Professional Writing : how to make money as a freelance writer | Damien Walter | Skillshare

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Professional Writing : how to make money as a freelance writer

teacher avatar Damien Walter, Writer for The Guardian, BBC, Wired.

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (51m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:27
    • 2. How did you develop your writing career?

      1:12
    • 3. Can a professional writer still be creative?

      2:24
    • 4. Are platforms like Upwork and Fiverr useful for pro writers?

      4:24
    • 5. Why is demand increasing for professional writers?

      3:20
    • 6. What are the key skills for success as a professional writer?

      8:25
    • 7. INTERLUDE

      4:55
    • 8. How do I find high quality clients?

      6:06
    • 9. How do I build high quality client relationships?

      5:15
    • 10. How can I land my first clients?

      6:12
    • 11. Do I need a huge portfolio to land paid gigs?

      1:17
    • 12. How do I raise my rates of pay over time?

      4:41
    • 13. THANK YOU!

      1:08
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About This Class

The #1 writer in Articles & Blog Posts on Fiverr.

100% Top Rated on Upwork for over 18 months.

Damien Walter shares essential insights on navigating competitive freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr for professional writers.

Thousands of professional writing gigs are advertised every day online via digital freelance platforms. Top writers can make in excess of $150 per hour with almost unlimited potential for work. But winning at Upwork and Fiverr can have its challenges.

  • Learn the signs of high quality clients and how to filter out low quality time wasters.
  • Progressively raise your rates of pay.
  • Build strong client relationships that win great reviews.
  • Be So Good They Can't Ignore You : leverage creative writing achievements to win professional clients.
  • Identify the key skills you must develop to raise your professional writing game.
  • For new writers, great tips to land your first clients.

Meet Your Teacher

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Damien Walter

Writer for The Guardian, BBC, Wired.

Teacher

Damien Walter ( BA / MA / PGCHE / HEA) teaches good writers how to be great. His research and critical writing have been published in The Guardian, Wired, BBC, The Independent, Aeon and with Oxford University Press. He is a former director of creative writing at the University of Leicester, a member of the Higher Education Academy, and a graduate of the Clarion writers workshop taught by Neil Gaiman. He consults widely for businesses in technology, healthcare, and manufacturing to help them tell great stories.

 

