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50 Ways to Market Your Freelance Writing Business

marketing freelance business

 

I recently saw a quote from Gina Horkey that said “To be successful at freelancing, you should always be marketing.”

 

Yes, yes! So so true!

 

If things slow down, do some marketing.

If you’re feeling unsure about yourself and your business, do some marketing.

If you haven’t found your first client yet, do some marketing.

If you’re worried about losing a client, do some marketing.

Anything that makes you feel unsure, insecure, or slow with freelance writing, the answer is marketing.

 

But what’s the best way to market your freelance writing business?

Find where your ideal clients are hanging out and start making some connections.

 

And how do you do that?

Well, here are 50 ideas:

  1. Send a pitch to a company or brand you love
  2. Promote a niche-specific piece you wrote on LinkedIn
  3. Tweak your Twitter profile
  4. Keep business cards with you at all times
  5. Make a “Writing Tip of the Day” post in one of your Facebook groups
  6. Start a Facebook business page for your freelance business
  7. Contact 5 local web designers to see if they ever work with freelancers.
  8. Tweak your LinkedIn profile
  9. Make a helpful comment on another freelance writer’s blog
  10. Write a blog post with a pinnable poster in your niche (like this!)
  11. Link to the above post in a Blog Post thread in one of your Facebook groups
  12. Write an epic post for Medium
  13. Tweak your byline
  14. Put out a post on your personal Facebook page about your business
  15. Create a “list” on Twitter and add a bunch of business owners in your niche. Start interacting.
  16. Introduce yourself to a copywriting course creator
  17. Research directories for your niche and start pitching.
  18. Add your own business to the above directories.
  19. Create an opt-in for your niche.
  20. Purchase a Facebook ad promoting your opt-in, targeting people in your niche.
  21. Film a Facebook live about how your services benefit clients.
  22. Download the video from above and share on Youtube, adding relevant tags.
  23. Join a Google + community in your niche and start interacting.
  24. Ask a current customer for a testimonial. Add it to your website.
  25. Attend a local networking event.
  26. Write a press release about your own business and share on free press release services.
  27. Pitch a niche site for a guest post.
  28. Pitch to the Huffington Post.
  29. Collab with someone to create a webinar.
  30. Check HARO daily and contribute as a guest contributor.
  31. Search Pinterest for a hot topic in your niche and write a post about it.
  32. Be a guest on a podcast.
  33. Tweak your Instagram presence.
  34. Create a case study of a favorite brand and then share it with them.
  35. Find an article that ranks #1 on Google and write a better/updated post
  36. Offer a free service.
  37. Write a one-page business plan.
  38. Cross-post on an online friend’s blog.
  39. Become “known” in freelance circles.
  40. Hang out on Reddit and provide valuable posts to people in your niche.
  41. Answer a question on Quora.
  42. Make sure you’ve optimized your Quora bio.
  43. Make your email or contact info easy to find on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
  44. Promote industry content on Twitter.
  45. Host a giveaway.
  46. Offer to swap services with someone. Web copy in exchange for a site redesign.
  47. Host a 10-day challenge.
  48. Research and use relevant hashtags on Insta and Twitter.
  49. Offer to do a course for a local writing group.
  50. Make sure everyone you know knows what you do.

 

freelance business marketing ideas

{Pin me, so you can find me again!}

 

Now, you obviously can’t focus on all of these or every platform at one time, and they’re not quite as simple as they seem, but they can be broken down in a straightforward way. You can make time to do something in each of these overarching categories every day:

 

  • Pitching: actively cold pitching prospects or sending submissions.
  • Networking: making connections in both your niche and the freelance writing industries.
  • Marketing your business: spreading word about your services on your website and social media.

 

I would suggest putting all your focus on one or two platforms and rocking them like crazy, such as your website and Facebook. Then, you can re-purpose any content you put out on those platforms to your other social media outlets (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) to stay active.

Just make sure you do a little marketing every day to grow your business.

There’s no way your business can’t grow if you promote it every day!

Alternately, your business can’t grow if you don’t promote it. If your business is stagnant right now, it’s probably because you’re not actively getting yourself out there.

 

freelance marketing quote

 

How about you?

Which marketing method has been most effective for your freelance business?

Simple and Free Freelance Writer Website Design 101

So, after showing you how to create a website from scratch in under 5 minutes, I promised a tutorial on how to design your freelance writer website.

I’ve been busy building a new website, so I was thinking it’s the perfect time to show you how to build a freelance website from scratch.

I’ve been using the Make Theme from Theme Foundry to build my web pages. It’s simple and easy to use, which is what I like. I don’t like fuss or too many options. This WordPress page builder is also free, so there’s that. However, you can upgrade to the paid theme to get more options.

Make Theme is a great alternative to Divi. It has drag-and-drop features that allow you to build web pages without having any coding skills.

 

To install the Make Theme to your WordPress site, go to Appearance–>Themes–>Add New

 

How to use Make Theme for WordPress

 

Then, search for “Make” in the Search box to find the theme.

Make Theme by Theme Foundry install

 

Hover over the picture and click “Install” and then “Activate.”

 

Let’s play around with it so you know what it does. Go to Appearance–>Themes and click on “Customize” under the Make Theme.

 

Make Theme Site Builder

You’ll be taken to a page that looks like this:

 

Make Theme Theme Foundry WordPress

Now, all you have to do is play around in that left sidebar. You can do all kinds of things with color and design there. It’s so much easier to learn all the features by playing around and testing different things out than by me trying to walk you through all of it.

You can test any of the features out, and it will give you website preview on the rest of the page. It won’t make any permanent changes to your site unless you

 

For example, we could spend all day just playing around with color, but let’s hit the color button:

Theme Foundry Make Theme Tutorial

 

Hit Header Bar:

 

Make Theme Header Bar

 

Now, I chose a color palette for my website here on Garden Stew.

