Command Higher Fees With Your Work Experience

This week you’ve discovered the secret to eliminating competition as a writer, and you’ve started down the path to getting to know yourself inside and out. Now, we’re going to take a look at how your job experience can set you apart and make you even more enticing to potential clients.

Chances are you’ve had a job in the past. Perhaps you still do now.

Whether you were a lawyer, nurse, teacher, or a stay-at-home mom, you probably picked up knowledge and skills along the way you can apply to your freelance career. Even if you think there’s absolutely no relation.

To illustrate, my previous work experience involves mowing lawns, waiting tables, and acting – not exactly professions that scream “freelance writer.”

However, if you look deeper, you can find useful and relatable skills. I had to be very organized to wait tables in a hectic environment. My bosses often expressed appreciation for my ability to stay cool and keep things in line.

Wouldn’t you think being organized and able to work under pressure is great for a copywriter who has to deal with deadlines? Any business would appreciate that quality, right?

It may seem there’s absolutely nothing to draw from acting (I certainly didn’t think so at first), but a closer look will tell you otherwise. Actors spend a lot of time researching characters, getting into their voices, and trying to understand their “audience.”

Isn’t that exactly the same as what we do in copywriting?

My point is, no matter what you’ve done in the past, any positive skills and knowledge you gained from your work experiences can help you stand out. And beyond that, they’ll allow you to charge more, because you’re not like everyone else.

So, your action step for today is to think back to the jobs you’ve had. To start, it might be easiest to focus on the job you’ve held either most recently or for the longest period of time.

Find a pad of paper and write down all of the regular tasks you had to perform. Think about how your coworkers and boss reacted to your work. Did they ever compliment you on anything? Did they ever rely on you for a particular task?

Taking this one step further, what knowledge from that industry do you bring to the table? Can you label yourself an expert in that field? That will certainly appeal to clients who want to work with a writer without having to train them.

While working on this step, don’t hesitate to ask colleagues, past and present, for their opinions. They may come up with ideas you haven’t considered.

As always, please share your findings in the comments below. The more you get used to sharing positive information, the easier it will be to promote yourself down the road!

Tomorrow we’re going to dive into a divisive topic that can make you stand out like nothing else. If you embrace it, you could start getting loyal clients who come back again and again.

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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: June 24, 2015

9 Responses to “Command Higher Fees With Your Work Experience”

  1. Well Robert, I don't read often enough about dissonant experiences and the like.

    It brings new insight and clears the way.
    I am into defining my USP and this falls in line. Great timing my friend.

    Thank you for the gentle nudge.


    Andre NORTH

  2. I worked as a secretary for almost 30 years and have a degree in Office Systems Technology with a Specialization in Word Processing and I'm positive the skills I gained from my experience has helped me become a better writer and will help me in the future.

    Guest (Jean)

  3. Hello Robert, I speak and write fluently Vietnamese, French English. A lot of time I help to interpret for people in the hospital , at school, at the doctor office.
    After things done, people show their appreciation to me. I feel so good at least I can use my knowledge to help them.
    Now I am a copywriter, I like to use this knowledge to get customer


  4. Thanks for the information, Robert. I struggle with this very thing because the topic I know the most about is oil and gas, having written about that for newspaper and magazines for 20 years. But with its ups and downs, I'm thinking I would have more steady work if I branched out.
    I do find that my overall experience writing news and advertorials for print transfers very well to online media, with some updates that I'm working on through AWAI. Thanks for your advice!


  5. I was an Administrative Assistant for over 10 years. I have dabbled in Real Estate, sales, and done catering in the past couple of years. Come to think about it I wore many hats through the years. I believe my experiences will help my copy writing career.

    Guest (Theresa)

  6. As the Executive Director of a private school, it often fell to me to organize field trips. We did these very successfully and to many different and far flung places. I know this will help me to understand and assist my Travel B2B clients to get more business from groups and organizations that need their expertise.

    Fletcher Todd

  7. Hi Robert, so fantastic to read of someone in the performing arts doing copywriting. I was an opera singer for 20 years, and now teach voice and piano. Every time I try to work on what would be my best copywriting niche I pretty much draw a blank. Your article helps me to see there are layers to being a performing artist, and I can glean these other less obvious qualities and skills from my experience and apply them to some sort of copywriting. Thanks for your perspective!

    Jennifer Loss

  8. I worked as a social worker for 25 years with families in danger of losing their children and with children being adopted. It was imperative that I have empathy for what they were experiencing and help them to problem solves. I needed to be honest in order to gain their trust. Strong listening skills enabled me to learn their needs and organize these into useful information. It was essential that they were treated with respect and honesty. These are skills I can use in writing.

    Donna G

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