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: - I actually sold my first piece of professional writing. When I was 14 I had a paper route on. There was a small Indian restaurant on that paper route on it wanted to advertise its services and they asked me and they said, Can you put this leaflet in your paper? And I said, I can't just put it in my paper with newspaper decides that kind of thing. It's not very well written. Maybe this needs to be changed a bit. So I totally rewrote their leaflet for them and arranged to have it distributed actually all over the town in the newspaper. And I owned the mighty sum of £50 which was a lot of money to me at the time, and it made me realize that I could make a living as a writer because for most people, including many trained professionals, writing is a big shore on. And if you have the skills to take those jobs on, and I found that there is an almost unlimited amount of writing work out there 2. How did you develop your writing career?: bring my twenties. I did a copy writing for major ad agencies in London. I began writing for many national newspapers and magazines, and ultimately he was writing a column for The Guardian. And I've done work for higher 40 publications like Wired magazine and the BBC and The Independent on Ill magazine on Buzzfeed on the list just goes on. I've been a professional writer for a little bit over 15 years. On From there, I moved on was ultimately teaching at the University of Leicester on the certificate Creative writing of which I was course director. I've studied myself at the Clarion Writers Workshop were writers including Kelly Link and Neil Gaiman. Over the last few years what I have been traveling as a digital nomad, I've also bean building up my freelance writing business and and currently 100% top rated on up work. Andi, the number one writer in articles on block posts on Fiverr 3. Can a professional writer still be creative?: e. I actually find freelancing for clients to be a perfect balance for my own creative writing work. There's a lot of reasons for this. I'm employing the same skill to every project that I deliver for a client. I become stronger as a writer. And in fact, I think it's one of the most important parts of building a freelance career in any area is to continue building your creativity on allow the growth off your professional practice to feed your creative practice. That really helps to maintain and build my enthusiasm for the professional writing work that I'm doing. I tend to favour only investing a proportion of my time into freelance commissioned work. So I currently do about two days a week, sometimes in larger chunks of time, but it breaks down to about two days a week Off. Commissioned work on the rest of my time is reinvested back into my creative practice. That really helps to build my freelance practice much faster than if I was investing all of my time into it, because the best portfolio that you can offer to prospective clients is your creative work . I can't tell you the number of times. That's something I have written in the Guardian or in Wired or for other publications has been the reason I've been commissioned rather than a straight piece off. For instance, business writing One idea to think about is an idea from the stand up comedian Steve Martin , who says that if you're gonna land stand up comedy gigs, you have to be so good that they can't ignore you. And it's really the same in the freelance writing area. You're trying to be as good as you can possibly be as a writer, and that will happen from this balance off freelance professional writing, a little display in which is building core skills and your creative work, which is continuing, stretching you on making you stronger is a creative. 4. Are platforms like Upwork and Fiverr useful for pro writers?: There's a whole generation off new online freelancing platforms, the two that I'd be most successful on up work on fiber, and I believe they're probably the best known amongst freelance creatives of all kinds. These platforms give you a huge number of advantages If I think back to my freelance and career. In my twenties, I spent over half of my time finding identifying negotiating with clients who I wanted to work with. It was a huge struggle. I invested a lot off money into during this into marketing into advertising, even into just having the right clothes to go to meetings with. It cost a lot of money to find clients platforms like up working five or connect you with on unlimited resource of clients from all around the world. I currently have online clients in India. In Indonesia, I work with clients in Turkey, in the Americas, in South America, in Europe, In Russia I have clients all over the world. That's because these new digital platforms allow you to connect with everybody who's looking for your services instantaneously. It's also a tremendous advantage for freelances that working via these platforms, all of your gigs are contracted on did you absolutely will be paid. It's a huge, huge, pain chasing payment from freelance clients when you're working individually, so this is a massive advantage. Understandably, some people baulk at the 10 to 20% fee that these platforms take, but that's after you've already being paid. So essentially you can ignore that. It's as though you're not paying it a tall on its so much easier than the huge amount that you would be investing and finding clients. Otherwise, there a tremendous advantage in allowing you to see the history of the clients that you're working Web. And of course, the clients can see your history as well, Aunt. To filter out low quality clients, you can see people who have received bad reviews who refused to make payment in the past, and you can easily simply not apply for those clients positions. This again is a massive time saver for you. You can, of course, as well cultivate good reviews and easily and quickly build your professional reputation on these platforms. This allows you to level up your clients. You may be starting to clients who are paying you in the region of tense $20 an hour on, then you want to be working up from there to the $40 on our clients, the $60 in our clients. I'm right up to where I am at the moment, which is 102 $150 an hour for your freelance work, and these platforms allow you to build that reputation and easily demonstrate it declines as long as coarse as your doing good work. And that's absolutely essential in these platforms that you are delivering very high quality freelance projects that were also highly creative for clients who are commissioning you. Not only are these platforms amazing for the reasons that I have stated that they allow you to find on cultivate relationships with clients, that they allow you to build up your profile and your reputation to bring in new clients, they allow you to avoid the low quality clients who might take up a lot of your time. Otherwise, they also allow you to manage your relationship over a long period of time. With these clients, I am sure that it's a temptation for a lot of new writers coming onto upward coming onto fiver to try and move clients off these platforms and avoid the 10 to 20% fee that they charge. That is really a tremendously amateurish move, and you should certainly refuse if clients trying to take you off the platform. 