 

Forest color palette

I entered the forest green color as my header color, using the html color number for the green color:

 

Make Theme Theme Foundry Tutorial

Just like that, you can play around with the theme colors and look.

 

Now, let’s look at how to build a new page using the Make Theme page builder.

So, click Pages–>Add New

 

Make Theme Page Builder

I’m going to create a “Suggested Resources” page for demonstration. Let’s say we want to add suggested reading on forest bathing. I am going to choose Columns from the Page Builder section. I use columns for almost everything.

Wordpress Make Theme Tutorial

 

So, now 3 columns will show up on your page. You can “click to edit” to add text or images here.

 

Make Theme Tutorial

 

I’m going to add a few Amazon books using my Amazon affiliate links here, so I’ll hit the “Text” tab here and add the html code that Amazon provides and click “update column.”

 

Make Theme Foundry Tutorial

 

I did this for all three columns, so now, on the backend, they look like this:

 

Wordpress Make Theme Columns

 

As a freelance writer, you could offer resources similar to this on your blog with freelance writing courses, books, or products that you love.

 

To add pages to your website, including a home, about and blog page, go to Pages–>Add New

add blog to wordpress site

Title your new post “Blog” and it will automatically assign the permalink yoursite.com/blog. Hit the Publish button. Now you’ve just set up a blog on your website.

Add a blog to your wordpress site

 

Now go to Settings–>Reading

We’re going to make sure your blog tab shows up in your website menu.

Add blog to wordpress website

Select Blog from the Posts page dropdown menu.

Import blog to wordpress

If you want to, you can select how many blog posts show per page and whether it will show the full blog posts or just a summary with a “read more” button.

Then, save your changes.

Next, go to Appearance–>Menus

adding blog to wordpress site

 

On this page, click to check “blog” and then click “add to menu.” It will add your blog to your menu like the big arrow shows.

Add blog to website on wordpress

 

You’re all set. Your blog is now ready to go! Just hit the “Posts” button on the right sidebar to start writing posts. If you preview your site, you’ll see that “Blog” now shows up on your menu bar. You can do the same with other pages, like our Suggested Resources page or a Work With Me page.

 

Okay, so hopefully this gives you a starting point to building some basic pages and a blog for your website. I don’t pretend to be a web design expert, but I do have some years’ experience running this here site to show you just how possible it is to make a decent website with some great resources at your disposal.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer;)

Happy site building!

What It Looks Like to be a Location-Free Freelance Writer

location free freelance writer

{Pin me to save!}

Being location-free has been a dream of mine ever since I heard of the concept.

And last week I got to experience that concept in full.

I mean, I have been a location-free freelance writer, in theory, since February. But I haven’t actually put it into real practice.

Sure, I can move from my office to the kitchen table to the deck to the library. (I am a true-blooded homebody).

But I haven’t actually done my work from a very “removed” location.

Until last week.

Now, before I start, let me just preface this by saying I didn’t go to Bali or the Bahamas or anywhere exotic–not that that isn’t in the plans for someday. But I did put in a full week’s worth of work while traveling.

In a semi.

So, Hubster drives a semi for a living and he’s been begging for me to come along for a week with him on the road. I was not quite as eager, but I knew it meant a lot to him, so I did it for him;)

And last week was the week we finally made it happen.

I spent a full week with Hubster, in his semi, out on the road.

And I worked the entire time.

 

Here’s what location-free work really looks like:

The scenery constantly changes

You get to see the world, the sun, the trees. Everything going past your window changes by the moment. You don’t have to see the same gray cubicle walls and pinned-up policies every day.

This definitely keeps a person’s brain stimulated.

Seeing the sun makes you more alive.

 

IMG_3640.JPG

IMG_3642.JPG

 

You get to stop and go as needed

I had so many work stretches of earbuds-in, nose-to-the-grind where I got shiz done. But, I was also able to look up and take pictures. Look up and have a quick snack. Look up and walk around a tree-lined lot. Look up and visit a thrift store.

 

 

place a location-free freelance writer can go

 

No one’s watching your back, making sure you only take a 30-minute-on-the-dot break or using the bathroom too much (Doesn’t that just sound ludicrous and dehumanizing? For someone to monitor your bathroom breaks? But it happens in corporate every day).

 

You get to have experiences on top of work

At the same time. I mean, where else can you work and experience changing scenery at the same time? The scenery out the window changes every second. The view and atmosphere are never stagnant.

Stagnancy is the death of creativity.

And I have never been so intellectually stimulated!

 

IMG_3663.JPG

 

The actual logistics of being a location-free freelance writer:

Freelance writing is one of those professions where you only need a few things to be able to work remotely.

 

Laptop

I mean, it goes without saying, you need a portable computer.

Location-free freelance writer looks like

Personal hotspot

Hubster and I have a plan with unlimited data, so I was able to hotspot my phone wherever I needed. I only lost my connection in a few remote areas, for 15 minutes at most.

 

Desk (optional)

Below was my desk. I will be putting this puppy in the camper now. I’ve been wanting portable lap tables for the camper. This locker shelf was perfect (because I couldn’t find a lap desk). It has a rubber non-slip top that kept my computer in place. I put a blanket underneath it on my lap and voila! Portable desk.

Really, that’s all you need.

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IMG_3703.JPG

Co-working space

Although a co-working space isn’t a necessity, it’s nice to have a few places that you can think of as dedicated work space. Those workspaces could be:

  • Passenger’s seat in a semi
  • Local library
  • Coffee shop
  • Friend’s dining room table
  • An actual rented co-working space

Know what I think they should have? (Listen up: here’s a free business idea for you enterprising types). There should be an AirBnb or couch-surfing type site for available co-working spaces. How cool would it be if homeowners, hotels, or businesses offered spare rooms or offices they weren’t using to entrepreneurs? Perhaps even for free.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could work in a waterfront porch one day and a renovated guest house another day? I think so! It’s a great alternative to co-working spaces for people like me who don’t want to work there every day, just once in awhile.

