Want to Know How to Price Your Work So You Actually Make Money?

One of the toughest parts of freelancing is figuring out how to price your work. For me at least. When I first started out I prayed the clients would just tell me what they’d pay so I didn’t have to send a quote or try and figure out what I needed to charge for projects or articles.

If I’m describing your freelance life right now, or if you’re struggling to figure out how to price your work for clients/customers then boy oh boy do I have a treat for you! My new course How to Price Your Work has just launched and is on special this week!

Read on my friends, read on.

price your work

Is your art your passion? Do you have a creative side hustle you wish would be your full-time gig? Are you looking for a way out from your day job?

If so, you’re not alone.

I first realized this a couple years back when my business bestie and I pitched, created and led a four-part workshop called How to Monetize Your Art. We met with a group of talented creatives who wanted to make a living from their passion, their art. We got such a buzz from this experience we got to work on making a digital version of the workshop and I’m pleased to announce the first one is ready!

Called How to Price Your Work, this is (in my humble opinion) one of the TOUGHEST parts of being an artist entrepreneur.

Actually charging money. And dealing with money. And talking about money.

But if you do it right, it will change everything.

If you want to know more about the course check out the link above and if it sounds like something you’ll benefit from make sure to enroll right away and start pricing your work properly.

I want nothing more than to see you succeed in your life and business and if pricing your art so you’ll actually make money is that for you, then don’t hesitate to join us in the course. If you’re on the fence or have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m happy to go into more detail about the course and trust me, I only want you in it if it’s a good fit.

And if that wasn’t enough, in the course I also reveal That Time I Thought I Should Become a Professional Knitter, which went about as well as you’d expect. Hah. Makes for a great story though!

One of the toughest parts of freelancing is figuring out how to price your work. For me at least. When I first started out I prayed the clients would just tell me what they'd pay so I didn't have to send a quote or try and figure out what I needed to charge for projects or articles.

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One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

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Essential Freelance Writer Website Elements

What are the essential freelance writer website elements? If you’re a freelance writer, do you even need a website?

Seven essential freelance writer website elements

Essential Freelance Writer Website Elements

Around the Internet I see a lot of advice and tips for author websites but I don’t see much out there to help freelance writers. Why oh why are we left out? Don’t worry. I’m here to help. Here are seven essential freelance writer website elements. Oh, and three things.

First things first, you need it. Every freelance writer needs a website. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. A website is the most critical tool in your freelance writing marketing arsenal. It’s available on-demand, year-round and is the one place you have complete control over what the message is. You want and need a website. (Which is why we’re going after the freelance writer website elements today.)

Next. There’s a common idea that social networks can replace a website—that’s where your readers and clients are anyway. But here’s the thing. You don’t own the platform and you can’t control the message. You can add to the conversation, yes. And I think you should be social networking. However, you don’t want all your eggs in the social media basket. It could go away at any time, and then what?

One more thing

Set goals for your website. Yes, I’m talking about S.M.A.R.T. Goals and yes, you need to set some. What’s the primary goal of your website? What do you want people to do when they land on your site? Who do you want to see your writing website? When you know what your goal is, you will know how to build it to help you achieve your freelance-writing goals.

Let’s get into it. What are the essential freelance writer website elements?

Less is more here

  1. Clear name. Look at your website. Is your name visible? Anywhere? Make it visible. If you write under a business name you can use that one, but make sure it’s easy to spot and read
  2. About page. This could be called something similar (bio, the company, meet your expert, experience, who I am, my story, profile, ETC.) and it should be on its own web page on your site
  3. Information about your products, services, or portfolio. Or all three. I have lots to say about portfolios (they drive me crazy…they’re out of date so fast in the freelance fast lane!) but I’ll refrain till further notice. Include as many links as you can to recent work and/or merchandise
  4. Social media icons. Do you have a few favourites? (I know I do.) Link to them and give your avid fans a chance to connect with you
  5. Contact page. Yup. You need to let people know how to get in touch with you. How do you want them to contact you? List that information in a clear and visible manner
  6. Email newsletter signup. Even if you don’t have anything to send, start an email list. Do it. You want to keep in touch with people who want to stay in touch with you (by the way, here are some great email marketing tips)
  7. Blog. I mean, I think you should have a blog. But I’ll leave it at the bottom so you know it’s not the first thing you do. Nothing allows your sparkling personality to come through like a blog. I don’t know what it is about the medium, but it WORKS! It serves as your pre-portfolio and helps you improve your writing. Oh, but you do need to keep it updated

Do you have freelance writer website elements to add? I’d love to hear about them!

What should a freelance writer website look like? Why do you even need a website? What are the essential freelance writer website elements anyway?