5. Why is demand increasing for professional writers?: well, I come his question quite simply in two words. The Internet. Every single business, from a blue chip international corporation to a local bakery. Every single business in world needs a strong online platform. Every single individual, whether an academic expert, whether there are creative, professional or any other kind of solo run business also needs a really strong online platform on all of this needs to be written. This means there's a tremendous amount of material that needs to be created. Whether is the kind of permanent marketing materials like a website like a social media profiles, they're going to be up for a long time on the Internet. There's also a demand for constantly refreshed materials. White papers for specific projects block posts to help market and promote online services all kinds of materials that need to be really well written by highly skilled professional writers. The early days of this online writing business were driven by the idea of content marketing , so in the early days off Google, it was possible to just proper website and to put continually refreshed content onto your website. A block post every few days, for instance, would allow you to sell golf clubs or widgets or tense or whatever your product. Waas. However, the days of content marketing are long behind us, although you will still find there are calls clients who are trying to commission this low quality materials just put onto a website. But they're low quality clients and you want to avoid them. Now, businesses require a much higher quality in order to compete in order for their business to be less it on platforms like Google, to be shared favorably on platforms like Twitter or Facebook On this has meant a continual rise in the quality of the writing and skills of the writers and ultimately, the pay that you should be receiving as a freelance writer. As an absolutely baseline, you should be earning in the $2030 an hour range, and this is still for the simplest materials that a business or oppression individual will be commissioning any less than that, and you're down into the old error of content marketing. You will be working with low quality clients. They are likely to leave you extremely poor reviews. So it's a basic principle, and to understand why there is so much work out there for writers who are producing online and, of course, still print materials as well. Think about the continual increasing quality that's required for businesses and individuals to effectively put themselves out into the digital realm off the Internet. 6. What are the key skills for success as a professional writer?: e. I think of what I do is freelance writer, and I suggest that this is a great way off conceptually approaching the business of freelance writing today, I think of myself was a full stack writer. This is an idea which comes over from the full stack coder in the APP development environment, which is a professional who can do all of the stages to deliver a project. So it's a full stack writer. You're able to do the initial research. You're able to draft work. You're able to deliver complete drafts to hit specific promotional marketing goals You're able to copy, edit those drafts, and you're able to work with the clients as well. And it's this full stack of skills that allow you to access the 100 to $150 on our freelancer range for a writer. When I think about the idea of a full stack writer, I divide the stack in a very specific way. If you're familiar with the idea of the liberal arts which have Bean taught, actually for thousands of years since the days of classical Greece, the liberal arts were all about communication and they were focused on writing on there were three foundations called the trivia meme Off the liberal arts. On these were grammar logic and rhetoric. On these are the three tiers of skills that add a writer you want to master to maximize declines that you can reach in the earnings that you can achieve. Grammar is the foundation any great spelling. You need to have a really great selection of words that you can employ in your work, and these are all the ideas that come from continually polishing up in studying your grammar. Go grammar allows you to do all of the basic tasks that you can be employed to do. As a writer, it allows you to edit people's work. It allows you to copy at it, spell check work for people. It allows you to deliver simple projects which are going Teoh fulfill various basic needs like basic business documents, letter writing, product listings. Good grammar in the English language is what's gonna open those opportunities for you. The next level up from grammar is logic. This is best understood through the simple statement that writing is thinking. Thinking is writing on the more clearly you think the more clearly you will write on this all means being logical, which is about conveying information to readers in ways in which is clearly understood. If you master logic, this opens up the next level off freelance commissions for you. Technical documentation, white papers, business documents, business planning, marketing plans, marketing strategy if you have a simple, logical processes in place, If you're writing is clear on your thinking is clear, then you can be successfully landing all of these levels off commissions as well. The third off these areas of liberal arts that I think are the full stack writer fruit. The third off these tears is rhetoric. A rhetoric is the art off persuasive communication. If you know the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar, the character Mark Antony makes a speech. Friends, Romans, countrymen. I come not to praise Caesar, but very. And this is the opening of a great speech that Mark Antony makes, and he's