Written By Dana J. Sartell

How I Earned $1,800 in Writing Income In One Week

As freelance authors, sometimes we struggle to land new clients, especially if money is tight or new opportunities aren’t panning out as planned. Pitching our writing skills, posting resumes online and reaching out to positions available on the internet can be rewarding, but these submissions can be buried with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of other proposals.

Let’s see how easy it is to promote and sell our valuable writing skills while we’re simply going about our everyday lives. It might sound a little weird or even far-fetched, but it really works as long as we have a positive attitude and a friendly demeanor.

Cashing In On Consignment

When a new consignment store opened near our suburban neighborhood, I took this as an opportunity to make a little extra cash on the side. I got all the information I needed from their website and took in an old writing desk to put up for sale on this shared auction block.

After arriving at the shop, I unexpectedly ran into the owner, complimented her on an attractive website and Facebook page. A light-hearted conversation ensued.  “You should blog!” I offered while we were chatting. The owner was very curious about this notion.

A Budding Author

“I’ve always been interested in writing,” the owner replied, “But I don’t know the first thing about blogging.” Lucky for us, we know plenty and first I explained a few basic, but important facts about formatting, how a blog “works” and why:

  • Use a brief intro, an interesting “body” about the topic and a short conclusion.
  • Typically, a blog post is around 500-800 words, too little and you won’t get your point across, while too much is reserved for more in-depth articles, like this one.
  • A catchy title grabs a reader’s attention and the content should be “scannable” with bold headers and bulleted lists, again just like this one.
  • Posting (actually linking) blogs on the shop’s Facebook page will build social media followers and move the shop up in search engine rankings.
  • Hyperlinks placed inside the blog will grab the attention of Google.
  • Putting in a picture or two, especially of merchandise, is important.

Meanwhile, customers needing assistance were fluttering in and out of the store, so I suggested we meet up after hours so I could explain everything in more detail. She happily agreed, and I’ll expand on the selling points I used during our meeting a little bit later on.

Note that I didn’t push for “the sale” during our first encounter. I spent my time sharing my knowledge about blogging — and proposed another meeting, where we would eventually get down to the nuts and bolts of business.

One Thing Leads To Another

After selling the desk and writing for this local business owner, I stopped by the store to pick up my check. I ran into the owner once again and she mentioned one of her favorite customers who was starting a small business.

“You should blog for her too,” the owner advised and gave me the number of a woman who was launching an all-natural beauty line out of her garage. I was hesitant to contact a complete stranger with a blind business proposal, but the shop owner had already spoken with her about the whole concept, so all I had to do was make a friendly phone call and set up a meeting.

Again, note that I didn’t immediately ask the referral for the sale. It is much better to establish the relationship first. By setting up a meeting, they are already making a commitment to move forward; but it’s not uncomfortable or salesy. It simply gives us to opportunity to figure out if we’re a good match for working together.

Gratitude Goes A Long Way

Sure enough, I hooked up with this rookie entrepreneur and got another paying client in the process. Shortly after these encounters came to fruition, the three of us went out for a celebratory, “business lunch.” They were both very friendly with the waitress at a small, local restaurant they had highly recommended.

Long story short, I got more leads during this casual lunch: One from the waitress who referred me to her husband, an independent insurance agent, another from the manger of the restaurant suggesting I contact the owner and still another from a patron who overheard our conversations. But let’s deal with the business at hand.

Show Me The Money

Okay, that was a pretty good story, but what was I really able to accomplish from those first two encounters when it came down to actual dollars and “sense?” I was actually a little surprised at what I pocketed from my labors. So here’s some practical advice …

Never sell yourself short. When offering our valuable writing skills, casually or otherwise, charge a fair price for your hard-earned experience, advice and time. We’re delivering quality advertising and marketing techniques at a fraction of what other so-called professionals are receiving for similar results.

So here’s what I charged and was ultimately paid for my services:

Consignment Store Invoice:

  • $200 for setting up a basic WordPress account as a blogging platform
  • $100 for two introductory blog articles at $50 each (500-800 words each)
  • $100 marketing/consultant fee the owner insisted on paying for my time and advice

Cosmetic Invoice (very similar):

  • $100 marketing/consultant fee – apparently I set a precedent
  • $200 for setting up another basic WordPress account
  • $100 for two introductory blog articles at $50 each (again 500-800 words)

I also constructed a simple, “rush,” website for the cosmetic client on one of those free web hosting sites over the course of a weekend. Honestly, it only took me the better part of a day to complete, but I still made another $1,000, which included writing some website content.

