Welcome to THE WELL-FED E-PUB!

 

Serving up food for thought and tasty tips for the prospering FLCW*. Come on in, sit anywhere and bring your appetite!

 

*FLCW, peppered throughout the ezine, stands for “Freelance Commercial Writer” – anyone who freelances for businesses (vs. writing magazine articles, short stories, poetry, etc.), typically earns $50-125+ an hour, and is the sole focus of this e-newsletter. 

 

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VOLUME 11, ISSUE 1 – FEBRUARY 2012

Publishing the first Tuesday of every month since May 2002 

Read it Online at: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/feb2012.html

 

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PARTNER WITH DESIGNERS FOR A LOW-EFFORT FLOW OF WRITING JOBS!

Details here: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

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NEW 1-ON-1 COACHING PROGRAMS: SAMPLE/SITE REVIEW & “SIDECAR”!

Low-cost peace of mind and guidance: http://wellfedwriter.com/mentoring.shtml.

 

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MISSED THE COLD-CALLING TELESEMINAR WITH WENDY WEISS on 10/12?

Mp3 + 38-page transcript - $25! http://wellfedwriter.com/coldcallingteleseminar.shtml

 

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Check out The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG! Weigh in on “Take a Customer Service Lesson from this Amazing Company”; “Tried these ‘Under-the-Radar’ Marketing Tactics for Your Writing Business?”; and more! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog.

 

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“THE WELL-FED WRITER” HAS WON FOUR AWARDS!

To Order (FR.EE Bonus/U.S. Shipping): http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ordertwfw.shtml.

 

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I NEED YOUR SHORT (100-200 words) SUCCESS STORIES for the E-PUB!

Landed a great client? Had a successful marketing campaign? Done something else that boosted your FLCW income? Send them to peter@wellfedwriter.com. 

 

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THIS MONTH’S MENU:

 

I. WELCOME APPETIZER: “WHAT’S CURRENT STATE OF FREELANCING?”

Lunch with Successful FLCW Underscores Fundamental Flaw in That Question!  

 

II. “FIELD” GREENS: SOCIAL MEDIA (SM) REALITY CHECK (THE SEQUEL)

AZ FLCW Shares Sounds Advice on SM Campaigns, Plus SM Success Story!

 

III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: ELANCE AS BUSINESS INSURANCE? (Part 1 of 2)

FLCW Makes Serious $ on Often-UN-Serious Online Site, Suggests It As Biz Insurance

 

IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

OH FLCW Organizes Talk for Yours Truly, Uses It as Catalyst to Land Two New Clients!

TIP: Hand-Drawn Graphics Tools Can Boost Projects’ Readability & Response

 

V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  

- THE WELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

- The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin’! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

- AWAI Copywriting (& Other) Courses: Register Here, Get Bonus CD!

- NEW Well-Fed Mentoring Programs Introduced!

 

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I. WELCOME APPETIZER: “WHAT’S CURRENT STATE OF FREELANCING?”

Lunch with Successful FLCW Underscores Fundamental Flaw in That Question! 

 

Had lunch recently with a successful FLCW, who’d heard me on a recent teleseminar, and realized we lived in the same town. There was no doom-and gloom in our conversation, no laments about how tough the times were, no fervently expressed hopes that “things would turn around soon.” Just the opposite, in fact…

 

This gentleman (who’ll be sharing his story in the E-PUB soon), is just three years into his freelance commercial writing career, after many years as an employee working with financial industry publications. In 2009, his first year solo (after being let go from his job), he made nearly 90K. In 2010, that jumped to 120K. Last year, it fell back a bit, to just under 2010’s mark. And this year, he’s on track to top 130K.

 

Yes, he’s a good writer, and yes, he has a specific niche (financial writing), but if one believes all the naysayers out there, aren’t ALL industries down? And if so, shouldn’t he be struggling as well? Isn’t the “current state of freelancing” in dire straits? No, no, and no. Now, my point is not to say, “This guy’s doing well (and I’ve heard from many singing the same tune), so everyone should be doing well.” That’s silly, convoluted logic.

 

Rather, what I’m getting at is this: stop buying into the conventional wisdom that a tough economy, by definition, translates to lousy prospects for any FLCW trying to make a living. If you believe that, then, lo and behold, it will come to pass, you’ll report it as your experience, and the “reality” is perpetuated.

 

Consider this (a point I made in a blog post a few years ago): There IS no “current state of freelancing.” There’s YOUR state of freelancing, MY state of freelancing and everyone else’s. And those respective states have infinitely more to do with how each of us work our businesses, and the skills we bring to the table, than they EVER will have to do with the “state of the economy.” Is it easy? No. But, building ANY business that pays $60, $70, $80, $100, $150 an hour will never be, and no one ever told you it would.

