s say it’s like, I dunno, looking for pet food writers, then the publisher, they’re going to care about number one- if you actually read the ad follow directions and how you reply. But number two, it all is going to come down to your published samples and your published samples need to be on pet foods or whatever that topic is that they’re asking about. So it’s almost if you reply with some generic, like it could even really good. It could be like a finance auto article on the Motley fool, but that’s not relevant to them cause they’re looking for like pet food writers. So like how do you produce pet food writers or pet food content first somewhere, uh, to be able to show that yeah okay you do know what you’re talking about.
Yeah. Gotcha. And so would you, in that respect, would you say getting a little, you know, a menu of articles beforehand, you know, written even if they’re written for free out there, so you can then show those examples is valuable?
Yeah, definitely. And this is where another way where specialization comes into play only because it makes it easier. You’re not trying to publish like 20 different categories or 20 different topics that have nothing to do with each other. What I had a lot of success with was exactly what you described, producing a lot of content for free, for the biggest sites I could find in my spaces and my areas of interest. So that way when I would go to respond to something and it said all these big websites and it was a published sample on that topic and it was a big website, it automatically makes you qualified in that person’s mind. So you automatically get shortlisted. Even if those articles were for free, you know, people don’t know what work is paid, what work is free, they have no idea. So it’s just like big website in my space that, that person recognizes on that topic. And then again, we haven’t even talked about like writing ability yet, but if you just pass those first two hurdles, that gets you onto the short list.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Well that’s, that’s kinda like the, you know, does the key fit the lock. I kind of thing. If that’s there, then it’s, you know, okay, now can you actually be right as well as I suppose, yeah, that’s a great point. Moving on from that. So you know, if you’re starting to apply for all these different, and I love what you said, like spend an hour a day just working on that, applying for different jobs on job boards, you know, specializing more, getting your proof out there first. One thing I liked that you mentioned was the idea of aiming for one new client per month that was kind of the quotient that you were looking for and focusing on paid projects. So just talk a little bit about that. Like, you know, you’re not trying to aim for 10 new clients a month. You only for one.
Yeah, exactly. So, um, if you step back and think broadly and you set a target for yourself. So at the beginning, my target was like 10,000 a month, 10K a month because the initial, I shouldn’t say that at the start, it was later on down the line when it became real, that became the target. But let’s say initially it’s $1,000 a month. Okay, cool. So what, how many articles is that like based on what you’re currently, um, charging or just based on what people are paying. Like a lot of times those job boards will just say like, here’s the budget or here’s what we’re paying roughly. Even if those numbers aren’t that good yet, just start somewhere. If it’s 50 bucks an article, a hundred bucks article, okay, how many articles is that a month and then how many clients is that a month?
So you start actually like sitting down and doing the rough math and you realize pretty quickly. Okay. Like one client, that should be an easy budget in theory for one client, maybe two clients tops $1,000 a month. So it, it demystifies the whole process where initially it seems like the mountain, but you just start kind of breaking it down and chunking it down and you realize, Oh, okay, all I need to do now is just try to get like one new client a month maybe and then make them happy. Like, hang on to them, just don’t lose them. And then you do that for three to six months and all of a sudden you’re making 6,000 a month and you’re like, Oh, this easy. Like I could easily keep, you know, keep doing this and keep building up to like a much bigger goal and much more ambitious goal where initially that seemed like an impossible idea.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. It gains momentum very quickly when you do it that way. And I love the idea because it’s just trying to find one quality client per month and taking care of them so that they don’t leave doing great work for them. You know, that that will eventually grow.
Yep. It almost like the depersonalizes the process and I mean not a good way. Um, in that, uh, I think Steven Pressfield talks about this in the War of Art, which is an older book that you should definitely read if you’re a writer, but he talks about like incorporating himself as like a screenwriter and becoming a professional. Um, and part of that process is like, people are going to reject you when you’re doing this. And that’s okay. Like that’s part of it. In sales, if you get like a 25% close rate, that’s good. So if you’re trying to land one client a month, that means you need to have, you need to like actually have like a conversation with at least like four to five people. But then there’s going to be like another ratio there where maybe that means you need to apply to 10 to 20 jobs to get your four or five conversations going.
