Sunday, August 29, 2010

5 Tips For Launching a Successful Freelance Copywriting Career Patty A. Harder

Nearly five years ago, I walked away from a well-paying marketing job to launch a freelance B2B copywriting career. Within two months, my freelance income was paying the bills. During my first year of copywriting self-employment, I learned many things that improved my business savvy and monthly income. Here are 5 tips I wish someone had given me before I launched my freelance copywriting business.

1. Expect to Succeed

When I quit my day job, freelance failure was not an option. My monthly financial needs had to be met and my family life was too challenging to continue working a standard eight-to-five shift. From the moment I made the decision to start my business, I expected to succeed.

Why this is important: I met many potential roadblocks during my first year of freelancing. Attitude from friends and family that, as a work-from-home mom, I was really a stay-at-home mom is one example. It would have been easy to put aside my work to assume the stay-at-home mom role, but my business would probably have failed. My driven expectation to succeed kept me on track.

2. Request Half Now, Half Later

I typically invoice clients for half of the approximate project cost before getting started. This provides a steady cash inflow, especially during longer jobs, and ensures that my clients have a financial investment in project completion.

Why this is important: During my first months of freelancing, I accepted an assignment and negotiated a fee to be paid upon final approval. Although I delivered first draft copy within a week, the document sat in my client's email inbox for weeks. When he finally got around to reviewing the copy, he requested minor revisions. I made the changes and returned the document. Then, I heard nothing.

I finally invoiced this client with a note to let me know if he needed additional modifications. Two weeks later I had a check. But the length of time between project start and project payment taught me to request half now, half later.

3. Get It in Writing

For most new clients, I create a quote that outlines the project scope, deliverable(s), estimated cost, what isn't included and the payment terms. The client must sign this quote and return by fax or email before I begin work.

Why this is important: I once took on a sales letter project without outlining the scope. After all, how much work could it be to write a sales letter? As it turns out, much more work than I had anticipated!

My idea of a one-page sales letter was this client's idea of a four-page direct mail piece. Because I hadn't outlined a project scope, I felt obligated to deliver his "letter" as requested. I ended up earning less than minimum wage for this job. Now, I get project details in writing.

4. Ask Clarifying Questions

In the example above, I made assumptions about the sales "letter" assignment based on my own experiences. I didn't bother to ask clarifying questions.
Why this is important: If I had asked more questions to clarify my clientís expectations and use for his sales letter, I would have had a clearer picture of his actual needs and I could have quoted a higher price.

5. Trust Your Instinct

You have an internal guide that, when heeded, will help you make wise decisions around your freelance writing business.

Why this is important: I was working on a project for a client based on a detailed discussion with written objectives. But the writing direction just didn't feel right. Acting on instinct, I veered from the original scope and created an entirely different document, knowing I might never get paid for this work. However, my client loved the end result and hired me to do additional work. Trusting my instinct paid off!

If you are considering a foray into freelance writing or have recently launched your own business, I invite you to learn from my experience. Heeding these 5 tips could pave the way to greater prosperity!

Liked these 5 freelance writing tips? Get 5 more (plus insider secrets for thriving in the world of B2B marketing copywriting) at Copywriter Confessions.

Freelance Writers: How to Develop a Niche with No Experience & Make it Profitable for Years to Come by Yuwanda Black

One of the things I've learned in my 19+ years as a freelancer and recruiter in the editorial industry is that freelancers should develop a niche.

"BUT," you may wonder, "how do you develop a niche with no experience?" It's actually relatively easy and can be done in three easy steps.

1. Make a list of your experiences, likes, hobbies, etc. Why? Because the first step in developing a niche is to go with your strengths. Even if you have no professional experience in an area, if you like it, chances are you will work to become proficient in it.

For example, in my professional life, I've been a real estate agent, a loan officer, a credit counselor, a recruiter and a legal copy editor (among a few other things -- but we'll just stop here). Remember, this is just professionally.

