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How to Build a Freelance Writing Client Base

Updated on September 19, 2014

The Question That Inspired This Article

From the Writer's Mailbag came this question:

“What was your approach when you first started to look for potential customers? Do you think that by concentrating on niche subjects you are more likely to get repeat business, such as for instance, a monthly column or do you write on a variety of subjects? Perhaps you might like to enlarge on that for us!

Thanks again Billy.

Sally”

My thanks to Sally for asking that question. I suspect it is a question many freelance writer wannabies are asking as they struggle to make a living doing this writing gig. So, I’ll attempt to answer it using my own experience.

Please understand that what follows is purely subjective based on my path over the past three years. I do not claim it is the only way. There are so many ways to make money as a freelance writer. From magazines articles to copywriting; from blogging to passive income on sites like HubPages; all are viable sources of income, but they all take work and determination.

Freelance writing is not for the weak-of-spirit. This is a tough business, and there are millions of freelance writers trying to earn the same dollars that you are, so plan on some long hours and moments of intense frustration.

If I haven’t scared you off yet, then let me tell you how I made it as a freelance writer.

You begin with a foundation and a frame so your structure will have strength and integrity
You begin with a foundation and a frame so your structure will have strength and integrity | Source

The Very Beginning

When I started out three years ago, I knew nothing. I had some writing ability, but I had no clue how to invest that writing ability and earn an income. In other words, I started from the bottom rung on the ladder.

I did, however, have a business background. With degrees in marketing and economics, and having owned my own businesses in the past, I did not start out completely ignorant about the business aspect. I decided to treat my freelance writing business like a business.

So, my first suggestion to anyone entering this field, is to write a business plan and establish concrete goals. Without a plan and goals you will just be drifting in deep waters without a life jacket, and that is a guaranteed path to drowning.

Your plan needs to be specific. You need to decide how you are going to make money. Will you make money by writing magazine articles? Will you make money by copywriting? Will you be a ghostwriter, or will you be a professional blogger? Your choices are many, but choose a few and don’t try to do them all.

Notice that I said choose a few. I’m a big believer in diversification. If my blog isn’t earning well, I still have income coming from copywriting. If those two are doing poorly I still have money coming in from passive online income sources. I try not to spread myself too thin, but I also make sure I have several income sources from which to draw a steady income.

The very first step....learn how to write well.
The very first step....learn how to write well. | Source

Now Build That Platform

Your body of written work is the product you are selling, so start adding to that body of work. You need some bylines. You need some published material that gives you some credibility. Any old byline will do, as long as those bylines are on somewhat reputable sites.

I got my first paying gig on a site called Listosaur. I saw them advertising on Craigslist, interviewed, and got the job. I wrote four articles for them, all bylines, at thirty bucks a piece.

I was on my way. The door had been opened. I was, at that point, a professional writer with the first bricks of my platform foundation.

Once I had those bylines, then it was just a matter of applying for more paying jobs. There are a number of online sites that advertise writing jobs that pay. Many of them are jobs offered by content mills. They pay poorly, but they do pay. That may be the way for you to begin. I chose not to work for peanuts.

Again I went online, and I found an SEO company in Fort Worth, Texas, that actually paid decent money for copywriters. I’ve been with them for almost three years now. I found a real estate company in Los Angeles, and I have been with them almost as long.

Now my platform had some serious integrity, and so I took my show on the road.

The Next Step

I wanted to try my luck with magazines and newspapers, so that’s the direction I then took.

If you take this path, start small. If you are a novice freelancer, you will not be given article opportunities by the big magazines, so don’t bother trying. Start with small online magazines, or your local alternative newspapers. They are often looking for writers, and the pay is not that bad. My first magazine article sold for $65. Since then I have sold that same article four more times for a total of $550.

My first newspaper article was with an online local newspaper. They paid $40 for my article. From there we move up to bigger newspapers locally, then regionally, and upwards to national.