 

Remember (as I’m fond of saying): you need an incredibly infinitesimal sliver of the overall copywriting pie out there to make a really good living. As such, the “state of the economy” really has no impact on that outcome. And ergo, your BELIEF in the power of “The Economy” to determine your financial future will have far more of an impact on your finances than the economy itself. And how much sense does that make? Let’s eat!          

     

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II. “FIELD” GREENS: SOCIAL MEDIA (SM) REALITY CHECK (THE SEQUEL)

AZ FLCW Shares Sounds Advice on SM Campaigns, Plus SM Success Story!

 

In December’s E-PUB, I ran an Appetizer entitled, “Is Social Media a Waste of Time?” (http://wellfedwriter.com/ezine/dec2011.html). NOT saying it is, but I was invoking the title of an article by my friend Matthew Moran, writer, author, speaker, and consultant (http://www.kreativeknowledge.com), whom I referenced in the piece. I also included a link to one of Matt’s SM success stories. I asked him to elaborate a bit on his philosophy around social media. Good ideas to keep in mind when talking to clients who want to implement a social media campaign, but know little about it. Enjoy!

 

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Almost any business can recognize some benefits to engagement marketing and online presence. For some, Facebook may not be the first option. That’s part of the reason I refer to it as “engagement marketing” rather than “social media marketing”. The goal of the activity is engagement. Engagement with a specific goal of being the top-of-mind expert or knowledge transmitter for your audience. But, keep in mind few key caveats:

 

1) Social Media is NOT free. You will spend time and money putting great campaigns together. You will give something of value away. You will, very likely, hire an expert.

 

2) If you’re not serious, don’t play the game. Half-in/half-out is very obvious to those who connect with you. You cannot simply post information about your store, company, product, or service. You can’t simply have people “like” you and then disappear.

 

3) It is part of an overall and broader effort. Mailing list, text-messaging campaigns, blogging, focused landing pages, and places like Facebook, must be executed in conjunction with each other. They do not operate in a vacuum.

 

With all that said, social media, and specifically, Facebook, is where people are spending time online. You need to seriously consider that medium as an important option in your marketing plan.

 

Clarification: This doesn’t mean online commercials (i.e., “Here’s my product/service”). It means adding tactful and tasteful educational (and ideally, entertaining as well) content—both yours and others—that’s truly valuable for your network of contacts.

 

To best understand it, check out this blog entry on Social Media Suicide...

http://www.kreativeknowledge.com/2012/01/09/dont-it-social-media-suicide-online/

 

Rusty’s Pizza Case-study
http://www.kreativeknowledge.com/2011/09/26/rustys-pizza-case-study-social-media-success/

 

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III. MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: ELANCE AS BUSINESS INSURANCE? (Part 1 of 2)

FLCW Makes Serious $ on Often-UN-Serious Online Site; Suggests It As Biz Insurance

 

FLCW Trish Lambert sent me this great two-parter about Elance.com. Trish first hit my radar some years back by making $75-$100+ an hour on Elance, a site notorious for criminally low writing wages. As a rule, I consider the online job sites a waste of time, but Trish’s accomplishment impressed me enough to include her in the updated edition of TWFW as a notable exception to the rule.

 

Her message here is sound: get set up on Elance for those times when things get slow or established clients drop you. In this month’s issue, she’ll lay the groundwork, and next month, will serve up some juicy how-to detail. Enjoy!

 

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Elance has been an excellent revenue source for seven years. Recently, I was reminded in a big way, how it can serve as insurance if other sources unexpectedly dry up.

 

Early this year I was engaged by a global corporation to write a steady stream of strategic marketing collateral. The engagement paid well—so well I didn’t really need much more income to meet my goals. I chugged merrily along for months, so busy I didn’t have the time or energy to do much new business development. My financial situation—a bit dented from the recession—steadily improved.

 

Then the boom dropped. My client informed me that my contract would end in 30 days. This was a disaster. I panicked for about half an hour, my uppermost thought being that it’d take more than 30 days to replace this revenue. My finances hadn’t fully recovered from recession-related leakage, and my reserves were low. What to do?

 

Within an hour of receiving the email, I was on Elance. It was like the old days, following the daily “find-and-bid” process that produced a steady income stream. Within four days, I had booked $3,000 in projects and, more importantly, without discounting my rates in any way. I have continued to win work on a weekly basis ever since.

 

The most obvious lesson here is NEVER STOP MARKETING. Regardless of how full your plate is, keep your marketing consistent so tomorrow’s schedule stays full. “Duh,” right? But, for most FLCW’s, putting it into practice is tough. We use a lot of creative energy in the work we do; if you’re like me, at day’s end, I need to recharge. If my “creative tank” is on low, my marketing results will be low. But neglect my marketing while the schedule is full, and you end up in “famine” once things quiet down.