My hobbies are running, real estate investing, reading historical romances, sewing, interior decorating and designing ethnic pottery, among a barrage of other things (I have a very active mind and a hint of ADD!).

Now that you have this list, what do you do with it?

2. Target lucrative markets: Not every interest you have will make a viable niche market. This may be because they are not willing to pay for your services, don't need your services and/or there aren't enough of their type to market to.

With your list in hand, choose markets where: a) your services are needed on a continual basis; b) your asking price can be met with relative ease; and c) there are sufficient numbers to market to.

Also, you might want to consider competition; as in, how much/little do you have? While there is always room for one more company to offer a product/service, my thought process is why fish in a crowded pond.

Go after a market that not many others are targeting. Sometimes this market will reveal itself in your list of professional experiences and/or hobbies. Other times, you may have to work harder to find it. Just make sure that however you choose your market, you keep in mind the points mentioned above.

Now that you know who you want to market to, how do you get those all important first few jobs which lead to samples, references, etc.? Simple.

3. Do low-cost/no-cost work: Always try to get paid for any work you do. You can target local charities; do work for friends with businesses; contact start-up companies, etc. Your mission starting out is to get those first 4 or 5 jobs under your belt.

If you're not having any luck landing paid work, try this. Target a company and do the work without asking them (eg, rewrite their badly worded brochure you received in the mail; rework their ineffective web copy; design their logo; etc.). Then, contact them with their original and your NEW, improved version. Not many businesses will turn down improved work they don't have to pay for. Just like that, a legitimate credit!

Even if a company refuses, you can still use it in your portfolio. Just change the name of the company to something that obviously reflects that it's a fictitious company with the caveat that the name has been changed, but the revisions made were to original copy.

Now, you're on your way!

Yuwanda Black is the publisher of THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a writing career in 30 days or less -- guaranteed! Log on to learn how.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Freelancing and the Internet by Alex Simmonds

In recent years the advantages of freelance or contract work have become more and more obvious as the 'jobs for life' culture has disappeared and people have become less trusting of office life and fixed employment. People now see freelancing as a way to adjust the trajectory of their career - they can choose the jobs that suit them, the hours that they work and how long they want to go on holiday, as well as the clients they want to work with.

Moreover, freelance jobs and contracts have grown and grown in recent years, so the opportunities are now endless. At the heart of this growth has been the internet and the global nature of online employment. Freelance contract work is now only a mouse click away.

The question though, is how best to grasp this online opportunity. The good news is that the scope and range of online jobs is increasing every day. Working online is now no longer the domain of computer programmers and graphic designers. Freelance websites offer work on everything from writing to accountancy and from engineering to law.

It is important to choose reputable sites. Some of the larger ones with decent reputations, are, Sologig, Odesk, VirtualAssisstants and Elance. These all have a massive choice of jobs. Elance, for example have the following broad job categories: Web & Programming, Design & Multimedia, Writing & Translation, Admin Support, Sales & Marketing, Finance & Mgt., Legal and Engineering and Mfg.

The bad news however, is that more and more people are now working on these sites. So how do you compete successfully? Firstly, and obviously, you need your own website. This needs to be well designed, well written, and include a portfolio of your work. It also needs to be search engine optimized to make sure you are not buried in the millions of similar sites on the internet. This site is your calling card, your online business card and you should not underestimate just how important it is to get this right.

Secondly, you need to build a good reputation on these online employment sites. Your supply of freelance and contract work depends on every single review you get from clients. This means you may have to work for lower rates and longer hours at first, so that you can build a good reputation and decent reviews to get you going. Be prepared to take lower pay because the client may be taking you on trust at first. Then, make sure that any work you do is absolutely top notch, because the better the review you get, the more likely you are to attract more clients to utilize your services the next time.

Finally, be aware of some of the pitfalls of online work. Many clients and employers will try and pay a pittance for work just because it is online. Some will ask for free samples of work as part of the process. Some want to pick your brains for free. Others will try and get you to deal with them away from the security of the employment site. All of these should be avoided at all costs.

