How to Attract Freelance Writing Clients with Optin Feature Box WordPress Plugin

Editor’s note: There’s a 20% discount code for an awesome WordPress plug-in at the end of this post so don’t forget to scroll all the way down!

When it comes to finding freelance work, nothing works better than an email list filled with prospective clients.

Think about it – an email list full of prospective clients just waiting to hear from you. That’s the proverbial golden egg!

If you’re thinking “Samar, that sounds great, but it’s just not realistic”, let me tell you about my friend Henneke Duistermaat of Enchanting Marketing.

Wait, I’ll let her tell you about it:

Henneke

Henneke

My approach has been pretty low key. Rather than sell my copywriting services, I show potential clients I can write. I share my ‘secret’ tricks on how to write persuasive copy in my free snackable writing course (and on my blog, of course). In my email footer, I have the text “Would you like to get in touch? Just hit reply. I’d love to hear from you.”

As my email list grows reasonably fast, this generates more copywriting inquiries than I can handle. If your list doesn’t grow so fast, then you might want to make that statement a little bolder, like: Would you like help with your copy? Just hit reply.

Henneke, Enchanting Marketing.

Henneke didn’t originally set up her email newsletter to attract clients. Prospective clients contacting her through her newsletter were a happy byproduct of publishing content that showed off her expertise as a writer.

Instead of writing about how to be a copywriter, she wrote about:

  • Writing mesmerizing sales copy like Apple
  • Creating mouth-watering blog post titles
  • Mastering the art of writing persuasive emails
  • Crafting sales copy that doesn’t come across as sleazy or pushy
  • Boosting business by wooing readers through your copy

If you were looking for a copywriter, who would you hire? A copywriter who blogs about being a copywriter, Or Henneke, who writes about copy that converts and showcases her skills as a writer?

Henneke might not have intentionally set out to create an email list full of prospective clients, but that’s exactly what happened.

And now that you know it can be done successfully, you can do the same for your business.

Don’t spend hours on marketing tactics that may or may not get you clients. Focus on the one tactic that has been proven to work.

So set up an email list, write content for prospective clients, and focus on growing your email list.

Setting up an email list for your blog or website (or both)

One of my biggest pet peeves about marketing advice is that it tells you what to do but not how to do it.

Take this post, for example. The advice is great. Set up an email newsletter and target prospective customers.

But how are you going to set up an email newsletter sign up form on your blog? You’re a writer, not a web designer or developer! You don’t know how to do all the tech stuff.

On top of it all, you’re a bootstrapping freelancer. You don’t have the money to hire a web designer either.

And because I hate advice that tells you what to do, but not how to do it, I’m going to tell you what I did and tell you about the tool I use.

Your best option is to find a tool that sets up an email newsletter opt-in box on your website for you.

Introducing: The Plugmatter Optin Feature Box WordPress Plugin

When I was setting up Freelance Flyer, I knew I wanted a subscription form at the very top of my site.

Derek Halpern of Social Triggers has one and he swears by how well it converts.

I didn’t want to launch Freelance Flyer without one and I couldn’t afford a designer either. To make matters worse, I couldn’t find a WordPress plug-in that helped me set up a sign up form the way I wanted.

The launch of Freelance Flyer got delayed by four months because I couldn’t find a solution to my problem. All I knew was that I wasn’t launching without an email newsletter opt-in box.

Then I came across Plugmatter’s WordPress plug-in called Optin Feature Box and I … couldn’t believe my eyes.

It felt too good to be true. I was sure it was some kind of a gimmick and it wouldn’t be as awesome as they said it was.

How Plugmatter’s Optin Feature Box won me over

Plugmatter won me over within minutes of landing on their website. All it took was their live demo tool.

Plug Matter Optin Box Demo

I was able to see exactly how their plug-in worked. I could customize every single bit of the sign up form – from the colors to the text and even the image!

All this before I’d even checked the price tag.

After I’d designed the opt-in box to match my site’s design, I knew I had to have it.

It was such a relief to realize that it was an incredibly affordable plugin. Phew!

Using Feature Optin Box is an absolute breeze. The folks at Plugmatter have created detailed documentation to walk you through the setup too. But if you know your way around WordPress, you wouldn’t need them. They’ve made it that simple!

Now before we get to the price, here’s a brief look at the features:

  • 10 Fully customizable templates – it lets you customize everything!
  • Mobile responsive templates – your opt-in form would look amazing even on tablets and mobiles.
  • Video templates – as easy as entering your video’s YouTube or Vimeo URL
  • Custom design – Just copy/paste your HTML or CSS code.
  • A/B split testing – for maximum conversion
  • Mini feature boxes – for posts and pages you don’t want to display the full template on.
  • Much, much, more.

For more details, just go to their site and check it out. But wait!

A 20% Discount for Freelance Flyer Readers

Because I love Plugmatter’s Optin Feature Box so much and because I love you more, the folks at Plugmatter have graciously offered Freelance Flyer readers a 20% discount. w00t!

The discount is applicable on all their packages. Their single site license costs $37 which is a steal even before the discount! So grab it before the coupon expires.