And so those are just the numbers. Like it’s not, it has nothing to do with your worth as a writer or your ability as a writer has everything to do with just like that’s how the world works. Like that’s how sales works for whatever reason. Uh, and so you should hopefully become a lot less hung up on like, Oh, this is the perfect opportunity for me, this one opportunity. And it’s like maybe, maybe not, maybe the timing is not right, maybe the budget’s not right. Maybe whatever. All that stuff happens. Um, if you work it for an hour a day and you shoot for 20 replies a month, which is almost one a day, like, you should meet your numbers. And again, it’s, it’s not again, has nothing to do with like how good you are. A bad you are. It’s just you just hit those numbers. Uh, you, you respond to one good one, two good ones a day and then go take the rest of the day off and relax. Cause like, you know, if you just keep at it, it’s gonna eventually pay off.
Yeah. So true. Actually it reminds me when I did my first Ted talk, you know, I applied to about 10 different Ted talks all around California, different States. I figured out how far I was willing to go to speak. Right. And then I think it was the eighth one that finally agreed that the first seven and they were always super polite. They would never like get outta here, you’re a bum or whatever. It was just, you know, you’re not a good match for this or we’ve already got the speakers or apply again next year or whatever. And then the eight one was a good fit, you know, the key fit, the lock. So it worked. But what was interesting was after I did my talk, a lot of people would ask me, you know, how did you get your Ted talk? And I said, well, I applied for all these talks. You know, I applied for as many as I could. And I asked them, how many of you applied? For one, they’d say, none. I mean, that’s how it works. You just keep applying, keep asking and uh, you know, it gets there.
Yeah. Even to this day, like I still do sales for our company and like, it’s the same numbers. It’s just, they’re just numbers now or there’s just more, more of them. And so if somebody says, Hey, it’s not a good fit right now. I don’t, I don’t have to be like the master salesperson. I’m close them. It’s just like, okay, cool. No worries. Like, I’m here if you need me. You know what I mean? Like reach out and reach back out. And I have that like six months, a year down the line, like people reach back out cause the timings right budgets, right. And then so it again, it takes a lot of pressure off of your personal kind of like feelings towards what’s happening and getting rejected. But on the other side too, it’s like you don’t have to be a master salesperson. It’s just like, you know, here are my rates, here’s what I’m good at, here’s what I’m not good at. If we sound like a good fit, let’s do it. If not, I don’t, that’s totally cool. Like I’m not, you know, I take no offense. Best of luck going forward and like hopefully maybe, you know, something changes down the line.
Yeah. And if that relationship is already maintained and connected, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out for another job. If I post something or even just yourself and just saying, Hey, following back up after six months or whatever, you know, as long as you’re not too obnoxious and annoying that most of the time they’ll give you a shot.
Yeah, definitely. It’s like, Hey, how did, I’ve had this all the time where it’s like, Hey, we’re going to go with a different company or we’re going to go with a different writer and I say no worries. You know, like I hope I sincerely hope things work out. Uh, but they might not. So like six months later, Hey, how’d everything go with that one writer? Like are you guys still? And a lot of times I’ll even go look at their website. So if I know they’re doing blog content, I’ll go look at their blog and see like when’s the last time they published, how much are they publishing? Cause that tells me pretty quickly like, do they actually have a writer working on this stuff full time now? Or are they, or did they initially? And then there hasn’t been a post in two months. So like they need a writer now. Like they’re, they’re like a perfect candidate to reach back out to and ask, Hey, how’d everything go? Like, you know, if, if things didn’t go well, sorry to hear that, but like I’d love to like have another shot at it.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, that’s a great insight. Actually. That’s how I got my first ever. It was an inhouse freelance gig for an agency, you know, writing their blog because their blog had stalled. It was just, no, it was, you know, I was running up until a certain month and it just stopped. So I literally cold-called them and just said always interested in if you need a freelancer. And yeah, they clearly did. And they didn’t want to hire someone full time so I did a couple of articles a month and that’s how it started. Just from seeing it. There was a lapse in their writing.
