My Freelance Writing 101 Course- and a Book Giveaway!

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Way back in June of 2013, I  asked I’ve Tried That readers to answer a survey about my offering a freelance writing course through this site. An overwhelming number of you responded. First of all, thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out my course survey. It is your responses, and the high number of them, that has made this course possible. Also, one lucky survey respondent (yes, from way back in June) will soon be taking my course absolutely free! Stay tuned for when I announce the winner in January.

The long-awaited I’ve Tried That survey results

Without further ado, here are the questions that I asked in my survey, along with the responses you provided:

1. Are you currently…

A whopping 64% of you self-identified as aspiring freelance writers. Another 14% of you noted that you currently work as freelance writers, while a smaller batch (12%) mentioned holding down a “real” job in the “real” world and freelance writing after-hours or on the weekend.

2. What type of freelance writing do you do?

Many of you contribute to your own blog (41%) while another 17% are involved in e-book or book writing. Another 9% of you do copywriting.

3. What issues do you currently have with your freelance writing?

Almost 37% of you complained that freelance writing doesn’t pay enough money, while one quarter of you wanted more and better paying  clients. Because these issues go hand-in-hand, I’m going hazard a guess that a lot of you (62%) just want to be paid a real living wage for your writing. Another quarter of you also mentioned that your writing takes too long. Spending too much time on writing can easily eat into your profit margin.

Other issues included the following:

“I’m just terrified of trying to sell myself to companies and am afraid of asking too little or too much.”

“I’d been writing for Textbroker. I figured out that I was making $2.50/hour. I can’t live on that and pay my bills.”

“Empty promises from clients – “I have tons of writing for you to do and will be placing orders each week!”  {never materializes – and I do not know why!}”

“I always wonder if I could make more money by not going through a middle man kind of thing.  I sometimes have a hard time writing an article all the way through because I get bored with them.  Could be because I’m getting paid only a little for each article.”

4. What would you like help with?

Making money from your blog and breaking into a new or niche field went almost head-to-head at about 20% each. Another 19% of you wanted to write faster and better, while 17% wanted to find more and better paying clients. Almost 11% wanted to negotiate higher rates.

Additional comments included the following:

“I would like to get into more freelance writing I just have no idea where to start.”

“Don’t understand or know how to move from free blogging to paid blogging jobs.”

“Honestly, I do not know what kind of writing I am doing, other than informational writing.  I have signed up with AMS, London Broker’s, and I do not know what they do with the work I submit after I have done so.  I am getting practice writing and I am grateful for that. I get to choose my topics and am learning new things. I have signed up with Elance but have not applied for anything yet.  I am hopeful that your online course can help me in many facets of freelancing!”

5. How likely are you to take a freelance writing course from I’ve Tried That?

Over 60% of said you’d be “very likely” or “likely” to take a freelance writing course from I’ve Tried That. That’s great! Also, we did not receive a single response from anyone saying “not likely” to taking the course.

6. What subjects would you like to see covered in the freelance writing course?

Almost a quarter of you answered “Where to look for writing jobs.” The second most popular requests were “How much to charge for content” and “How to attract better paying clients.” Additionally, a good percentage of you wanted to learn how to submit query letters/emails.

Thanks to all these survey responses and comments, I spent some time compiling a freelance writing course that addresses many of the questions and issues outlined above. In brief, this course will consist of four lessons over four weeks, with one lesson being sent out each week. Also, to keep you on your toes, there will be homework.

Here is the breakdown of the four lessons:

Lesson 1: Different freelance writing clients, what they pay and how to find them.

There are many types of freelance writing clients out there including bloggers, companies, newspapers, professional journals and magazines. This lesson will first cover what types of clients are out there and how much they pay. Next, we’ll go into how to find and approach these clients. This lesson will conclude with a homework assignment asking you to successfully find a potential client via an anonymous job listing.

Lesson 2: Pitches, query letters and LOIs- oh my!

As a freelance writer, you will be regularly writing query letters, generating pitches and sending LOIs. In this lesson, I describe each of these animals and to whom they should be sent (and why). You will also have a chance to look over the queries, pitches and LOIs that I have composed and used to successfully secure writing gigs. This lesson will include a homework assignment on generating your own query or LOI.

Lesson 3: Content mills, clips, and understanding your value.

