Leaving Work Behind

From Zero to $4,000 Per Month: How I Pitch and Land Blogging Clients

Written by Guest Author on November 20, 2014. 34 Comments

Tom: The following is another guest post from Paid to Blog Jobs success story Gina Horkey.

While I’ve shared my pitching tips here on Leaving Work Behind in the past, what I found interesting was that Gina has gone her own way and been successful in doing so. It just goes to show that there are varied paths available to becoming a successful freelance blogger.

Take it away Gina!

Baseball PitcherPitching for jobs as a new freelance blogger can be daunting.

But getting that first (then second, then third) client is exhilarating. Hopefully your momentum continues to build from there.

But what if it’s doesn’t? What if you haven’t even gotten your first client yet, or you’re having trouble building your business into something dependable and sustainable?

Don’t fret, most of us started with zero clients – this definitely includes me! With that in mind, in this post I want to reveal how I went from a zero to hero freelance blogger (at least, that’s what I like to think ;-)) in just a few short months.

Why Me?

Gina HorkeyI’ve always learned best through trial and error and from hearing about other people’s experience. I recently shared my journey on LWB and how I’ve experienced some success in my first six months of this business.

I’ve gone from earning nothing to a projected income of over $4,000 for the month of November. I recently published my second income report (for October) on my own site in hopes that my transparency will both help others and keep me accountable to my own goals of replacing my current salary.

Now I want to expand on how Paid to Blog Jobs and perfecting my pitch have helped me to get to where I am today. It’s been quite a journey so far and I’m excited to see where it takes me – hopefully it’s to a location independent lifestyle!

My First Pitch

We all have to start somewhere, and I’ll be the first to admit that my first pitch was horrible.

I’m sure it could have been worse, but it definitely wasn’t great. It didn’t even contain any links to my work! Here it is in its full glory:

Good Morning,

I would love to throw my hat into the ring for this freelance writing position.

I’m a regular Huffington Post contributor and currently am writing copy for a major WordPress blog.

I’m confident that I would be a great addition to your team. Please let me know what else I can provide you with,

Gina Horkey

You know what’s great though? I got the job! This became my second job – my first was as a ghostwriter for Tom, writing WordPress theme descriptions. Both jobs were sourced through Paid to Blog Jobs.

My Current Pitch

I bet my pitch template has gone through a hundred revisions – I’m not kidding! I’m a perfectionist by nature, plus I’ve gained a ton of experience through all of the paid and unpaid articles I’ve written. It is my goal to showcase the best of the best and get hired after all!

Here’s what my pitch looks like in its current form:

Good Morning,

Your ad on [PLACE YOU SAW AD] immediately caught my attention. I’m a freelance blogger with experience in [YOUR RELEVANT EXPERIENCE] and I’d love to work with you.

Check out my “Hire Me” page for client testimonials, my Professional Writing Pinterest board for additional samples or take a look at these publications I write for regularly to see some of my work:

Additionally, I’ve built and run my own website and blog and am the chief editor of Young Widow Living. I’ve actually been blogging since early 2010.

I recently wrote the copy and press release for a Kickstarter campaign. It was fully funded within 1 WEEK!

I’m confident that I would be a great addition to your writing team. I’m very detail oriented and mindful of time management and meeting deadlines.

Let me know if you need any extra information about me before you make a hiring decision. I’m looking forward to working with you,

Gina Horkey

Web-site Google+ Facebook Twitter Pinterest

Obviously, it’s come a long way! I’m actually pretty happy with where it’s currently at, but I’m sure I’ll continue to tweak it as time goes by.

Breaking Down My Pitch

Paid to BlogA lot of the advice I’ve applied to writing my pitch came from Tom’s Paid to Blog course.

I love when I find something that offers me a step-by-step blueprint to create something. His course totally was like that. The introduction, keeping it short and sweet and declaring my confidence are examples of this.

The nice part though is that I can modify my template (I just have it saved as an email draft) each time I send it out if I want to. I’ll take out or add different samples based on the job that I’m applying for. This helps to customize it to each job as needed.

My 3 Best Tips for Pitching

There are some things that I’ve found work well when it comes to pitching. Others not so much. Here are a few of my best tips.

1. Have a Process

Results happen best for me when I have a process in place. For pitching jobs, that means that I check in on the Paid to Blog Jobs site once every couple of days to see the new listings.

I start at the top (newest) and click on anything that interests me based on the topic and headline. I keep going until I run out of time or catch up to where I’ve last left off.

I once read here on LWB the advice to submit 10 pitches before 10 a.m. I modified this rule to submit 10 pitches each and every week. This made more sense for my schedule and my conversion rates ended up being pretty good, so it was more than sufficient.

2. Cast a Wide Net

If you’re in the process of starting your freelance career or need more clients, pitch any job that seems remotely interesting or that you’re even a little qualified for. I wrote about this before, but men tend to over assume their qualifications, while women seem to under assume theirs.

If you’re female, think like a man in this instance. It worked for me! I’m now at the point where I almost have more work than I have time for. My net is still wide, but I’m able to be more selective and have increased my rate since I started. (This guide really helped me on that front.)

In case you’re curious, it started at $50 per post and now is $75. It depends on the client/project though and I often get paid more than that.

Different projects require a different amount of effort on my part. If I’m writing a long post (~1k+ words) that I don’t have to do any research for, it could be the same fee as one that is shorter (~500 words), that I have to spend time doing research for. I have general guidelines for my fee structure, but I’ll modify it depending on how enjoyable (or easy) the project is.