Remember I mentioned diversifying. At the same time, I went out into the community and sought freelance copywriting jobs. Local businesses with websites are often quite pleased to be approached by a good writer who will do their blogs for them, as long as you don’t charge them an arm and leg. I sent emails to the local real estate companies because, remember, I was already doing a blog for a huge company in Los Angeles. That got me a few more paying customers on a regular basis.

And at the same time I developed my website and blog.

I enjoy this young woman's practical advice

And from There You Continue to Build

I provide good copy for my customers, and I am reliable. Those are key attributes for any freelance writer. You have to be able to deliver the goods each and every time.

When I first started out, I drew up a five-year plan. I am way ahead of that plan. In my original plan, I wanted to be able to pay my bills within two years. It took me six months.

It all sounds so easy, right?

Well it’s not!

I work eight hour days, five days a week, and I run this business like a business. Anyone who wants to make it as a freelancer needs to do the same.

So let’s summarize. Here are the key points which I believe are vital:

  • Build your platform
  • Get bylines
  • Start small and then go after better paying jobs
  • Treat your business like a business
  • Have a plan and goals
  • Diversify

I would be remiss if I didn’t touch upon the remainder of Sally’s question. She asked if one should concentrate on niche topics. Just starting out, I would suggest getting money from any source you can find. Once you have a few bills being paid, you can concentrate on niches.

In the long run, I am convinced that niche writing is the way to go, especially if you have visions of having your own column one day. One of the great examples of this is my friend Deb who writes the series “Life at Boomer Lake.” Deb took her love of birds and started writing online articles about the bird population in Oklahoma, and in particular where she lived near Boomer Lake. That has led, a couple years later, to her own newspaper column by the same name.

From nothing to three novels and a thriving business in three years
From nothing to three novels and a thriving business in three years | Source

I Hope That Helped All of You

It is difficult to write an article like this because the freelance business is so varied. Still, there are some things any freelancer can, and should do, that will increase his/her chances of success. Remember that a master carpenter did not begin as a master, but rather as an apprentice. Start from the ground floor and climb the necessary steps to the top.

I hope you found something in this article that can help you. If you need clarification, please comment below, or you can shoot me an email at holland1145@yahoo.com and I’ll answer if I can.

Best wishes to you all!

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, I love the advice of running this as a business with set business hours and admit that has helped me greatly with freelancing and working from home in general. So, definitely couldn't agree with you more on this and just wonderful overall sound advice. Thank you and Happy Friday now!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, you could have just as easily written this article. I know you understand all of this. Happy Friday my friend. Have a happy day.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I found this very helpful, Bill. Can you give us an example of the emails that landed you clients? Although I have no trouble writing good content, I seem to fall short when I'm introducing myself and offering my services. Am I too pushy? Am I tooting my own horn?

      I've read that the best way to land clients is to show them a problem they're having and offer the solution. That way you don't come off as "please hire me; I need the money" but rather as a problem solver. I think this is where I get hung up.

      A basic email template (that works) would be very helpful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, great question....I'll do a hub about that next week, okay? Thanks as always, dear friend, and have a great weekend.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      So afraid to take the plunge! There are too many people relying on my income. I didn't b realize that you had waited for retirement before starting. That makes good sense but at this rate, I'll be 72 when that happens! Thank you you for all the good ideas! These are all bookmarked and will certainly chime in handy...someday! Have a wonderful day, Bill!

    • RachaelOhalloran profile image

      Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

      Hi billybuc,

      I wanted to ask you for one of your future "columns" if you could post three samples of query letters about one topic - short stories.

      Perhaps one for a magazine who publishes several short stories per issue, one for an agent who just got done working with Madonna on a book of short stories, and one for a publisher who has published short story collections and anthologies in the past, but since we don't know any of those writers, this would be a cold call type of letter so to speak given we don't know the publisher either, but yet we know he publishes short stories.

      I know the last one(publisher solicitation) is a no-no without an agent, but some people have just the right material and can get to a publisher's heart without an agent. So could you (maybe in the next week or two) dedicate an article (hub) to writing those 3 samples of query letters.

