This post comes on a very special day!
Sally Miller (today’s guest) and I co-authored MY FIRST BOOK, Make Money as a Freelance Writer, which launches via Amazon today! (It’s FREE for 48 hours, so go snag your copy! <–affiliate link) I might need to say that again:
I’M A PUBLISHED AUTHOR!
For some reason that’s different than writing and launching multiple online courses? Or hundreds of paid pieces across the web? Super weird, I know…
Enough about me and the whole published author thing though. I’m so excited to share this post with you – parents of young kids especially. I’m sure you (or someone you’re close to) has felt just like Sally. I know I have! So, without further ado…
In February 2011, my daughter was born. I couldn’t have been happier. Yet there was a cloud on the horizon.
Eventually, I would have to return to work.
After 18 years in the corporate world, I was ready to embrace my new role as a mom. Nevertheless, three months later I did what was expected of me. I went back to my nine-to-five job.
It was tough. I longed to be home with my new baby. I wanted to witness her first giggles, the early attempts to crawl. I wanted to be there to comfort her when she was upset.
Which is why I did something unexpected. I quit my corporate job.
I was ready to become a full-time mom.
If only it were so simple. Once the initial euphoria wore off, I became bored. I missed the satisfaction (and income) that came from working.
That was when I started exploring ways to make money from home.
Too Little Time
I didn’t have much free time and couldn’t afford a babysitter. I could only work during the baby’s nap times.
I tried many things. I started a kids’ consignment business. I offered consultancy services. I created several websites.
None of these offered the right mix of income and job satisfaction.
Eventually I stumbled across the world of freelance writing. It instantly made sense. I loved to write… I had already self-published two books on Amazon. I could also fit freelance writing into the pockets of free time I had.
By this time, I had two kids at home. Finding time to work was a real challenge. I knew I wouldn’t earn enough money writing $10, or even $50 articles.
From the start, I searched for ways to maximize my hourly rate.
The Key to Maximizing Your Rate
I spent weeks reading blogs, asking in forums and researching different types of writing. Eventually I discovered the key to earning more…
… you have to target the higher paying clients.
I know, it sound obvious. But it took me time to figure out who these clients were and where to find them.
The first group of high paying clients I identified were B2B companies. These are businesses that sell to other businesses. They typically have a larger budget. And they don’t hesitate to pay four figures for small writing projects.
The Steps I Took to Boost My Freelance Income
I now had a high level plan – sell my services to B2B clients.
Next I needed to figure out how to go about doing this. With little freelance writing experience, how could I attract these higher paying clients?
I came up with a strategy, based on the approach Gina teaches in her freelance writing course. My idea was to focus on what I did have to offer in order to minimize what I lacked.
Here are the exact steps I followed:
1. Identify a niche within B2B.
I focused on technology and data services. I’d previously worked in IT and could use my corporate background to strengthen my pitch.
2. Decide on what to write.
I wanted to specialize in case studies. During my corporate career, I read a lot of business reports. I understood what B2B clients looked for in a case study. I figured this gave me a unique insight into how to write case studies that get results.
I pitched one existing client on doing a case study. He liked the idea and offered to pay me $800. I also did one unpaid case study. This gave me two relevant samples for my portfolio.
3. Make a HUGE list of companies to pitch.
Mine was a mix of contacts from my corporate days, mid-sized tech companies and startups that had venture capital.
4. Start pitching.
In my first three months as a freelancer I increased my rate by 5x. Below is a breakdown of the numbers:
- My first gig was a 1,000 word blog post for $100 => $0.10/word
- My next gig was another 1,000 word blog post for $200 => $0.20/word
- My first case study was 1,500 words for $800 => $0.50/word
In fact, my rates are on the low side for this market. It’s quite common for B2B clients to pay $1/word or more.
If you’re interested in writing for B2B companies, I encourage you to give it a go. You don’t have to have a corporate background, like I do. There are other ways to break into this lucrative market. In this post, Sarah Greesonbach discusses how to get started as a B2B writer.
B2B companies aren’t the only higher paying clients.
Recently I started ghostwriting books. I’m following the same strategy I described above. I’m offering my services at a lower rate in order to gather the first few testimonials. Once I have some experience under my belt, I plan to increase my rates.
Professional ghostwriters charge between $12,000 and $60,000. Now that’s something to aim for!
So how about you? Where do you think you can find higher paying clients? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Sally Miller is a writer, coach and founder of Home Business School. She loves learning how stuff works, mastering new skills, and sharing her knowledge with others. Since leaving her nine-to-five, Sally has published eight bestselling books on Amazon (and counting). You can find out more by visiting sallyannmiller.com where she teaches people how to start and grow a 5- to 6-figure home business.