Naturally, there are other downsides, from no health care or pension, no paid time off and with everything online - very little interaction with human beings! But if you can deal with these factors you will find that working freelance, both in the real world and online, is the best decision you ever made!

The Bedouin Group offers Freelancers Umbrella Company alternatives so they can increase their take home pay.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Advantages of Freelancing As a Career Choice by Greg Dixon

When people think about changing careers they often consider changing not because they dislike the kind of work they are doing, but rather the environment in which they are doing it. It is often simply that they dislike office life or the relationship between employer and employee, or the pressures involved in fixed salaried employment.

This is often the reason that people decide on freelancing as a way to change the direction of their career. They get to stay working in the field of their choice, doing whatever it is that they love; but they also get to dictate for themselves how they approach their job and career, how often they work or go on holiday, or how much time they get to spend with their kids, and most particularly, they can choose the direction that their career takes. Moreover, freelance opportunities have massively increased over the past few years with the end of 'jobs for life' culture and the immediate, global nature of the internet and online employment. As such freelance and contract work is now more sought after and viable than ever before.

And whether you choose to freelance on site or in an office, or like many people, work from home, there are a number of advantages to the freelance lifestyle. Firstly there are the flexible working hours - freelance workers or contractors are often able to choose when they work, particularly if they work from home. Indeed working from home also cuts out the massive amount of time often wasted on commuting. As well as this, contractors and freelancers are able to choose when they take their holidays, and if they have been lucky enough to have had a good few months of contracts they can then choose to holiday for weeks on end!

Secondly, freelancers and contractors get to choose the jobs they take on. Once you are established as a freelancer you will hopefully be able to pick and choose the projects you are interested in and go for the work you enjoy doing the most. As well as this you can choose jobs which allow you to develop new skills sets and gain new experiences to broaden both your career and your cv. Alternatively you can specialize in one area and become an expert or 'go-to-guy' who companies know they can trust.

Thirdly, you are your own boss. You work for no one but yourself. Aside from the great feeling this gives you, you'll quickly see that the relationship between yourself and your clients is far more equal than that between an employer and employee.

Finally, if managed well freelancing can be extremely rewarding financially. The average freelancer rate is normally at least double that of the salaried fixed worker. Moreover because the freelancer runs their own business there are often significant advantages built into the tax system for them to use, from umbrella companies to employee benefit trusts.

With careful planning and research, freelancing or contracting can change your career, or life, for the better.

The Bedouin Group offers Contractors Umbrella Company alternatives so you increase you take home pay.

The Disadvantages of Freelancing As a Career Choice by Greg Dixon

When people look to make a career change, often it is not what they do for a living, but all the pressures around it. As such, many people choose to go freelance rather than stay working in full-time salaried employment.

They see the advantages that make freelancing or contracting such a successful change of direction for many - working in their field, doing what they love and all the while dictating how their working lives are shaped. They also see the incredible array of freelance opportunities in the employment market and available through the internet (which also sometimes allows even more freedom through working from home); and the advantages of flexible working hours, choosing your own assignments and career path, being your own boss and finally, exceptional financial rewards.

All of these exciting prospects are no doubt true for many, but it is worth stopping for a minute and considering some of the downsides of freelancing as well. Firstly, although flexible hours mean you can choose when you work and when you go on holiday, it is also the case that you might go through periods of no work at all. Can you be sure you will secure enough contracts or freelance work to keep you financially secure? Are you certain there are enough clients out there that need your skills? Freelancers, particularly when starting out, need to be prepared for long periods where they are searching for the next job. This can often be a test for your confidence in your abilities and your new career path as a freelancer! Indeed it pays to always keep some savings just in case this happens, and to be extremely pro-active in searching out new work.

