The following blog post is a guest contribution from health copywriter Annie Palmer.
Let’s be real: talking money is awkward.
Starting my freelance copywriting business was not solely motivated by money.
Financial freedom is a huge deal.
To me, it allows me to live my life the way I want without depending on someone else to get me there.
Being confident when explaining to clients why you’re worth $100/hr+ or $400+ per blog post (or whatever you calculate your services to be) is the key to that financial freedom and a successful freelance business.
You have to believe that your talents and experience are worth the rates you set.
And in order to do that?
You HAVE to get comfortable talking about money.
Let’s talk about my journey to getting a $1,400 freelance writing retainer and then making $3,000/mo as a beginner freelance writer, and we’ll cover some MAJOR money mindset shifts I made along the way!
Before Freelance Writing: Unappreciated, Overworked, and Underpaid at my Day Job
I didn’t decide to dip my toes into professional writing like cautious people do.
I could have picked up some $10/hr jobs on some freelance bait website like Fiverr or Upwork.
Or I could have just started by contacting a few clients with a goal of working this into my 9-5 office job until I was confident enough to branch out.
But like everything in my life, I’ve found that the only way for me to invest myself in anything is to throw myself in the deep end without floaties and hope that I can swim.
In addition, I was physically and emotionally exhausted by a toxic work culture.
I was 29 years old, with an M.Ed. and passion and a belief that my writing talents and creative mindset were worth something to a team.
Unfortunately, in the past five years since I received my Master’s and set off to conquer the nonprofit world, life hadn’t been very kind.
And honestly, after a while at each job, I burned out.
I didn’t care anymore about why I was there.
I wasn’t motivated by any of those office cultures to keep going.
Frankly… most of them didn’t even notice I had given up. That was even more depressing.
But hey, that didn’t stop me from repeating the same cycle over and over again:
- Find a job ad
- Apply, interview, and land the job
- Work anywhere from 40-65+ hours a week for a $35-40k annual salary in a city that I couldn’t afford to live in
- Rinse and repeat
I knew I had signed up for the non-profit life, but I wasn’t prepared for the emotional burnout that followed.
At my most recent job before I started my freelance business, new management swept into my department.
I went from being a valued team member to being overworked, stressed out, and feeling the constant dread of Sunday Scaries.
I was constantly being:
- Clocked down to the minute online when I left for necessary medical specialist appointments
- Reprimanded for wanting to go home for the holidays to be with family I hadn’t seen in over a year (trust and believe, I had that vacation time)
- Having my health scrutinized behind my back
And – the biggest hit to my dignity – I found out I was being paid as little as the interns.
Interns without bachelor’s degrees or experience in the field who were 6 or 7 years younger than me.
…Now, I’m not sharing this to knock whatever level of education you have.
I’m sharing because this was a pivotal moment for me:
It had finally become clear that the rules I was taught in life — go to college, get a 9-5 office job, become financially independent, buy a house, etc — were not accurate.
At least, not anymore.
Not for my generation.
When I asked for a raise at this job multiple times, I had been there a year, worked my butt off, and worked 10+ hours a week overtime with no pay.
And guess what happened?
I was shot down each time with no reasoning on their end.
They also knew I had to have a second and even a third gig on the side just to pay my bills.
I don’t know what snapped in me– maybe the fact that I couldn’t even afford my dang groceries at 29 — but I had finally had enough.
Taking the Leap: Finally Investing in Myself, Even Though It Was Scary
Believe me when I say this:
Jumping ship and throwing myself into an online course about freelance writing and then launching my full-time copywriting business seemed like the sanest thing to do at the time.
I found Writing Revolt by randomly scrolling through the Writing Revolt YouTube channel one night, and was instantly hooked by Jorden’s retelling of her freelance journey.
She went from fired with health issues to becoming a successful freelance writer making $5,000/month? Without experience?!
She was relatable and honest, and I knew she believed in what she was saying.
So, when I got an email about her Killer Cold Emailing course and saw all the testimonials, I decided that it was worth the financial investment.
I had to invest in myself, because at the time, no one else was.