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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15 Best Apps for Freelance Writers

I opted to do a roundup of best apps for freelance writers because although smartphones allow you to access amazing tools and work on the go, there are so many options. How do you know which apps are time savers and which are time wasters?

15 Best Apps for Freelance Writers

Here’s my roundup of 15 best apps for freelance writers

I should say right off the bat these are my personal choices, customized for the type of freelance work I do. So know that when I say “best” this is subjective. They may not work for you—fair! But if you’re looking for some apps to try out I hope this is an awesome point to help you cut through the overwhelm, maybe save some time testing apps, and get back to your writing!

Content Planning | Best Apps for Freelance Writers

There is so much pre and prep work for freelance writers. If we don’t stay organized we’re doomed! These are my best apps for freelance writers who want to keep their stress levels down and their desks clutter-free.

Trello

I wrote about my love affair with Trello and how it is helping me stick to my blogging content calendar. However, I also use it for my freelance writing. I create a board for each client and include due dates, assignments, research, etc. and another board for one-off freelance gigs. It’s so much better than flipping through my notebook or digging through email threads trying to remember the focus of an article, when it’s due, or who to send it to.

Basecamp

I didn’t choose Basecamp, Basecamp chose me. This project management software is perfect for teams, so if you’re one of a team of other writers, editors, project managers, designers, developers, etc. you will LOVE this tool. Each project has it’s own space and to-do items and discussions live within the project so you don’t have to do a lot of emailing (I mean, you can if you want). I love that you can put your thoughts into the Basecamp project when you have them, then come back to it when you’re working on it and see all your brainstorms, uploads, photos, (whatever!) in once place.

Feedly

Part of my content strategy is sharing useful articles with other freelance writers and also seeing what people in my industry are talking about. Feedly is how I discover and track content from around the Internet. You set up your lists based on RSS feeds from blogs you want to follow or allow Feedly to suggest blogs based on keywords. As new posts are available, Feedly pulls them into your feed and you devour them as you have time. You can save articles for later, push them to your social sharing apps, and more.

Editing | Best Apps for Freelance Writers

Even if you’re working with editors you still need your writing to be as clean and correct as possible when submitting work. There are loads of tools you can use but I like to keep my editing simple. These are my best apps for freelance writers to help with editing.

Microsoft Word

For the most part I use Microsoft Word for writing, and I keep my language and grammar checking on with my customized settings but off for auto-correct. Part of my process is to go through my work, reading aloud before submitting.

Hemingway App

This is such a neat tool for helping you rework long, rambling sentences and making stronger word choices. It also helps you change passive voice to active voice (IMPORTANT!), which not only strengthens your writing but also communicates your message better.

Grammarly

Yes. You need to care about grammar. You don’t need to go out and police others’ grammar, but you do need to check your own. This app helps you find mistakes and improve your writing. Just watch the comma suggestions, I think they’re a bit heavy handed in that area.

Images | Best Apps for Freelance Writers

When I started freelancing I didn’t need to provide my own images, but these days it’s more like 50/50. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to produce high quality images, you just need to know which tools to use. Here are my best apps for freelance writers for creating awesome images.

Canva

The moment I heard about Canva I knew it was for me. It’s a web-based photo editing tool where you can create branded images, beautiful graphics, and more using pre-made templates or designing your own. It’s easy to use—kind of like a scaled-back Photoshop—and allows you to store your brand colours, images, and templates to use over and over.

Pixabay

Can’t take your own photos? Don’t have time to shoot? No problem. This free stock photography site offers more than a million images and videos including illustrations and vector graphics. It’s worth checking out.

If you want more options for free stock photos, here are five great sites to check out.

Social Media Planning and Scheduling | Best Apps for Freelance Writers

I don’t know if you’ll ever get the same answer when asking what someone’s favourite social media tools are. People’s needs and preferences range so much, plus there are always new apps to check out. I’ve tried a LOT of them and will give you my personal best apps for freelance writers who are trying to plan and schedule their social media.

Hashtagger

I wrote about this app when I explained how to find and use hashtags but it’s worth mentioning again here. It’s such a great tool! There are lots of hashtag discovery apps, but this is the one I like for finding popular hashtags around a certain word or phrase when I’m on the go. As in, I’m in the middle of posting and I need hashtags! The app is minimalist—your only option is to search for hashtags. You do this by typing in a word, pressing search, then selecting the hashtags from the list. You can copy up to 30 then paste them all at once into your post or comment on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, etc.

NOTE: This app is no longer available in the Canadian iTunes store so I no longer use it but I think it’s still available in the US iTunes store.

Hootsuite

There’s a lot to love about Hootsuite. I used to use it for all my social media but I’m finding it has certain limitations so I’m using a couple new tools, which I’ll outline below. However. I’m still team Hootsuite for all of my Twitter management. I schedule posts, track analytics, and keep an eye on the Twitter lists I follow. It’s easy to organize and keeps me sharp.

