I realize I didn’t quite answer the question re freelance market saturation in my last post. Here’s what I think: that we are heading toward a zenith, a straight shot to the top of the bell curve (then it’s all downhill from there, folks). As with any fad (a huge segment of it is a fad, don’t kid yourselves), excitement reaches a booming crescendo before making a meteoric nosedive into triteness.
With the launch of Facebook and the SM sites that followed in kind, millions of humans raced to be a part of something global that connected everyone to everyone else, with the thought that that was a good thing. Now, people are leaving in droves, exhaustion and overwhelm having replaced excitement and novelty. For many, the bloom is off the rose as stress levels rise. Freelance writing will follow the same path, to some extent, in that the good freelancers will continue to earn a living while the mediocre and inadequate will fade into oblivion. Survival of the fittest, as Darwin said.
Elna Cain’s 6-day Free Lesson Plan to Get You Earning as a Freelancer
I’ve covered the first three lessons here; I’ll post about the last three once I’ve reviewed them:
Lesson 1: Pick a Niche
It took a while to get to the first step in her 6-day lesson plan. I had to scroll through a lengthy monologue on her journey to becoming a freelance writer (yawn). To top it off, she wants me to tag her at her Twitter account to “prove” I’m “100% committed” to a freelance life.
Her first lesson is to pick a niche – figure out what you like (hobby, passion) or dig into your background (education, training) and make that your niche. Seems kind of obvious to start with writing what you know, I’ve posted on it more than once. So far, I’m not seeing anything not found online already.
Lesson 2: Write Some Samples
She suggests you start writing some samples, based on the niches you choose. She highlights what she describes as “the three best – and quickest – ways to gather real samples to show prospective clients (and the last way is the BEST way to show clients you’re a TRUE freelance writer).” Hmm. Sounds like a hook.
Here are her 3 BIG (but not novel) IDEAS:
- Create your own samples. (Duh.) Freelance sites require you upload samples of your writing, so you should already have these handy.
- Start your own blog. (Double duh.) I agree that having your own blog showcases your writing skills. Do your best to make your website showcase YOU and your freelance skills. Leave pictures of kitties and puppies and other cutesy stuff for your personal FB page. Use a clean, sleek, professional layout; WordPress has some great free options.
- Start guest posting on other people’s blogs. The one lesson that makes sense: “Pro-tip: Start searching for places to guest post on. You can Google, “[niche] + guest post” to get an idea of places you can try.”
A smart piece of advice is to shoot for lesser-known sites where you’ll have a better shot at guest hosting with them versus reaching for the brass ring, trying to break in on sites like Huffington Post (unless you know someone who knows someone who knows someone).
Lesson 3: Time To Get Known
As usual, she begins this lesson with a nostalgic narration (taking care of her infant twins while pitching her freelance skills). Then she quickly draws you in with a call to action link for her “proven system” that has brought her clients and steady work. This lesson contains more common sense (still not novel) advice, like getting your name out there in SM. She recommends not being out there on ALL SM, but to pick and choose the ones that work for you and your style. Hmm, I remember posting that exact advice some time ago… and more than once.
She outlines two ways to develop your online presence; these are good for beginners:
1) Visit freelance writing websites and leave comments. Her argument here is that you will become more well known if you engage with more sites, allowing other readers to see your comments; you can also post your comment (or the whole thread) to your own SM.
2) Sign up for a LinkedIn account. Her argument here is solid; it’s beneficial to join LinkedIn groups, like freelance writing and copywriting groups, to provide exposure and open you to paid writing gigs. It did force me to think about my past LinkedIn accounts (I’ve had more than one over the years). I realized that I hadn’t designed my accounts for getting freelance work; instead, I used them as a way to showcase my books and my day jobs – big mistake on the latter, since it wasn’t my end goal. I should have designed my LI page to reflect my writing skills and my desire to freelance, and I should have joined LI writing groups.
All in all, what I’ve read so far are some good points that are best for beginners. There isn’t much new information in her lessons, though her advice on LinkedIn did hit home. In the midst of all the repetition, I did manage to find a crumb of advice that I can use.