I make money as a writer.
Recently I have been able to look back and see a progression of failures and struggles that have led me to a life of writing.
I currently write full-time as a professional copywriter and I also make a nice bit of cash on the side with this blog.
It certainly wasn’t easy though, and I am by no means a famous writer with deep pockets. However, I do know one thing:
I am happy.
So how did I do it? Let me walk you through the steps I initially took to fight my way from the guy in a cubicle who squeezed in writing at night, to the guy who gets to wake up and hammer away at his keyboard all day long.
I called myself a writer
No one took me seriously until I started believing it myself. I kept assuming that I was an aspiring author or a struggling writer.
You’re a writer if you write, not if you are published or make money.
So I changed my email signature, told friends and family, built a resume and cover letter for sending out to clients and whenever someone asked me what I did, I would tell them this:
I’m a writer.
Not a marketing professional or that I worked at a software company, a writer.
I organized myself the same way a traditional company would
Winging it was my first inclination and that got me no where. It wasn’t until I limited my distractions, created an actual office space in my home and decided on various software for managing my clients and projects. It was only then that I started picking up steam.
I built a platform
Platform is a vague term that entails utilizing several forms of communication on the internet.
Building a platform can be hectic and create writer’s anxiety.
Therefore, when starting out I narrowed my focus to really dominate a handful of components in building my platform.
- I developed a brand by choosing my name to market myself and created a simple logo so people would always recognize me.
- I chose to use Twitter and Facebook as my primary social media platforms – This was important because it allowed me to focus and dominate in just a few areas.
- I decided to post helpful articles, inspirational pictures, quotes and my own blog articles on social media. Nothing else is in my social media strategy, because I wanted to avoid wasting time thinking of new posts.
- I built two websites, one for marketing my freelance copywriting services and Write With Warnimont.
- I took the easiest, most professional route possible for website design – A self-hosted WordPress website built on the Genesis platform.
- I integrated every distribution method I knew possible including RSS, an email list sign-up with a free eBook, social media and a simple SEO plugin through WordPress.
I connected with others
Writing and then expecting a paycheck is like running a race and expecting a medal.
You still have to beat out the others around you. For my freelancing career I initially started out with jobs on Freelancer.com. Don’t ever underestimate the power of sites like this. You may get frustrated with initial low paying gigs, but you are practicing your writing and it could lead to higher paying jobs.
I still have a handful of clients I initially found on Freelancer.com and a few of them have referred me to friends or colleagues who were able to pay me even more money.
After that I turned to LinkedIn for more freelance jobs. Carol, over at Makealivingwriting.com, has always offered numerous resources and articles for how to effectively use LinkedIn for finding freelance jobs. I took her advice on looking at full-time job listings and then asking the employer if they would consider hiring a freelancer instead.
It worked wonders, as I received five of my current clients that way.
Finally, I decided to focus on a niche and only contact technology companies in the Chicago area to see if they would be interested in my freelance services. I probably received a 1-2% response rate with my first blast of emails, but after I customized each email for every unique company, that response rate increased to about 20-30%.
I also supplement my freelance income with some affiliate links on my Write With Warnimont site. In order to build traffic I had to connect with others. My traffic has steadily increased over the past year because of guest posting, interacting with other bloggers and maintaining distribution platforms like an email list and social media sites.
How have you made money with your writing? Let me know in the comments.