Recurpost

This is a new tool in my arsenal but I’m done with my testing and think it’s a keeper. This is a “productivity enhancement tool,” which is a fancy way of saying you can manage your social media for multiple platforms from its dashboard. In this way it’s a lot like Hootsuite but where it has a leg up is the content library. Here, I can add evergreen posts and create a schedule around the different libraries. What does this mean? I can not only schedule my social media but I can have it repeat on whatever schedule I desire. I have all my evergreen blogs set up in Recurpost and they now drip out to my chosen social networks on the schedule I set. It is awesome!

Later

Like Hootsuite, this is a social scheduling and planning tool. Unlike Hootsuite, it’s a visual planner. What does this mean? You can plug in your social media posts for the next week, month, whatever, and see how it looks as a collection—this is especially powerful for Instagram. You can also save images, captions, and hashtags in the tool for easy re-use. Once your post is scheduled it either publishes it for you sends a push notification (on Instagram) when it’s time. I’ve used this tool for the past month or so and so far, I like it. The visual plan helps me see how each image works together and helps me stay on brand.

File Storage | Best Apps for Freelance Writers

If you’re like me, then you’re working on multiple computers, devices, and networks on any given day. What this means is you need everything within easy access. Yes, you can drag your external hard drive around but you can also put everything you need in the cloud. Here are my best apps for freelance writers for working in the cloud.

Google Drive

If you use Google Docs, Forms, and Sheets, then you already know how awesome a partner Google Drive is. You can keep all your documents, images, and whatever else in one web-based place. You can share documents or folders with the click of a button and you can collaborate on documents with ease, adding comments and track changes as needed.

Dropbox

This is similar to Google Drive but more people use it (at least in my circles). Used more for file sharing than anything else, this is a great way to send huge files back and forth. I use it in my podcast editing work and find it not only easy to use but quick and efficient. I have multiple Dropbox folders for different reasons and I can customize which folders download to which computer so it stays clean and simple.

LastPass

You need secure passwords and you also need to log into different accounts a zillion times per day on different devices. And, if your day-to-day work is anything like mine, then you’re logging in and out of various client accounts all the day long. There is NO WAY you’re remembering all those passwords and you are NOT keeping them in your phone or on a notepad. You need them in a password safe. I love LastPass because I can use it on any computer or device and only need to remember ONE password. All the rest are stored in the password safe and are there when I need them.

Well, that’s my roundup of best apps for freelance writers. Hope you can find something awesome to help make your writing life more efficient.

Do you have any suggestions for best apps for freelance writers? Let me know! I’m always looking for new favourites.

With so many choices, how do you know which apps are time savers and which are time wasters? Here's my roundup of 15 best apps for freelance writers.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
With so many choices, how do you know which apps are time savers and which are time wasters? Here's my roundup of 15 best apps for freelance writers.

Overcome the Fear of Marketing Yourself | 3 Tips

Are you wondering how to overcome your fear of marketing? Or perhaps you’re wondering if you need to market since you have such a strong aversion to it? Here’s the truth: if you want to make money from your writing, you do need to embrace marketing.

Overcome the Fear of Marketing Yourself | 3 Tips

Building relationships and telling stories

The good news is, marketing isn’t as scary as you think it is. Serious! I know we get all spinny about the concept of pitching ourselves but at its core, marketing is building relationships and telling stories. Good marketing is crafting those stories for a specific person, a person who wants exactly what you’re offering.

Afraid of Marketing? Fearful of promoting yourself? The best way I know how to overcome the fear of marketing yourself is to focus on helping people and to weave in stories.

Your marketing efforts are most effective when you have a consistent strategy targeted at your ideal clients, readers or customers. When these are aligned you won’t feel like you’re marketing, just connecting with likeminded souls.

Three tips for overcoming your fear of marketing

There are many reasons people feel afraid of promoting themselves or their freelance business and some of them are justified. Will you be rejected? Very probably. It’s part of the game. Will people criticise you? Yeah, they will. Will you fail? Maybe, yes. These things all could and probably will happen. But you don’t have to let it hold you back.

Tip 1: In order to be an effective marketer you need to identify your fears and move past imposter syndrome. Much of our fear is rooted in our mindset and worst-case scenarios. To thrive as a freelance writer (or any kind of freelancer, entrepreneur or small business owner), it’s important to accept our strengths and weaknesses, understand who we serve and what we bring to the table and push forward with confidence—even if we don’t have all the answers.

Tip 2: Worried you’ll be seen as a spammer? Then don’t be a spammer. Be genuine, offer real value, build relationships and be a human. If you’re only connecting with people in order to ask for or get something from them then you’re doing it wrong. The key here? Make real connections but don’t avoid promoting yourself when the timing is right. Find a tactful way to weave it into your interactions.