I think it would be so cool if people with WiFi offered location-free entrepreneurs a free place to work for the day. Anyone want to adopt me for a day?

Anywho…

I am so blessed and beyond grateful to be living this life, finally! Although the trucking life isn’t for me (at all!), working location-free definitely is.

 

A few bonus highlights from our trip:

Truck stop food (and tacky mallard wallpaper and fake plants;)

IMG_3650.JPG

 

A funny dispatcher. “I got you Boo!”

IMG_3646.JPG

 

A wildflower preserve between a highway and a railroad track.

IMG_3645.JPG

 

We were definitely in Amish country:

IMG_3659.JPG

 

Where’s Batman?

IMG_3649.JPG

 

The noise wasn’t what I was expecting from a trailer named Cold Train;)

IMG_3658.JPG

 

And last, but not least, my three favorite profound quotes from our trip:

  • “Dear. We’re being passed by a bridge!” (as a truck hauling a bridge passed him on the highway)
  • “Now my face smells like Rayna’s butt.” (After washing his face with a diaper wipe)
  • “You know, taking a shower makes the world make sense.” (me, after 1 of only 3 showers during the week.)

^^^^That’s sooo us right there. Hehe;)

 

So, tell me…

Is this the type of life you’ve always wished you could have? (C’mon, not the semi part, the location-free part!)

 


If you want to work location-free as a freelance writer, like I get to, check out my Freelance Freedom From Corporate series to join me!

3 Tricks To Skyrocket Your Freelance Pitch Conversion Rate

cold freelance pitch conversion

 

Hey #flashers,

If you’ve been sending out cold pitches to freelance prospects like crazy and getting crickets…

Today, I’m going to share the three things I’ve noticed help massively convert pitches I send out to clients.

You have two choices when you send out freelance writing pitches:

  1. Send them out, cross your fingers, and wait for people to get back to you.
  2. Be proactive about making your freelance pitches convert for you.

 

You’re going with Door #2, right?

Good, let’s see what’s behind that door than, shall we?

 

By the way, if you don’t want to read all of this, you can skip to the bottom and watch the video version;)

3 Ways to Skyrocket Your Freelance Pitch Conversion Rate

#1: The Follow-Up

So, I always write down the date I contact prospects on my pitch tracker (get it free here). Then, sometime between two weeks and a month later, I make sure I follow up with each and every one of them. I just send them a quick “Hey, I was wondering if you had a chance to consider my offer” email with the original email below it to jog their memory.

If I don’t hear from them on the second try, I follow up again. I follow up at least three times before moving on. And even then, I still leave the client “open” on my pitch tracker. Unless I hear a firm “no,” which never happens, I leave them open. You just never know.

You never know when a prospect might need you down the line, and they’re going to think “Hey, I remember a freelance writer approaching me awhile ago. Let me see if I can track them down.”

Remember, no reply doesn’t mean no. It could mean the prospect is busy, they’re considering your offer, your offer went to their spam box, or a million other scenarios. Following up doesn’t mean you’re bugging them either.

Following up increases the chances of hearing back.

It puts you back on your prospects’ radars.

It shows prospects you’re not a spammer. Spammers don’t follow up.

Following up is one of the ways I get major traction from my freelance pitches. If you want to learn from a successful freelance writer, it would serve you well to follow up;)

 

#2: Be Quicker

What the heck do I mean by being quicker? You already try to whip words together at the speed of light.

What I mean by being quicker is to respond to people’s requests or inquiries immediately.

If people inquire about your freelance services, make sure you get back to them within 24 hours. They have likely reached out to multiple people and will show favoritism toward those who get back to them first.

Now, I’ve had some major learning experiences with this. Learn from my mistakes!

One lady was referred to me through a big-name freelance writer. I got back to her right away and she said “let me know a good time to chat.” Well, I let it go for a few days and by the time I got back to her, she had already found someone else. I could kick myself!

Whenever you apply for a project on sites like Problogger [LINK] or Freelance Writing Gigs [LINK], you need to send your pitch immediately. These hunters get hundreds of replies. One of the ways to stand out is to be one of the first. After a day or two, you might as well not even apply.

Be responsive to your prospects and your pitches. This strategy should be a personal rule of yours.

 

#3: Add Personality to Your Pitches

People are so sick of salesy, boring, unpersonalized, or templated pitches.

They make your prospects’ eyes glaze over. They make your prospects wonder if you’re really even a good writer if you can’t even make your pitches a little bit interesting.

You’re a writer. Your pitches are one of the best places to showcase that writing talent, for crying out loud!

Give your pitches some personality!

What I mean by that is, put some energy and passion into your pitches. One recent example I can use is a pitch in which I admitted the “fire in my belly” for the clients’ subject matter and spoke to him like a human. He was impressed with the pitch and chose me over myriads of others because of the personality I allowed to shine through.

People can hear excitement in your pitches. Let them know you resonate with their subject matter. You don’t need to be unprofessional to exude that energy either.

 

 

Well, that’s it for today’s post on getting your freelance pitches to convert!

Let me tell you, if you use even ONE of these tactics for your next batch of freelance pitches, you’re going to notice way more replies. Use all three, and you’ll notice major changes in the way your pitches convert.

At least, that’s been my experience…

 

I just posted a video about this subject on my Youtube Channel. Make sure you subscribe to my channel to make sure you catch all my videos when they go live.

Want to learn more about pitching clients and building your freelance portfolio? Check out my free 7-day series, Freelance Freedom From Corporate.

How about you?

