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Making Money The "All Things Freelance" Thread
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Chick Magnet Offline
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Post: #51
RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
Well, it's about time I got this offline marketing datasheet up...

And sorry for the delay guys. I had my hands full with 3 back-to-back conferences and a laptop meltdown...

Anyhow, before I get into the nitty gritty of offline marketing, there's something I ought to cover first.

Positioning. If you're a newbie freelancer, how you position yourself from the getgo is crucial. Before you think about getting a website up or prospecting, you really need to take some time to brainstorm about this.

Pick a niche based on your experience and/or interests. Become a specialist. That's how you make big bucks in this game. I first started off as a generalist copywriter and I was living hand-to-mouth for the best part of a year.

It wasn't until I positioned myself as tourism-industry copywriter that things really took off. It's counterintuitive, but focusing on a narrow area will actually get you a lot more work.

With that crucial bit out of the way...

Offline Marketing


So first off, what is it? I know some of you guys are getting quaint ideas of passing out flyers door-to-door or something.

In reality, it's increasingly difficult to separate offline and online marketing. They're merging together.

You'll use the internet to find clients listings...to then send direct-mail promotions. And you'll hand out business cards with your website on them, etc.

For the purposes of this discussion, I'm drawing a line between prospecting on the freelances sites and job boards (with mainly faceless internet marketers as your clients) and prospecting in the real word with successful companies that have a physical presence.

So I'm not saying go low tech. On the contrary, use every marketing tool at your disposal. But I think your time is better served going after brick n' mortar companies for a number of reasons.

Why Offline?


Brick n' mortar businesses have money. They have much higher startup and running costs than IMers. They can afford to pay you the rates you deserve.

Less competition. On the freelance sites, you're competing against the ENTIRE world. You needn't worry about Indians of course, but you're still competing with a lot of writing talent from all over the Anglosphere. In the offline markets, they much prefer to work with somebody local. This local advantage is huge. As much as I like to brag about my marketing prowess, I'd say just being a local guy has been responsible for landing me more work than anything else.

It makes you stand out. Most freelancers hide behind their keyboards. If you use some of the “old-school” marketing methods I suggest, you'll stick out big time.

People actually appreciate cold calls these days. It might have been considered hassling in the 90s, but it's rare now. I've never had one angry response. The fact is...it's one of the more personable ways to communicate with somebody aside from meeting in-person.

Which Offline Marketing Methods Are The Most Effective?



Email. Not really offline per say, but we're using it to go after companies with a physical presence. I've used emails to great effect. It's a numbers game though. Bear in mind that a lot of people simply don't read their emails or will take a quick glance and delete. Write a good script, and have some kid on Elance send it out to a 1,000+ companies that meet your specs.

Cold calling. I dreaded talking on the phone most of my life. Apparently, most people have that phobia. Use it to your advantage. With practice, anybody can get good at cold-calling. I've charmed secretaries into transferring me to the Creative Directors of Fortune 500s. Do it.

Write a letter. If you're a copywriter, then this is one of the best ways to demonstrate your skillset. Write a long-form sales letter about your service. Include a reply card, where they can ask to see some of your prior projects/case studies. I only do this with companies that I'm super-interested in. But I think I've landed something like 75% clients I've done this with.

Shake a hand. Nothing beats meeting in-person. Go to meetings at your local chamber of commerce. Attend trade shows and events in your industry. Bring a stack of business cards, but don't hand them out like a used-car salesman. When people inevitably ask you what you do, tell them and and as an afterthought say, “Oh, here's my business card..”. This is the number one way to meet high-paying clients. Period. Despite all the advances in technology, we're social animals. We want to look each other in the eye, and get to know the man...particularly when it comes to matters of money.


Right, I could easily write a 100 pages on this stuff, but I don't want to dominate the thread.

So that's a brief sketch of my methods. And if you guys have any questions on the particulars, I'd be glad to answer them.
(This post was last modified: 05-14-2015 03:45 PM by Chick Magnet.)
05-14-2015 03:33 PM
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Beyond Borders Away
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Post: #52
RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
(05-14-2015 11:47 AM)Nascimento Wrote:  That feeling you get when you see a notification showing Escrow funds release...

Anyone have any ideas how we can start a private thread or discussion about freelancing? I'm sure there are some things we would be happy to share with each other that wouldn't be available to prying eyes.

Nascimento, I started a private forum for this, but then my ADD let the convo die. Didn't I add you as a member too, actually? Anyways, if you'd like to try to get it going again, feel free to message me.
(This post was last modified: 05-14-2015 06:15 PM by Beyond Borders.)
05-14-2015 06:14 PM
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Post: #53
RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
Chick Magnet, thanks for the breakdown.

No one here is going to complain if you write 100 pages of content on prospecting in this thread! That's what it's for.

I'd love to hear more about your letters. I've yet to try a direct mail campaign and have always wanted to. I've written them for clients.

