Feel More Confident On The Phone

Dreading Your Next Client Call? Here are 6 Tips To Feel More Confident On The Phone

It’s 2:45 PM. An alarm on your phone goes off. It’s a reminder for your client call at 3:00.

You feel that familiar pang of “ugh” in your gut. A tinge of anxiety. An urge to find some excuse to reschedule, or better yet, just cancel!

At 2:59, your heart is racing. You start doubting yourself.

Will you be able to answer their questions? Will they hear that you’re nervous, or somehow uncover the fact that you have no idea what you’re doing? Will they hang up when you name your rate? What is your rate anyway?

Then, the phone rings.

Aaaaah!

This scenario might make you feel like the only noob writer in the world who can’t handle phone calls like a boss, but don’t be hard on yourself.

Many freelancers feel this way when they’re starting out. In fact, even outside of a professional setting, most of us prefer texting to getting on the phone these days. It’s not just you.

Unfortunately, even in our plz-text-don’t-call society, getting clients on the phone is as important as ever. It’s one of my most reliable strategies for closing the deal once I’ve done the initial outreach via email.

Recently a member of our community, Amanda, asked us how to shake the phone call dread.

I used to feel this way myself, so I wanted to share some tips I’ve personally used for overcoming these nasty feels—and the unprofessional vibe they emit.

If you’d rather feel calm and collected than like a frantic rookie on client calls, check them out below. By the time you’re done with this blog post, you may actually be looking forward to your next call!

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Freelance Writing Tips - Not Finding Writing Clients? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions

Honesty Time! 6 Questions to Ask Yourself if You’re Not Getting Writing Jobs

Facts: You’re a good writer. You’re a smart cookie. You’re a hustler with a can-do mindset. So… why is it so hard to find new writing clients?

The frantic search by freelancers to land lucrative gigs seems never-ending. If you hang around Facebook groups and Quora pages long enough, you may start to wonder if this whole full time freelancing thing is total BS.

Posts and comment threads are bursting with frustrated writers who feel ripped off by an impossible dream and are ready to go back to their cubicles. I mean, is anyone getting clients out there?

Well, yeah! They are. Every day. And now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on to the obvious question…

What are successful freelance writers doing differently?

The answer isn’t complicated: They’re staying flexible.

There are many blog posts out there outlining best practices for freelance career building, but most don’t mention the fact that different strategies work for different freelancers. Your industry, your services, and your rates may all be variables you need to test to find your client-finding sweet spot.

Successful freelancers know that this is an ever-evolving process, and they change things up if their current strategy isn’t working out.

Not surprisingly, this need for trial and error problem solving can be frustrating. So frustrating, in fact, that it’s enough for some writers to throw in the towel completely.

But don’t do that.

Instead, make a cup of tea and take a long, honest look at your freelance writing strategy.

There’s a reason (or perhaps more than one reason) you’re not getting work while other freelancers are. You just need to figure out where the blockages are and unclog ’em.

Here are 6 questions to ask yourself if you’re not getting writing jobs—before you hit the panic button.

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Why You Need A Writing Niche & How To Pick One (1)

Yes, You Need a Freelance Writing Niche! Here’s How to Pick One

Picture this. You’re making an epic dinner. The recipe calls for an obscure ingredient, so you slide into your shoes and head out to do some shopping.

There are general groceries all over, but as you turn the corner, you see a different kind of store.

It’s a specialty grocery—slightly more expensive, a little further from your apartment. But in the window, there’s a poster featuring the obscure ingredient you need.

Are you going to waltz into the local Key Food or are you hauling ass to that specialty store to get exactly what you need?

I think you see where I’m going with this. When we have a specific need or problem, price and other factors become less important than securing the solution.

This is true in virtually every industry, from home goods and clothing to medical services and hospitality.

This concept is the reason writers who specialize—or find a niche—end up making more money than those who offer broad writing services.

Today I’m going to break down this concept a little further and show you how to choose your own niche.

Because, yes, you need a writing niche.

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Don't Interview for a Writing Job Before You Read This

DON’T Interview for that Writing Job Before You Read This

About to interview for a writing job? Getting nervous that they won’t “pick you”? Stop right there. We need to talk.

At the start of your freelance writing career, it can be hard to know how to handle the waltz of impressing clients and getting gigs. Hell, in the beginning, everything is a mystery.

I get it—I’ve been there!

Aside from pre-interview jitters, however, I’ve noticed a more destructive pattern amidst the freelance writing crowd.

There exists an unsettling idea that clients are elusive, mythical creatures. That they’re limited in supply and hard to keep. That they must be coddled and wooed if you’re to pay your rent this month.

These stories translate to one detrimental idea: that clients hold all of the power.

I’m here to tell you that this simply isn’t true.

I’m here to remind you that you left the employee-employer mindset behind in the 9-5 world, and the rules are different here.

If you keep telling yourself this story, however, you’ll continue to look like an amatuer and perpetuate a vicious cycle.

We need to level the playing field in your head, so you can drop this rookie mindset and start seeing actual growth—even if you’re just getting started.

There’s a powerful mindset shift that can make the difference between being seen as hired help vs. a coveted specialist.

The way potential clients perceive you can impact the money you make, the working relationships you have, and how quickly your network (ie: your writing job referral machine) flourishes.

