Hi folks! Jorden here. I’m so excited about today’s guest blog post from writer Amy Norton with her cold pitching success story! Definitely read this all the way through if you’re a beginner trying to get clients – she shares all about her niche (she’s a great example of success in a “non-business” niche), her website optimization process, how she changed her mindset and raised her rates fast, and a loooot more. Super valuable and actionable stuff! Over to you, Amy. 🙂
My first attempt at freelance writing for a living (before I started to cold pitch) resulted in $3-4 per hour, depending on how fast I could crank the piece out.
This was last May, and it was incredibly discouraging.
I had been so excited to hear back from a job board posting, only to find out that I would be paid a measly $15 per 1000 words.
I had to push for months to even have my name put on the piece. By that point, I had already quit and crawled back into a ball.
I thought I was doomed to be making less than $50 a post forever.
Then, I stumbled on Jorden’s Killer Cold Emailing class after months of reading the Writing Revolt blog.
I took the plunge and bought the course, despite my wallet’s cries echoing in my ears.
At the beginning of the year, I decided this was my year to give freelance writing my all or move on to something else.
By “giving it my all,” I meant making a REAL living off my writing too. Which is exactly what I did!
Keep reading to learn exactly how I got clients (including the freelance writing niche I chose, how I raised my rates as a beginner, and how I adapted my writing business to the pandemic!).
First, let’s talk about:
How I Landed a $700/mo Freelance Writing Client With A Simple Cold Pitch Email!
Within the first week of sending out cold emails in February, I had landed my first client using Jorden’s Killer Cold Emailing templates.
…I was floored and flabbergasted at the turnaround I experienced.
They were excited to talk to me, liked my website, and wanted to learn more just like that!
I converted this client from their initial once a month blog post gig to writing weekly for them by honing in on their target audience and suggesting more blog posts that their audience would love.
This led to me making $400 in February and $700 in March from just one freelance writing client!
I continued cold emailing in February and March and began hearing back more.
I even had a few solid prospects, but was rejected by all of these prospects within a week of the coronavirus peaking in the United States and everything closing down in March.
Admittedly, this led to a week of miserable anxiety and me curling up in a ball of self-pity (with chocolate, of course).
- How could I start a business right now?
- Was my family going to get sick?
- Who was possibly going to hire me in the midst of a pandemic?
Despite the less than ideal circumstance, I pushed on.
Keep reading to see how I went on to land two more clients during the coronavirus, both at a higher rate than the previous one!
1. Narrowing My Freelance Writing Niche
At first, I stubbornly wanted to keep myself open to writing for many niches.
But once I saw that I wasn’t getting much traction, especially with the Coronavirus affecting so many businesses, I relented and picked a niche.
I went all in with the pet niche and optimized my website by having this be the first thing you see on my home page:
I cut out cold emailing all lifestyle brands (for the moment) and completely devoted myself to cold emailing within the pet niche.
…Niching down this way resulted in two of the regular clients I currently have!
If you’re not hearing back, go back over your writer website and make sure it screams your niche.
The Killer Cold Emailing course teaches how to do this step-by-step, so the course was key to me landing my new clients!
Clients will pay more for an expert, nobody wants to hire a generalist at premium rates.
This blog post is what pushed me to finally hone in on the pet niche. I highly recommend reading it over and over if you’re struggling to pick one!
2. Adapting My Freelance Writing Business To The Coronavirus
I was quickly let go by several potential clients after their businesses were hit hard by the Coronavirus in March.
We were in the middle of finalizing our contracts, so this hit me hard.
Naturally I was worried, but I sat down and made a GIANT list of all the types of companies within the pet niche that would possibly have an increase in business or remain steady during the pandemic.
Businesses that deliver, have essential products that people still need, medical services, and subscriptions.
I stopped cold emailing companies that sold more frivolous items, like dog toys, and switched to what people still NEED and buy even with a tighter budget, such as pet food.
Due to this list and my change in focus, I landed my latest client during late April well into the Coronavirus crisis.
My takeaway from this is to take time to look at your niche and determine what is most necessary and essential during tough times, then target companies that provide that product or service!
3. Optimizing my LinkedIn profile.
Since then, I’ve had many more profile views!
Because of this, I have noticed that some of my clients had looked at my LinkedIn before hiring me, so it’s clear that this process has given me more authority within my niche.
4. Learning to Ooze Confidence.
After reading Jorden’s post on why your freelance writing pay sucks, I realized that I was scared of charging higher rates and losing potential clients due to my low confidence.