Are you mostly a direct-response copywriter, or do you offer other services?
(This post was last modified: 05-14-2015 08:44 PM by Beyond Borders.)
05-14-2015 08:41 PM
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Beyond Borders Away
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Post: #54
RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
Has anyone here used LinkedIn Premum for connecting with prospects?
05-15-2015 12:39 AM
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Dan Woolf Offline
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
----------------------------------------
(This post was last modified: 02-06-2016 06:06 PM by Dan Woolf.)
05-15-2015 03:59 PM
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Post: #56
RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
Hit me up with a pm, Dan. I've got a lousy banner up on my neglected blog, but I'm not charging anything at the moment since I haven't kept the conversation going. I'll start charging later on if that changes.
05-18-2015 10:37 PM
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Post: #57
RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
Does anyone here have good experience with ranking products in Amazon, optimizing Amazon pages for rankings and conversions, etc?
05-18-2015 10:37 PM
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Handsome Creepy Eel Offline
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
What's up with Elance suddenly requiring you to pay $5 a month for a category to be able to apply for jobs in that category? Not that I mind paying, but it seems like a shameless money grab to me. Are there any benefits to this (like less thirsty Filipino minimum bidders?) that I'm missing?

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05-19-2015 01:59 PM
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TravellingSoldier Offline
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Post: #59
RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
I posted this on the other freelancing thread too but figured some people may be able to get value out of the freelancing guide I just posted.

Please let me know what you think!

Guide is here: goo.gl/oUnigR

(This post was last modified: 05-19-2015 06:09 PM by TravellingSoldier.)
05-19-2015 06:09 PM
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
(05-19-2015 01:59 PM)Handsome Creepy Eel Wrote:  What's up with Elance suddenly requiring you to pay $5 a month for a category to be able to apply for jobs in that category? Not that I mind paying, but it seems like a shameless money grab to me. Are there any benefits to this (like less thirsty Filipino minimum bidders?) that I'm missing?

As far as I knew, they've been doing that for a long time.
05-19-2015 06:13 PM
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Vitriol Offline
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Post: #61
RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
I'm going to be quitting my office job sometime between the 4th of July and Labor day. I'm curious as to what would be the best way to figure out what rates I should charge to start based on my skills and experience. My most recent job for the past few years has involved skills like SEO/digital marketing/social media so I'm assuming that would help.

I'll pm someone with more details if needed. I already have a couple of things cooking to make money with guys who have known me through my job for the past couple of years, but I figure this can help too.
05-19-2015 08:47 PM
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Beyond Borders Away
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
Vitriol, are those the services you'll be offering?
05-20-2015 06:38 AM
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Vitriol Offline
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
(05-20-2015 06:38 AM)Beyond Borders Wrote:  Vitriol, are those the services you'll be offering?

Yes, among possibly some other things. I'll send you a pm so I can explain with more detail.
05-20-2015 09:12 PM
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Handsome Creepy Eel Offline
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Post: #64
RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
(05-19-2015 06:13 PM)Beyond Borders Wrote:  
(05-19-2015 01:59 PM)Handsome Creepy Eel Wrote:  What's up with Elance suddenly requiring you to pay $5 a month for a category to be able to apply for jobs in that category? Not that I mind paying, but it seems like a shameless money grab to me. Are there any benefits to this (like less thirsty Filipino minimum bidders?) that I'm missing?

As far as I knew, they've been doing that for a long time.

I'm not sure if I somehow overlooked it or have just accidentally escaped it by applying only for writing & translation jobs.

But the question is, is it worth paying 10-15$ more per month to be able to apply for multiple job categories? I think it is, but I'm curious how specialized or versatile you guys are. Do you even lift have paid memberships?

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(This post was last modified: 05-23-2015 10:21 AM by Handsome Creepy Eel.)
05-23-2015 10:19 AM
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Nascimento Offline
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
^^ I have a paid one. Not as much for the 20 bonus connects as much as I'd like to see competitor pricing.

I used to think for some reason my success in getting jobs was higher if I had a paid membership, but I've done fine without it at times.

Currently I'm only in the writing and translation category.

Any of you guys also in another? Any other writers do other tasks in another category?

I'm interested in broadening my options.
05-23-2015 10:34 AM
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Beyond Borders Away
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Post: #66
RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
(05-23-2015 10:19 AM)Handsome Creepy Eel Wrote:  
(05-19-2015 06:13 PM)Beyond Borders Wrote:  
(05-19-2015 01:59 PM)Handsome Creepy Eel Wrote:  What's up with Elance suddenly requiring you to pay $5 a month for a category to be able to apply for jobs in that category? Not that I mind paying, but it seems like a shameless money grab to me. Are there any benefits to this (like less thirsty Filipino minimum bidders?) that I'm missing?

As far as I knew, they've been doing that for a long time.

I'm not sure if I somehow overlooked it or have just accidentally escaped it by applying only for writing & translation jobs.

But the question is, is it worth paying 10-15$ more per month to be able to apply for multiple job categories? I think it is, but I'm curious how specialized or versatile you guys are. Do you even lift have paid memberships?

Yes, I paid extra for the marketing category last bidding spree and have done so many times in the past. It can be very lucrative. Sometimes people post writing jobs there that they don't post in the writing category too, and it's usually because they're looking for a higher standard.

