Taking the Next Step

After a year and a half of building up freelance writing skills and experience, I have decided to start a blog.  I’m doing this, in part, because it is an important part of marketing and building credibility with clients.  I’m also doing this to help anyone who later comes along trying to build a freelance writing business.

I suppose that for my first post, I’ll summarize my freelance writing career to this point.

In November 2011, I’d recently graduated from my master’s degree.  I was looking for a job,  When I saw an advertisement about writing on the subject of local politics for Examiner.com, I was immediately interested.  I’ve always enjoyed writing and had followed politics closely for years, had blogged on the subject, and decided that would be an opportunity to, at the very least, make a little money and have a little fun.

I loved it.  I learned something new with every post, and each post gave me a chance to present a new take on a situation.  Then my first article hit the top of the google rankings for its topic, and I was hooked.  I wrote through the 2012 election, often multiple articles per day, and I was seeing results.

More and more of my articles were being widely shared, more were hitting the top of the Google rankings, and many were being highlighted on the front page of Examiner.com, promoted on the site’s twitter feed, and even featured.  I was consistently proud of my work, and it was received well.  Around the time of the election, I was consistently in the top 5 Denver area examiners, often number one.  I also got an invitation to write for Perigon Media, a political blog which was just starting up.

It was at that point that I decided to expand my business.  I wasn’t quite sure how, so I created some online profiles, most notably on Fiverr and Odesk.  I know $5 ($4 after Fiverr took its portion) isn’t much to receive for an article, but the experience was invaluable.  Within a couple weeks, I was writing editorials for a print newspaper I still work for to this day.

Clients started to accumulate, with the more intellectual articles being sold through Fiverr (I hear that many newspapers can’t pay much more than $5 for political editorials anyway).  I’ve written microhistories of Polish towns for genealogical research, political bios for underdog candidates, and longer articles on political strategy (at $20/article, not just $5).  In my experience, most clients are eager to pay fairly, and will tip, and even pay double for more complex articles, even if they’re short.

Through Odesk, I got more marketing oriented jobs, transcriptions and other work.  It was there that I had one repeat client who taught me a lot about internet marketing, SEO, and writing sales copy.

With increased experience, positive feedback and rapidly accumulating skills, I started to feel confident.  I completed this webpage, polished it up, and bought the domain name.  Then, I posted an ad on Craigslist with a description of myself and my services, and a link to the page.

Two weeks later, I was contacted by an internet marketing firm who wanted me to work for them on an ongoing basis.  They quickly became my biggest client and in many ways the center of my business.  I dropped Odesk, but continued to write articles on Fiverr, because it’s still a great place to learn, experiment, and grow as a writer.

I even spent a month working from the UK, traveling and writing.

That brings me to the present day.  Today, I decided to start my freelance writing blog as I venture deeper into the professional aspect of writing.  I’ve loved the writing part of writing, but now it’s time to start marketing and selling.  I’m also working on some travel articles to submit to various magazines, so that will feature into the next few posts.

Please join me as I work more on freelance writing and marketing my services.  You may even find a few posts about classic rock, movies and things I’m reading, who knows!  If you’re reading, introduce yourself in the comments, and I’d love any questions, comments and feedback!

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