Indeed, this leads to the second issue for freelancers. Whilst it feels like a massive advantage to be your own boss, there are also pitfalls. Work is not going to come to you. You need to be proactive in getting yourself out there, networking, sniffing out jobs and clients. You are also the only one liable for the job. The buck stops with you. You live and die by your reputation, and you alone have to deal with annoying or annoyed clients.

You also need to be disciplined. With no one to look over your shoulder and with kids / internet / TV / spouse in the next room if you work from home, you have to be certain you can make time and space for your career and your clients. If you are easily distracted you should think long and hard about freelancing.

Finally, although freelancers can earn double the rates of the salaried worker and can gain significant advantages in the tax system because they run their own business, the nature of freelancing means that freelancers need to take care of their own taxes, NI contributions and Limited Company admin. This can be tedious and time consuming and get in the way of all the advantages of contracting - so much so that a number of companies have come up with innovative ways of managing this admin for contractors and freelancers. These are known as umbrella companies, but even they require expenses forms and time-sheets. A more recent innovation for freelancers is an Employee Benefit Trust, which manages all the admin and tax issues and allows freelancers or contractors a massive return on their earnings compared to umbrella companies. Nevertheless, all these issues require careful consideration before embarking on a freelance career.

If you are able to handle all these possible disadvantages, and are aware of the pitfalls, contracting or freelancing for a living can still be an incredibly rewarding way to work.

The Bedouin Group offers Contractors Umbrella Company alternatives and increased earnings retention.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Place Your Bet on Freelancing in a Bad Economy - A Gamble Paid Off by Lee Su Jung

Now that the economy has turned south and massive job cuts, lay offs, salary freeze and pink slips have drilled cold fear into the bosoms of most professionals, most people are of the opinion that one of the hardest hit sectors will be the freelancing sector. But this is a rather false assumption and as far from the truth as possible.

The real and breaking news is that freelance jobs online and freelance projects and freelance employment opportunities will not get affected by downsizing. When faced with the prospects of financial losses and decreasing revenues, most companies take the route of downsizing and lay offs and salary cuts to meet the expenses or as a cost cutting measure.

The companies usually take recourse to job cuts because they can then get rid of high overhead costs such as salaries, perks, gratuity, pension, insurance, medical allowance and other such employee benefits.

Now, there will be job cuts but the volume of work will remain the same. Who will do this extra work? This is where freelance jobs online, freelance employment and freelance projects come in. All these extra work loads will be handed over to freelancers who are not bound to any employer on any kind of long term commitment.

Freelancers will work for any company independently on a short term basis, at a rate lower than a full time worker, and yet will have to produce outstanding work quality within the stipulated deadline. There are no needs of overhead costs for either retaining or hiring or training freelancers, there are no set up costs, there is no issue of perks and benefits or salary hikes and that is why freelancers are so much in demand in all the fields, be it freelance programming or freelance web developer jobs or freelance web designers jobs etc. The only expense that the company has to face is the work related expense.

The tougher and more troubled the times, more will the demand be for well qualified and experienced freelancers who can produce high quality work and submit them within stipulated deadlines. The good news is that because of near zero expenses behind freelancers, most companies retain or hire freelancers to tide over the economic crisis.

Full time workers may be shown the door, but there is need for skilled workers who can promote websites or build links or design websites or know internet and computer languages. The vacuum that is created through the lay offs is filled in by the service of freelancers so that the company may survive and continue to operate.

In other words the jobs like freelance programming or freelance web developer jobs or freelance web designers' jobs or other types of freelance jobs online are mainly outsourcing jobs and the only solution in the hands of the companies now.

So freelancers are actually benefited by a troubled economy and if you are intelligent and know how to cash in on opportunities and if you have the requisite skills in any of the fields described above, you can make a great killing, that's for sure.

Find my FREE REPORT at [] and get the facts about Freelancing and how it can bring you a nice income without a lot of hassle.