Bonus: Here are three marketing ideas for writers who hate marketing

My final tip for overcoming your fear of marketing

Tip 3: Focus on the benefits working with you brings to your clients. Take a little time to figure out why your ideal customers or clients would want to do business with you. What do you bring to the table? If you can get clear on this, you’ll have a much easier time prospecting and reaching out to clients. Articulate the problem you’re ideal clients have, how you can help them and what the benefits of working with you are.

And remember, you don’t need to know everything about your topic or be the world’s leading expert in your niche. You just need to be a couple steps ahead of your clients.

An example from my life

Most of my professional marketing experience comes from the non-profit world where I hear a lot about how people are afraid to ask for money. In a lot of ways fundraising parallels marketing and even sales. Reaching out and asking for something from someone who might say no (or, worse yet, will be offended at your asking!) is scary.

But here’s the thing, when you have a wonderful service or product or cause you have a duty to let people know about it. If it will benefit them in any way, they have a right to know. Sure, they may turn down your request, that’s their decision to make. Your job as the marketer (or fundraiser, or sales person) is to let them know about it. That’s all.

If you can’t stand behind the product, service or organization you’re pitching then this is a different problem, one I’m not dealing with today. But if you do believe in what you’re selling then it’s time to move past your fear of marketing and jump ahead in your business.

Need a bit more? Rachel wrote a great article on this topic I think you’ll love.

Are you wondering how to overcome your fear of marketing? Or perhaps you're wondering if you need to market since you have such a strong aversion to it? Here's the truth: if you want to make money from your writing, you do need to embrace marketing.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required

Copywriter: Writer, Marketer and Persuader All in One

If you’re new to writing you may not have considered copywriter as a way to break into the industry. Copywriting is as challenging as it is interesting and most writers overlook it in favour of more traditional publishing roads.

Become a freelance copywriter

But wait, what’s a copywriter?

If you think about copywriting as writing for business then you’ll have it just about right. A copywriter is the person who comes up with slogans, billboards, traditional media ads and just about any other kind of sales copy (words) you can think of.

And what about all the words that go on websites? And those business blogs everyone has these days? Yup, a copywriter is behind it.

Because uncredited copy is everywhere, it’s easy to miss it as writing. For people just getting started in writing, they may not even consider this type of writing as an option because it seems so mysterious.

Sure, it’s not as recognizable as, say, a published author credit or a byline in a newspaper or magazine but it certainly pays the bills.

The difference between copywriting and other types of writing

When most people think about writing they think of fiction and non-fiction. But of course there is so much more below the surface. Fiction breaks down into endless genres while non-fiction branches into journalism, prescriptive, self-help, biography, memoir and more.

Copywriting falls into the non-fiction camp and champions the art of persuasion. AKA rhetoric. In general, a copywriter’s job is to persuade someone to take an action be it purchasing a product, signing up for an email list or clicking on a link.

You’ll find copywriters within marketing departments or working for advertising agencies or public relations firms. And most freelance writers you meet are copywriters who are tired to explaining to people what copywriters do so they default to the generic “writer.”

Copywriter: Freelancer, Marketer, Writer

How copywriting works

If you watched Mad Men then you have some idea of how copywriting fits into the larger world of sales and marketing.

In general, they’ll start with a brief from a client or brand explaining what problem their product or service is trying to solve and who will benefit from it. They may have meetings with art directors or graphic designers to brainstorm concepts. And they may meet with the company to learn more.

Once there’s a firm concept in place, the copywriter will then create the different deliverables. Let’s say this project is an advertising campaign for a toy company who wants to launch the next big Christmas gift hit. The copywriter would look at all the different aspects of the campaign (say for example, television ads, radio ads, newspaper ads, social media posts, email blasts, etc.) and create the written components.

Become a freelance copywriter

To get started as a copywriter there isn’t any sort of standardized degree or certification. You just start.

Of course, this is easier said than done.

In order to get work you need to showcase your skills. If you have a portfolio, great. If not, then get writing. Start a blog or devote yourself to some other form of content marketing to get your name out there.

If you don’t have skills, consider working at an agency. There are a couple benefits here, you’ll gain experience and learn how the industry works. There are a lot of agencies and they all need writers. Browse LinkedIn and look for terms like “media,” “communications,” “marketing,” etc. From there figure out which ones are hiring and start applying.

Sure, copywriting may not be as glamorous as publishing in a literary journal but if you can find the right clients it can afford you a decent living. It might be tricky to explain to other what you do, but it won’t matter if you fall in love with the art of copy.

If you're new to writing you may not have considered copywriter as a way to break into the industry. Copywriting is as challenging as it is interesting and most writers overlook it.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required