All you have to do is enter this code at checkout: PLUG20OFF

Get your copy of Optin Feature Box here.

A 25% Discount for Newsletter Subscribers

You know who you are.

You’re the ones who get free coaching from me. The ones who get an inside look into my freelance business. The ones who’re the first to know what’s coming next on the blog.

And you’re the lucky ones who get a bigger discount than the one being offered to non-subscribers.

So if you haven’t already, check your email for the code that’ll give you 25% off the original price.

And if you’re not a subscriber, you can sign up now to get the 25% off. Just reply to my welcome email and I’ll send it along.

Get your copy of Optin Feature Box WordPress Plugin

Click here!

(Don’t forget your discount code!)

You now have everything you need to attract clients to your freelance business.

You know what to do and how to do it. You even have a discount to help you get started.

I’ve taken away all your excuses. If you don’t act now, it’s all on you.

Sounds mean, doesn’t it? But it is the truth.

The question is: Can you handle it?

The Freelance Writer’s Manifesto We All Need (Poster)

Scroll down for a full-sized graphic you can share and download.

Scroll down for a full-sized graphic you can share and download.

When it comes to freelancing, I believe in a few principles that guide my writing business on a daily basis.

Over the years I’ve called them many things – guiding principles, golden rules, affirmations, to name just a few.

They’ve helped me keep my head straight during the highs of my career and sustained me through the lows.

Today, I turn these principles into a manifesto and offer them to you.

You can download it, share it, print it – even embed it on your site if you want.

Whatever you do – USE this manifesto. Let it help you make a success of your freelance business.

The Freelance Writer’s Manifesto We All Need.

You’re a writer

Yes, you are. You don’t have to write fiction or attempt NaNoWriMo to consider yourself a writer. If you write for your blog, your business, your clients … you’re a writer.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Not even yourself.

You’re a bloody good writer

There is always room for improvement of course but right now, at this very moment, your writing is the best it has ever been.

Your freelancing isn’t a hobby – it’s a business!

I’ve said this so many times, I sound like a broken record. So many of us treat our writing as just this thing we do.

“Oh, it’s nothing really. It’s just something I like to do.”

Er, no.

If you’re writing for money and you dream about turning it into a full time income, then you my dear, aren’t indulging a hobby. You’re running a business.

Believe in yourself

Because you’re capable of so much more than you think. And because no one else will.

Don’t work for peanuts

Not for long anyway. My stance on freelance writing rates is simple: You gotta do what you gotta do. But at some point, you have to stop working for peanuts.

Charge per project

If there’s one non-negotiable rule of freelancing, it’s this.

Never charge by the hour. Charge per project. No exceptions.

Take half now, half after

Another rule that may only be broken if you can stake your reputation on your client – or have ways of embarrassing them into paying in case they don’t.

Get it in writing

You’ll thank me one day.

Fly your freelance flag high:

No one will know you’re a writer for hire unless you tell them. So don’t be shy.

And finally…

Don’t forget to hustle!

Which is just a fancy way of saying you never let anyone know you might not feel like a confident, brilliant, and successful freelance writer.

———————————————
Download the PDF: If you want to print this manfesto and keep it somewhere in your line of sight, download the The Freelance Writer’s Manifesto PDF version.

Shareable Graphic: Share anywhere and everywhere – even your own website. You’ll find an embed-able code below.

Freelance Writer's Manifesto

Share this Image On Your Site

How to Create an Action Plan for Your Freelance Writing Business (That You’ll Actually Use)

Freelance Business Action Plan

I know what you’re thinking.

Another plan? Enough of those already!

A business plan, a marketing plan, and now an action plan.

Not only do they take a ton of time but they’re often based on a bunch of assumptions you pulled out of thin air.

Any plan you make is doomed to fail from the start.

You should know, because that plan you made in your first year of freelancing? It’s busy collecting dust.

Most business plans are abstract, inflexible, and quite honestly – pretentious.

They might be a good idea for bigger businesses that know what they’re doing. But for the average freelancer like you, they just don’t work. Heck, most of us start freelancing to “see where this goes” before getting serious about it.

The good news is, you aren’t an anomaly – you’re the norm. So if you’ve been blaming a document for your lack of success, I’m here to tell you that’s not why you haven’t succeeded yet.

The bad news is, you’re what’s keeping yourself from succeeding.

You might not need a business plan but if you hope to make a success of your freelance writing business, you do need a plan. An action plan, to be exact.

An action plan is the road-map to reaching all your goals.

It’s what’s going to take you from point A to B and beyond… all the way to the finish line.

And the best part? It’s not hard to create. In fact, creating an action plan is as easy as making a list.

Step 1: Make a list of your freelance business goals.

Now don’t go off on a tangent and write lofty goals like “Earn $100k”. That’s just going to depress and overwhelm you. Instead, think of goals closer to home. Goals you know you can achieve if someone just told you what to do. Or at the very least, pointed you in the right direction.

Maybe you want more clients than you have right now.

Maybe you want to leave your low-paying clients behind.

Or maybe, you want manage a team of writers instead of writing yourself.