      Maybe keep it on the one topic of fiction short story pieces for magazine, collection of 10 short stories for the agent and for the publisher, so the query letters are targeting something specific and you won't have to guess what the reader might be doing -- "if you are writing a proposal, write this query letter, or if you wrote a novel, write this query letter, etc." Just short stories, just ideas of how to phrase it, how long it should be, how much info to share, etc.

      I'd appreciate seeing your recent views on this topic (even though you wrote about it in the past) and maybe other readers would also. It might kickstart them into polishing off their work and start looking into getting it sent to the right people.

      Thank you as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Randi, it is hard when others are relying on you for income. I understand. I hope that day comes soon for you my friend.

      Thank you and have a great weekend.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you Bill for the advice. I feel like I am still stumbling to start that foundation since I have the vision of too many rooms in that plan. I am just starting my career as a psychologist but really want to write. So I essentially have a full-time job, well really two since I am a mom as well. So I am not sure if I am adding too much right now. Gluten for punishment I guess :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My goodness, Rachael, you're asking a lot from this old man. LOL Seriously, I would be happy to do that. i'll try to have it out sometime next week; if not, the following week for sure.

      Thanks for the article suggestion, and have a great weekend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, you have your plate full for sure. Best wishes to you, have a great weekend, and thank you for the visit.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Awesome, Bill. Thanx!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's my pleasure, Sha. Anything for you!

    • RachaelOhalloran profile image

      Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

      "Thank you, dear sir." :)

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 2 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Sounds like your 'writing' business plan is working well for you Bill. Continued success to you and a thank you for the helpful tips you provide to fellow writers.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You betcha, Rachael!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Elf. Truth be told, I got a little lucky, considering the fact I knew nothing. LOL

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Particularly like the point about diversifying. yes. if one route is blocked, there is another to go to.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Great article, Bill! This one gets bookmarked and re-read.

      Ironically, I've got a new client who assigned me 12 articles for a niche website this week, so I'm super busy. He seems to like my writing style, so this may be a continuing gig. I don't want to have too many irons in the fire, but do enjoy some diversification...also making money.

      Voted Up++

      Jaye

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We always have options, Michelle, and I'm glad you realize that. Thank you!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Such great information. Not many freelancers are as honest as you. They will try to have us believe it is best to just write about one thing and one thing only. I think they mislead us. I agree wholeheartedly with diversification. It keeps the stress away. Like you shared, if one thing is not performing well, there is always another endeavor that is raking in some sizeable bucks.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I enjoyed hearing about your journey, Bill. I started down the freelancing path shortly after you did, but I got distracted along the way with a lot of teaching gigs to pay the bills, which is good, in a way, but it's taking too much of me! I'm still figuring out what direction I want to go with teaching, tutoring, writing. I'm still not sure. How do I even decide? Perhaps in time, huh? I thought that by now I'd be set with what I wanted to do. But I'm still dabbling in so many different things--when I have time. Ay!!!! (Great article, though!)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, making money is definitely nice. LOL The concept of a starving artist, or writer, is not one I like very much. Congrats on the new client. Let's hope it works out as a long-term gig.

      bill

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      I hear you on the teaching, Vicki! My one little business communications class at University of Iowa takes so much of my time these days. Instead of focusing on my new blog or going after additional freelance clients, I spend my hours preparing lesson plans and grading papers. But I do enjoy it, especially when I hear from former students how much I helped them improve their own communications skills. And, Bill, I am pinning this article to my writing advice board so I can come back to it when I again have some spare time to focus on growing my freelance business.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, I've made mistakes along the way, and that's why I write honestly. If I can save a few headaches for other writers, then fantastic. Thanks for the kind words, and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vicki, I honestly don't see anything wrong with what you are doing. When you find what works for you, you'll know it. Until then, keep dabbling. :) Thank you and happy weekend to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Deb! That teaching thing will definitely eat into the writing time, but it's something you are enjoying so go for it. The writing will always be there for you. Best of luck with your classes, Deb.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting advice, and some I should follow. Thank you.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      That's what I'll do, Bill. Maybe one day it will all come together. Thanks! You have a happy weekend, too.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Since reading your mailbag series I notice my renewed spark to write more and better. I do not have the blessing of the time you spend, but I am doing what I can. I got my start in newspaper writing. Just little small town or community papers. Then I discovered online. Currently I am working on a little fic0iton. But I have not established a plan, so another good kick in the butt. Thanks Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Eric! Have a great weekend my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again, Vicki!

