How a Chinese Fruit Vendor Taught Me to Negotiate Rocking Freelance Blogging Rates

Would you pay $14 for five oranges to avoid bartering?

Spend $18 on bananas to appease screaming children?

Walk 15 minutes in toxic rain to a store and pay double for the same fruit sold right outside your apartment?

I would. I did. And how I hate to admit it.

Hello, my name is Amy and I’m a recovering non-negotiator. I’m proof people pay up to 100% more (and beyond) to instantly escape uncomfortable situations.

For me, “stressful” used to mean negotiation. It was one of my biggest weaknesses as a freelance blogger.

Fortunately, I came across an amazing business teacher when my family moved to Tianjin, China this summer. Over the last three months, I’ve used my newfound negotiation skills to generate thousands of dollars more than I used to through freelance blogging and writing.  [Read more…]

How to Use Facebook Groups to Land More Blogging Jobs

You hear the marketing gurus talking about this all the time.

“Use Facebook to promote your business.” That’s most likely why you started a Facebook page promoting your writing services. And if you invited everyone you know to ‘like’ the page, you probably have a few hundred likes already.

But…you’re not getting any writing inquiries.

There’s little engagement on your page. The occasional likes and comments might bring a smile to your face, but bring in zero clients.

You start to wonder if Facebook is even worth your time.

It’s true: you can use Facebook to get decent or even lucrative blogging gigs. But don’t spend all your marketing efforts on growing your Facebook Page.

Facebook Groups are where all the action is. [Read more…]

How to Be a Freelance Blogger: The Awkward Toddler Phase

Do you have any memories from when you were 2 years old?

I only remember a couple of things: moving house, and getting bitten by a dog.

We forget so much of our early years. Maybe because if we remembered every screaming tantrum and bedwetting incident, we’d be too horrified and embarrassed to survive adulthood . :)

Your freelance blogging career will have its awkward toddler phase, too. It might start 2 years after you launch your business, or it could happen after as little as 6 months.

Here’s how to recognise it:

  • You know more than you’re able to do
  • You often feel frustrated by how slowly you’re progressing
  • You wonder why you can’t stay focused on your work
  • You envy bloggers who seem confident and effortlessly successful
  • You can’t picture what your career will be like 5 years or 10 years from now
  • You’re sure there must be a secret nobody’s told you about how freelance blogging works

Sound familiar? Congrats — you’re a toddler!

And you’re not the only one. This blog is 2 years old today.  [Read more…]

Your First Big Break in Freelance Blogging: Beware These 5 Myths

You know you were born to be a freelance blogger.

Undeterred by competition or fear of rejection, you spend countless hours perfecting your blog posts and sharing them with your peers. Every spare minute, you either send out queries to potential clients or absorb the advice of expert bloggers.

Friends and family start to worry; you’re working so hard, when will it pay off?

And then, one day, it happens.

Not only do you land a guest blogging assignment with a high-profile client, they love your work so much they want to offer you an ongoing gig! Ding ding… jackpot!

So, you re-focus your energy on this “golden goose” client. You no longer work on your own blog or pitch new clients. What for? This is a huge company with endless opportunities.

Six months later, the client abruptly leaves the company. His replacement is more comfortable working with established writers and you are left out in the cold.

Is this an imaginary cautionary tale, dramatised to prove a point?

I wish. This exact scenario happened to me.

And it took months of sending queries, reconnecting with my blogging community and an active participation in social media before I was able to get the ball rolling again.

Bloggers are either encouraged or intimidated by their first big break. Don’t get caught up in any of these 5 myths (like I did!) and you will go on to even bigger success.  [Read more…]

Freelance Blogging in 2015: What to Expect

How’s this year looking for you so far?

Do you know what you’re doing and how you’ll grow your freelance blogging business in 2015?

It’s OK if you don’t.

It’s awesome if you do know, but it’s totally OK if you don’t.

I just agreed to get married this year, so I don’t know exactly what I’m doing in 2015 except that it now includes a wedding and a honeymoon. None of that was in my “goals for 2015″ list at the end of 2014!