For sure. Yeah, that’s a perfect point too. Cause especially agencies, uh, other types of companies like that, you got to just go where the money is. Like agencies have clients. And they’re always looking for people to help them. And they don’t always have the full workload for a full-time writer like you mentioned, or they don’t, or they don’t always have the, they don’t want to make the commitment cause they’re like, Hey, maybe we only, we have this client for three months and we don’t want to hire someone full time and then have to let them go three months later. So going to an agency and telling them, Hey, my normal rate is whatever, $200 an article, but if you give me 20 articles a month, I’ll bring that down. I’ll discount that 25%, 50%. But that means you will get $2,000 a month from one client. So all of a sudden you could start kind of stair-stepping your way up that ladder pretty quickly.
Yeah. Yeah. That’s huge. That’s fantastic. So another question then is, um, and it kind of links back to that, you know, if you pay me kind of attitude, I mean, is it, is it realistic in the beginning to think that you can make a living? I mean, you’re probably gonna say yes now, but you know, your mindset, you know, let’s say the first year you were doing it right, you were halfway, maybe you got paid a little bit, but you didn’t, you know, you were mostly running for free. What’s the realistic timeframe to actually get paid as a full-time writer? Would you say?
That’s a good question. Um, I will say it’s realistic because I’m an optimist, but I think a big part of that is realistically looking at yourself and understanding if your stuff is good enough or not. Um, I was able to do it quickly because I had a ton of experience in the stuff that I was actually talking about. I think that’s a key or maybe that starts the transition more again into specialization. But it’s like if someone asked me today to write a topic on like diamond earrings or diamond rings, I would be worth $10 an article to that client. Cause I have no idea what I’m talking about. Like, literally, but in this other space over here where I do know what I’m talking about, I can charge a lot more money, like a hundred times that rate. So I think that’s the key for most people is understanding where your intersection of, um, I, I don’t want to say like personal interests or passion cause I think that’s so overplayed.
Like you can’t do things you’re passionate about in the beginning. Like you need to do things that make you money and then once you have money then you could do things you’re passionate about. Like people have that inverse messed up. But um, you need to understand like where is your, where is your wealth of experience? Is it working in a certain field? Is it whatever parenting, I don’t know. I don’t know what it is, but it’s, it’s something and then you just apply writing on top of that. So you’re not, you’re not just like shotgun approach picking, picking off, uh, you know, gardening sector and then the food sector. Because that’s where if you, if you’re trying to do all that stuff, you’re, you’re probably going to be pretty average to poor in most of those categories. So assuming you’re starting with something that you actually know a lot about and then you can apply writing to it, yes, you should be able to make a full-time income pretty quickly, you know, within one to two years if you work at it.
Yup. And I would assume too, if you don’t have an area of expertise, if you just spend three months, six months really studying it yourself, then you’re in a position to begin. Because I mean, essentially when you’re rotting you out researching, learning as well, give yourself a head start over a couple of months by reading all the stuff that’s out there and you know, listening to the podcasts and whatever, that’s going to give you a huge advantage as well.
Yeah, for sure. And then adjacent spaces open up to you. So for example, uh, I had, I had experience managing like ad-words accounts and so it was easy for me to learn Facebook ads and to write about Facebook ads because it’s adjacent, it’s all the same concept, same terminology. It’s different in how it’s implemented and the reasons you’d implement one versus the other are different. But, uh, your brain is more mentally developed on, on these concepts and so it’s much easier for you to go out like that than to jump to a different category entirely.
Yeah. Very cool. So the last question for the first part here about prioritizing cash is how do you keep clients because that’s something that happens is, you know, that churn, you, you end up losing someone for whatever reason. What’s been your experience in terms of keeping clients? Do you have any tips or tricks?
Yeah, for sure. It, it changes and evolves, as you change and evolve a little bit. Um, so things like the type of clients we work with now in an agency environment are different than they are when you’re starting out or with like a freelance direct relationship with the client. I would say two things primarily. Number one is understanding what value means to the client. That doesn’t always mean writing ability, right? So, again, this is totally dependent on like what area you’re in. But if you’re in business, for example, I can tell you firsthand, most business people do not know how to write. They’re not as good at writing. They are not good judges of writing. So you, so you don’t have to obsess over like being the most clever writer out there. In this case, you just want to be clear, concise, and communicate complex topics simply for the most part.