3. Continue to Perfect Your Pitch

I talked about it at length above, but redoing your pitch from time to time is a good best practice. I’ll go through mine once every couple of weeks to see if something needs to be added or deleted.

Make sure you hear me when I say that your pitch doesn’t have to be perfect before you send it out. I just mean that over time you’ll have better samples to showcase or a certain style that works well for you and you shouldn’t be afraid to enhance it as needed.

Punch Fear in the Face

If you’re working on getting your first client or stuck trying to build your business, consider giving Paid to Blog Jobs a shot. I’ve been a subscriber pretty much since it first became available and can attest that the majority of my business has come from this one source. For about a buck a day, it’s reasonably priced and something you can cancel if you don’t feel it’s effective.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tom’s one smart cookie. He’s traveled the path before me – I just plugged myself into his system and have gotten great results. I like to think my writing skills are also okay. My commitment level to this business and providing for my family are also very high.

Even if you don’t use his products, I hope you punch fear in the face and get started pitching a ton of jobs. The worst they can say is no!

Photo Credit: artolog

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34 Responses to “From Zero to $4,000 Per Month: How I Pitch and Land Blogging Clients”

  1. Gina Horkey
    November 20, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Thanks for having me again Tom! Guest posting on LWB is a dream come true:-)

  2. Meghan Butte
    November 20, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Great article, Gina! You really are proof that persistence and confidence in what you’re doing go a long way. Keep it up!

  3. Corina
    November 22, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Great article Gina. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    I told you before that thanks to your article on how you increased your rate, I took Tom´s course and after that I subscribed to Paid to Blog Jobs.
    I am happy to say that one month after finishing the course I landed my first client through Paid to Blog Jobs. So yeah, it´s totally worth it.
    So thank you Gina, thank you Tom.

  4. Rachel
    November 23, 2014 at 12:40 am

    I enjoyed your post, Gina, and learning about your experience growing your blogging business.

    I literally just learned about this blog as well as Tom’s Paid to Blogs Jobs site, which I was debating about whether to join, but may think about it…just wondering about the quality of postings, etc…

    At any rate, it seems like, even though your initial pitch email wasn’t ideal (according to you), it did include something that I’m guessing made a huge difference – the fact that you were a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.

    What does someone do, who’s just starting out and doesn’t have such big client names to cite?

    Curious as to what your suggestions are there….

    Thanks!

    Rachel

    • Gina Horkey
      November 23, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks Rachel! I would say that 90% of my work has come from P2BJ, so in my personal opinion it’s totally worth it!

      As far as what to include when you don’t have any prominent samples, you could always follow Tom’s path of including your best own blog posts.

      Tom, I feel like you’ve written a couple of blog posts on the topic, care to link in the comments?

      • Rachel
        November 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm

        Thanks for the reply, Gina, and good advice!

        If Tom would like to comment as well and share links to the posts you mentioned (or alluded to), that would be great!

        – Rachel

        • Tom Ewer
          November 24, 2014 at 10:45 am

          Hey Rachel,

          The easiest thing to do when starting out is create your own blog and link to your own posts as samples. That’s what I did to land my first job.

          It’s not ideal though; far better that you have samples on third party sites. Unpaid guest posts are the easiest way to get these (although there are plenty of paid opportunities too, which I list on PBJ). It may also be worth getting an unpaid staff writer role for a fairly big blog; this is a nice thing to boast about in pitches.

          Hope that helps!

          Cheers,

          Tom

  5. Jawad Khan
    November 25, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Great to read about your progress Gina.

    Tom’s advice and blog posts helped me find freelance blogging clients when I was just starting in 2012.

    Great to see you, and many others, finding success because of LWB.

    Cheers

  6. Iva Ursano
    November 25, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Great post Gina!! Thanx so much for giving us newbies hope. I’ve been applying for jobs for two months now and still nothing BUT I did have two guest posts submitted and accepted!!! Yay me!!! That in itself makes me happy. I am going to buy Tom’s course. I’ve been thinking about it longer than I should. Thanx to both of you!!

  7. Tim Soulo
    November 25, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Hey Gina!

    Congrats on both: leaving your work behind and writing for Leaving Work Behind 🙂

    I just checked your income report and here’s what interested me: “Virtual Assisting Work: 56%”.

    Can you please tell me a little more about places to hire a good virtual assistant and maybe some brief examples of tasks you did as a VA?

    Thanks 😉

    • Gina
      November 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Hi Tim! Here’s my VA Hire Me page: http://horkeyhandbook.com/hire-virtual-assistance/

      Feel free to reach out and we can talk specifics. It can really vary, but I’d say currently I’m the most help to clients by getting stuff done that they don’t want to/don’t have time for. If I can free you up to create, for example (rather than be spending 10 extra hours/wk in your inbox), then I’m helping you to move your business forward and increase your bottom line.

  8. Beth
    November 25, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Congrats, Gina. I love the Pinterest board idea for writing samples!

  9. Mariana
    November 25, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Awesome tips Gina—thanks! I really liked your pitch. It’s short, sweet and to the point. Sometimes I feel like I’m rambling on yet don’t want to leave out any key info. I took some time to tweak mine this morning and am trying it out by sending a few pitches this morning. This also got me motivated to start using my P2BJ membership more often.

    Congrats on your freelancing success these past 6 months 🙂

  10. Saleem Rana
    November 25, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Gina,

    This was a truly inspiring (and beautifully written) post.

    I really enjoyed reading it.

    Tom, thanks for posting this on your blog. By the way, really like the way you’ve laid out your blog–clean and totally-user friendly.

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