using in this speech the art off rhetoric. If you have really strong rhetorical skills like a writer, this opens up some off the highest paying commission possibilities for you. It allows you to write really strong blood posts. It allows you to develop really great marketing materials. It allows you to write speeches. I currently have clients who are corporate executive senior politicians, and I help them developed brilliant speeches for their work. And it's all of the skills of rhetoric that I'm employing. Taken together, grammar, logic and rhetoric. The trivia of the liberal arts will give you a really well rounded skill base to build your writing with. However, there's 1/4 skill, which I think is the most important for oppression writer of any kind. Working today on that is the skill off storytelling. The way that I work with my most important clients is not about writing. It's not about marketing. It's about telling a story. For them, stories are tremendously powerful. If you think off. For instance, Apple Computers, Steve Jobs. One of the reasons why Apple is such a powerful business, combined with other elements, of course, is because they tell a great story that defines their brand and storytelling is something of a superpower. If you develop really strong storytelling skills, this opens up the most interesting, most creative and highest paying freelance opportunities. Storytelling allows you to take on opportunities like developing scripts for advertisements developing long form journalistic pieces developing film length projects. All of these are possible for the highest level of clients who understand the value in the power of great storytelling for their businesses, for their careers and for their brands to work with the highest level off clients with large corporations were very established professionals with experts in their field. It's essential to convey the true value off the work that you are delivering for them, which is why I say I don't write content. If you want somebody to write content for you, there are many people out there who can help you to achieve that. I tell stories on there are very few people who you'll find to have my skill set toe help you tell your story in the most effective possible way to help your business to help you as a professional compete effectively content is low value. It's easy to write, and anybody can do that. Work stories, ah, high value, their tremendously important. They are rare, they are difficult to write and it takes a high degree of skill and consequentially ah, high level of payment in order to tell a great story, things like content marketing were briefed trends. Storytelling is forever for you as a writer or other creative professional. I think it's really important to find your superpower. Storytelling is my superpower. It may be your superpower as well. But however you work with your clients, you need to find the superpower, which communicates the truest value of the work that you're able to contribute to their projects to their businesses and the group of their careers. 7. INTERLUDE: Good morning, guys. Don't don't switch off. This is still our schedule program, but this is just a brief interlude to talk a little bit more about the issue of storytelling because looking back on the interview that we conducted, it would be quite balance off you to say, but name or what do you really mean when you say that your superpower is storytelling So I want to go into this in a tiny little bit more death because I think it will be really helpful to you for the simple reason that storytelling really is a superpower. Let's think about this example off Apple computers on. Do we know that for the last 30 years or so, Apple have built up a huge business or they had the problems along the way on there. Now, the biggest business in the world. Uh, and certainly the largest business selling technology. Why is this? Well, one reason is the apple computers cell really, really good computers and iPhones and one time iPods. So 50% of this story is about apple computers just being really good, and nobody would deny them. However, the other 50% of this story is about the story that Apple chose to tell about itself. If you think back to the 19 eighties and Apple were about to launch the Mac computer on, they had this tremendous vertical, which was like an Orwellian dystopian nightmare. And then this young, beautiful athlete runs in and she's carrying a hammer. Ridge throws the hammer and smashes open the face of Big Brother on a big screen. Really, this story has nothing to do with the Mac computer, except that Steve Jobs on the team Apple understood that what they were selling to people was creativity. I'm really importantly, the freedom, creativity, what's going to give people that a Mac computer? And I do actually have one that's totally coincidence. I didn't place it here on purpose that a Mac computer I would empower you creatively that it would allow you to do photography. It would allow you to do desktop design. It would allow you to run your business, will allow you to make websites and to get this story off empowered creativity across to people. Apple tells stories. It told a story in the advertisement. It tells a story with its design. It tells a story with the copy that he uses to sell its product. It tells a story every time it books a television advertisement or a place them magazine or a Web site. Campaign at Whole is telling a great story about creativity and empowerment on for your clients who you're working with as a writer. One of the best things that you can do to help them is to help them identify and tell their story. And you was a writer have all the skills for this? Perhaps you might also ask, How do I tell stories? In this way? I think of stories and I think, maybe of films and books. But I'm not sure how it could tell a story for the clients that I might get on up work or five. You can tell a story any length. You could tell a story in any medium. You can tell a story to any kind of audience on any subject. A story is really just a way off, organizing information so that when people engage with it, it's really compelling that it makes them feel like they're inside the experience of this story in the way that in the eighties watching that apple advert millions of people, I felt that they were in that dystopian nightmare. Apple was gonna liberate them from it. This is the power story. Places you within UN experience in the very simple way of just organizing information in a particular format. That format is called The Rhetoric of Story. I teach a course on the rhetoric of story. You are welcome to pick up a place on that course. You'll find it on you. To me. I use coarse coat story 10. You got it for $10. If you want skill share, you can watch it as part of your skill share subscription. Okay, I'm going to send you back to the regularly scheduled program. I hope you're enjoying goodbye. 