And that seems very obvious and basic. But it is like you just need to be very consistent in how you like work things and phrase things. You don’t, don’t be like over, don’t, don’t try to be like the author if you want to. If you want to be an author, that’s your passion, that’s great. But if you’re writing for a business audience, like put the author hat over there and leave it over there and then pick it up like later in the day. The second thing that has nothing to do with writing ability is just like rapport. So if a client likes you, if they think that you understand what they want, even if you don’t always, if you’re super quick in responding to emails and requests and you’re friendly and you’re nice and you try to help them, um, you will almost always keep clients for the longterm because that means even when there is a problem, you’re usually able to talk through it or work through it, and come up with a solution.
It’s not where a client thinks that they’re going to lose trust in you or faith in you. And the quickest way for that to happen is for the vendor, the freelancer or whatever, to make the same mistake multiple times and not hear or listen to what the client is instructing you to do otherwise, if, if you have to be asked to do something multiple times as the same issue, you’re getting fired. Like it’s just a matter of time. And I’ve, I’ve been there too, like I’ve gotten fired a lot of times. Um, so yeah, it’s again, those things, those, so that would be like a rapport and just listening and understanding what value is to the client. Writers think that it’s 100% their writing ability and maybe in a perfect world, in theory, that’s how it should be. But that’s not what, that’s not what it is. Usually at the end of the day for most people, unless it’s, unless your magazine feature writing for like some huge publication writing ability is actually fairly low on the, on the, the checklist of 10 things that most clients are looking for.
Yeah. So ironic isn’t it? But it’s good to know that and it’s good to be able to flip the script in your own, you know, approach because otherwise you can get caught up in your own writing and think, you know, I”m amazing at this. I’m an artist, whatever, and forget that, you know, they actually don’t value that.
Yeah. Circling back, before we close, circling back to the whole F-You, Pay Me thing, it’s like, it’s kind of, if you’re freelance writing, again, this is very, very specific to freelance writing. You just have to be kind of a mercenary about it. You have to be like, what do you want? I’m going to deliver that and you’re going to love me and one day we’re not going to work together. And that’s okay. Like I’m just, I’m going to hunt and get the next job and the next job and the next job. I’m going to keep you as long as I can. At some point, you’re going to leave. That’s the nature of the game. But I’m going to try and keep you as long as possible. And I’m just gonna adapt to kind of what you want and for that time period. And then when we’re done, then it’s onto the next thing. And you kinda have to like develop a different mindset versus more of like a, you know, like an artist mindset where it’s a totally different rules of the game.
Yeah. It’s a business mindset. I mean, every company works like that, right? You know, no one keeps a customer forever, you know, they move on, die, you know, whatever happens. Right. So it’s the same with Robbins. You know, you’re not going to keep someone forever. Even famous authors moved publishers and whatever happens.
Yup. For sure. Yeah, exactly. And it’s not always like a big dramatic thing. It’s just sometimes things change. So yeah,
100% very cool. Okay, we’ll finish this one here. So this is more about prioritizing cash and having that business mindset and you know, encapsulated in that phrase “F-You, Pay Me”, thanks to Good Fellows. So when we come back in the next episode, we’ll talk a little bit about specialization. So really understanding the value of what it is that you’re providing for your clients and how that then increases what you get paid. So thanks Brad for this episode and we’ll be back very soon.
Perfect. Thank you.
Utilize job boards daily. Prioritize making money the same way you prioritize becoming a better writer. (8:51)
You could be doing all these activities initially, but at the very beginning just spend like an hour a day responding to job boards. And then once you figure out how to position yourself and all that kind of stuff within a month or two months, you should be overflowing with, you know, work.
Rather than dabbling in an array of topics, focus your writing to become an expert in a subject area so you can justify higher prices. (21:50)
If someone asked me today to write a topic on like diamond earrings or diamond rings, I would be worth $10 an article to that client. Cause I have no idea what I’m talking about. Like, literally, but in this other space over here where I do know what I’m talking about, I can charge a lot more money, like a hundred times that rate. So I think that’s the key for most people is understanding where is your wealth of experience?
It might shock you to learn that writing ability is not the deciding factor when clients hire writers. These two elements play a much larger role. (26:44)
So that would be like a rapport and just listening and understanding what value is to the client. Writers think that it’s 100% their writing ability and maybe in a perfect world, in theory, that’s how it should be. But that’s not what, that’s not what it is. Usually at the end of the day for most people, unless your magazine feature writing for like some huge publication writing ability is actually fairly low on the checklist of 10 things that most clients are looking for.
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