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.
Myth #1: Ease up on the marketing
Don’t make my mistake. You should send queries to other well-known blogs after your big break, with a link to your popular post to show them you really know your stuff.
Make sure you have replied thoughtfully to all the comments on the post too; showing you care about responding to readers can go a long way to getting you hired elsewhere.
And speaking of the commenters, when writing for high-profile blogs, people you’ve helped or inspired will be curious about you and want to read more of your great tips.
If you aren’t blogging regularly, make sure you have an up-to-date portfolio site with a great bio page or at the very least, a detailed LinkedIn profile with your current contact details.
As for social media, promote your post to all your active circles. You never know where your next opportunity might be coming from.
Myth #2: The client is always right
Or “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Or “don’t ruffle any feathers.” Take your pick — they all mean the same thing.
Of course you want to please your client and come off as easy to work with, but that doesn’t mean you have no good ideas of your own to contribute.
Part of the reason why you were hired in the first place was because you possess expertise on a subject; be it writing or gardening or underwater basket-weaving, they want to share your knowledge with their readers. So listen intently to your clients’ needs, then offer them detailed suggestions with confidence.
Most will appreciate the information, some will ignore it and continue to make the same mistakes they were making before hiring a professional blogger, but at least you can never be accused of not offering your best.
Which leads us to the next myth…
Myth #3: If a client rejects your idea, you’re doomed
Ah fear… what a bitch.
Yes, it can be disheartening when a client rejects a post you worked hard on or even worse, doesn’t seem to like any of your new ideas. But despite your irrational demons screaming at you to quit and go hide under the bed, don’t give up.
Instead, fight back at the sting of rejection by trying a new approach.
For instance, if up until now your client loved all of your ideas without offering much feedback, ask for it now. Discovering what made them excited about your work in the first place could inspire you to take a different direction. The point is never to quit trying – ESPECIALLY when you are afraid of further rejection (or total humiliation. We writers are such sensitive souls).
Still not convinced what hanging in there can do?
Read writer Brett Guttormson’s inspiring post about how he deals with rejection as a writer.
Myth #4: You must be available 24/7
Sure, your big client can pay you competitive rates and the publicity you can generate with their high-traffic blog is another fantastic bonus, but that doesn’t mean you’re now at their beck and call.
Avoid this misconception by pre-stating your revision rates and communicating your availability after every piece of work you turn in.
Your email can look something like this:
Dear Fat Cat Client,
Please find attached my latest post with the required revisions.
If necessary, I would be happy to do another edit as per our original agreement, but note that I will not be available to work on Thursday or Friday of this week.
I look forward to your feedback.
By letting them know your schedule beforehand, you’ll avoid disappointing them later. Plus you’ll ooze professionalism. And your clients want to work with an in-demand blogger, so they won’t mind your schedule being busy.
Never mind that on those days what you are actually doing is driving grandma to Bingo Night — the client will definitely appreciate the heads-up and either ask for the edits sooner or wait until you are available.
Myth #5: Free work now means better pay later
Ok, I admit it. I was taken in by this one too.
It’s a tempting carrot they dangle: “We have 2 million readers! Many of our bloggers have found great success through us! You’ll get a ton of traffic!”
While this might all be true, once you agree to give up your work for free, often they will expect you to continue doing so.
Or picture this: your client may pay well for your first few posts, but then decide to rethink their approach to blogging. Possible changes include cutting down on your number of posts per month, or paying you for traffic delivered rather than words delivered.
What’s your writing worth? Only you can decide.
When you land a great client, it’s a rush. No feeling quite like it.
But we’re freelancers! We work for ourselves. We decide what jobs we take, how much we market our services and how many hours we’re willing to put in to turn this into a profitable career.
This stalwart attitude is what first gets us noticed by those desirable clients, and will continue to attract new (better!) opportunities — just so long as we keep it up. This empowering realization lets you enjoy the highs of freelancing while surviving the lows virtually unscathed.
So keep that in mind when you win your first big client:
They’re your client, but you are your boss.