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How to Overcome the 5 Most Common Freelance Fears

How to Overcome the 5 Most Common Freelance Fears

Ask any successful freelance writer, and they’ll tell you about the fears they had when they first started: the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of not having enough experience, the fear of rejection …

In order to succeed, these writers conquered their fears – and you can, too.

Here are the five fears I hear most often from beginning copywriters – along with what you can do about them …

1. “I’m afraid I won’t succeed.”

Sadly, everyone has had this fear at one point or another. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know. Here’s what I think (and what I told myself when I was just getting started): If others can do it, so can you.

As an AWAI member, you are as smart, brave, worthy, and talented as at least half of the successful copywriters working today – and better than the other half. So there is absolutely no reason you can’t succeed. There is no barrier you can’t overcome. If you want the writer’s life badly enough, it will be yours.

The first step to overcoming this fear is to take it one day and one small victory at a time. Decide what type of writer you want to be and get a course that properly trains you. Then study, study, and study some more. Keep track of your progress and your victories.

You’ll be more than ready to find clients.

2. “I’m afraid I don’t have enough experience.”

There are two answers to this one.

1) You really might not have enough experience. But the good news is … you can get some quite easily! Try working for friends and family until you get the hang of it. Study and practice. Do small project with real clients. Check out this article on landing your first client for some more great tips on getting more experience. Then you’ll just have to put yourself out there …

That brings us to …

2) If you’ve been studying copywriting for a while, you probably have plenty of experience. You’re just suffering from information overload. Take a step back and evaluate your situation. Do you honestly not have enough experience? If so, get some (see answer #1). If you’ve completed AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, you’re ready. If you can explain the elements of a successful direct mail piece to a friend, you’re ready to get out there and find clients.

3. “I can’t figure out my niche.”

This one held me back for a long time. Then I realized I was just using it as an excuse. I had all the tools I needed to determine my niche. My fears were holding me back.

If you’re having trouble picking your niche, don’t stress. It’s not final. You can always switch after a few months or years if you find something you like better. But for now, just pick something.

Answering the following questions should help you uncover a niche you can start with:

  • Which industry or industries have you worked in?
  • What do you do in your free time?
  • If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
  • When you go to the bookstore, what section do you head to first?

If you need more help, here’s a great article from Nick Usborne called “Why You Should Choose a Niche for Your Freelance Business, and How to Do It.”

4. “I don’t know how to get clients” or “I’m afraid they’ll say no.”

If you really don’t know how to get clients, the only way to learn is to get advice from someone who has been there. AWAI is full of advice from writers who know how to get clients.

And here is a very comprehensive article from Rebecca Matter: “Getting Clients 101: A Step-by-Step Approach to Landing and Working with New Web Writing Clients.”

In this article, Rebecca says you can probably come up with at least 50 names of potential clients just thinking about people you know, people you have worked with, or people you do business with now. She gives great advice for reaching out to them to get your first client.

Okay, back to the fear of rejection.

This is probably the most common fear among freelance writers – both beginning and advanced. Most experienced professional writers say they still fear rejection.

So you see, no matter how long you work as a writer, fear of rejection won’t simply go away. It will get smaller and smaller as you begin to contact clients. You’ll realize that even if they turn you down, it’s not the end of the world.

You can reach out to potential clients through cold calling, direct mail, live events, or by responding to job ads. The more you put yourself out there, the faster you’ll be able to get over your fear and start getting clients.

I’ll be honest; there have been many times when I’ve approached a client feeling absolutely nauseous. I’ve gone into client meetings thinking I might not be able to keep my lunch down. But you know what? They always go fine.

Sometimes I get the job and sometimes I don’t. But I’ve slowly become more confident. The important thing to remember is there are many, many potential clients out there, but they’re not all for me.

5. “I’m afraid the writer’s life isn’t real.”

Since I’m an open book this week, I’ll confess: I had this fear at first, too. But then I started thinking positively and reading the success stories of all my fellow copywriters. I became sure of its existence.

I spoke to Rebecca Matter a few weeks ago, and she put it best, “The writer’s life is real, and it’s better than you think.”

So what about you? What fears do you still have? Are you really fearful or are you just procrastinating? Comment below to join the discussion …

5 Free eBooks from New Blogging and Social Media Website

5 Free eBooks from New Blogging and Social Media Website

“If you’re not blogging … you’re doing something wrong.” − Dan Zarella

Do you agree?

