This week, our theme is writing for the Web. It’s a huge topic, so let’s refine it a little more.
Here’s our scenario. You’re a new writer, and you want to make $500 a day writing for the Web. You’re starting with absolutely nothing. How would you go about achieving your goal of making $500 a day from your Web writing within a few months?
Start by deciding WHAT and WHO
You’ll start by creating a mini business plan, so that you know what you’re doing, and why.
Grab an index card, and write:
What you’ll write for your $500 a day
For whom you’ll write it
Your hourly rate
What will you write?
You can write anything you like, of course, as long as you know that you can make your $500 a day eventually. Think about what you feel comfortable writing.
In Writing For The Web: Make Money Today, I give you a complete plan for getting clients. I describe what you can write, and the kinds of websites which hire writers. This guide’s our special offering for this week.
Make a list of what you feel comfortable writing: blog posts, articles, advertising (copywriting), newsletters, ebooks…
For whom will you write it?
This is where the rubber meets the road. If you’re a new writer, remember that the best writing jobs aren’t advertised. You need to approach companies which can hire you. You’ll need to approach a lot of companies. One way of doing it is by cold calling – check out Cold Calling 461. Sarah Maurer built a successful writing business by making 461 cold calls over several months.
That’s not the only way of approaching clients, of course. There are many, many ways.
Think about your ideal client. Describe your ideal client.
Tip: generally speaking, companies which can afford freelance writers have over ten employees. That said, I know several freelancers who’ve built businesses on servicing micro businesses, that is, tiny companies with an solo operator, or just a couple of people.
Your hourly rate
You can charge whatever you like. There are no “standard” fees for freelance writers.
In Your $500 a Day Writing Plan: Act Now, I said:
It’s a good idea to discover how much other writers are charging. What are the “standard” rates? (Please remember there are no “standard” rates, you can charge what you like.) In Australia, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance has established a national freelance rate at AUD $227 an hour; this is around the same amount in USD. You may not yet be ready to earn this amount, because you may not have the writing credits, or the experience. However, even if you’re a new writer, you can set your hourly rate at $80 an hour.
So decide on your hourly rate. You don’t need to share your hourly with your clients, because you’ll quote on a project, but you need to know, so that you can work out whether or not a project will be worth it to you.
Never write for less than you can afford
Once you’ve established your hourly rate, stick to it.
Yes, I know that the temptation is to charge less. You can certainly charge less for a couple of gigs, just so that you can get some testimonials. Make it plain to the clients that you are charging less than your usual rate, and why you’re doing that. Then they won’t expect you to write for a low rate forever.
If you want to know more about what to charge, and how to quote, check out Devilish Writer.
Remember that your aim is to make $500 a day. If you remember this, you won’t be tempted to take low-paying gigs just to have something to do. If you take too many low-paying gigs, you won’t have time to look for better clients.
Quality clients are out there. However, these kinds of clients don’t advertise for writers. Anyone who’s advertising for writers won’t pay you much. You’ll soon discover this, if you haven’t already done so.
Yesterday, we said that “Content is survival”, and that content is the new advertising. Keep that in mind. Your Web writing clients need you. When you find the right clients, you’ll get paid well. The only way you’ll find them is by kissing a lot of frogs, until you find princely clients.
Again, your clients need you – there are endless opportunities in writing for the Web. Decide WHAT, and WHO today.