A BIG BONUS and both of these businesses paid almost immediately, the latter in cash, along with an accompanying invoice of course. They happily paid their bills in full and I’m still blogging for them twice a month since they’re both busy with their growing businesses.

So, not only did I earn $1,800 in income during this first week of work, I now have $200 a month in recurring income by writing blog posts for these clients. That adds up to $2,400 a year, which is a very nice addition to my business.

Turning It Around In A Conversation

As freelance authors, often we’re told exactly what to write about, how to complete a contracted piece, geared towards a specific target audience, how to research appropriate material and the manner in which we’ll deliver this task. Turn it around, and we’re sharing these learned concepts with a potential paying client … only in reverse.

Think of it this way, we have the ability to offer our writing skills, SEO knowledge and expertise to neighborhood businesses during impromptu conversations. These are examples of some simple ways to land paying clients in a casual and friendly manner. Sometimes I’ve done the same with people I meet at parties, around the neighborhood, even at the grocery store.

“I’m a freelance, online author,” the conversation often begins and then they wonder how that works, “Mostly I write blogs to help companies grow their businesses online …” Again, I’ll expand more on these topics in the next section.

Sales, Tips & Tricks

You may encounter some resistance, confusion or outright opposition when pitching a blog. At times, people are disillusioned with the concept of how blogging will benefit them … what, when, where, why and how to post this type of content.

This is where we chime in with our working knowledge as experienced, professional authors in these internet endeavors. While we may know nothing about how they successfully run their business, we know plenty about how we operate ours.

Be honest and admit this type of marketing process may seem a little intimidating, somewhat complex or overwhelming, but it really isn’t. Don’t overwhelm them with these skills, our knowledge and information all at once, but here’s a few key selling points to consider using:

  • Agree that SEO methods are really complicated and how Google owns, and Facebook controls, much of today’s internet activity, especially from a marketing standpoint.
  • In order to move up search engine rankings, Google uses complex algorithms to recognize and reward businesses that are creating and sharing new, quality content. One of the easiest, least expensive ways to accomplish this task is by blogging and sharing these articles on social media and vice versa.
  • You might want to mention an old, often recognized, but misunderstood term known as “Black Hat” tactics. In short, shoddy SEO techniques were utilized by “bad guys” who were charging thousands to clients and using garbage content and bad links to artificially inflate a web presence, which only worked short term.
  • Google caught on to their devious ways, made appropriate changes and now we’re now the “good guys,” wearing the White Hat and playing by the rules.
  • This is one of my favorite selling points, even if no one reads said blog in the beginning, the fact you’ll be setting one into mation, matters in the short and long term. Again, Google picks up on these practices even if the blog doesn’t generate traffic … yet.
  • As we know, a blog should contain at least one interior (back to the client source) hyperlink and several exterior (outbound to reputable websites) weblinks. Google picks up on these clickable entries, and pushes them up through their ranking system.
  • Do your best in getting a business person to understand how posting on social media platforms, linking back to blog posts and vice versa, isn’t that complicated or time consuming. Getting started is the biggest stumbling block many businesses face.

Remember business owners are very busy people so don’t be too intrusive with all this information during an initial encounter. After you’ve gained a little interest, tell them you don’t want to take up too much of their time, but would love to meet with them over coffee or after hours to expand on these topics just as I did with the consignment shop owner.

“Intelligence is not the ability to store information, but to know where to find it“ – Albert Einstein

As freelance writers, many of us maintain at least one free blog, social media account, perhaps a website and they’re not that difficult to maintain. Although we understand these concepts like second nature, small businesses often don’t know where to locate and implement this type of vital information as Professor Einstein stated.

In closing, remember always be honest and inform potential clients this extremely important fact. Visible results with search engine rankings, getting more followers on social media and building a blog audience takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not uncommon for this process to take several months and in some cases a year or more to see big results.

But it’s worth a small upfront investment, some time, energy and a little bit of effort to achieve long-lasting and lucrative online results. Antiquated and expensive marketing practices like the “yellow pages” are literally dying off with today’s consumers … another valuable selling point!