You don’t need to know exactly where you’re headed right now to make this year a success. And in a moment, I’m going to offer you a fat prize that will make 2015 your take-off year.

First, let’s recap where we are and what’s been going on. This is our starting point for a shiny future.  [Read more…]

Freelance Bloggers on YouTube: A Beginner’s Guide to Video Creation

What makes your freelance blogging business stand out from the rest?

You all write blog posts. You all have websites. You all look pretty much identical to prospective clients — at least until they’ve taken some time to check out your portfolio pieces and testimonials.

But you don’t have to stay that way.

Do you have a smart phone? Are you willing to learn a new trick or two?

Then video content may be just what you need to get ahead of the crowd.

The internet is an increasingly visual medium.

  • Sites like Buzzfeed use slideshows as articles, with a picture and a quote on each page.
  • Vines, vlogs, and YouTube channels bring their creators both money and recognition.
  • Popular bloggers like Derek Halpern or Gary Vaynerchuk make a new video for almost every post on their blogs.
  • Businesses are all over Pinterest, Instagram, and even Snapchat, using images and videos to get attention.

So what’s a freelance blogger to do to capture and use this ever growing demand for visual content?

Adapt.

Learn the basic skills that let you take advantage of the increasing popularity (and decreasing production cost) of video content.  [Read more…]

Create Popular Blog Posts With These 7 Insider Interview Tips

Are you blogging your heart out, but not getting a lot of readers?

Do potential clients seem unimpressed by your blogging portfolio?

Well, here’s one way to really grab some eyeballs and get the online traction that brings clients to your door:

Deliver an exclusive, fascinating interview with a prominent person.

Wait, wait, I hear you say — how will I ever get anyone to talk to me? Worse, what if someone does talk to me and I get so nervous I blow it?

You’d be surprised at how easy it is.

As a journalist by training and a former staff reporter, I’ve interviewed hundreds of people. If one person you want to talk to won’t say yes, I can promise you, there’s someone else who will.

And with the 7 tips I’m about to share, your nerves won’t matter.

Why interviews? Having fresh information in your posts is key to driving traffic. Most blog posts just recycle things we’ve all seen 100 times before, so when you have exclusive interviews, you immediately stand out.

In fact, when writers ask me how they can earn more in 2015, I tell them to learn article writing. And the big thing that makes articles more interesting than the typical blog post is the interviews.

Of course, once you get someone to talk to you, you have to be a great interviewer to get some really juicy comments. Here are my tips for how to ace your interview and create an attention-getting blog post:  [Read more…]

Pitchfest: Win $100 for Your Next Guest Post

We’re getting close now. Only a week to go.

I don’t know what you celebrate at this time of year, but for me it’s the winter solstice. One long, cold, dark night that turns the whole year around.

Call me crazy, but I believe we all have to go through solstices in our freelance writing careers. There are peaks of giddy genius and troughs of utter despair along the way, and they’re supposed to be there.

Because without them, we can’t learn and grow. Without good days, we won’t recognise bad days. Without challenge, there’s no achievement.

I may not believe in much, but I sure as hell believe in that.

Dear gods, did I just start giving a semi-religious lecture on my blog? [And, hey, was it working? Do you feel inspired?]

OK, moving on: I’ve got a challenge for you if you’re willing to accept it.

Time for the last Pitchfest of 2014!

You pitch a blog post idea and we’ll choose our favourite ones to publish, with a $100 prize for the best pitch. I’ll explain the rules in a minute, but first…  [Read more…]

7 Reasons to Feel Good About Dumping Your Problem Client

Every freelancer has had that client.

You know the one I mean — the client all your friends hear about over drinks, whose name you dread seeing in your email inbox or your phone’s caller ID.

You know working with that client makes your life harder, but you can’t shake the feeling there’s something wrong with ending a client relationship.

That’d mean less money in the bank each month. You’re supposed to be grateful for any work you get, right?

Wrong.

One of the great (and often underused) privileges of working for yourself is the ability to walk away when something’s not working. Your time is valuable, so don’t feel obligated to spend it on a client that isn’t worth it to you.  [Read more…]