8. How do I find high quality clients?: I find that are, inevitably various signs off high quality clients versus lower quality clients or even the bad clients who you really, really want to avoid. So high quality clients tend to be either local businesses with an established reputation. I've done great work for local restaurants who have really passionate owners for, um, of photography businesses for all kinds of small local businesses. But you can look into those businesses and see that their established they have a good reputation. Medium size businesses. I've worked for enterprises like medical Consultant sees, like small engineering firms on then international organizations who tend to be really, really good to work with. I'm really interested in big creative ideas if you're working with individuals than you want to be looking for professionals in their field, where that be a technology field of creative professional again with established reputations, and you can see that there must be high quality to their work because they are succeeding on building their own client base on. If you're working with new businesses, then start ups that have investment capital 10 to be working to a degree of professionalism , that means that they will engage with you in really strong, constructive, creative way. The signs off lower quality clients eso, if you're working with businesses, have only just being established. They don't have any track record that you can look into. They don't have any investment in their business if you're working with individuals who seem tohave very big ambitions. But they have no track record who are trying to establish a business. But they haven't achieved anything in the line of that business yet. Andi, if you're working, wave newly established companies that are pursuing certain trends in technology, a recent one is being crypto currencies. For instance. These world tend to be signs that business will be more difficult. Toe work with that business is taking bigger risks, and unfortunately, when, as they will very often fail in achieving the outcomes that they want, they're going to turn around and blame the freelances that they're working with. So I tend to say that stick with the clients who display those good signs, avoid the lower quality clients who are showing those bad signs. The signs of really very low quality clients are things like a huge concern with Price trying to negotiate, let's say you down from $60 an hour, $30 now or saying, Oh, you know, I can find someone to do this job before $15. Now, what this means is that they don't understand the value of what they are trying to achieve . So they are trying to build a business by only bringing in low quality freelancers and employees. And, of course, their outputs will be low quality, and they will fail. If you are a cook and you want to cook with low quality ingredients, you make low quality dishes on. These are essentially businesses and individuals that you want to avoid. Common warning signs of those are saying things like, Would you do this project forming for free because there will be more work later on? Or will he do it at a lower rate? Because there will be more work later on, or I have a dozen people that I'm looking at. So if you can lower your price too X all of these warning signs, because if you think about it, these are not things you would say if you were trying to recruit highly skilled professionals for your work because you would understand as good clients do. Those professionals probably had more work than they can effectively fulfill. That certainly being the case for me for over three years now. So a good client is trying to recruit you. A bad client is, on the whole, trying to lower your prices on force you into a job that isn't necessary going to see you so your skills on most important isn't going to deliver anything strongly for them. So it's probably going to result in a bad relationship and ultimately bad reviews. I tend to be aware off agencies who 10 tree middle men who have taken on jobs that they're agency doesn't necessarily have the skill set to deliver on what's going to happen. Quite apart from the fact that the agency is offering your lower rate than the employer is actually paying on, the agency has probably found these employers on a platform like up work or five. That's an issue in itself. But what then happens is that there's a huge communication leg between the employer and you who's ultimately delivering the work and because things go wrong. The worst communication is at the agency is essentially creating problems that you will often end up being blamed for essentially. So whilst type had good working relationships of one or two agencies over the years. I think at this point in time, it's best to avoid working through those agencies unless perhaps you already have a well established working relationship with them, you are essentially part off that agency. 9. How do I build high quality client relationships?: I work very hard to deliver great work for my clients, but that's only about 50% off, making sure that they have a great experience on want to come back to me as a freelancer. And I currently have one of the highest rates off returning work on platforms like up work . I have a few principles that I used to ensure that my clients end up really happy at the end of our project. One is that I keep expectations reasonable. I want the client to have a clear idea of what I can deliver for them on ivory. Clear before accepting commission on what I feel I can effectively deliver for the client, I then always try to at least slightly exceed that expectation so that at the completion of the project, the client has at least a little bit more than they were expecting from me. For this might be something like if I'm helping a client with marketing strategy, I've made it clear what that marketing strategy will deliver for them on then. I also include, let's, say, five contacts, which will help them promote their work that wasn't in the initial agreement. It's an extra bonus that helps that client feel as though their businesses and moving forward. High speed is very important in communications with your