Yahoo! Content Network, Demand Media, InfoBarrel, Yovia, Helium, etc. are commonly referred to as content mills. These writing sites should be avoided at all costs if you wish to excel as a freelance writer and build your credibility. Take it from me- I spent at least four years in the ‘mill’- and have nothing to show for it.  I conclude this lesson with advice on how to establish your credibility post-mill by securing easy clips, identifying clients who are most likely to pay you a living wage (and be open to raises), and securing higher starting rates  by focusing on your value, and not just your content, when approaching clients.

Lesson 4: Freelance writing logistics

Setting and negotiating your rates, creating and signing contracts, asking for raises and filing taxes are just some of the tasks you’ll be doing in addition to writing. This lesson introduces you to basic freelance writing business practices and how to avoid common pitfalls (like getting audited). I’ll close this lesson with a few statements about recognizing and addressing conflicts of interest when dealing with same-industry clients.

Just in case your dog is about to eat your homework…

Now, you might be wondering at this point how the homework will be checked. Once you sign up for the course, you will be provided with my email address and will be highly encouraged to send all homework assignments to me personally. I will check over submitted homework and provide you with all the help and advice I can muster. Also, because you will be getting direct homework support from yours truly, I am limiting this freelance writing course to 100 students.

What this course is NOT about…

This course is about finding, securing and negotiating with clients who are looking for freelance writing services. Therefore, this course will NOT be about how to make more money from your own blog or how to monetize it- although I will mention how having a professional blog can help you get more clients.

Likewise, this course will NOT be touching on better affiliate marketing techniques via writing. And finally, although good and grammatically correct writing is always in demand, this course will NOT be teaching you how to actually write better or in certain styles like AP (Associated Press).

Freelance Writing 101 course registration is coming soon!

Freelance Writing 101 course registration starts Monday, January 6, 2014. With only 100 spots allowed for this course, we plan to sell out fast.

Make 2014 the year you finally become your own boss and make a real living as a well-paid freelance writer. It can happen- but you need to take the first step.

Finally….my giveaway!

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I’d love to hear back from I’ve Tried That readers on this upcoming course. Tell me what you’re thinking regarding freelance writing in 2014, what your current concerns are about securing clients, and what you’d like to see (or not see) from this writing course, etc. In fact, I am so interested in your feedback that I’m selecting one person to receive a physical copy of Get a Freelance Life, by Margit Feury Ragland, absolutely free! This book is a veritable treasure trove of useful advise for starting and even advanced freelance writers and includes tips on networking, setting your rates, negotiating contracts, avoiding an IRS audit, and lots more!

How do you enter to win this book? By leaving a (helpful) comment at the bottom of this post. At the start of 2014, I will look over all the comments and select the best one to receive this book by snail-mail.

The winner will be notified by email- and I will also announce that winner on this post.

Thank you all!

And to all a happy and prosperous 2014!

Update as of 1/6/2014:

Congratulations to Koren on winning Get a Freelance Life! And thank you to everyone who commented and helped me build a better Jump Start Your Freelance Writing Career! course.

Photo credit by allerleirau

7 Comments

  1. Oh the dreaded crickets – agreed! They are definitely the worst!

    Reply
  2. Halina Zakowicz says:

    Great advice, Koren, and I’ll be sure to include something about rejection in the course. Sometimes, rejection is not even the worst thing…it’s not hearing anything…except for crickets. It never gets easier, no matter what level you’re at. Thanks again!

    Reply
  3. Great post, Halina. It’s nice to read through the concerns of other freelance writers and know I’m not alone in how I’m feeling. One possible suggestion for your course: how to deal with rejection and keep your chin up. Because for me, that’s one of the greatest barriers to keeping on going. On one hand I know that freelancing is just a numbers game and more pitches = more work, but on the other it’s hard not to take each “no” personally, as a sign that I’m not doing things right or my ideas aren’t good enough. Perhaps there are some pro tips on working through this?

    Reply
  4. 2014 will be a big year for me because I will be making the leap to full-time freelancer. I think I’ve gone as far as I can while still working a traditional 8-5 job. Regarding the course, I’m especially intrigued by Lesson 4. I’ll be working with my accountant to make sure I’ve got my ducks in a row tax-wise, but many of the logistics of a full-time freelance career are still very new to me.

    Reply
  5. Sounds like a long-awaited and highly informative course that’s well-timed (both for the beginning of a new year and for the demands of business in this age). This is the era of freelance writing, and this course sounds like a great place to find what everyone needs to begin.

    Reply
  6. Inspiration and guidance filled with practical ideas… thank you!

    Reply
  7. I’m at the very beginning of this journey. But I’ve been reading your blog for a year or so. I appreciate all you do. Thanks!

    Reply

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