 

This is where Elance makes a difference. No matter how busy you are, spending 30-40 minutes a day posting bids will keep the door open for new opportunities. With a good bidding process in place, you can do this without having to divert your creative energies away from client projects.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 next month, where I’ll discuss some nuts-and-bolts details for establishing a potential profitable presence on Elance!

 

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Trish Lambert is a commercial freelance writer, marketing consultant, and business coach to solo business owners. She started her current business in October 2004 and, thanks largely to Elance, hit the six figures in under two years. Trish teaches Freelance Express, a one-on-one coaching course that quickly gets you up, running, and winning bids on Elance and other sites (and for competitive FLCW rates). More details at

http://tinyurl.com/freelance-express

 

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IV. DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

OH FLCW Organizes Talk for Yours Truly, Uses It as Catalyst to Land Two New Clients!

TIP: Hand-Drawn Graphics Tools Can Boost Projects’ Readability & Response

 

Did a talk near Dayton, OH over the holidays and got this from experienced Jamestown, OH FLCW Gery Deer (http://www.theconciergecopywriter.com), the incredibly resourceful and talented co-organizer of the event (thanks again, Gery!). Apparently, the talk was a good catalyst for him, and here he shares what came of it. Enjoy!

 

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Though I’ve been in the FLCW trade for some years now, I’m not too old to learn new tricks! I’ve read TWFW; I use it as a reference for my business practices. But after your presentation, and following some of the conversations you and I had prior to your talk, I reviewed some of my everyday practices and policies, adjusting some of them per your suggestions – mainly pricing and project pitch methods.

 

This week I had a presentation with one company, while the head of another sat in. Not only was I paid for my time as a ‘consultant,’ when I walked out, I had not one, but two new—and very different—clients in my portfolio. The representative of the second company was so impressed he requested a proposal to have me to develop, research and write a monthly blog and provide marketing support (PR distribution, etc.)—all at a premium rate! Thanks for the inspiration; it’s going to be a great year!

 

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Came across a cool/fun product line I thought I’d pass on. While most of us just write copy and leave the designing to others, I know many commercial freelancers (especially those doing direct response, ads, direct mail postcards, and others) will have a hand in the designing. Which is where CopyDoodles (http://www.copydoodles.com) comes in.

 

According to the company, “CopyDoodles are original hand-drawn, handwritten graphics, comics, and fonts used specifically for business, marketers, copywriters, etc. When placed on marketing materials, they have been proven to increase response, readability, and profitability because they create a more personal and ‘me-to-you’ effect when marketing to prospects, customers, and clients.” Check it out!

 

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CALL FOR TIPS: Run across any web sites, tools, software or anything else that’s helped you, as a FLCW, be more productive, profitable, or a better writer (Please limit it only to the FLCW arena). Would love to hear about them. Send the name, a brief description of why it’s been useful for you, and anything else you care to share! (two paragraphs is all I need; I want to make it as easy!) Send to peter@wellfedwriter.com.

 

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V. COFFEE, MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!  

- THE WELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

- The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin’! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

- AWAI Copywriting (& Other) Courses: Register Here, Get Bonus CD!

- NEW Well-Fed Mentoring Programs Introduced!

 

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MORE WORK WITH LESS EFFORT? New Ebook Serves Up the “How-To”!

That’s not hype. It’s how my business has worked for the better part of 18 years, thanks to some juicy partnerships with graphic designers. The result? 1-2 jobs virtually every month with little or no effort on my part. And I put all the how-to details down on paper. Check it out at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/partnerwithdesignersebook.shtml.

 

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I’M SERIOUSLY LOW ON ALL WELL-FED E-PUB COURSES!

Got a great strategy, approach or specific expertise you’re willing to share? Turn it into a Feature (MAIN COURSE) for the EPUB (500-600 words; query first). ALSO, send your “GREENS” (200-300 words), TIPS (150-200) and SUCCESS STORIES (100-300) to peter@wellfedwriter.com. Archived issues at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine.shtml. 

 

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The WELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin’! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

 

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AWAI COPYWRITING (& OTHER) COURSES: Register Here, Get Your Choice of Bonus CD Program! Six-Figure Copywriting, Graphic Design, Internet Writing, Fundraising, Health Market and more! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/awai.shtml.

 

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NEW WELL-FED MENTORING PROGRAMS ANNOUNCED!

The One-Hour Sample/Web-Site Review + “Sidecar” Long-Term Coaching Program

For details and testimonials, visit http://www.wellfedwriter.com/mentoring.shtml.

 

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