3 Often Overlooked (But Now Essential) Steps
On Your Way to Your Six-Figure Writing Career

In working with thousands of freelancers (both new and experienced), I’ve seen talented writers falter because they don’t “touch the bases” on their way to their earning goals.

The reasons might surprise you, it is not because they don’t have great writing talent or they can’t do the work …

It has more to do with the skills that surround “the work” that create the problem.

And this is unfortunate because there has never been as large a demand (and growing rapidly) for paid writing assignments to be completed as there is right now …

So why aren’t you flooded with assignments and writing your brains out?

Simple … you might be using yesterday’s tactics in a now market.

The business part of freelance writing is going through a period of rapid change.

The good news is that there are three simple ¨bases¨ most of today’s freelancing writers have a bit of a blind spot on …

Once corrected, the flow of assignments can begin and the task of building or growing a writing business looks more like a checklist than scaling Mt. Everest.

Blind Spot #1

Treating the process of engaging clients as a necessary evil rather than a skill to be mastered FIRST in a low-risk environment.

The challenge of engaging clients is a learned skill … a little bit like riding a bike … you try and you fall … you try again and you fall … all your buddies seem to have mastered it … you fall again …

 … a skinned knee … a chipped tooth … a bruised ego … but then one day …

 … it all clicks in …

you are effortlessly gliding to your next bit of kid fun with the rest of your pack.

Many writers start trying to do the equivalent of jumping on the Harley from day one … trying to land a five or six-figure client … before they fully understand how to effectively listen to a client’s needs, how to prepare an effective proposal, how to adjust the proposal so it better fits the client’s needs …

The sweet seduction of the five-figure assignment blinds them to the reality that there is work to be done and skills to be built, beyond just being able to complete the writing part of the assignment. (I know … bummer! … but reality!)

The Solution:

You want to hone those skills in a series of low-risk, simple (paid) assignments with gradually-increasing complexity and scope.

(And you get to decide the best “gradual” for you … based on your time available … can be a matter of 30 days to tune this up if you can hit it full-time.)

The good news here is that you can quickly build your “engagement muscle” with three strategies we are going to discuss in-depth during AWAI Bootcamp this October.

One strategy essentially puts a steady stream of “engagement muscle-building” opportunities in front of you every morning.

In a low-risk environment, you get to pick simple assignments from a list of hundreds, engage prospects, learn to propose, and adjust, and win projects — and we will cover this in detail at Bootcamp.

Blind Spot #2

Not understanding the importance of quickly building a cache of testimonials that meet the following criteria:

  • Are well written
  • Permissioned so you don’t get sued
  • Independently verifiable so your prospects know you didn’t make them up
  • Shine the light on your writing talent
  • Rave about your client relationship skills
  • Compliment your attention to detail
  • Praise your schedule performance

New writers struggle to get credible testimonials.

You don’t want to bug your new client for them … it doesn’t feel “appropriate” this early …

Your past clients might be a little beyond the enthusiasm stage … their testimonials are a little lackluster and too general to be of great value …

As a former vice president of marketing in several companies, I purchase thousands of dollars in freelance writing talent … and probably have seen hundreds of reference letters, testimonials, and complimentary emails.

I know that for me and most of my peers, the shortest distance between you and your next client is the quality, depth, and veracity of the feedback from your most recent clients.

The Solution:

Craft a strategy that pre-conditions your clients for a superb testimonial and then request it at their peak of appreciation for your work.

At the upcoming Bootcamp, we will be going through just such a system for getting your best testimonials quickly and conveniently.

Blind Spot #3

Not anticipating and understanding the most significant trend in the way writing is purchased since papyrus was invented.

The Internet has exploded the demand for writing … and as a writer you might ask, “Yes, but exploded where?”

The simple answer is: On job and project networks like Elance.

While jobs have been disappearing by the millions around the world, those editing and writing assignments that were frequently handled by internal staff now pop up online … with more than 300,000+ “assignments” nearly every day …

(About now, I am hearing the audible groan of writers who have visited this kind of site and recoiled at the sight of $5 article writing assignments and $10 sales letters!)

Now you may have looked at some of these networks and dismissed them because, on first glance, it seems there are a lot of low-paying jobs … and many writers I speak to say, “I’m not going to work for $5 an article!”

And while it certainly is true you can find $5 article writing jobs on these sites, there are also many well-paid assignments if you know where and how to look.

Sadly, most writers who look casually at these sites don’t fully (or even partially understand) how the more successful writers “work” these sites and earn five and six-figure annual incomes.

And they ignore these sites at their own peril because, unless they fully understand how these sites work, they will shut themselves out of the fastest growing, largest, and most easily accessible part of the market for the new freelance writer.

The Solution:

Study what winners do on these networks and adapt their success tactics to start or grow your writing business.

Learn their strategies and tactics for getting started quickly, delivering a high quality of work, getting great testimonials, and turning one-shot clients into repeat business.

Your 362-Day Solution

AWAI Bootcamp is the best way I know of to connect with people who hire writers face-to-face.

In three power-packed days, laden with opportunity, you’ll meet some of the highest-paid copywriters on the planet and talk to THE hiring executives at some of the most professional direct-response marketing companies.

But what about the other 362 days of the year?

It’s my job to help you understand how to build your business the OTHER 362 days of the year, simply, effectively, and with momentum finally on your side. (No travel required.)

At Bootcamp, I’ll have the time to lay out the entire online-work landscape in detail, show you which sites are best for freelance writers, and which ones you should avoid like week-old fish.

With over 220+ (and growing) project networks, you could spend a lot of time thrashing around the Internet while accidently shooting past the site that is going to give you the best opportunity to achieve.

And you will learn the tactics of freelancing superstars who have blazed a trail and left clues that will help you.

Here’s a sample of some of the topics we will discuss during Bootcamp:

  • Which networks are best for new writers.
  • Three critical elements of your online personal “resume” … miss one of them and you’ll be kicked to the curb.
  • The one simple, mistake almost everyone makes with their portfolio that can separate you from your prospect permanently.
  • How to search through thousands of assignments for the one that is just right for you.
  • How to cultivate easy-peasy online buyers for repeat and regular business.
  • How to have the confidence that if you ever lose a client in your business you can quickly find another one to replace the lost revenue.
  • How “swinging for the fences” will cost you a fortune and atrophy your earning muscles.
  • The importance of not being completely dependent on one client and how to make sure that never happens again.

So lots of learning, opportunity, and fun await … but only if you do your part:

  1. Sign up for Bootcamp.
  2. Make your reservations.
  3. Come and learn how to solve your biggest client-building challenges for a full 365 days a year.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: September 3, 2012

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