Are you going to give these strategies a shot? If you do, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
If you already use these strategies, what are some other ways you use to land more freelance writing clients? I’ll meet you in the comments!

How To Get Published On The Huffington Post

How to get published on the Huffington Post

 

Get published on the Huffington Post. That concept is a big intimidating beast that us freelancers shudder to think about. We’re unworthy. We’re not smart enough. We could never possibly think we’re good enough to get published on the Huffington Post!

Then, one day, you see a post like this and realize how approachable it actually is.

Wait a minute, what’s that? You can actually get published on the Huffington Post?

Yes, friends!

 

That’s exactly why I’m writing this. Getting published on the Huffington Post won’t be some big scary untouchable goal anymore! It will become possible.

Now, I will say, if you end up getting published on the Huffington Post, you’re going to have one of the most powerful writing samples for your portfolio. So make sure you’re strategic about this.

I ended up getting published at the very beginning of my freelance journey, so I had a superior writing sample for my portfolio straight from the starting line. It was genius!

 

Take a peek at my article: How Fitness Entrepreneurs Work Out When They Only Have 30 Minutes. (It’s a great read. Everyone learned something!)

 

Want the most kick-a$$ of writing samples for your portfolio too?

 

How to get published on the Huffington Post:

1. Come up with a killer pitch idea

Then refine it some more.

What I mean is, come up with a great pitch idea and then think about how you could make it even better, because that’s how you’ll come up with the best pitches.

When coming up with a pitch idea, make sure your post is niche-specific and of value to your ideal client to get the most out of this opportunity. Sure, you could write any old post that interests you. But if you can write a post that speaks to your ideal client, then you can maximize the platform to do some extra marketing work for you. It will become a great marketing piece for you and your business.

So, what do I mean by a niche-specific article for your ideal client?

It should be a niche-specific post directed at your ideal client.

Ok so, say you’re a healthcare blog writer for supplement companies. You are going to want to write a post that demonstrates your expertise to them.

But also remember, Huff Post is for the general public to find articles of interest. It’s not a platform for supplement sales or marketing.

So, write an article that interests the general public, that shows your ideal client your expertise. Something they could see sharing on their own blog or social media platforms that would benefit their own readers.

 

Instead of: 5 Major Marketing Opportunities Your Supplement Company Doesn’t Know About Yet

Try: 5 Questions You Have While Standing in The Supplement Aisle, Answered!

 

After that, I might even try to refine that headline even more or take an even better angle. That one sounds pretty good actually, but it will make your pitch shine if you refine it.

Cool, now that you have a topic, it’s time to work on the pitch.

 

2. Find out who to pitch

Next, you need to figure out who to send your pitch to. You need to find the right person, or your email will never be seen. Do NOT send your pitch to one of the Huff Post general email addresses. You can do better than that!

I sent my email straight to Arianna, but she has since stepped away from Huff Post. So, you need to sleuth out the proper editor and find their email address. Start with this page and find the name of the editor for the category your particular article will fall under. If I were pitching for the first time today, I would try to find the email addresses for Anna Almendrala or Erin Schumaker because they’re the Health Living editors.

Get Published on the Huffington Post: Find the right editor

Otherwise, you can use this Huffington Post blog pitch form. If you don’t hear back from one, try the other. After a few weeks, feel free to pitch again. If you get a rejection once, it doesn’t matter.

You can continue pitching until you get a “yes.”

 

3. Put together a killer pitch

Address your email to the name of the editor. “Hey Anna…” Then, create a compelling lead-in. A question or a very provocative statement is a great intro line.

The very first line the editor sees needs to make them read more. Make it good!

Try something like: “You’re doing your workout all wrong!” or “You won’t even believe what this mom did to put her special-needs daughter through college!”

Don’t gush and don’t lead in with a “why I should write for you” spiel. Lead right in with your pitch.

Next, tell the editor why this article would benefit them and how it would be different from the bajillions of other posts they see daily. “I think this would be a compelling read for your Healthy Living visitors.” Or “Everyone talks about how to save money for college, but this article has some ninja money-raising tips that your readers have probably never heard before!”

Be short and succinct. One lead-in line. One 2-3 sentence paragraph about why it’s an amazing post. Then, if you wish, you can include about two sentences at the end with your credentials. Even that is optional. The magic is in the pitch itself, not the bio. Your pitch will also speak for itself about your writing ability in how it’s written.

 

4. Hit “Send” baby

Take a deep breath and hit send. The cool thing is, like I said, you can always pitch again or you can try pitching someone else next time. The hardest part is doing it the first time.

 

Whew! You did it!

That was the easy part! Gathering all the interview guests and their quotes and pictures was much more difficult. I ended up getting over 100 responses for my post, which was a good problem to have.

If you want to know how I did it…

I’m putting together a super in-depth study of how I got published in the Huffington Post. It’s part of a bigger Freelance Freedom from Corporate course I’m putting together.

This course will go into major depth, giving you the exact pitch email that got accepted and the exact strategy for how I got over 100 submissions for my post, including a few major fitness celebrities! I’ll also spill about the residual goodies that came out of connecting with these businesses.

To make sure you’re the first to find out about it and get a tiny taste for it, sign up for my mini 7-day intro course to Freelance Freedom from Corporate. Once you see how much value is packed into that 7-day series, you’ll want to make sure you get on that list. (Click this link or sign up in the bar at the top of this post).

 

If you get published on the Huffington Post or another big name, put that piece in your portfolio and share the heck out of it. You also earned the right to put one of those “as seen in…” strips on your website, featuring the Huffington Post. Cool, huh?

And not quite as hard as you were thinking, right?

 

If you use this guide to get published on the Huff Post, I’d love to hear about it and read it, so come back and post it here;)

How to Create A Freelance Writer Website From Scratch

freelance writer website

 

So, in this post I’m going to teach you exactly how to build a freelance writer website from scratch.

