The following is a guest contribution from Cierra Bundy.
Prior to 2020, I would not introduce myself as a freelance writer – or a writer at all for that matter.
I always thought freelance writers were working 100 hours a week living in studio apartments in New York or people that desperately needed a side hustle. In my mind there was no in between.
The truth is though, I was just going about it all wrong.
Before I share my exact process for landing my $1,600 mental health writing job, we need to talk about…
My Biggest Mistake as a Beginner Freelance Writer
I’m sure anyone that is even vaguely familiar with the freelance world has heard of Upwork and Fiverr.
…Well, I wish I never had.
I spent over three months on Upwork and never made a single dollar.
I even resorted to applying to sketchy writing gigs on Craigslist.
(Please don’t feel you have to resort to this. Please.)
Now, how did I move past this mistake?
Thinking I just needed some tips to spruce up my credibility, I took to Youtube for help.
A few days, later a video from Jorden’s Writing Revolt YouTube channel came up in my recommendations and I instantly clicked on it.
Later that same day, I decided to enroll in her Killer Cold Emailing course.
That one video suggestion has already changed my life and allowed me to get a $1,600 freelance writing job in the mental health niche in just 7 days!
Now that you know to avoid Upwork and similar sites, let’s get into the process I used to get my mental health writing job worth $1,600!
How I Landed a $1,600 Mental Health Writing Job in 7 Days
I powered through Jorden’s Killer Cold Emailing course wanting to absorb as much information as possible. I was so ready to put in the work and see my results.
In less than a week, I had signed a contract with the company at the top of my “ideal client” list for $1,600!
Here are the exact steps I took to land this writing job:
Step One: Choosing a Lucrative Freelance Writing Niche
The perfect freelance writing niche can sometimes be so obvious that you are blind to it.
I racked my brain for the first few hours wondering how I would choose a niche. I obviously wanted to make money.
…But I also wanted something that wouldn’t bore me to death.
I studied psychology in undergrad and even took some graduate level courses in clinical mental health.
Because my day job is working in a mental health office, going after mental health writing jobs worked for me.
It was almost too obvious and too easy that I almost missed it!
Settling on my niche was pretty easy, but don’t be discouraged if it takes a little more brainstorming for you to find yours.
Jorden gives great tips in Killer Cold Emailing to find your niche and narrow it down in the most profitable way possible!
Step Two: Setting up a professional freelance writer website
I already had a freelance writing portfolio and hosting set up, which saved me a lot of time.
…But I still needed to overhaul my writer website so that it would reflect my niche and allow me to get mental health writing jobs.
I refused to send a single email until everything on my website was tailored to freelance writing and the mental health niche.
The Killer Cold Emailing course puts extreme emphasis on not having a single portfolio page but rather having an entire website and including your portfolio somewhere on it.
I have to say, having a fleshed out writer website definitely helped me feel confident in presenting myself as a business owner.
As freelance writers, we are not people looking to be employed. We are business owners looking for new clients.
Having a website totally establishes credibility here.
Step Three: Optimizing My Freelance Writer Website to Get Mental Health Writing Jobs
There were things previously on my website that I had to remove during my overhaul.
In order to get high-paying clients, I needed my website to be a clear indicator of who I am and what freelance writing services I provide.
It was super important to me that I didn’t confuse any prospective clients with an influx of irrelevant content.
So, my old poems that I used to share had to go.
Really, I didn’t delete them, I just hid that page from the website.
Any blog posts I published on my website or on others became highlighted and got their own designated section on my website.
Now, anyone looking for examples of my previous work can find it all in one place!
If you’re building your own freelance writer website, remember:
You don’t need your whole life story.
And as sad as it may sound, you don’t need a paragraph talking about your passion for writing. I had to trim down my spiel to one sentence.
If you want to learn exactly how to set up a client-winning portfolio website as a beginner, read this step-by-step tutorial.
Step Four: Cold Emailing (And Shooting Straight For The Top Mental Health Writing Jobs!)
After making a list of about 15 companies I wanted to pitch to, I sat down to construct my first email.
I considered working my way through the smaller companies first.
…Then I thought, “What the hell am I waiting for?!”
I decided to shoot straight for the top.
There was one company that I was particularly excited about even having the possibility to work with.
So, confident in all my new knowledge, I chose to make this company my first official cold email as a freelance writer.
Because I saw myself as worthy of working with them and presented myself as such, they responded to me as their equal.
The email response was straightforward and the company wasted no time letting me know they liked my content ideas.
I signed a $1,600 freelance writing contract a few days later thanks to the process I learned in Killer Cold Emailing!
A huge part of landing my dream company as my first client was my level of confidence.
In short, I took on the “fake it ‘til you make it” approach. I chose to email my dream company first instead of pushing it off.
I had so much confidence in myself, my website, and the tools and cold emailing templates that Jorden shared that I went into the cold emails knowing I would get a positive response.
I went into it expecting nothing less than a contract offer, and that confidence, coupled with my new marketing strategy, made all of the difference!
A Final Note on Cold Emailing to get Mental Health Writing Jobs
Whether you’ve participated in one of Jorden’s courses yet or not, I can guarantee you’ve heard her say to “develop a business owner mindset.”
As mentioned above, I went into my first email with the confidence of and tone of a business owner.
I was not asking anyone to employ me. I was, instead, telling them what I could do for them.
Jorden provides various examples and templates which you will have access to when you sign up for Killer Cold Emailing.
The real key is knowing which company and scenario requires which template.
I knew my audience (the company) and knew what style of approach they would respond to. This is why it’s so important to not choose these companies blindly.
It was easy for me to know the tone to use because I am already an avid reader of this company’s content.
If you aren’t a huge fan of the company you’re cold emailing, take some extra time to get familiar with their website, their conversation style, and their values before you cold email!
On top of that, you’ll want to optimize your email signature.
I used an improved email structure that I’m positive made a difference in how I was viewed.
The simple sign off with your name is not enough!
Think about it:
You have just finished an email telling this company that you are a professional writer, own your own business (your freelance business) and have worked with other notable companies in the past.
…So, shouldn’t your email signature reflect that?
Don’t be afraid to remind them of your accomplishments one more time!
A simple title such as “owner” of said business or website boosts your professionalism greatly! Adding a link to your website in your signature is a great idea for consistency as well.
Remember, you are a freelance writing business owner now, and you are responsible for representing yourself.
So represent yourself well, and get out there and send some cold emails!
Cierra Bundy loves all things creative and conversational. She is a graduate of George Mason University, currently residing and creating content in D.C. Metro area. Follow her on instagram @dearcierra and check out her website Dear Cierra for more creative content.