I knew I was going to mess up and be rejected a whole bunch of times when I reached out to potential clients and spend long days cramped in front of my laptop.
This was going to require serious work.
But nonetheless: every day, I showed up and put in the work.
Landing My $1,400 Freelance Writing Job
Call it stubborn determination or desperation to get out of a bad situation, but I threw myself full-force into the Killer Cold Emailing course and building my freelance writing business.
I took the time to write out my schedule as instructed in Killer Cold Emailing.
For every day that I met a solid goal–sending 15 cold emails, writing a sample for my portfolio, setting up a page on my website–I celebrated myself!
I fed myself a daily dose of positive affirmations. Sounds cheesy, but I had to!
I made positive thinking and praise for my efforts the soundtrack on repeat in my head.
Because, let me tell you:
There were (and still are) a ton of moments five months ago where I felt a sense of dread thinking about the what ifs, or got snarky emails back, or worse, didn’t get responses at all.
Without Jorden’s course I probably would have given up.
But Killer Cold Emailing normalized rejection and anxiety for me — which might sound strange at first, but hear me out!
Because of Killer Cold Emailing, rejection became something I didn’t dwell on for long before being able to get my butt back to work.
Sure enough, after hours of research and writing and contacting companies and building my online presence and formatting my LinkedIn profile…
I landed my first client call, just a month after I started my business!
And with this one client, I received the return on my investment in myself, and then some.
When I was asked for a quote and crunched numbers, comparing my skillsets to other freelance medical copywriters in the industry, I came back with $350 per 1000 words x 4 blogs a month.
And that came out to $1,400.
“Can I really ask for that?! I just spent years making peanuts!”
KCE gave me the confidence to tell myself:
“Absolutely! I am worth it, and I don’t have to ask permission from anyone to determine what that number is.”
I sent the $1,400 contract over, and my client accepted and signed it.
No questions asked.
Since then, I have had many different clients in the health & wellness as well as medical science industries, and a variety of writing/editing work I find exciting and fulfilling!
Right now, I have three amazing clients who feel that they are getting immense value from the copy I write them.
We respect each other, and we are partners. I am not a nobody at a desk cubicle anymore.
Growing to $3,000/mo Freelance Writing!
Now, I am empowered every day to open my email and respond to people–I no longer dread reading them like I did at my office job.
Of course, I still get nervous:
How will I find more clients? What if someone drops me? What if I have to go back to an office job someday?
Like all successful freelance writers, I still have to force myself out of my self-doubt.
Some days suck. Sometimes I feel small or inadequate because I felt that way for so long.
But everyone has days that suck.
Everyone has doubt.
The trick is reaching the goals you set for yourself in spite of those things. And that is hard work, but it’s worth the effort – trust me.
Maybe I will go back to an office someday and maybe it will be a great culture with perks and work-life balance.
But right now?
With my investment in myself and my business only growing every month, I don’t see myself slowing down anytime soon.
My goal was to leave 9-5 office life, and I’m meeting that goal every day.
Right now, after only five short months, I make $3,000 a month before taxes just with my 3 superstar clients I landed thanks to the strategies inside Killer Cold Emailing.
To me, that seems like slow progress compared to some people I read about on Jorden’s blog, but it was still progress — my progress.
And I’m proud of it!
I count myself lucky to have this income as we go through this pandemic together. I know there are people way less fortunate than me.
If this pandemic and the resulting unemployment rate have shown me anything, it’s that having any type of job at all doesn’t ensure stability or longevity.
…It further reinforces to me that going from a “stable” 9-5 job and taking a leap of faith in yourself to dive into something you’re passionate about can totally be worth it!
My next goals?
Explore more clients, network with interesting, positive professionals, and make $10k/month by this time next year.
Saying it now, after these past months, I know it’s totally possible!
Maybe I’ll even finally get back to creative writing and to my lifelong dream of starting a novel.
And now, because of the foundation I set myself up with, including the knowledge from Killer Cold Emailing, I believe I can get there.
To think I was starting the Killer Cold Emailing course and my freelance writing business only five short months ago shocks me!
I’ve grown as a person right alongside my business, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.