But I want to explain why you need one in the first place. Because not all freelance writers are convinced they need one for some weird reason;)

 

Why you need a freelance writer website:

It’s simple: you own a business. If you can’t be found online today, you don’t exist. You must not be legit. You must not be very serious about your business. (I might even go out on a limb and say, you seem a bit like a fraud or scam? Ever thought it was fishy when you couldn’t find a business’s website online?)

A website is going to allow you to market yourself in ways that nothing else can. First of all, it provides bona fide evidence that you know how to write website copy and can help others with theirs because your own web copy will prove it.

Also, a large percentage of clients require you to have working WordPress knowledge to write blog posts for them. Building your own website on WordPress is going to give you that working knowledge that you need for them. You’re going to need to know how to use it anyway.

 

Another way to think about this is, why would you not create a website?

The cost to start a freelance writing business? Is the cost of your website. That is the lowest startup costs for a business EVER!

Plus, all your website hosting costs are tax deductible business expenses.

 

So, if you know you need a website and you haven’t built one yet, take a few minutes right now to put one together. Do it while your energy is high and you’re excited about it. You can bookmark this page for later, but if you keep avoiding it, you’ll never do it. Right now is a good time. Got 5 minutes?

 

How to create a freelance writer website in under 5 minutes:

  1. Go to Bluehost’s Home Page and click on the “Get Started Now” button. See that? You’re doing it! (And it’s not as hard as you were thinking).

How to Start a Freelance Writer Website

[Click Me to Follow Along]

 

2. On the next page, it says to Select Your Plan. Select Basic. You can always upgrade later.

Start a freelance website in minutes

 

 

3. Type in the domain name you want for your business. If you’re not sure about your domain name yet, a popup box will come up allowing you to go forward without a domain name. You get one free domain with your purchase, so you don’t have to use a separate site for that.

How to create a website with Bluehost

 

4. Create your account with Bluehost. All very straightforward.

Create a freelance website from scratch

Then scroll down a little and choose your plan. You save money if you buy several years’ worth of hosting up front. That $3.95/month? That’s the introductory rate, so go with as many months as you can. You can also add any extra features like SiteLock, which hides your address from everyone on the internet (I talk about protecting your identity in this post):

step by step guide create website with Bluehost

Scroll down a little more and enter your payment information. Read through and accept all the terms and conditions. Remember this is an investment, not an expense.

Walk through how to create a website

Then, click submit. You’ll be asked to verify your purchase and create your password. That’s IT!!!

Congratulations! You have a freelance writer website!

 

Now, you’ll want to install WordPress right away, since you’re on a roll here. Get ‘er done while you’re at it.

 

How to install WordPress to your Bluehost Site

This is too easy. It’s a one-click install.

Now that you’re logged into Bluehost, click on the “cpanel” tab at the top of the page.

how to install wordpress on bluehost

 

Then, click on Install WordPress and follow the directions from there!

 

Install WordPress on Bluehost

Bluehost 9

You’ll choose the domain you want to install WordPress on (probably the domain you just created). Or just call that number at the top of your screen and have someone at WordPress walk you through the process. I have faith in you though.

domain to install wordpress to bluehost

 

The next page should just confirm your admin information and give you the terms and conditions. After entering and reading through that, simply hit “Next” and it will start happening. The top bar will show you the progress.

 

install wordpress on freelance writer website

 

Then, you’ll be all set! You’ll be able to log into your WordPress site with the login and password provided at yoursite.com/wp-admin.

 

What brand new WordPress site looks like

 

That wasn’t so bad, was it? You have a freaking website now!

 

Now, it may take a little while to figure out how to navigate WordPress, but it comes with playing around and maybe watching a tutorial or seven. And almost any question you have can be answered with a simple Google or Youtube search.

 

I will come back soon with a post about the Make Theme and how I use it to build pages on my website. Many entrepreneurs use Divi, but I’ve found Make to be satisfactory for drop-and-drag capabilities. You can simply search your Plugins for the Make Theme by Theme Foundry to get it installed. A plugin is just a tool you add to your website backend that makes everything easier for non-developer people to do. In other words, instead of learning code to design your website, plugins can do most of it for you.

The other plugins I would suggest having for your freelance writer website (just install them and figure them out later):

  • Akismet: spam filter.
  • All in One WP Security: security for your website.
  • Google Analytics: see info about your site’s traffic, most popular posts, and audience behavior.
  • Magic action box/optin forms/SumoMe: choose one of these free plugins to add an opt-in form to your website. I have all three connected so I can have multiple opt-in boxes.
  • Photo Express for Google: this is a lifesaver plugin that gives me access to my smartphone pictures for blog posts.
  • Shareaholic: adds icons to your posts to encourage readers to share them on social media.
  • Updraft Plus-Backup/restore: backup your website. Just do it. Websites gets hacked every day.
  • WP Edit: This allows you to put extra features on your text editing toolbar.
  • WP Google Fonts: Gives you access to a ton of fonts, not just the four WordPress comes with.
  • Yoast SEO: This plugin helps you optimize your blog posts for search.

 

That’s about it for the basics of setting up a website! That’s all there really is to it. Feel free to play around to get a feel for WordPress.

 

If you used this post to build your own website, would you come back and share a link so I can see it? I love to see what others are creating! Any questions, drop a note in the comments!

Freelance Writer and Blogger’s Arsenal: My Top 10 Tools

Best freelance writing tools

 

Today I’m going to let you in on the secrets behind running my business and blog from the back end.

Let me start by saying, you do not need any fancy programs to get the job done. I’m a minimalist when it comes to work systems, because I don’t like to be overwhelmed by the details. There’s nothing more professional about using a Freshbooks invoice versus a Paypal invoice. Complicated systems just slow you down.