Freelancing - 8 Things That No One Has Told You About Some of Your Clients by Danny Wareham

I've been freelancing on and off for over 5 years now and I've had the fortune (and sometimes misfortune) of working with a variety of unusual clients. Whilst all clients are unique individuals, there are several traits and behaviours that have appeared from one customer to another.

Most requests for my work is for web design by small business owners predominately outside of the UK. It would seem that these unfortunate beliefs and behaviours cross boundaries of country, race and language, and I've witnessed many of these traits in completely polar industries too.

With this in mind, you never know when you might come across a client that has one of these behaviours.

I hope that this article might help some aspiring freelancers out there to be more prepared for any occasion when they find themselves in situations similar to those listen below.

1. Aren't you a mind-reader?

You're the designer. They're a director of a packaging company. They have no idea how they want their web layout to look, but tell you, "If you knock something up, I'll know if I like it."

Great. So, on the off-chance that I manage to read your mind and deliver something that meets your unpublished expectations, we will continue to work together? Plus, if I do manage to pull this off, there will be no recognition of my clairvoyant powers.

This type of design is called "concept design" and is very different to standard design; and should be handled and biled very differently too.

Design is a two-way street. As a designer, you'll need to impress upon the client that they play an active role in the success of the project as well.

I normally ask for examples of their existing branding that they wish to retain. For example an existing logo, colour pallete or any other stationary. If this is not available (for example, if it's a new start-up company), then questions about their target customers, demographic and any culture or message that they wish to convey to their clients often helps me to at least determine whether a comic, corporate, web 2.0 or other style is needed.

2. I don't really have much money or I tell you that I don't really have much money

These two are not the same.

Some clients genuinely have tiny budgets for their projects. Others have a larger availability of funds, but want to give the impression that they don't in order to secure a bargain price.

I've encountered customers in the past that have claimed that the work is for a charitable organisation and, once the project was in flow, it became quite clear that the work was for a commercial company with 10 UK offices and 4 overseas branches!

As the freelancer, it's your responsibility to identify which of these your client actually is.

Personally, I've found that the best way of doing this is to discuss the rough project requirements over the phone or via email before you meet with them. If your work is 100% online, ask for details of their current site or business and check it out. I wish I'd done this with my "charity" case above...

3. Free advice and wasting time is just the price of being in business

If you're thinking that potential clients will come right out and tell you that they're not going to hire you the moment the thought pops into their head, think again.

This of course might be the moral thing to do, but many clients are of the opinion, "Hey, designers are paid to provide free information and advice. Sometimes they get paid and sometimes they don't. It's just the cost of doing business."

Some potential clients do this in order to fill their own knowledge gaps about the process or price, and test the water before proceeding with a project. Whilst I'm sure we can all understand and even appreciate the importance of this kind of leg work, the impact on your workload can be immense.

I offer a completely free of charge mock-up service for web design, which many would say is a potential waste of time and risk - actually inviting clients to eat into my availability.

In fact, I've found that many clients will want to see some form of work prior to bringing you on board, so I would probably be providing this service anyway.

By offering the service openly, I reduce the pressure for my clients and, if they decide not to proceed with the design, I provide the design as a tutorial or add to my store for other customers to benefit from.

4. I hired you 3-years ago and you're still on retainer

One of the biggest peeves that I have is when clients believe that, because you have completed and delivered a project to them, you are their new "go to guy" whenever they have any technical issue - in some cases even if it's not related to the project you completed.

I took a holiday for 10 days last year. No computer. No emails. Complete IT blackout whilst I enjoyed some well-earned time away from the monitor. When I returned, I had over 20 emails from a customer for whom I built a site in 2005 - over 4 years ago.

Apparently, they had moved server hosts and their PHP contact form now longer worked. They weren't receiving emails and, as the site was for a holiday villa, felt that they were losing bookings and money because of this.

