How to Make a Million Dollars without Trolling for Jobs

Jun 16th, 2010 | By Allison | Category: Freelance Writing, Job Hunting

Ok, maybe not a million dollars. At least not right away. I felt like I had to write this post, though, because so many people are frustrated with finding paying freelance work. Every minute you spend trolling for jobs (i.e., job hunting) is a minute that you aren’t actually getting paid to write.

Let me give you a little secret - if you apply to the right jobs, you can get away without trolling for weeks, even months. The key is to find long-term projects that will pay you month after month, so you have a source of income without having to find new clients all the time.

There are two keys to making this work: 1) Find long-term jobs and 2) Keep the long-term job.

Let’s talk first about finding long-term jobs. Not every job ad explicitly says that the client wants a long-term writer, so here are some tips for picking the long-term gigs out of the slew of jobs available:

  • Look for blogging jobs. Blogs need to be continuously updated, so these aren’t once-and-done gigs.
  • Look for clients who want work across multiple sites. The more sites he/she has, the more work there will be to maintain them.
  • Take notice of clients who are looking for multiple writers. This likely means they have a high volume of work.
  • Apply to jobs where the client mentions that they’re replacing a writer. It means that they’ve had a writer for a measurable amount of time, so there will likely be work for you for over a long time.
  • Apply to content companies. These companies, like Demand Studios, hire many writers and have a continuous stream of work for everyone.
  • Look for the word “staff.” If a client is looking for a addition to his staff or team, that usually indicates that it is a long-term relationship.

Of course, you can always ask a client flat-out if the job is a one-time gig or a long-term gig, but often clients are so overwhelmed with response to a freelance writing ad that they don’t have time to answer questions.

Ok, now the second part - keeping the long-term client. You need to do a good job if you want to remain someone’s go-to writer or blogger, and doing a good job might also mean that a one-time gig turns into a longer engagement. For example, if you write an ebook for a client that sells really, really well, that client will likely hire you to write another ebook. So how to you “do a good job”?

  • Proofread. There’s nothing more infuriating for a client than to pay for work that isn’t perfect. Typos slip through occasionally, but make sure there’s nothing major wrong with your articles by reading through them once or twice before sending them.
  • Don’t just meet deadlines - get work done ahead of time. If your deadline is Friday night and you email your client with the finished project at 11:59, he/she was probably losing faith. Of course, sometime it can’t be helped, but whenever possible, finish projects two to three days in advance.
  • Make invoicing simple. If the company has multiple writers, stick to their invoicing rules carefully. If you’re the only writer, as the client if he or she would like to be invoiced and how. It’s really easy for the client when you send them a payment reminder email every week or month.
  • Go the extra mile. If you’re asked to insert links, give your clients both word document and html versions. Ask if they’d like pictures included with their blog posts. Offer your SEO skills. Little steps like that don’t take much time, but are impressive to a client.

As a freelance writer, you’ll likely never get away from trolling for jobs completely. That’s just a fact of life with this kind of job. However, it is important to find gigs that pay out in the long-term, rather than just taking one-time jobs. If you don’t, you’ll never truly feel financially secure.

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