During the beginning stages of your freelance career, you’re likely not going to encounter anything more complicated than invoicing and getting paid. You don’t need any writing programs more complicated than Google Drive. And if you build a website, you don’t need anything more complicated than WordPress with a free theme, if you know what to look for.

So, without further ado…

 

*Disclaimer, this post may contain affiliate links

My Top 10 Tools for Running a Successful Freelance Writing Business and Blog

 

Google Drive

Pretty much my entire business is run inside Google Drive.

I deliver content to all my clients through Google Docs, except for a few that I access directly through WordPress. In fact, most of my clients request their files through Google Docs.

My drive is pretty organized, which helps a lot. I have a separate folder for each regular client, so their articles are easy to find.

I use Google Sheets to track client pitches and income (get a copy of my exact pitch tracker). Nothing fancy. My finances at this point are pretty straightforward. Since I’m about 99% paid through Paypal, my income is pretty easy to track. My expenses are pretty straightforward as well, so I don’t feel it necessary to purchase anything fancier. It would probably just throw me off my game if I had to resort to another program on another site. Keeping everything in Google Drive keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

 

Google drive screenshot

Mailchimp

Now, Mailchimp obviously isn’t required for freelance writers. But, if you keep a blog of your own (you should!), you’ll want to find a way to collect subscribers, believe me. Maichimp is free for up to 500 subscribers. I chose to upgrade to the $10 plan recently so I can build a few simple automated email sequences, like for my free 7-day Freelance Freedom from Corporate series.

I know there are plenty of other fancier services out there. But I haven’t been convinced yet to transfer over to any of them. Mailchimp does everything I want it to and it’s easy to use. And again, fancier tools would probably just slow my roll.

free tools freelance tools

 

Paypal

I almost exclusively use Paypal for taking payments and invoicing. Every client I’ve had pays through Paypal. It’s something that everyone recognizes and trusts as safe. And usually everyone already has an account there. So, I’ve found it’s the most simple and straightforward way to accept money, invoice clients, and keep track of my money. I wrote a detailed step-by-step post on how to invoice with Paypal here.

 

Paypal Invoice for Freelancers

 

Evernote

Everything that doesn’t live in Google Docs lives on Evernote. Mostly, I keep more personal notes on Evernote. If I’m listening to a training video about Facebook Ads, for example, I might keep any notes I want to remember on Evernote. All of my branding details (fonts, colors, audience, etc) are kept in a file on Evernote, among a few other things.

If I don’t use Evernote, I usually have a bajillion different physical notebooks for different topics lying around my house, which just gets to be too much. Evernote also allows you to keep clippings from websites you’ve found helpful so you can return to them.

Free Tools Freelance Writers

 

 

Canva

I use Canva for everything. Almost all the pinnable graphics on my blog come from Canva, including the one at the top of this post. I designed my poetry ebook and Budget Fitness book cover in Canva (and then saved the ebook PDF files in Google Drive). If you wanted to, you could create a logo and social media posters with Canva. I used to use PicMonkey, which is another option, but their graphics seem a little dated to me after using Canva.

Canva is so easy to use. You don’t have to have any design skills. In fact, that’s what it’s primarily for, people without design skills. Canva saves me and forgives my complete ineptness at design skills. I like to use their premade designs and then just swap out the colors for my brand colors.

Slacker

Slacker is a great app for collaborative work, in situations where multiple writers work for a single client, for example. I can’t even tell you how cool it is to be able to connect with other writers this way. If I’m curious about where the other writers are finding their images or if they’ve had trouble with a certain platform, I can post on Slacker and get replies right away. The client can also post helpful links and tips for all of us in one place. Before going on Slacker, there’s no communication whatsoever with the client’s other writers.

I work with 4 clients already on this platform, and I love it. It’s a nice way to keep work separate from daily life too, which is why it’s a nice alternative to a Facebook group or something similar where people can message you any time. You can set your “office hours” on Slacker so no one can bother you at certain times. It’s just slick.

Bluehost

So, the creation of this entire website started with Bluehost. I chose Bluehost to host my website because I had seen so many others who used it and were happy with it. I didn’t want to waste time trying to figure out the best host, because then I probably never would’ve started. I just needed a host for WordPress. WordPress is what I needed, and Bluehost seemed to be the easiest answer.

Now, you may be thinking, I’ll just create a blog on a free platform. Well, you can, that’s fine. But if you want to have real reach with your blog and business, you need a real self-hosted website. A business website is an absolute “must” today. If you don’t have a real online presence for your business, then you’re shortchanging yourself.

If you’re running a blog, you’ll find you get IMMEASURABLE results having a self-hosted blog versus a free one (ok, they are measurable with Google Analytics, but I wanted to make a point). I ran my old blog on Blogger for 6 years before switching to WordPress, and the results from switching were immediate. My pageviews increased exponentially. Google prefers self-hosted sites to free ones. If you plan to monetize your blog, you almost always have to have your own self-hosted blog to be considered for sponsorships and such.

Now, since a freelance writer can start a business with little more than a laptop and a website, I would say the pennies you pay for a website make a pretty low startup costs compared to almost any other business in the entire world. Don’t sweat the cost. You’ll make that money back in a snap, especially if you work your business like I teach you in my Freelance Freedom from Corporate series.

After you purchase from Bluehost (which is super easy), you don’t need to think about it again for like, two years, and even then you can choose to have your hosting renew automatically.

 

Bluehost for freelance writers

WordPress

My fitness and writing website, this one here, is a WordPress site. I noticed that WordPress came very highly recommended from everywhere I looked. My contributor posts on Huffington Post, The Mighty, Baby Gaga, and elsewhere are also written in WordPress. So first, I’m thinking, if the big guys are using WordPress, then it’s got to be good. And second, I’m thinking, navigating WordPress will just be easier if I’m using the same platform as I do for my contributor columns. Simple as that. Just make sure for your professional website that you go with WordPress.org not WordPress.com.

freelance writer website with wordpress

Make Theme

So, when you go to create your website, you either have to build the entire thing out from scratch, or you download a WordPress theme that helps you design it. Typically, entrepreneurs will choose some kind of drag-and-drop website builder that does all the pretty design work for them.