Then, I realized something:
If I kept pitching low rates and making less than $100 on blog posts, I’d never be able to stop spinning my wheels.
Find a confidence routine to pump yourself up with before important calls or emails, so that you radiate confidence!
This has a direct impact on the way you present yourself to clients, so it’s important stuff.
5. Charging More For My Writing, Even When It Was Scary!
After narrowing my niche down, I had a larger client interested in working with me.
All I could think was:
“Don’t screw this up!”
For my confidence routine, I pumped myself up by blasting my favorite Disney music and telling myself that I would need to continue charging more if I was to make an AMAZING living with freelance writing.
Despite every fiber of my being feeling fearful, I pitched this client 4 cents per word higher than I had ever been paid before.
…They said yes with no hesitation, and that is how I landed my third client during the Coronavirus outbreak at my highest rate yet!
I was also able to negotiate a higher rate with the lifestyle client I had landed before them due to my increasing confidence.
My recommendation is to find a routine to do before cold emailing or talking on the phone – something that makes you feel excited and confident in yourself.
That might mean blasting music, dancing around the room, playing with your dog, or simply reminding yourself why this is so important to you.
6. Challenging myself (and a challenge for YOU!)
Now, I challenge myself with every potential client to pitch higher than the last, so that I can continue working my way up to my ultimate goal of $200 – $400 blog posts!
Because of this mindset, I anticipate hitting my $200 – $400 blog post goal by the end of month five of freelancing, despite the impact the coronavirus has had on businesses everywhere.
Making a mentality shift like this has been crucial to me being bolder and calmer when talking to new clients.
Without this shift, I never would have landed any of my clients in the first place and I certainly wouldn’t be making $100+ per blog post now.
If I can do this, you certainly can as well!
I challenge you to try cold pitching and setting a rate that makes you a bit uncomfortable.
…Imagine how good you’ll feel when they say yes!
7. Being Determined – Not Desperate.
The lesson I learned from all this was to value the quality of your work and to not give in to desperation.
We all want to make a living, a real one, not squeak by.
By treating yourself like a real business owner who produces quality, valuable work that generates revenue for other businesses, you’ll come across confident and find that businesses will see your confidence and feel good about hiring you…. and pay you higher rates!
8. Remembering my “WHY?” to stay motivated.
One of my favorite tips from Jorden is to make a WHY sheet with the big reasons you’re going after a real living as a freelance writer and to look at it everyday, if not multiple times a day.
My WHY sheet includes things like a fabulous, long honeymoon, being in control of my time, continuing to work from home, traveling (and eating) my way through the world, and significantly less financial stress.
Ultimately keeping a positive mindset, flooding myself with inspirational stories, like the ones on the Writing Revolt blog, and looking at my WHY sheet daily has kept me afloat and continuing to make more from my freelance writing each month.
…Even during the coronavirus outbreak.
Dig deep and remind yourself how badly you want to be a writer who is well paid and valued.
Inspire yourself daily and write out a detailed WHY sheet.
Skip vague statements like, “I want to be financially stable.”
Get specific and make your WHY sheet with vivid details like:
“Hitting $10,000 in my emergency fund and taking my partner on a two week dream vacation where we’ll eat our way through Europe as we explore museums, castles, and oceansides while staying in beautiful, historic hotels.”
Make your WHY sheet so vivid that you can easily taste, smell, and feel what reaching these goals will be like.
Keep this sheet nearby at all times – it’s what’ll keep you motivated!
Ultimately, don’t sell yourself short, even when it feels like work is limited.
Narrowing my niche down then shifting my focus within my niche dramatically helped me adapt during the coronavirus.
Make a list of all the niches within your niche and circle who can still deliver products or service others during this time then focus on them.
Don’t settle for poor rates, despite everything going on.
Remind yourself WHY you’re doing this and keep your eyes open. There are many companies that are still doing well during this pandemic or even having an increase in business and they would LOVE help from you.
This is a very scary situation, but it will pass.
Keep your eyes on the big picture and look for opportunities that may not be obvious, but are still there during this situation.
Sending you love during these tough times,
Author Bio: Amy Norton is a writer, dog mom, and Disney-obsessed dreamer who enjoys planners, stationary, and notebooks a little too much. When she’s not reading, baking cookies, or at the library, you can find her writing pet and lifestyle blog content with her Boston Terrier, Nickel, snoring at her feet. You can find Amy at pennedbyamy.com and at Sonic’s rewarding Nickel with mozzarella sticks for all her hard work!