Although the tone of the unanswered emails progressively became more aggressive, the initial contact email wasn't exactly overflowing with praise:

"Your programming has stopped working and you need to fix it for us ASAP"


After I replied, apologising that I had been on holiday, I asked if they had changed anything on the site. They replied that they had moved hosts, and I told them that their new host had caused the issue and they may not have PHP support with their new host. They upgraded their host and continued to bombard me with emails asking me to take a look at the code.

Eventually, I gave in and took a look. After about 15-minutes, I ascertained that they had also changed their email address when they changed hosts.

There was no offer of payment for the service - there wasn't even a thank you email. In fact, I received only one more response which simply said that they would "test and get back to me with any problems".

In hindsight, I could have avoided this if I had just explained that this was a separate project and treated it as such; provided a quote and a time that I could fit it into my work schedule. Oh well. Once bitten, twice shy.

5. I'm as smart as you

The vast majority of clients are completely clueless when it comes to designing - that's why they've come to an expert. However, not all clients will admit this to themselves, let alone to you.

On the rare occasion that they do, empathise and guide. On the other occasions, it is imperative that the client understands that you are an expert. Your confidence will make the difference between being able to work efficiently or having every action questioned and guided by a novice, extending your project time exponentially.

As far as clients go: being an expert in accounting, manufacturing, or health care doesn't mean you're an expert in design - so let us be the designers here - we're the experts.

6. Can you add in my content?

This is another big issue for designers that is easily missed in your project requirements.

We bid for and plan for the creation of a web design. We slice and code a page template (or three), ready for the customer to add in their content. Then we get the files; "Here's the content for the home page. I'll send you over the other pages in a few minutes."

How did this happen? You receive your files as Word documents, so you can't copy and paste directly into the pages - plus you never signed up for this. You're a designer and you've done the design.

Unfortunately, clients don't always understand the distinction. They want a web site designing and assume that the final deliverable will be a finished, ready-to-launch site, including content. It is our responsibility to ensure that this assumption is corrected before you begin working.

If not, you're only leaving yourself open for all the issues that come with content publishing; spelling errors, font layouts and delays in content (see #7).

7. I've not written the content yet. I'll provide it as I do

I warned you!

As savvy designers and developers, we understand that content is king. It keeps your customers coming back, the search engines happy and makes your site look professional and intriguing.

Clients don't always understand this, in which case you will receive Word documents of sub-par commentary with no direction on what to put where.

If they do understand the concept, that can be worse. Each page optimised for keywords and positioning, which takes time. They send you over one page at a time, with a day between pages - and you've got 50 pages to complete!

As with agreeing to upload content, you must agree this process with your writer/client at the start of your project. The client does not need the site designed and coded to write content. Ensure that they start composing content straight away or, alternatively, have them produce the content at a later date and provide all content to you in one go.

There's nothing worse than copying and pasting a page of text and then having to wait 2-days for your next one!

8. Can you add these images?

This is another assumption that we need to correct at the start of the project: What happens with images supplied by the client?

I once agreed to upload 10 images to a customer's site as part of their content. It's only 10 pictures; how hard can it be? Big mistake.

The images were supplied from a digital camera at a resolution of over 2000px square. The image holders were 150x150px. Also, the images were poor quality; bad lighting and exposure meant that they also needed reworking to be used at such small resolutions.

The 10 images took me about 2-hours to rework, rescale and upload to the site. The thank you? Nothing. Nada. Zip.

And this was only a few images. Imagine if you have agreed to upload all content and there were 50. Or 100.

In summary, keep in mind that, like any other profession, you will work with some great people and some not-so-great people.

Most clients aren't intentionally greedy or nasty, but, make no doubt, they want as much as possible for as little as possible. If you don't nail these requirements and expectations at the start of the project, your experience will not be as pleasant as we all know freelancing can and should be.

Your goal as a designer should be to provide good service to your clients and get paid a fair rate in return. Since those goals don't match up, it's important to learn how to protect yourself and your rights as a designer, because your clients won't do it for you.


Danny Wareham is founder of; a web, database and graphic design company near Stoke on Trent in the UK.