For this website, I use a simple, free theme. The Make Theme by Theme Foundry is the simplest drag and drop website builder ever. Divi is the theme everyone talks about, but I’ve found Make does everything I need it to. You can upgrade to Make Plus and get even more features, but I prefer to keep it simple. That’s kind of a theme with me.

It takes a little bit of playing around to figure some of the features out, and there aren’t a whole lot of tutorials out there, but it’s free and fully functional. I’m thinking of doing a tutorial or two myself to show how to do a few things it took me a little bit to figure out that were really super simple!

 free page builder for wordpress Make Theme

Facebook groups

Ok, so this isn’t so much a program as a place. But, this is where so much of my business magic happens. You see, even when you work at home, you can still be connected to so much awesomeness out in the world. Facebook groups are a resource that have given me inspiration, connectedness, and even business opportunities.

So, I run a few of my own free Facebook groups, one for those seeking to make the leap from corporate to freelance and one for health and fitness motivation (open to anyone, come on over and join!). I love having a place where people can come together and ask questions, discuss issues, and learn something new.

I also belong to quite a few groups. A few for writers, a few for entrepreneurs, and a few specific to groups I follow online. I love being able to ask tech or business related questions when I’m stuck and keep up with new things that are happening. I’ve also made some cool business connections in these groups. Just being active in the groups and offering helpful advice when you can is a great way to build your authority.

If you’re not in a few Facebook groups already, I would suggest using the search bar to look for a few groups related to what you enjoy or what you do for a living.

Facebook groups for freelance writers

 

Runner’s Up

Some other programs that I don’t use on a regular basis but still provide incredible value:

Trello and Asana

If you enjoy (or require) project management, then these two platforms are great. They can help you plan out your week or break projects down into daily steps. For example, if you have 6 clients and need to figure out how to slot all their projects in for the week, you might break down the projects into one-hour chunks and then plan out your week accordingly. Or say, you’re planning to write a meal plan ebook. You could break the project down into steps (photograph food, food testing day, write out dessert section, etc) and put each step into your calendar so you actually DO it!

Now, I’ve played around in both programs, but, as I’ve said about 1,239 times in this post, I like to keep things simple…

Want to know my big secret for project management?

Sticky notes on my desktop. Yes, that’s it. I use the virtual sticky notes that came with Windows on which I keep track of the projects I’m currently working on. They stay up on the computer screen at all times. When you turn your computer back on in the morning, there they are! I think that’s the best part! I don’t have to pull up a bunch of browsers in the morning.

Digital Sticky Notes project management

I have one to-do list, one note for blog post ideas, one note for more pressing items, and one note for current clients. And that’s all I need to keep me on track. That’s my sophisticated project management right there.

 

Did you think it could be that easy to run a laptop business? I assure you, I’m running a successful one right now this way. And I think part of the reason I’m successful is because I don’t need anything fancy to get the best results. In fact, fancy slows me down. I don’t get bogged down by all the details, I just get to work!

 

How about you?

What are your favorite freelance or project management tools? Do you prefer fancy or minimalist tools?

7 Stupid-Easy Habits of a Successful Freelance Writer

Successful Freelance Writer

 

I’m about to share with you 7 habits of a highly successful freelance writer. Now, I shouldn’t even have to write these out, because they should just be a given. However, if you follow these 7 criteria religiously, you are going to be HIGH above the rest. Because you’d be so surprised how the majority of people that call themselves freelance writers fail at least one of these criteria.

Now, I’m not writing this to rip on people. I’m writing this post in the hopes that those who think they can’t be a freelance writer or don’t think they can get ahead will know that they certainly can. They just have to have the decency to follow these normal standard behaviors. Seriously, these are easy. Too easy. Most people don’t follow them. So if you do, you can almost guarantee success!

 

Before I drop my mic…

The 7 Habits of a Highly Successful Freelance Writer

  1. You’re always on time
  2. You follow directions
  3. You’re easy to work with
  4. You edit your work for errors
  5. You run a business, not a hobby
  6. You ask just enough questions
  7. You know how to write. (Ok, I reeeeally shouldn’t even have to list this, but seriously? You need to have a good handle on spelling, grammar, and flow).

 

Wow, earth-shattering stuff, right? Let’s dig more into the meat of this.

 

1. You’re always on time

You would be surprised by how many people don’t hand their work in on time. Like they’re still in college, pulling all-nighters. Or really, not even willing to pull an all-nighter. Just shrugging their shoulders thinking “no big deal.” Handing your work in on time is just a common courtesy and a shred of evidence of your professionalism.

Now, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you’re just terrible at keeping everything straight. Make sure you use Trello or some other project management tool to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines.

2. You follow directions

From the very job application to the way you hand it in, make sure you follow your client’s directions. You have got to read the directions, read them again, and then read them again. Then, read them after you’re done writing again to make sure you’ve hit the mark.

When you apply for writing gigs on sites like Problogger, you need to make sure you read the entire listing. Sometimes, just to weed people who can’t follow directions out, posters will use specific instructions for your application. They’ll ask you to put a certain phrase in your subject line or answer a certain question at the top of your email. They won’t even consider your application unless you follow the exact instructions. And you’d be surprised by how many applications go straight to the trash bin!

3.  You’re easy to work with

Whining, stalling, excuses, etc are never going to work. Just be a chill, nice, pleasure-to-work with person. Even when clients piss you off. Doesn’t matter. You still need to be pleasant. The second you turn on the bi+!h switch, you’ll ruin everything. It’s just not worth it. This is your career. Treat everyone with the utmost respect, even if they’re hard to work with. You certainly don’t ever have to work with them again, but while you are, be professional.