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

      Very helpful information. Thank you Bill. Jamie

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lori, if I've helped in any way then I'm glad. Good luck to you my friend, thank you, and have a marvelous weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Jamie. Thank you!

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 2 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      Thanks, billybuc. Your articles are always insightful and so helpful. I sincerely enjoy reading them. I'm making very little money at writing right now, but maybe, someday.... I'll just keep plugging along, and learning everything I can from more experienced writers -- like you.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      This was really helpful, Bill. My husband is getting ready to retire and I am considering going full-time as a free-lance writer. This gave me some concrete things to think about.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, you are very welcome. If you ever have a specific question, feel free to email me at holland1145@yahoo.com and I'll help you if I can.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good for you, Denise. I wish you the best, and if I can be of any help, let me know.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 2 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      BillyBuc, I'm amazed that so many writers have never attended a writer's conference where experts tell you how to get published. The number one thing is: build a platform, a following, so you can demonstrate that people are interested in your writing. I see that you totally understand that.

      And you mention perseverance and dedication. I had to get a PhD in romantic relationships, do radio talk show, and publish a book before a journalist at Cosmopolitan Magazine would interview me and mention my book, Low Stress Romance. That took years.

      Of course, I had another writing gig at the time--just like you mentioned--doing research articles.

      So I find your writing about this topic about the best I've heard. Hubbers take note. This article is tops!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I just talked with a potential client on blogging for his fitness center. I am so thankful for the advice you listed here today. Have a great weekend with Bev.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      The comments have been really good, again. Your article is right on target, as usual, and you've demonstrated a discipline to follow you plan that many of us find difficult to do. The distractions have always been my toughest part, as noted also by other comments. When is it diversification and when is it distraction... that is the question! I'll stop there. Good point. Just keep up the good work, and sharing with us! Keep that passive income rolling... ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dr Billy, thank you very much. What I have found is writers just starting out don't realize how much time it takes to be successful, and they don't continue to build their platform. Everything we do matters in this business, and it's a marathon and not a sprint. Thanks again.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Super new, Dianna. Congrats my friend, and happy weekend to you.

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 2 years ago

      Plan your work - then work your plan. If you don't you'll end up going... "SQUIRREL!"

      What was I saying? ;-))

    • Zainab Tarawali profile image

      Musu Bangura 2 years ago from Nation's Capital

      Thanks again for the great info, Bill. After reading I think I'm on the right track; I recently started as a contributing editor for a local organization and got another offer from a local magazine but the only thing I'll be getting is promotion of my work. There's no pay involved. I don't mind as much now because it may help increase my traffic, but I'm still trying to land a paying gig.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      So I'm not looking for a job, but I still read your articles because it's sound advice and I learn what it takes to improve my writing..Thank's Bill...

    • Sandra Eastman profile image

      Sandra Joy Eastman 2 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      This is a great article with some tips that hit the nail on the head. Marked useful and following.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, you raise a point I'm sure others have thought about. I can't answer that one except for myself. Thank you for being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Scott, I was with you up till the squirrel. LOL Thank you for the chuckle.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Zainab, no pay is fine when one starts out. The paying gigs will come. Just be patient and keep working.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you always amaze me by being here even though these articles don't really apply to you. I appreciate it my friend. Your article is coming Tuesday and I think you'll like it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Sandra, and thanks for following.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bill, I loved reading about how you got started with freelance writing and how you built it into a successful career. I'm a firm believer that although we don't always have control over the trials and tribulations life hands us, by and large we make our own luck, and you've made yourself lucky, indeed. :) I also love your down-to-earth writing style and your generosity in sharing your considerable accumulated knowledge and insights. Thanks for another terrific article.

