Are there a lot of individuals and businesses looking for talented freelance writers? You bet your ass there are. Are all those potential clients willing to pay you what you’re worth? Well, not so much. That’s where the big challenge is for new freelance writers. We simply can’t survive on those $5 to $10 gigs that take us two hours to complete.
When I first started freelancing, these cheap services made me really angry. My first inclination was to start emailing these entities to ask them why they expected hard-working professionals to live under the poverty line. Of course, that’s not professional, is it? But it weighs heavy on my mind every time. Though it is not our problem, there is another side to this equation, especially for freelancers who live in economies that have a high cost of living. (I live in the United States, so this is what I base my thinking on.)
Freelancers can live anywhere in the world, and some potential clients really don’t care where their freelancers live as long as they get the job done right—and for the lowest possible fee. We can’t blame those other freelancers for their economy. I mean, some families in other countries could live like kings for what some of us make in a month. This is why it’s feasible for them to write a long article for $10. But for native English speakers, that’s not always the case. We can hardly eat a meal at a mediocre restaurant for $10 these days.
But if you want to make a six-figure income as a freelancer . . .
These individuals and companies who pay bottom-of-the-barrel freelancing rates should not be on your radar.
Instead, to build a six-figure freelance writing business, you should be focusing on who your dream client is and where to find them. I’m not talking about a specific person but, rather, a specific group of people. You want to attract the client who is willing to invest in a quality product no matter how much it costs them.
Start by focusing on how much money you’d like to make every month.
- To hit that six-figure mark by the end of the year, you need to average $8,333.34 per month. Write that target figure down.
- Next, take an inventory of the services you offer and order them from highest price to lowest. The target service you want to focus on will be the one you earn the most from. This will make marketing much easier because you won’t have to find and retain as many clients as your other services.
- Now, how many clients will you need to service monthly to earn over $8,000 per month? If that number is approaching (or over) 10 clients, consider setting up a package deal that adds up to over $2,000 worth of work for one client.
Without using money as a factor, who is your client in general?
- This will be a generalized person, business, or group of people. (Novelists, speakers, beauty bloggers, salon owners, real estate agents, publishing companies, schools/universities, plumbers, real estate developers, child care centers, dog breeders, nonprofits, nutritional supplement companies, direct markets, weight loss coaches, yoga instructors, restaurant owners . . . you get the point.)
- But none of these generalized groups contain all of your dream clients. You obviously want to break it down to individuals and companies within these segments who can afford and are willing to pay at least $2,000 a month or more for your writing services. For instance, a brand new real estate agent is likely not going to be your dream client because they aren’t making as much money as a real estate agent with 10 years of experience.
- I’d recommend breaking it down by both years of experience and success factors. How much are they earning? How much profit do they make each month?
- Next, look for those within that group who are actively creating materials that you could help them create—or who don’t yet realize they could be even more successful with your help. So, let’s say you’re a social media marketing strategist who puts detailed plans together for new salon franchise owners. (Yes, this is a huge market! Think Waxing the City, European Wax Center, Supercuts, Sports Clips, Fantastic Sams, Great Clips.) Since a new franchise owner typically invests a lot in their new business, they more than likely have the financial resources to ensure their success.
- In this example, let’s say you have a $5,000 offering that gives them a detailed social media marketing plan for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and a blog that includes the strategy and content for the month. And because it takes time to build up these platforms, you require each new client to sign up for six-month contracts. With a technique like this, you only need to find four clients per year at the bare minimum.
But the beauty with honing in on this is that you can more than likely manage servicing more than two clients per month. So, throughout the year, you continue to market, so maybe you can double your earnings to over $200,000 per year.
So, how do you find those dream client avatars?
- Research, research, research every day.
- Start a database with the companies and individuals you find.
- Populate that database with at least 10–20 potential clients each day.
- Find their contact information and send personalized letters to the most likely person who makes the decisions. (This requires more research to show that you know who you’re talking to and what their most immediate needs are.)
- Start writing content on your website that targets these dream clients. (Don’t have a website? Get started on that!)
- Find where they hang out online and make yourself as visible as possible without selling your services.
- Offer a free (or low-cost) eBook for each dream client who signs up for your email marketing list.
- Write and self-publish a book that’s designed to help them.
- Network on LinkedIn with your dream clients.
- Keep researching, keep working hard to market, and put your all into setting yourself up as the go-to person for your dream client.
And in the franchise niche example I gave above, they could even contact the franchise company themselves to offer their services to all their new franchisees. If they built up a really good relationship with them, they could even negotiate six months worth of their services for all their new franchisees, giving them a guaranteed flow of income all year long. Many of these franchise companies require their franchisees to pay their marketing person every month because they are also representing the franchise brand with everything they do. So, if they aren’t doing that marketing in-house, this is a huge win for this fictional freelance writer.
Is it a lot of work? Yes, absolutely! But you don’t expect a six-figure income to come easily, do you? You are going to work hard for every dollar you earn, but in the end, it will be worth all the blood, sweat, and tears when you finally get to celebrate becoming a six-figure freelancer.