I do – and so do Valerie Leroyer and Faith Attaguile.

I met Valerie and Faith last year at AWAI’s Bootcamp and Job Fair in Delray Beach, Florida. We’re also in a professional group for copywriters known as Circle Of Success.

Since last year, these savvy bloggers and social media consultants have been very busy and yesterday they launched a brand new social media and blogging site designed to help you “Sing your message. Hook your audience. Build your community.”

Even if you’re not yet into blogging or the social media world (or if it’s not working for you), they’re here to show you how to get known with “pizzazz!”

LetsBuildYourBlog.com is their exciting new website where they offer Blog Packages and Social Media Packages to help you start your journey, manage your impact … and win!

They’re even offering a free gift – 5 free ebooks (no opt-in required). Each eBook is designed to help you become more familiar with the world of social media and blogging.

Click the images below to visit LetsBuildYourBlog.com and download your free ebooks:

I hope you enjoy these free e-books and if you’d like to know more about Faith or Valerie, here’s how you can connect with them:

Website: LetsBuildYourBlog.com
Twitter: @letsbuildablog

Valerie also blogs at kayakcanoeblogger.com or you can follow her on Twitter.

Faith can be found helping green businesses at FrontlineCopy.com. She’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, too!

Have a great day!

6 Things to Do When Clients Say They Don’t Need That “Social Media Stuff”

6 Things to Do When Clients Say They Don’t Need That “Social Media Stuff”

Social MediaI recently ran into a client who thought he didn’t need social media to grow his business. As it turns out, after I showed him what a small investment in social media could do, he couldn’t get enough.

He went from avoiding social media to embracing it in the five seconds it took him to pull the stats and see my efforts were paying off – to the tune of $1,000 in sales for just an hour’s work. During that hour, I set up a Twitter account, followed several people interested in his niche, posted a few tweets linking back to his content, and engaged with some potential customers.

If you’re a writer looking to branch out into social media – and you should be – your current clients are a great place to start. But what if they aren’t willing to give you a trial run?

Well, first, it’s important to understand why they’re reluctant.

Most of the time, they’re scared of social media because they don’t really understand it. It’s never been a part of their strategy before. They’re confused why you think it’s necessary now.

Also, companies are used to being in control. They don’t like the thought of getting “out there” and connecting with their customers so directly.

Traditional advertising was as simple as creating a TV or radio ad, putting it out there, and waiting for sales.

If a customer had a problem, they took it up with the company and no one – except maybe their close friends and family – knew about it. You didn’t have to worry about someone calling you out on poor customer service or people posting reviews online.

It was an easier time, but now customers are demanding that businesses interact with them online, especially through social media.

In fact, according to HubSpot, people who “like” brands on Facebook are 51 percent more likely to buy something. Those who follow a brand on Twitter are 67 percent more likely to purchase.

Marketing through social media means business owners have to let go of some control. They have to let their customers have a say – which is scary.

They may have heard the horror stories about companies getting bad press from social media. Like Chipotle, who had to deal with fan outrage after an employee posted on Facebook that she ran over a cat on her way home and didn’t care. Or United Airlines, which had its reputation damaged after a YouTube video showed their employees throwing and breaking passengers’ guitars. Naturally, they’re worried about their reputation and the effect social media could have on it.

So, how can you convince your clients that, when managed correctly, social media is the best way to reach more new customers and that it should be a part of their marketing plan?

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Show them what people are already saying.

One of the fastest ways to make a strong case for your argument is to do a little research first. If your client has a fairly good-sized company, someone is probably saying something about them online.

Do a few searches (in popular search engines, Google Alerts, or TweetDeck) to see what comes up.

Take screenshots of tweets, updates, or reviews about the company.

Then determine how many of these posts and comments are positive, negative, or neutral. This will probably be an estimate based on the information you find, but let’s say you find 20 comments. If 10 of them are positive, that’s 50% positive – or 50% negative/neutral. (When you approach your client, you won’t just bring “bad news.” You’ll tell them how your strategy will turn the neutral and negative comments in their favor.)

If there are any questions from customers that haven’t been answered, make sure you bring that up to your client. Questions like, “I’d like to buy your blue widget, but I’m not sure what size it comes in. Please advise,” can be especially persuasive because they show your client they’re actually losing money by not engaging with their customers.