How To Blog Holistically Is A Free Guide To Blogging

How to blog holistically is a free guide to blogging, written with the blog reader in mind. By making readers happy, bloggers ensure the success of their blog. The authors of the free blogging guide said: "We believe that bloggers should love their readers, at least that applies to serious bloggers who write for an audience and have a message to deliver, not just some time to pass."

Their suggested style-guide includes:

1) (Being) Aware:  know your readers, mission and strengths. Choosing topics, titles and writing accordingly. Write with the jargon, if any, which makes easier for readers to understand; or in plain English, if that makes life easier for readers.

2) Meditating: or at least put the post in prospective. Unless it is a breaking news, wait at least 30 minutes before publishing it. What looks wonderful now, may show several points in need of improvements in just half an hour.

3) (Being) Active: consistency in posting is important. At least once per day. If there are not enough topics to write daily, then one should question the need to have a blog. For irregular pots, better to use articles directories etc.

4) (Being) Respectful: save the mambo-jambo. Go straight to the point, and then add more paragraphs with deeper analysis, if that makes life easier for readers. Also, unless being controversial is the essence of the blog, be correct in your statements, avoid stereotypes etc.

5) Feed your brain properly: you’ll certainly blog on topics you enjoy, so you’ll likely read about them as well. Ensure you read, watch, network, mash-up, etc. with proper sources.

These and more advices about social media are available in the free eBook Holistic approach to Social Media

Monday, August 2, 2010

What Should My Freelance Hourly Rate Be? It's an Art Form by Stephen J Madison

One of the biggest freelance writing questions people have is "What should my hourly rate be?"

When formulating your freelance rates, there are many things to keep in mind. First and foremost, who are you freelancing for? If it's a large company, they're likely used to paying freelancers a solid hourly rate. Also, if it's an ad agency you are giving your freelance rate to, remember to do your research first. Check out their client list, do they have a handsome client roster? One filled with well-paying clients? Also, look at their portfolio. Do they appreciate good creative? If the answer to those two questions is "yes," then they likely will pay a premium for good talent.

If the answer is "no" you might be wise to either steer clear or feel out your potential client to get a sense of what they're comfortable paying. If it's worth it to you, by all means take it.

But let's assume, the potential client is able to pay a reasonable amount. How should you formulate your rates to get their business?

Over my career I've toyed with various methods. I've charged sky high rates ($100+/hour) and rock bottom rates ($25-$35/hour). Here's what I've found:

1. Sky high freelance rates only work if you find a client with deep pockets. And even then, they're likely unwilling to pay that for someone they've never worked with. You might snag a project or two with this strategy (which will pay nicely), but consistent workflow will be diminished.

2. Rock bottom rates are tricky. On one hand, you may attract some thrifty clients, which you can make a modest sum off of. But most clients, especially those clients who have an appreciation for solid work and, in turn, also have the quantity of projects you want, will be turned off by such a low figure. It's the old idea of "You get what you pay for." "$25-$35/hour = below average work" in the minds of your target.

My advice? Find a place in the middle. Choose a number that most places can afford, but also a number that won't raise red flags. $75/hour has been a number that has worked well for me. It still denotes quality, but is also low enough to encourage repeat business, which is the key to being a successful freelancer.

Of course, if you're getting rebuffed with $75, by all means, try a lower number and see what works. Freelance writing doesn't have set rules, so experiment, see what works and what doesn't. And if you feel you need to discount your rate to get your foot in the door, do it. Just make sure it's worth it.

Stephen J. Madison has been a highly successful freelance copywriter and consultant for over 10 years. You can find more helpful advice on his website

Make Money With Blogs Through Freelancing by Thomas Reidy

Having gone through the hard school of knocks, the chances are good that you have learned a lot about blogging by now - so much that you are an expert!