    • profile image

      melissakaspshak 2 years ago

      Some great advice, Bill :) There are so many markets out there for freelance writers right now that a newbie gets overwhelmed. I like your business approach. Thanks for sharing!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Your advice is always useful to writers.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great advice Bill. Have a plan, treat it as a business, work hard, diversify. All key elements to make Freelance Writing work. You have clearly mastered this process and it's great to see that you are ahead of your plan. Thank you for all the helpful advice, we are listening. Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Margaret, that's very kind of you to say. Thank you, and I agree, for the most part, we do make our own luck. Positive attitude my friend. I believe in it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissakaspshak, one step at a time. I don't allow myself to look at the bigger picture. I take the next step and then the next, and after awhile I have covered a great distance. Thank you for being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE. I hope so.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! What good is experience if you can't share it with others? That's what I try to do. Enjoy your weekend, buddy.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      You keep writing and I'll keep reading. Like a squirrel storing nuts, I'm storing all this information. Hopefully, one day, again hopefully soon, I'll be using it!

      I can only say over and over how helpful and insightful your hubs are to all of us!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great information again Bill. Another hub to bookmark. My only experience at getting paid to write was recently when I was approached to write a poem as the text for a children's picture book. and was paid $50 for a 40 line poem plus co-author status and a small percentage of sales.

      The book's author told me he has another idea almost ready for the next book and wants me to continue to provide the text for it and future works. I don't know how long it will be before projects though. Anyway, you have to start somewhere and he has given me an excellent review on the site where I advertised my writing. Have a great weekend.

    • TDowling profile image

      Thomas Dowling 2 years ago from Florida

      Wonderful Hub, billybuc. Let me join those in thanking you for imparting this information. Glad I discovered this Hub! I felt like it was written for me. And I'll soon be diving into your other Hubs.

      You mention above about charging a reasonable price for a blog. What do consider reasonable?

      Peace -TD

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      Bill I really enjoyed reading this even though writing is not top priority in my list of goals in life. I have been on Bubblews for a year and love the interaction with others--devoting only a few hours a day.

      Honestly I knew a long time ago that I am just an average writer--not putting myself down--but the true talent is not there. I see where you have plugged along and looked for opportunities. I know the dedication as I have felt it for so many other ventures. This was excellent and so helpful to those searching to be a writer full time.

    • somedailygrace profile image

      Laura Gross Smith 2 years ago from Sheffield, Ma

      Bill, Thank you for this hub. I like the idea of making a business plan for my writing. I just spent an afternoon revamping my blog, exploring social media and searching for blog catalogs. It seems as if I wasted time flopping from place to place, without knowing what I was doing. I am glad I stumbled upon your writing...

    • chowchowgrl profile image

      Randi Simon-Serey 2 years ago from Ohio

      I bookmarked this because it contained some things I hadn't come across. I love researching and writing, but there's a lot more to it than that, as you pointed out. I will definitely be making a business plan! Thank you so much!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Good advice regarding making a business plan and diversification. I am sure you'll hit your milestones and succeed mightily.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I appreciate all the advice that you share, Bill, as well as the descriptions of your experiences.

    • Anne Harrison profile image

      Anne Harrison 2 years ago from Australia

      Many thanks for an inspirational hub. It's very tempting to search for the 'magic list' of places that will accept all artcles and pay well; time and hard work, plus perseverance are required! Everyone has their own niche and style to find. voted up