Your Comments:

  1. Gayle Herbert Robinson says:

    This was an excellent article. Thank you for sharing. What did setting up the basic WordPress account entail?

    • Dana J. Sartell says:

      You just go to the WordPress site and set up an account. The only tricky part is the email address. If you use your own account, then you’re “stuck” with it and the client doesn’t have access to the blog. It’s better to use theirs and have them verify it themselves. You can still access it and it gives them the feeling that they’re in control.

  2. Megan H. says:

    Nice tips! Sometimes I spend so much time looking for gigs through online channels that I forget how much opportunity is available within my own community. Thanks for sharing this insight.

  3. Saliek Ruffin says:

    Loved this article. Very informative and instructive to say the least. You definitely hit the nail on the head!

  4. Channing Krulicki says:

    I truly appreciate this article. It couldn’t have arrived at a more appropriate time for me. You’ve addressed some proceedures and answered questions I haven’t quite known how to convey.
    Thanks for putting it all in a package and tying the bow. Your site is a gift that continues to give….

  5. Stephanie says:

    This was so helpful to see the breakdown and how possible it really is. When you set up the WordPress account did that include design?

    • Dana J. Sartell says:

      Yes, it included “design,” but it was just a “tone” that matched her existing website, similar colors and font. I didn’t put a whole helluva lot of work into the design factor, I just wanted it to appear similar to the existing website so it appeared to belong.

  6. Kei says:

    Thank you so much for the post. I wanted to know when you set up the WordPress page, was it the free page or did you go through web hosting that you have to pay for? If so, did that cost come out of your pocket or theirs?

    • Dana J. Sartell says:

      In both cases, the blogs I set up were at the “free” level. The cosmetic client already had a domain name and I set her up on Wix beginning with a free platform. Once the website was constructed and approved by her, she paid with her CC for a higher level at $20 per month. She needed something right away since she was giving out samples at the consignment store. I told her, you shouldn’t be giving away all this free product without a website in place and she agreed. Hence the “rush” job. It was a basic site, with a home page, contact info, about section and a few products.

  7. Neelamani Sutar says:

    I’m a published writer.Kindly send me writing jobs.

  8. EFFIONG EDEKE says:

    Wao. I am a journalist and a published writer from Nigeria trying to make a head way in international platform. Most of the opportunities that are published online are limtied to writers in Europe and America. Pls I need opportunities that exist for writers like me who are domiciled in Africa. I have numerous articles, essays, short stories and a full length novel awaiting global publishing out-lets that can pay me reasonably. Pls forward such opportunities to me. Thanks.

    • Dana J. Sartell says:

      Have you tried indeed.com yet? They have many opportunities that don’t require you to live in the US or UK. Just a thought …

    • Rima says:

      Hi, you should check out Freedom With Writing and get them to send you emails regularly. Plenty of inspiration and most of it is free and international writers are accepted. it sends links to everything from blogs that pay to short stories – some are competitions others are more regular. Authors Publish and Reedsy, Steve Razinsky, the write life, writers in charge are good opportunities too.

      Once you get the hang of what’s out there, you will notice a wide variety of “types” of work you can send: micro fiction, flash fiction, short stories, novellas, non-fiction, prose, essays etc. the list is endless. If you aren’t sure what these are, google them for a description.

      Good Luck!

  9. Emette Massey says:

    Dana, great article and very helpful! This is a nice way to causally but effectively approach prospects. I’ve been posting articles on Ezine Articles and on my blog but completely overlooked using hyperlinks. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom.

  10. Kei says:

    Good morning. Would you happen to have a webpage I can refer to for further and future questions?

    • Dana J. Sartell says:

      I’m sorry, I don’t maintain or monitor a website … I’m too busy writing!

  11. Georgina says:

    thanks for the information…i am just starting out to try online writing…i have had a desire to create a blog for sometime now…

  12. William C. Msiska Jr says:

    Thanks for that inspiring and enlighting article. I wish to have a personal blog to start activeness this june. Hope you can enlight me abit about it. Peace and prosperity unto you.

  13. Eric Fulce says:

    Where can I find someone looking for poetry submissions?

    • Dana J. Sartell says:

      It is sometimes as easy as Googling “writing poetry submissions” and you can also try a site called “litworth.com” and search under just poetry. Hope this helps! Not everyone pays … so read their submission pages carefully.

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