I also usually end up adding more connects when I'm on a bidding spree. But you can do pretty well just on the basic or even free allotment if you supplement your efforts with other marketing channels.
(This post was last modified: 05-25-2015 10:49 PM by Beyond Borders.)
05-25-2015 10:25 PM
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
I set up an account on Upwork (formerly elance) and I took the Upwork's test on C# thinking it'll be a breeze since that's what I am best at with coding.

Well, I failed the test.

Soonest I can re-take the test is 1 month from now.

This freelance thing is going to take MUCH longer than I thought. This sucks.
(This post was last modified: 05-27-2015 09:17 PM by CleanSlate.)
05-27-2015 09:16 PM
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
^^ Have you bid on any jobs yet? The tests don't matter much dude. Bid for 10 jobs today and get back to us.

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05-28-2015 03:08 AM
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
I think I took one test earlier this year, and that was the first in 8 or so years of doing this. Has never been a problem.

Also, don't act like Elance is the one place in the whole freelance world to market yourself. It's one single channel, and one advised against across the board, no less.

I understand your frustration, but if you want to make it in this biz, or any other, you can't let one little upset get to you like that.
05-28-2015 03:24 AM
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
I'll bid on 10 jobs and let you guys know what happens.

I'm not going to allow a failed test to stop me, it's just a roadblock. If anything, it's already motivated me to brush up on my coding skills.
05-28-2015 07:00 AM
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
Hey Cleanslate - glad to hear you're still going to run at it. Plan on a lot more than 10 bids to get the ball rolling, though.

At the entry-level, you can expect about a 10% win rate if your bids are pretty decent. So given the way odds fall, it wouldn't be unusual to throw down 10 bids and not get a bite. Think of it like poker and go for the long-term accumulating gain.

So if you want 3 new clients, try to get 30 bids in. And you'll need a lot more than 3 to build real business momentum because not all will be long-term gigs.

That's okay because once again you're in this for long-term odds and not short-term gains. So keep landing jobs and over time you'll build up a steady stable of regular clients.
(This post was last modified: 05-28-2015 07:36 AM by Beyond Borders.)
05-28-2015 07:33 AM
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
Thanks BB, that's good to know. I'm in this for the long haul, and I rather have 3 loyal clients paying me big money because they trust me and they know I can do the job... than to have 30 clients getting upset because I'm late getting back to them as a result of trying to do 30 different jobs at the same time.

Why is using upwork/elance advised against, though?
05-28-2015 07:55 AM
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Beyond Borders Away
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
It's generally considered a low-value marketplace, and there are definitely a lot of low-value clients there.

There are great ones too though if you know what to look for. About the same time there was the banter back and forth earlier in this thread I picked up a $70/hour and a $50/hr client there (there would have been more but I stopped bidding because don't need to right now). The former didn't even bat an eyelid when I ended up spending about 8 or 9 hours reworking a couple pages on his website.

I don't usually charge hourly, but it just goes to show that there are budgets there. To clarify, I also charge for the time spent emailing back and forth and doing other admin - every time I start focusing on their stuff, I get the clock ticking, and I do spend quite a bit of time explaining marketing concepts. I spent an hour and a half on skype with another just verbally brainstorming a title for an Amazon listing, so it's more like consulting when you get some experience behind you.

Anyhow, they're both still sending me steady work right now and are fired up on working with me. When you work with good clients and charge them enough to provide a good sevice, it'll blow you away the way they gush over you and your work. Lower-value clients, on the other hand, often don't even know what good work looks like.

Honestly, I'm undercharging, especially at the $50, so I'm not trying to paint that as some huge premium rate. And I've taken on some other projects for even lower. Now I'm getting ready to raise my rates again because I'm getting so busy I'm turning away clients. I was trying to book my schedule after some time "off" so I was varying my bids a bit more - the momentum it built was great but I'm running myself ragged and ready to reclaim some time as I've got a more scalable service business I'd like to launch on the side.

Anyhow, the clients are there. It can just feel demeaning wading through the crappy jobs and "bidding" for work. But as long as you do it steadly you don't have to do it that often.

Look on the Elance thread for info on how to work the system, but you should probably also consider contacting people via email and mixing things up. You may like it better - there are definitely a lot of advantages. I'd really like to get my website working for me more and get some ads running, personally.
(This post was last modified: 05-28-2015 09:46 AM by Beyond Borders.)
05-28-2015 09:13 AM
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
Applied to 7 jobs so far, no bites for now... but I was warned. Gonna keep up the hustle while studying and practicing C# on my rig.
(This post was last modified: 05-28-2015 08:37 PM by CleanSlate.)
05-28-2015 08:36 PM
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RE: The "All Things Freelance" Thread
Any of you guys have experience/knowledge of freelance journalism or submitting articles to popular websites? All the writing I've done thus far is writing for clients, but submitting my work on subjects that genuinally interst me to websites is something I've been interested in lately.

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06-03-2015 02:58 PM
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