Freelancing blogging isn’t that difficult.
Seriously — it aint rocket science. If you’re a good writer then you’re already half way there.
But although freelance blogging isn’t difficult, becoming successful and earning an hourly rate in excess of $100 requires you to understand what clients want and appreciate how to work with them. And while it’s not the kind of advice you will typically read from most freelancers, the following principles have worked for me very well indeed.
Why I Earn $100+ Per Hour From Freelance Blogging
This post isn’t intended to be a guide to freelance blogging. By reading this I assume that you are already a decent blogger and/or have read my guide to successful freelance blogging. Perhaps you’re already earning a little but would like to know how you can earn a lot.
This post intends to reveal to you what I consider the little-known factors that can make a huge difference to your earning potential. The following are what I consider to be the difference makers — the relatively unique aspects of my service that set me apart from most other freelancers. By following my approach I see no reason why you can’t be as successful as I am.
1. I’m Fast
I’ve spoken about the importance of speed before but it bears repeating (over and over).
Why? Because the speed with which you work is the only thing that can affect your rate that you have complete control over. Sure — you can negotiate a higher rate; that may or may not pay off. But working faster on the other hand can make you more money in less time.
The amount you work on your speed in completing blog posts and the respect you have for your time is key to your success as a freelance blogger. For example, let’s say you set aside 36 hours per week to work on your freelancing income. If you complete the average $50 blog post in one hour then your earning potential is limited to $1,800 per week. But if you complete that same blog post in just thirty minutes, your earning potential doubles to $3,600.
If you can work faster and give the client an end product that they will be happy with, it’s a win/win situation. They get what they want and you get paid more to do less.
So work on your speed — it’s one of the most important things you can do as a freelance blogger.
2. I’m Reliable
It never ceases to amaze me at how unreliable many freelance writers are. I say this from my experiences both in editorial roles and based upon the countless interactions I have had with freelance writers as part of running Leaving Work Behind.
If you can simply be reliable, your value to clients will increase exponentially. In fact, I am certain that many clients would rather work with a less talented but reliable writer than a more talented writer who cannot be relied upon. After all, your value as a freelance blogger is not just about how good a writer you are.
But what does “reliable” mean in this context? Many things, but most importantly:
- Respond to emails promptly
- Always keep to deadlines
- Follow editorial guidelines (when applicable)
- Work to the client’s expectations (or inform them if you feel that you will be unable to do so)
- Communicate clearly and succinctly
- Always do what you say you’re going to do
- Do not attempt to avoid confrontation if you screw up
- Always be honest and upfront
- Never make false excuses
Becoming a reliable freelancer along the above lines requires that you do two things:
- Place your tasks within a reliable system
- Think consciously about the way in which you conduct yourself
That’s it, in a nutshell. If you alway keep track of what you are doing and remind yourself of what you should be doing in terms of being reliable, there is no reason why you cannot adhere to all of the above guidelines.
3. I Write to the Client’s Standards
A lot of freelance writers are far too conscientious.
I say that in a tongue-in-cheek fashion — after all, we should all ensure that we do top-quality work. But it seems to be a common theme amongst freelance bloggers that they put far more effort into their client work than their rate deserves.
It’s an interesting dilemma because writing isn’t a task that is either complete or incomplete. It’s a grey area. A bricklayer has a set task, as does a plumber. But writing as a concept is somewhat ambiguous — it invites subjective thinking. And many freelance writers are so fearful that they will create something below the client’s standards that they put far more effort into a piece than they should.
I know someone who used to write for Mashable regularly and he admitted to me that he would spent upwards of six hours on a $100 article. Six hours. That’s less than $17 per hour. His reasons for doing so were based on personal pride and an eagerness to please, but where did it get him in terms of his hourly rate? Not very far.
So stop writing to your standards and start writing to the client’s. Figure out what they want from you and deliver to their standard and nothing more. They will be happy and you will be richer — another win/win situation.
I appreciate that this is a controversial point. People will argue that by not excelling you will stunt your chances of growth. But that attitude is like going to a three star hotel and expecting that they will strive to provide you with a five star service: it’s just not going to happen. If the client wants a better service then they should pay for it; you’re not running a charity.
4. I Work With Long Term Clients
Many freelancers (such as web designers and graphic designers) are forced into working on short term projects. It’s the nature of the beast: clients do not need a new website or a new logo every week.
On the other hand, one of the beauties of freelance blogging is that it attracts long terms clients because they do need new blog posts every week.
The benefits of working with long term clients are numerous:
- Less time spent marketing and spent setting up new clients
- You get to learn your clients’ expectations and produce a consistent end product
- You get the benefit of a regular income
- You can develop your income over time by offering a greater variety or volume of services (or by negotiating a higher rate)
- You can develop a reputation within your client’s niche
I work with a handful of long terms clients and spend next to no time on marketing and administration (unlike most freelancers). It is highly rewarding to know that the vast majority of the work I do on my freelance business is directly earning me money. My hourly rate really is my hourly rate.
5. I Specialize
A lot of startup freelance bloggers will take any work from any client. I understand that approach — it’s certainly what I had in mind when I started up.
However, the sooner that you switch your focus to a handful of topics, the better. Take me for example: I write for clients almost exclusively about freelancing, entrepreneurship and WordPress. Because of that I have gained a reputation in those areas, and because of that I am regularly approached by prospective clients who are willing to pay a good price for my services.
Client specificity (as I call it) is one of the keys to becoming a successful freelance blogger. By offering a specialized service to a relative handful of people, you will become highly valuable within that niche. On the other hand, trying to be all things to all people will provoke nothing more than an indifferent response.
What Do You Think is the Key to Successful Freelance Blogging?
So there you have it folks — what I consider to be the five most underrated factors that can contribute to becoming a successful freelance blogger.
However, there are of course many other things that you need to get right: from the basics of actually being a good blogger, to negotiating rates, and so on. With that in mind, I’d love to know what else you think is important about being a successful freelance writer. Let us know in the comments section!
And as always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave them below.