clients to be professional, which means removing your emotions from the client relationship. Very often, clients are under pressure. They're paying money for services there, a stage where they're investing in their business. And they might be emotional about things which appear to go wrong, which takes slightly longer than expected. All of the things that happen on creative projects, if you're also emotional, this is what leads to unnecessary disagreements in freelance commissions. If a client comes back to you and says, I feel like this'll needed toe happen a week ago, then just very clearly communicates the client. What you can do at this point don't enter into any kind of argument. If you feel there's emotion tied up in your response, wait for a few hours at least before actually writing or email so that your response to your client is completely clear and free of emotion. When you're negotiating with clients is very important to think win win. If you look for a way to get your point over pay you your client is therefore not winning, and by the end of the project, your client will feel unhappy even if they've received reasonably good work that's fulfilled all of their criteria. So at the beginning of the process, look for an agreement that is a win for you in terms of payment in terms of the time you're putting into the project on that is a win for the client in terms of what they're paying on in terms off the outcomes that they're receiving from the project. Most importantly, and this is the key technique that I use to develop really great client relations trips is that I think of myself was mawr than a freelancer for that point. I think of myself as a guide on this is very important because I have done literally thousands off writing projects for freelance clients, for businesses, for individuals. Those clients may well never have done a project of this kind before, which is very common for all kinds off creative projects. So I understand the process. I know where that process is gonna be easy. I know where it's gonna be hard. I know very often the outcome that the client needs as opposed to the outcome that they think they want. So I work with them as a guide for the process. This means I spend more time communicating with a client than if I was simply seeking to deliver a piece of work, because I want to help them clarify what their aim. So I'm therefore guiding decline through the entire creative process on this means as well as a very nice added bonus. Their clients keep coming back to me for more work because I've done more than just deliver a piece of writing on guiding the specific area, their business, that they need help with their coming to me to tap into my skills for so always try to be a guide for your client that's going to develop a much better relationship than trying to simply deliver the lowest possible amount of work on this is also what's going to lead to much higher fees for you, which will justify the time that you're investing into guiding that my process 10. How can I land my first clients?: it might seem like on the freelance writing field is hugely competitive on that. There are simply millions of writers out there on that. There's absolutely no way that you will ever be noticed or land your first gigs on. I think this is not true. There are thousands. There were tens of thousands. There are hundreds of thousands. In fact, there were millions off businesses and individuals commissioning freelance writing at the moment, so the opportunities to land commissions are very, very high. Demand for highly skilled writers is very, very strong. If we take just one off those gigs, let's say a typical freelance writing gig writing a simple blood post and you're going to apply for this firing online platform. And let's say that there are 100 writers applying for this gig. 50 of those will not have the right skills for the gig. A total if we think back to the liberal arts trivia, um, Grandma logic rhetoric. They simply won't have those skills. Eso If you have developed those skills in your writing, you will automatically be tell 50 of 100 candidates. 25 of the remaining applicants will then make very weak application, you will be making a much stronger application, and so you're beaten out those 25 automatically. So now the initial 100 there, any 25 left, of which you are 1 12 of those writers will have a bad or unsuitable portfolio, So now it's half off 25 who have gone. There's only 13. Let's round that down to 12. There's 12 writers left in contention. Six of those writers will be a bad fit for the specific position. And because you're thinking clearly about positions you're applying for, you will not be one of those six so we can clear those out. So there are, in fact, for any position that you apply for and this my experience has proven time and time again. There are, in fact, only around half a dozen serious applicants for any gig that you're applying for, So your only job, your only job toe land gigs as a writer is not to beat the millions of writers out there who aren't playing. It's not to beat the 100 writers who are playing. It's not to beat the 50 who make heart decent applications. You're simply trying to stand out amongst the six writers who are actually suitable for that gig. How do you stand out amongst those six writers? Principle number one. Enthusiasm Trumps Experience It's a column misconception that employers of any kind are employing for experience on when a job says needs five years experience or your told you don't have enough experience. This isn't really true. What employers, particularly in the freelance market, really looking for his enthusiasm. They want somebody who really wants this job. Andi. If you consistently not landing gigs are applying for, it's probably because you're not conveying enthusiasm. You may be conveying worry or stress or a certain amount of anxiety instead on really enthusiasm. Just the idea that you want to do this. You would really love to write these block posts. You would love to land this commission. That's what will land you your first gigs. If you're highly experienced in an area, it's still more important to be enthusiastic, and I focus on conveying enthusiasm, passion and commitment to my clients rather than playing on the considerable experience I might have relevant to a particular gig. It's really important to think about your clients problems because people ultimately look to employ somebody when they have a problem that they can't solve on. That problem is causing them pain. In marketing terms, bees