We talk about the lives of professional writers and content marketers a lot on these pages.
And we’ve done our fair share of interviews with well-known writers and top-notch content marketers.
But what about those writers whose names you may not know, but who have discovered the secrets to running profitable freelance writing businesses?
We thought it was time to shine the light on these folks so you could learn from their journeys. And to find them, we didn’t have to go far: our Certified Content Marketer page is full of them.
Welcome to our Certified Stories series, where we’ll share insights and tips from successful freelance writers.
Here’s who’s joined us today:
Terri Cruce is a copywriter and content marketer for small business owners and solopreneurs who understand the need for well-written, engaging content, but lack the desire, skill set, or time to create it themselves. Contact Terri
Mark Crosling offers content creation, plus content, social, and search strategy. Contact Mark
Sharlyn Lauby is a Master Level Certified Content Marketer who offers human resources content marketing that focuses on strategic campaigns to increase engagement and lead generation. Contact Sharlyn
Read on as Terri, Mark, and Sharlyn spill their professional secrets.
Who’s your favorite type of client to work with?
We all have clients who are secretly our favorites.
It’s probably in our best interests to hide the fact that we enjoy working with them so much, we’d almost do their work for free.
(Don’t work for free. Read our Pricing for Service
Why does pricing our services provoke such fear and dread?
Even when we’re certain that we provide an exceptional service and charge what we’re worth, we still worry that clients will view our prices as unreasonable.
Of course, we don’t want to underprice our services, either.
Where does this leave us?
Most of the time, it leaves us paralyzed and stuck. So when it comes time to actually give a prospective client a price estimate, we often just take a wild guess.
That’s a huge mistake.
To help you calculate your service prices accurately, I’m going to share a step-by-step method for setting your project rates.
Let’s get started.
Step #1: Perform research and determine your hourly rate
The first step in figuring out your rate is researching the project and asking yourself critical questions (examples below). These questions help you clarify all the details of the project.
You’ll also use the information you gather to determine your hourly rate, and that’s the starting point for the entire process.
At Copyblogger, we highly recommend quoting a project rate, rather than an hourly rate — it protects you and the client.
When you carefully consider your project price, you’ll be able to work comfortably until the project is completed — and you won’t be penalized if you finish faster than anticipated.
And because freelance services are notoriously variable in cost, your client will appreciate knowing their fixed cost going into a new project.
Why, then, do you need to determine your hourly rate if you’re going
I have an affinity for service businesses.
I love when people:
Recognize that they possess specific skills that can help others
Invest in training that will help them succeed
Offer their expertise and problem-solving abilities in exchange for money
But I don’t love when these driven individuals make a certain mistake that invites unnecessary frustrations into their workdays and weakens their reputations.
“Sure! I can do that!”
I understand that it’s exciting when a work offer sounds good.
So, when a potential client proposes a project to Joe Service Business, he’ll immediately respond with, “Sure! I can do that!” (or another phrase with a similar sentiment) before he finds out everything he needs to know about the project.
For example, more information about the project may reveal that he’s not the best person for the job or it’s not actually an assignment he’d like to work on.
When you respond to an inquiry and move ahead with a project too quickly, you operate under the assumption that you’ll figure out the details later, as issues arise.
But your service business can only become respected in your industry and a long-term source of income if you abolish the casual approach to discussing work that runs rampant in freelance culture.
If you want to have an exceptional service business, you cannot casually respond to any form of business communication or informally agree to any business transaction.
To become exceptional, you must become a master of assessing, communicating, and managing expectations.
How to rise above the
Does your business card proudly proclaim “Content Marketing Professional, Chief Cook, and Bottle Washer?”
Now’s the time to change that to simply “Content Marketing Professional.”
We often take pride in the fact that we’re in charge of every aspect of running our businesses, from doing accounting to changing the light bulbs in the office.
But here’s some shocking news, especially if you’re new to content marketing and are still bootstrapping your way to success: Hiring help — outsourcing tasks you struggle with so you can focus on your strengths — will allow you to grow your business and your income at a crazy-fast pace.
Let’s talk about how to go from “doing it all” to “doing only what you do best.”
Step #1: Determine what you don’t need to do
Is there one aspect of your business that you despise — or that you’re just not that good at?
Chances are, there’s someone else who loves that task and offers it as a service.
And think about it: If you’re doing your taxes, you’re not polishing your prose. If you’re cleaning your office, you’re not sharing your content on social media.
Tasks you may want to delegate include:
Content formatting and finding images
Perhaps you love writing blog posts or email newsletters, but you don’t have a lot of experience formatting your content or finding compelling images. Find someone who does, so you have the time to write more.
Editing and proofreading
Even professional writers benefit from editing and proofreading. The bigger and more
The success of your service-based business will be built on the bedrock of how you answer this one simple question:
Do I want my services to be perceived as economical — or exceptional?
It seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? I mean, of course we want to be perceived as exceptional.
But positioning your offerings as exceptional is more difficult than it sounds. It takes guts, unwavering faith in your abilities, and an unflagging devotion to producing quality work.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve sat down with a fellow creative person and said, “Look, you have to start charging more money. Just do it!”
In today’s post, I’m going to have that little chat with you, right here on Copyblogger. If you’re a writer, designer, or any type of service provider, this article is for you.
Why is it so tough to charge what you’re worth?
It seems like it should be easy. You want to charge more? Just charge more!
But in reality, being more expensive than the average service provider means:
You’ll lose out on some business.
You’ll have to keep a straight face while people overreact to your prices.
You’ll have to continue to believe in yourself even when people look you in the eye and tell you you’re being unreasonable.
You’ll need to navigate through potentially uncomfortable negotiation sessions.
The first “marketing tactic” many new service providers try is, “I’ll be cheaper than everyone else!”
Positioning yourself as the bargain service provider sets you up for problems that are