4. You edit your work for errors

You learned how to edit your rough drafts in the fourth grade. They didn’t just teach you how to do that because you sucked at writing in 4th grade. They taught it to you as a foundational tool that you need to use for the rest of your life.

After you write a piece, have the decency to look it over for errors, even if you think you’re incapable of them. I recommend checking it over the next day or several hours later so you can come at it with fresh eyes. You might even consider hiring an editor if you need a fresh pair of eyes or you hate editing.

It is not okay to hand in work with errors. That makes your clients look bad, which isn’t fair. Making your clients look bad is going to be a horrible reflection on your own business.

5. You run a business, not a hobby

Even if you’re freelancing on the side, you still need to treat it like a business. The professionals that are hiring you consider you a business. It’s not fair to them if you treat your side gig like a hobby. You need to answer emails immediately, work cooperatively, meet deadlines, and treat the writing you’re doing for them with respect.

6. You ask just enough questions

Ask your clients just enough question. Not too many, that they get the vibe that you require hand-holding. Not too few that you don’t get the information necessary to do a thorough job.

You need to develop a basic client questionnaire that gets to the meat: audience profile, objective of the piece, keywords, etc. Make sure your questionnaire doesn’t take your clients more than a few minutes to complete. When you’re working for a client, you’re taking a big task off their plate. The last thing you want to do is make them feel like they have to do more work. But on the other hand, you want to make sure you have enough information to do a decent job.

You also need to feel a client out a bit. I have several clients that give me very little information and they know I can run with it. There are other clients that would be upset if I didn’t ask enough questions. You’ll know when you meet them. If they’re irritated with your questions, pull back a bit. If they appreciate your questions, then ask away.

7. You know how to write

Like I said, I shouldn’t even have to include this, but there are plenty of writers out there, in the content mills and such, that barely understand the English language, let alone grammar rules and proper mechanics.

It’s sites like Upwork that lump the amazing writers with the terrible ones. It puts everyone on equal ground when they shouldn’t be. The people who don’t know where commas go are considered equal to the ones that studied commas for their master’s thesis. It kills me.

If writing comes naturally to you, and people comment on what a great writer you are, then you’re probably a decent writer. Thing is, most decent writers think they’re nothing special because surely most people can write well. If you think that way, then you’re probably an excellent writer and don’t even know it.

Even if you’re a good writer, you’re still going to get rejected sometimes. It’s important to remain secure in the fact that you’re a good writer. Don’t give up, because it happens to everyone!

 

 

Now obviously, there’s way more that goes into being a successful freelance writer than just these criteria, but these things will get you pretty darn far and they’ll put you head and shoulders above so many others out there.

Maybe this post was a little snarky. My intention isn’t to put anyone off, it’s to prepare you for success. It’s really meant to encourage those of you that fit these simple criteria. It’s meant to say: if you are a great writer and treat your writing like a profession, get after it! To only settle for what you’re worth and no less.

***

If you’re ready to make the leap from corporate to freelance, fill out the box at the top of this post to get your free 7-day course delivered to your inbox. It’s time to become who you were meant to be!

***

What about you…

Are you a decent writer that always thought everyone could write? Does this list surprise you, that you can be a successful writer just by being a decent human who can write? LOL. #cheeky

3 Ways You Can Protect Your Identity As A Freelance Writer

Freelance Writer Protect Your Identity

 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to give out my actual address and phone number to strangers online. However, my email service provider, Mailchimp, requires a real physical address. So does my web hosting provider. And clients sometimes want to talk on the phone, which requires a phone number. So I have no choice but to give out my information.

That can be kind of scary.

As my email list grows, my physical address goes out to more and more people. That’s a little unsettling. Now, I choose not to live in a state of fear about this kind of thing. Sure, it’s possible that something could happen if my information got into the wrong hands, but the actual reality of that happening is different than a scared brain makes it seem.

I used to keep my family’s names out of my blog posts a long time ago too, but I decided to stop acting from fear, as an intentional choice.

I know nothing is completely foolproof, but I’ve found some great way to add a level of safety to my online presence that you can try too.

3 Ways To Protect Your Identity As A Freelance Writer and Blogger

  1. Get a ViaBox address. If you don’t plan on getting any actual physical mail, you can use this service for free. They give you an alternative address to use for your mail, so you don’t have to use your family home address. Another option would be to open up a PO Box at your local post office. I didn’t really want the hassle (or cost) of doing that, plus I don’t anticipate getting any mail.

    Viabox address for mailchimp

  2. Get a Google telephone number. Signing up for a Google phone number is free. I learned about this one from Gina Horkey. Some of my clients use Zoom or Skype calls to protect their personal telephone numbers, so those are also viable alternatives. I had fun with this one because I was able to put the words “flash me” in my phone number, which goes with my whole FlashFit theme.
  3. Web hosting privacy protection. This option costs. When you purchase web hosting, you must disclose your physical address. What this means is, if someone wanted to, they could look you up. I even did this myself when I was looking for the owner of a domain I wanted. I contacted the owner of the site this way because his information was provided (He didn’t want to give it up. Sigh). Knowing this, I feel a little weird about having my own information up for grabs. Thankfully, Bluehost has a privacy service, and I’m sure the other hosting providers do too. So, make sure you spend a little extra to keep your information private.

Hide your address with Bluehost privacy

 

I hope this article has given you some great ideas for keeping yourself safer on the internet.

So, tell me…

What ways do you try to protect your privacy online? Do you try not to live your life in fear too?

 

PS. Have you seen my free 7-day series, Freelance Freedom From Corporate? I’m spilling the beans about how I was able to make the leap within 5 months.