There are many businesspeople out there looking for your blogging experience. They think of the word "blog" and feel very intimidated about running one themselves, but realize that the marketplace is changing and they need to stay competitive by blogging. Why not offer to help them increase blog traffic as a freelance consultant?

There are a few different ways you can make this happen. You can actually do all of the work; choosing a domain name, doing the market and keyword research, setting up the script, writing the content, and setting up the monetization. You can even maintain the blog on an ongoing basis for your clients-- netting you a sizable income!

It all depends on how your target market and the type of clients you go after (for instance, you will probably make more setting up a blog for an "offline" client than you will for someone who wants a blog geared toward affiliate marketing).

If you find that you enjoy writing content but not the technical aspects; you can earn money by specializing in blog posts. As an alternative, you can outsource the writing to others and act as a project manager. Freelancing as a ghost-blogger is a high demand skill.

You establish credibility in this type of business by first, demonstrating examples of your work. Showcase your own blog to your prospects. Ask open-ended questions about, not only their objectives, but also their problems and fears. Your solution should solve both of those concerns.

Establish an outsourcing file of subcontractors who you can use on a project basis to handle the work you prefer not to do. Here is a starter list of websites that you can research:


· (formerly



· (projects people will do for $5)

As you start to get results, referrals will come your way. It's a great thing when you become a blogging master since everyone wants to generate business with their own blog these days!

Explore the possibility of purchasing reseller hosting rights and then sell monthly fee hosting packages for people who will gladly pay you to take their blogging problems completely off their hands. The sky is truly the limit when you start monetizing your expertise.

Thomas Reidy is an expert blogger; specalizing in coaching beginner bloggers on how to quickly and easily start their own money making blogs--just by devoting 15 minutes a day. Get 5 brand new money making blog secrets at

Top 10 Social Media Tips

Over the past year, social media marketing has exploded with every company under the sun joining a variety of different networks to gain relevant traffic. But with so many companies vying for the business, what do you need to do to compete. Below are 10 tips to help you with your social media campaign.

Get your company username

This seems like a relatively obvious point but your username should be your company name. A good idea is to sign up to as many of the social media networks as possible to ensure that you get your company before anyone else does. At the end of the day, it's free to sign up.

Interact with your users

Social media is useless if you're not going to be social and interact with your fans and followers. Respond to what they are talking about and get involved in any question they pose.

Make your posts interesting

Boring posts will ruin your company's ability to attract more users and generate interest in your business. Posting about any current offers you have or any interesting blogs that you have written will hopefully draw people in.

Make your home pages stand out

Some social media websites, such as Twitter, give you the option to create your own background to personalise the page. Make sure your brand identity is well presented on these pages and make sure users instantly know it is your company when they visit.

Don’t say anything you'll regret

Make sure the comments and information you post reflects well on the company and don’t post something that you regret. Often what you post will stay on the site for all to view and won’t go away so be careful what you type!

Give users an incentive to join

If you want lots of fans and followers on your social media site then you will need to give them an incentive to join. By posting exclusive vouchers codes and other offers on these social media sites will keep them visiting regularly.

Keep it up to date

There’s nothing worse than viewing a social media page that hasn't been updated in months as it shows that you’re uninterested and not worth doing. Posting about topical events can keep people interested shows you know what you’re doing.

Link back to your site

Posting a link to your site will show Google that you want to share your information and knowledge with others on the internet, which is fondly looked upon.

Don't add to many add-ons
Widgets and other add-ons can bring your page to life by too many widgets and users will be put off and not sure where to look.

Post about your blogs

Your blogs can act as a great way of focusing your attention on what to talk about on each post and you can put a link to the blog to get more users onto the site.

Social media has the potential to generate some excellent relevant traffic to your site if you have the correct plan in place and the resources to push the campaign forward. SEO Junkies have been creating successful social media campaigns for many clients who haven’t got the time, resources or techniques to implement a successful social media campaign. Find out more about how SEO Junkies can help your social media strategy by contacting them direct.

Contributed by Diane Forster of