accord pain points so people go looking for a writer for their website when their website is primarily failing to convert visitors into customers. So if you understand that this is the problem and this is hence the pain point that the client is feeling, then you can tailor your application to the task off converting customers. Which is much better than saying I've written 100 websites. Okay, I understand how to turn your specific website into a site that will convert more of your specific customers there. You have now landed the gig. Make your application brief my standard application for a position go something like this. Hi, my name's Damien. I write for The Guardian and other High authority publications. What I can do for your gig is X, and it's just a single sentence of how I can help them. It's very brief. The number one mistake that new writers make in attempting to land their first freelance gigs is spending a lot of time on very, very long application messages that might have 8 to 10 paragraphs each 100 words in which is 1000 words which nobody is going to read. Your application should be at most 3 to 5 sentences that clearly convey how you can help your client forever. Tea is a great strength. Length is a great weakness. Keep your applications brief and you'll find that your success increases exponentially. 11. Do I need a huge portfolio to land paid gigs?: simple answer to this question is no. There's far too much focus on building a portfolio demonstrating experience, demonstrating that ground in a specific task that freelance employer is looking for. In fact, what you really need to build is not a portfolio, but a reputation. People employ other people who have, ah, high reputation, if you think of it like a game off collectable. Trading baseball cards at the highest cards are the ones with the highest stats, which indicates the best reputation. You can have a huge portfolio off work, which a client will never look at, or you can convey that you have a great reputation on building a reputation is very different task from building a portfolio on conveying that you have a great reputation is a much simpler task thing. Conveying the details of a portfolio 12. How do I raise my rates of pay over time?: over the course of my freelance career, which has stretched almost 20 years now, I have raised my rates off pay from an equivalent off around $20. Now, when I first started out to my current level, are between 101 $150 an hour, depending on the specific task that I'm delivering. Set your basic rate of pay and once it's set, never go below it. If you allow your pay rate to be negotiated down, you are risking what's called on opportunity cost. So if your set rate of pay has reached $60 now, any job that you take on say, $30 now is a lost opportunity to do work at that $60 an hour level. So if a client then attempts to bargain you down from your stated rate of $60 now, the right thing to do is to say thank you, but no thank you to that client. And to take that time instead to look for better and higher quality clients. Of course, over time, progressively raise your rates of pay, but this progress doesn't have to be slow. What's important is that you have confidence in the hourly rate that you're quoting to clients because confidence carries in negotiations. So if you feel that $150 an hour is too much and I would often feel that that might be too much for specific jobs and I would potentially lower that job down to 100 Um, if you feel that $150 now is too much to pay, that will come through when you're talking. If you understand that the opportunity is always there for you to make, that rate venue will negotiate strongly around it. Here's a really great technique to raise your pay rates price on the value that you add to the project. So what's My rate is set at between 100 $150 an hour. If I'm working with a small charity, if I've made that sitting that I want to work with them, I might do work for $30 an hour for them. I'm not being negotiated down to that rate. I'm saying through them at the level of development, your project is that what I'm delivering for you is worth about $30. Now I can't do more than that for you because your project isn't developed to that level yet. If I'm working with an international blue chip corporation, then the value that I'm adding through writing a website, for instance, writing a landing page is much, much higher because it's contributing to a much Mawr developed project. And that's again the way that if I'm asked to, I will justify the cost off my contribution to that project because I'm pricing on the value that I'm adding to the project. Andi almost an impression Business person, professional manager Any professional in their own career field will respect that way of pricing for a project. Offer tears off service within any area of expertise that you work. For instance, if you go to the hairdresser, the hairdresser will have the san on ona, the professional hairdresser on the training on there, offering different tiers of service within the area of expertise of delivering a haircut. If you are writing website copy for a customer, you condone liver different tiers of service so you can deliver a highest terror of service for a website that will be receiving a 1,000,000 customers a day or 10,000 customers a day , or 100 customers a month on these different tiers of service demonstrate clearly the different levels of skill that you were applying on. Very few clients are going to want to select 100 customers a month because they need many more customers than that. And in fact, many clients will just say I want a 1,000,000 customers a month and they will take that level off service from you. So you offer these tiers of service to your customers on. This allows you to very quickly escalate your rates of pay for any area of expertise. All service. Let your offering. 13. THANK YOU!: guys, thank you so much for tuning into that interview. For professional writers working on platforms like up work on five, I really hope you have found it valuable on that. It's going to contribute to you having an enriching career with your own writing. If you have questions, please come and find me on Twitter. That's where I tend to hang out. If you're interested in supporting little writing on teaching work that I do, you can always chip in a few dollars on Pedro. This has been really great fun. Tune in for another course and also come over and find my YouTube channel, where I have notes off free videos on offer, and you can generally follow my story. Thank you.