Obviously, this one’s important, so for eff’s sake, pause Netflix. Pay attention.

If you’ll do that, I’ll explain why taking back your power as a freelance business owner is the ultimate key to unlocking long-term success.

And please—read this post before you apply to or interview for your next writing job.

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How To Connect With Other Writers - Day Job Optional - Writing Is Lonely

7 Ways To Connect with Writers (& Avoid Losing Your Mind in Solitude)

A career in writing sounds like an introvert’s dream, doesn’t it?

Spending long hours on your laptop, racking up word counts for clients around the world, enjoying the optionally-anonymous role of a ghostwriter or copywriter…

To some extent, it’s true that you can build a career in solitude. Of course, you can also go big league and get your byline all over the biggest media outlets. It’s up to you. But even if you’ve blissfully traded in you 9-5 life for the sweet solitude of writing, it pays to connect with other writers.

The chance to talk shop, share ideas, exchange feedback, and make connections with those experiencing similar challenges can evoke feelings of motivation and validation.

By connecting with other writers, you can encounter new ideas, discover fresh approaches to problems, and get some much-needed accountability.

Also, I probably don’t have to tell you this, but being a writer isn’t easy! Sometimes it really sucks, and it helps to know you’re not the only one enduring the ups and downs of this career path.

Thankfully, it’s easier than it has ever to find writer friends, thanks to the internet. Here are some of my favorite ways to find ’em.

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How To Fall In Love With Writing Again - Day Job Optional - Michelle Christina Larsen

How To Fall In Love With Writing Again

Don’t judge me, but… my laptop is totally going to be my Valentine this year. *slow jam plays*

Yep, I’ll be spending February 14th writing about New York Fashion Week and sipping an endless supply of coffee while snow pummels the ground outside.

The countdown to the most romantic day of the year had me thinking about the ups and downs of love this week. I started to see some vivid parallels between a love for writing and love for human-folk.

That said, let me ask you something: Is being a writer really what you thought it would be?

Are your visions of scrawling cutting-edge articles, breathtaking travel stories, exciting fiction or the wittiest copy on the planet panning out?

If you’re knee-deep in writing career bliss right now, I am sending you a giant high-five through the screen.  That is awesome. But for those who’ve begun to feel a little lukewarm about our writing work, just know that you’re not alone.

Writers of all levels sometimes groan at the thought of hitting their word count. Even the pros sometimes feel tempted to reschedule a client call they just don’t feel like having.

So the question is, how can we get the magic back? How can we fall in love with writing again?

After almost a decade of falling in and out of love with my writing career, I’ve put together some tried-and-true tips on rekindling the flame.

Pour yourself a glass of wine, put on those sexy tunes, and read on.

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Write Better Business Emails: A Freelance Writer's Guide

Write Better Business Emails: A Freelance Writer’s Guide

Fact: You need to write better business emails.

An engineer named Ray Tomlinson sent the first-ever email in 1971. He opened the floodgates for limitless communication in the modern era.

No doubt, email is intended to make our lives easier. Over time, however, it’s transformed into a tool with boundless potential for annoyance and sloppy correspondence.

Bad emails are rampant, my friends.

What is a “bad email”, you ask? Apart from chain emails and blatant spam, the worst kind of email is one that fails to achieve its goal.

Usually, that means they’re simply indirect and lacking pertinent information. Occasionally, this also includes abysmal fonts and massive attachments. (Please don’t.)

Corporate emails come to mind, actually. Perhaps you’ve worked in an office where team members are trying to organize some kind of meeting or outing, but leaving the plans completely open-ended, inspiring endless back-and-forth?

Or maybe you received a crappy PR email that’s missing contact info or a website address?

I can’t count how many times I sat in my swivel chair, clutching my hair in both fists, willing myself not to pull a panda.

Bad emails happen to good people all the time, but you don’t want to be the one writing them. You’re a writer, after all, and you make a living on the internet! If anyone is writing excellent emails, it should be you.

I’d go as far as to say that writing effective emails is the first step to being taken seriously as an online professional.

A good email can increase your odds of growing your network, initiating great business relationships, and so much more.

Whether you’re cold-emailing a potential client, pitching a story to a news site, or tapping out everyday communication, these tips will help you write better business emails.

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How to Make More Time for Writing (Even if you're Really Busy)

How to Make More Time for Writing (Even if you’re Really Busy)

In a perfect world, you’d wake up in the early hours of the morning in your clean, well-lit apartment, a mild breeze blowing through the windows as your butler served up breakfast and read your notes from yesterday’s three-hour writing workshop.

You’d slide into your robe and sip Irish breakfast tea as you contemplated the completion of your third novel, sighing a happy sigh of relief.

Oh, sorry—that’s just my perfect world.

Back to real life: you’re busy. Really busy. You’ve got freelance gigs or a full-time job, bills to pay, a body to keep in shape, pets, needy friends, a messy kitchen counter, etc.

Writing isn’t easy, and it gets harder when your schedule fills up with the chaos of daily life. Sometimes it feels impossible to sit down and get some work done—but you know you have to. Today we’re going to demystify a few ways super busy people get a ton of writing done, even when it feels impossible to stretch the clock any further.

I promise: you can do this! It just takes a fresh reality check, some planning, and perhaps a few apps.

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