2. Include their competitors’ information.

Your clients want to keep up with the competition. So be sure to tell them what other companies in their niche are doing in social media and what success they’ve had, including glowing reviews from customers. If their competitors haven’t yet embraced social media, this is a great chance to convince your client to get there first.

3. Use evidence to make your case.

The proof you’ll want to use will depend on your client and their market. But, in general, you’ll want to show that your client’s target market is active in social media.

If they’re targeting fishermen, for example, showing some social media groups for fishermen might be persuasive.

If your clients’ ideal customers are grandparents, you could share this statistic with them: 45- to 54-year-olds make up the largest age group of people visiting Facebook. They account for 30 percent of the overall traffic (according to Google Ad Planner).

Also, you can use data on social media usage or social network demographics published by organizations like eMarketer, MarketingProfs, or Nielsen to make your case when it makes sense.

And here’s another statistic that should be pretty universally convincing …

Forty-one percent of Internet users trust information on Facebook. And if the information is posted by one of their friends, the trust level increases up to 64 percent. (According to a study conducted by Invoke Solutions.)

For businesses, this means they have instant credibility, which equals more sales. If they can get a few of their customers to post information about them, they have the chance to sell to those customers’ friends.

Many businesses are taking advantage of this statistic by offering incentives to customers who share their company’s information with the most people.

4. Offer to start small.

You can start with just one social media platform or just a few hours a week. The platform you start with will depend on the business and the goals they’re trying to accomplish.

Speaking of starting small …

A lot of people jump into social media thinking it’s going to bring tons of visitors to their website overnight … but that’s just not the case.

The best thing you can do is to set realistic expectations from the very beginning. Don’t tell your potential clients you can change things overnight. Tell them it will take some time, and then work with them to set realistic goals for the first few months. Realistic goals would be small monthly steps like getting one sale from social media within the first month or increasing their website traffic by 10% within three months.

5. Have a plan for everything.

Remember, some clients are afraid of social media because they’re afraid of generating negative publicity. So tell them up front what you plan to do if someone says something negative about the company on social media.

What will you say if customer service issues come up or if someone makes a complaint? How will you handle it so it looks good on the company and satisfies the customer?

One possible solution, depending on the issue or complaint, might be to apologize publicly and invite the customer to contact the company via email to get a refund or replacement.

Having plans in place for this sort of thing puts the client at ease. It shows them you’re a true professional who cares about their image.

6. Explain the many benefits of social media:

  • It’s a cost-effective way to build relationships with customers because most platforms are free.
  • It’s a great way to get feedback on products and services.
  • It’s a source for information about their competitors.

As you can see from the above ideas, businesses would be crazy to miss an opportunity to build their brand awareness with social media. I think after you try some of the tactics above, your potential clients will see it that way, too.

Give it a try and then let me know how it goes. Comment below to join the discussion …

How to Create Content That Makes You Look Like an Expert

How to Create Content That Makes You Look Like an Expert

A quick way to position yourself as an expert is to create content.

This could be in the form of your own blog, a money-making website, a book, or even guest blog posts or articles.

If you’re holding back, it may be because you think the only way to create content that makes you look like an expert is to brag about yourself or exaggerate how good you really are.

That’s not the case.

Writing content is one of the best ways to show you know what you’re talking about without having to say you know what you’re talking about.

When someone comes to your website, picks up your book, or sees your articles demonstrating your knowledge and skills, they’ll automatically assume you’re an expert who knows what they’re talking about.

You won’t have to say you’re an expert because it will be obvious.

Here are five things to keep in mind when creating content that makes you look like an expert:

1. Provide Value

All your articles and blog posts should, first and foremost, provide value to your readers and potential clients.

Your readers don’t want to read about you. They want to find out how you’re going to solve their problem.

Show them you can solve their problem by providing original and valuable ideas, and they’ll see you as an expert.

2. Show, Don’t Tell

Rather than tell people what your expertise is, your writing is a great place to show off your expertise.

For example, if you’re an expert web writer and you’re trying to get more clients in that area, write articles about web writing. Share what you’re learning and how it can be applied to your preferred niches.

Share case studies that show you’re successful at what you do, and people will believe you’re an expert.

The more often you write, the better off you’ll be. Frequent updates to your blog or guest posts show you’re dedicated and have a lot of knowledge.

Plus, people who agree with your point of view will feel drawn to you, and they’ll be more likely to hire you or become a fan of your website.