Get as specific about your goals as you can. This time next year, what needs to have happened for you to feel like your business has moved forward?

Once you’ve figured out your goals, list them down — but limit them to 5. Any more and you’re just setting yourself up for failure.

Here’s what my list of goals for 2014 consisted of:

  1. Find better paying clients than I have right now.
  2. Get published on Copyblogger.
  3. Start a new blog – the right way.
  4. Create, maintain, and grow an email list.
  5. Save enough to spend summer in the US.

Guess how many of those I accomplished?

All of them.

Do you want to know how I did that? By dividing each goal into actionable steps.

Which brings us to our next and final step. (Yes, this is just a two-step process.)

Step 2: Divide each goal into actionable steps

Take each goal and ask yourself “How am I going to achieve this?”

What actions can you take to get things moving? When I wrote “Find better paying clients” in my action plan, I didn’t know how I was going to do that.

So I asked myself: How am I going to find better paying clients?

The answer that came was simple: Marketing. I was going to market my freelance writing business.

How was I going to do that?

By guest posting on blogs my prospective clients were reading.  (There were of course several marketing tactics that I listed but I picked one to focus all my energies on.)

How was I going to pitch those blogs?

By getting to know their editors and pitching them guest post ideas they couldn’t refuse.

See how this works? You just need to keep asking yourself “How?” and an action plan will take shape.

Bottom line: It’s not about planning. It’s about taking action.

Things might not always happen the way you plan them, but when you start taking action, they do happen.

My action plan had me pitching Copyblogger a guest post idea through the Guest Blogging course run by Jon Morrow. But instead, I received an invitation to pitch them ideas in an Authority Q&A call.

Don’t let yourself get distracted by business plans, goals or even New Year resolutions. They just show you the end result – not the steps you need to take in order to get that result.

Creating an action plan for your freelance writing business

Use the upcoming holiday season to reflect on your freelance writing business. Figure out where you want your freelance writing business to go and then create an action plan that’s going to help you do just that.

Remember, it’s as easy as making a list.

And if you get stuck, I’m just a comment or an email away.

21 Marketing Tips for Freelancers From The Most Successful Women in the Industry

21 Marketing Tips For Freelancers
If you’re anything like me, the idea of marketing your freelance business makes you break out in a cold sweat.

On your good days, you push the idea of marketing at the back of your mind. You convince yourself you’re too busy to market. That you don’t even need to right now because hey, business is good.

But on your bad days – when you have no choice but to market your freelance business, you feel like someone’s holding a gun to your head.

And if you’re just starting out as a freelancer and need to market your business from scratch – God help you.

But whether you’ve been freelancing for a while or are just starting out, the absolutely worst part is not knowing how to market your freelance business.

Where do you start? Who do you talk to? What do you do?

It’s all so overwhelming!

Which is why I asked 21 successful female entrepreneurs in the industry to share their most actionable marketing tips. These are women I’ve admired for a long time for their business acumen and marketing smarts.

They’ve taught me most of what I know about running an online business and they’ve all helped my business in one way or the other. Some by giving excellent advice on their blogs and newsletters, and others by giving me advice or an opportunity when I needed them most.

Below, these amazing women have shared marketing tactics that worked for them and did wonder for their respective businesses.
[Read more…]

10 Step Guide To Setting Up Your Freelance Writing Business For Success (From Day One)

Want to Pin? Click here for full-size graphic

Want to Pin? Click here for full-size graphic

Freelance writing seems like the ultimate dream come true, doesn’t it?

You get the freedom to work for yourself, write what you want – when you want and choose who you work with.

You have complete control over your life. The only rules are the ones you make.

What could be better than that?

A step-by-step guide to setting up your freelance writing business for success, that’s what.

Before I explain what I mean, let’s talk about what usually happens.

Once you realize how awesome freelancing is, you jump in feet first. You start looking for work… and find clients who aren’t willing to pay more than $5 for 500 words.

For a while, you work long and hard. You’re convinced this is just a rite of passage that you need to cross before finding the really good gigs. Maybe once you have more writing samples,clients will pay more.

Of course, that doesn’t happen. The more you work for low pay, the more you attract low paying work.

It’s as if you’ve hit a glass ceiling you can’t break through.

That’s when you start getting disillusioned. Maybe there just isn’t any better paying work out there. You can’t spend your life working for low pay. You’re already struggling to make ends meet!

You start wishing for a do-over. A step-by-step guide that shows you:

  • what to do to,
  • when to do it and
  • what sequence to do it in.

I know I did.

This is the part where I tell you that you made a fundamental mistake when you started freelancing. That you didn’t stop to think before making the jump. That you saw the shiny, attractive side of being a freelance writer and naively thought that was all there was to it.

But, here what I’m really going to say:

Screw it.

Businesses are built on mistakes. Successful businesses are built on lessons learned from those mistakes.

Which is why, I’ve created this comprehensive guide for setting up your freelance writing business. If you’re just starting out, this is your lucky day.

If you’ve been freelancing for a while, use this guide to learn from your mistakes and make changes to fix whatever’s not working in your business.

Ready? Let’s get started!

[Read more…]