Yes, it is possible. Here’s how …
I was reminded of ALL the fabulous tips I have received as a freelancer, when this week I got three tips, three days in a row.
The first two tips came from my fiverr.com services, which have nothing to do about writing, but at the same time have everything to do about writing.
Let me explain. My fiverr services are a low cost alternative that helps Kindle book authors promote their books.
I know that some of you might be saying … FIVERR? You’ve got to be kidding me. No, I’m not crazy. Fiverr is one of my strategies for building my email list. The people who buy my services are EXTREMELY targeted. They are #1 authors and #2 authors who have published a Kindle book. You can not get any more targeted than that.
Back to the tips. Two days in a row. One for $5 which doubled my client purchase. The second was for $10, which turned out to be 20% of my clients purchase.
BUT for me, though the tip is very nice (and they add up) what is MORE important is what my clients say to me when they give me the tip. They are complimentary, in some cases grateful and are always wonderfully nice.
The comments can sometimes make my day … and on occasion have made my whole week! The money pales in comparison.
The third tip came from a very unexpected source. On my website (MelanieRockett.com) I have a database of bloggers who write book reviews. The database helps book authors who need reviews connect with people who write reviews. Building the database took months, maintaining the database is an ongoing job that costs me time and money every month.
Two weeks ago I got a message from someone asking about the database. I replied with an answer to his question and some tips on how to better utilize the information in the database. Got a quick Thank You back.
Then this week I got two $50 orders (for services) back to back, from the same customer. The guy who asked the questions.
He filled out my order forms … one with information about the book he wanted promoted. On the second form he wrote;
“This is a TIP. I so appreciate the work you do on the Reviewer’s Database I feel the need to help out.” He then proceeded to give me details on how he used the database and the results he had got so far.
This information is invaluable to me. It is something I seldom have access to. He not only sent me the “pitch” letter he used, but exactly who gave him reviews.
WOW! Once again it is not the money that is the most important part of the tip, it is the communication that goes with it.
All three tips I got last week, had nothing to do with ME writing … but everything to do with being of SERVICE to my customers.
The three tips in a row reminded me of ALL the tips I have got throughout the years … for my WRITING and the services that go with the writing.
With over 40 years of freelance writing behind me, I have pretty well written everything. From thousands of articles, to hundreds of video and television scripts, to white papers and full web content (both copy writing and content writing) and much more.
In the “much more” category is resumes. I don’t LIKE writing them, but unfortunately I am really really GOOD at writing them. Over the years clients have come to me and asked me to write or rewrite their resumes. It’s hard to refuse. One local client, told a friend about me. The friend lived in California and managed banks.
He contacted me and asked me to completely re-write his resume, do some additional documentation and write a cover letter. He “offered” to pay $1500.
It took me a week. He got the new job, doubling his responsibilities, putting him at the top of the bank hierarchy and more than doubling his income.
He gave me a $1000 tip (he called it a bonus).
I hated every minute of it (took me a week) and I have only written one resume since. There are people who LOVE writing resumes and it can be a very GOOD business … just not for ME.
Some clients have given me, spontaneous raises. I didn’t have to increase my fee … THEY increased my fee because of the results they were getting.
Many clients have given me (expensive) tickets to sporting events, concerts and gift certificates to high-end restaurants.
The biggest tip I got as a writer ended up being over $25,000. Keep reading, it’s true!
I did some work for an open university (online) writing two courses. Unwisely I contracted for both courses at the same time. I always keep meticulous track of my time and by the time I was done, I realized that it was not even paying my “minimum” per hour fee.
BUT, I was actually having fun and had become “friends” with my boss, the Dean of Business.
Just before I completed the contracted items on the second course, the Dean asked me to do another. I said NO and told her while I enjoyed doing the work, the pay was way too low. I had previous been told by several other course writers that the fee was fixed and not negotiable.
The Dean panicked. The first thing that happened was an extra check for $750. She “sheepishly” told me that was all she could manage given the contract stipulations.
Then … she took me out for lunch and proceeded to outline HOW I could make double the amount by just “asking for” and writing specific contract provisions into my next proposal. She told me exactly what to ask for and how to ask for it. She told me that it was how all the PhD advisors did it and that I could do it too. AND she said it would work even if I were to work for a different department.
I ended up writing another five courses over the next 4 years and, she was right … I almost doubled the amount I made for each course.
At the end of our “lunch” I asked her why she was telling me this.
You are a good writer. The team loves working with you and we have fun. But especially because you make it EASY.
The fact that you make it EASY with the bonus of fun is worth every penny.
I’m not telling you this to BRAG, but because it underlines how important it is to create good, positive and enjoyable client interactions. You see .. it is not just YOU that is working at your job of writing, but your clients are also working too.
The Dean of Business had a BOSS and was accountable for the results of her Department. If the courses she commissioned did not go over well with the student body, her enrollment results would suffer.
When I did website development for small businesses, I was well aware that what I did for them was critical to the success of their business and to feeding their families.
Ten Things You Can Do To Get Tips For Your Freelance Writing Business.
- Never EXPECT tips. You are providing a business service where tips are uncommon!
- Do your BEST work ALL the time. There are times you will realize that you are not making your minimum hourly income. Put that behind you and do your BEST work regardless of the money.
- Track all your jobs. Keep track of every minute you spend. This includes your “writing” work as well as phone calls and long emails. Sometimes you will spend as much time telling your client why you did something than you will actually doing the job. Keep track. Going out for a lunch meeting? Keep track of that too. Keep track of all expenses connected to each job.You need to get to the point where you can estimate jobs accurately … not guess!
- Be a NICE person. I have hired hundreds of contract writers for my own or client projects. Many of them I would never hire again simply because they were NOT nice and because they made the process of working together a pain instead of a pleasure.
- If you give your clients “extras” or “freebies” make sure you let them know about it. Don’t assume they know, because most of the time they don’t … they assume the extras are part of the contract or job.
- Make sure you have contracts or job outlines. Both you and your client need to understand exactly what the components of the job are, and when the job is done. This can be a formal 10 page (or more) contract or an informal half page letter, attached to an email.In many writing projects, for example web development projects, scope creep is a problem. Make sure you address scope creep in your contract and add a +20% to +30% slush fund statement to your contract price. Addressing this ahead of time will prevent many misunderstandings.
- Don’t “nickle and dime” your clients. You should know from your tracking … what a project costs. Depending on what you are doing, add 10% to your contract price to cover all the silly little things that come up. There is nothing MORE annoying from a client’s perspective, than getting continuous add on invoices. It puts YOU in a bad light.NOTE: This is similar but not the same as “scope creep.”
- Don’t assume that your clients understand what your REAL job is. For example the real job of a landing page copywriter is to SELL stuff. Not just write the sales page … but to make sure the sales page actually works!
- Honor your commitments. Honor your deadlines.
- NEVER, ever, Ever, EVER ask for ( or hint at) a tip.