3. Write Often

The more often you write, the faster you’ll become an expert. Writing often requires research and knowledge in your field.

Don’t worry if you don’t know everything about your niche or topic right now. You will always be learning and growing.

Plus, coming up with new ideas and experiences shows you’re really into your topic.

4. Repurpose Your Content

One great thing about writing often in order to be seen as an expert is you can use your content in many ways.

You can compile all your articles into a book that you sell or use to generate leads.

If you’re writing guest posts and the website owner is okay with it, you can use your articles on your own blog to bring in more traffic.

You can use your articles to create videos, podcasts, or even mini-courses that you can sell for extra income.

5. Be Yourself

Don’t worry about scaring any potential clients away. If they don’t like your writing style or what you have to say, then they probably wouldn’t like the work you do for them anyway.

It’s far easier to be yourself all the time instead of having to pretend to be what your clients want some of the time.

A lot of clients will like the way you write, and those working relationships will be a lot easier in the long run.

At all times, remember to write about solutions to your readers’ problems.

Writing content to position yourself as an expert isn’t difficult – especially when you stop telling people what you can do and start showing them instead.

So what about you? What have you written lately that shows you’re an expert? Comment below to join the discussion …

3 Skills You Must Master To Succeed

3 Skills You Must Master To Succeed

I have a question for you … Are you still afraid to jump 100 percent into the writer’s life?

Do you feel like you’re a great writer, but something is holding you back? Do you find yourself not taking action to find clients?

If you said yes, you might be missing one of three vital skill sets. According to multimillionaire business coach Dani Johnson, author of First Steps to Wealth, there are three skill sets you must master to succeed:

1. Professional Skills

This is your profession’s basics. For a writer, that might be writing a killer headline … finding the “big idea” for a promotion … or crafting intriguing bullets. Anything that gets results for their clients, whether that’s increased sales, more visits to their website, or whatever.

If your skills are at a high level, you’ll make more money. Skill is what separates the professionals from the amateurs. More clients will hire you. You’ll be paid more per project.

Professional skills are easy to improve. All you have to do is study and practice. The more you learn, the more experience you earn … the better you’ll be.

For example, if you choose to specialize in autoresponders, you’ll be able to focus all your attention in that area – studying, practicing, and increasing your skill in writing autoresponders – and multiplying your pay per project.

If you’re serious about working as a freelancer, don’t delay in working to improve your skills. It’ll have a tremendous effect on your bottom line.

2. Personal and Leadership Development Skills

How often have you thought, “I’m scared to call Client X”?

Those feelings aren’t a reflection of your talent and professional skills. They mean your personal development skills – like confidence, mindset, and attitude – aren’t as strong as they could be.

Johnson says, “If you have a low level of personal development, you are only going to surrender to however you are feeling at a certain moment, such as ‘I feel afraid today’ or ‘I feel worthless today’ or ‘I don’t feel like things are going to work out today.’ Those kinds of feelings do not pay.”

If you’re feeling worried, scared, or discouraged, it’s not time to give up. It just means you need to work on yourself to increase your confidence. You could:

  • Work with someone who has already been successful to create a full goal plan to reach your goal of becoming a successful writer. Then just take one step after another. Ignore your fear and just do the next thing on your list.
  • Work with your peers to get feedback on your writing. When you hear other people compliment your abilities, you’ll believe it yourself.
  • Work on smaller projects for local businesses or offer to do some pro bono work for a charity you care about. This will give you some experience and samples – and you’ll gain confidence when you see businesses and organizations getting results because of your effort.

3. People Skills

Writers who get along with clients, network with fellow writers with ease, and work well with everyone they come in contact with … succeed. Because they are a pleasure to work with, they get referrals and are in demand. As a result, they can increase their rates.

Why?

Because they understand that they are people working with people. Their clients want to be treated nicely and feel like they are more than the next paycheck for the writer.

By learning to communicate with people effectively, you’ll find they want to work with you.

As a copywriter who specializes in the personal development industry, I’m always poring over courses, programs, and books in my niche to increase my skills in various areas that can help my career.

Later, I’ll share some of the techniques and strategies I’ve learned recently to get you moving toward mastering what I consider the three most important skill sets: professional skills, personal and leadership development skills, and people skills.

If you have any techniques for increasing these skills, I’d love to hear about them. Comment below to join the discussion …