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, love the simile...a bunch of little writer squirrels storing nuts. LOL Have a great Sunday my friend, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, I think that's a great deal for your first gig, and who knows what will lead to bigger things. Good luck with that project, and thanks for being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      TDowling, reasonable is what you are willing to do. It depends on the amount of time to do it and the amount of research necessary before writing it. I've known some who do it for ten bucks per post; I've known some who charge forty per post. I would recommend starting low until you have experience. Like any apprentice, we begin on the bottom of the pole and work our way up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Carol. I'm glad you enjoy Bubblews. It does serve a purpose for sure. As for this hub, I think it applies to anyone in any business venture...at least I hope it does.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      somedailygrace, you just described a great many writers. It takes awhile to find focus and direction. I'm glad if this hub helped you. Best wishes and thanks for following me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      chowchowgrl, I'm glad this has helped you. Thanks so much for stopping by again.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, I sure hope so, because after three years, I'm getting a little impatient. :) Thanks for being here my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. As long as people find these hubs useful, I'll keep writing them.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes they do, Anne. One size does not fit all, to borrow from the clothing industry. :) Best wishes to you, and thank you.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      Again a very helpful hub.. you seem to just spearhead questions and I have the helpfulness flawless voted awesome and very useful :)

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 2 years ago from Jaipur

      Yes, this is different. You have advised an open doors to new ares. Thanks for well written article from an experienced author. Rated beautiful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jyoti, you are very welcome. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, I just hang with the In Crowd. :) Thanks, buddy.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      You always give out great advice Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you think so, vkwok...thank you!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Great tips as usual, Billy. It took me time to build up a career in writing; I was still working my day job and plugging away at the keyboard at night. Persistence pays off I think.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Thank you for being generous with your knowledge, Bill. This neophyte appreciates it very much. You mentioned bylines. I was hired by Textbrokers.com but haven't done any work for them yet. I'm on the fence because the pay is so low and the time invested will be great when compared to the time I have available. I am also concerned that these types of jobs will not provide me with the type of byline credits to which you referred. Can you speak to that or offer a definition of byline that includes what doesn't count as one? Thank you so much!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Great advice, building a freelancing client base is very important for a successful take off. Thank you for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wiccan, I do believe it does my friend. You and I are living proof. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Iris, if I'm not mistaken, Textbrokers is a content mill. They may not give bylines...they certainly don't pay much. If you don't "need" the money then I would stay away from sites like Textbrokers...concentrate on small online newspapers and magazines. Those bylines mean something to the writing world.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes it is, Vellur. I don't know how to be successful without a client base.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Thank you, Bill. You are correct. TextBrokers is a content mill. I think I will forgo that path and do as you suggest-focus on small online newspapers and mags. Thank you, much!!! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the question, Iris. I'll be including it in next week's mailbag because it is such a good question.

    • daxamite profile image

      James Livingood 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I recently switched careers from tech to writing full time (though I'll never fully give up the tech... it is in my blood). Your article helped gain me some confidence as I feel I've heeded your advice so far. The next few months will be the true crucible, so I hope I am up to the challenge.

      Thanks for the extra boost of confidence!

      James

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      James, I wish you all the best. I hope the next few months bring you much success.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      As with anything, starting small and working one's way up to better things, learning on the way, is the way to go. We can't expect to crash right in and hit the high life!

      I'm revisiting some articles and short stories for magazines, as I love doing those. It's so satisfying to get that lump sum, however small to start with.

      Taking these few days away to get my head round a few more of such things whilst my partner helps out on the camp site - think I've got the better deal!

      Have a great Tuesday, bill!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, whoever your agent is, give her a bonus, because you definitely got the better deal. :)

      Start small...at the bottom...that's the way most jobs are, right? Why should writing be any different?

      I'm up for the challenge and I know you are as well. Shall we do it?

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Yes, indeed! You've got a head start but I'm happy just to be in the running!

      Ann

    • Nicholas Pollock profile image

      Nicholas Pollock 2 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Thank you for this! I just started, and this is exactly what I needed. It's good to know that if I'm willing to put in the work, I can succeed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      As long as you are running, Ann, there is hope....keep churning those legs. :)

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nicholas, I do believe that...hard work and determination...and it helps if you can write fairly well. :) Thanks for the visit.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      :D What an image!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Indeed LOL

    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 2 years ago

      Hi Bill Sir, impressive, right from setting goals to expanding the base everything is precise and guiding, gone through your blog too its simply good. Shall hang on it. Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you m abdullah...I appreciate your kind words.

    • Mark Tulin profile image

      Mark Tulin 2 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks for the Hub and everything that you wrote reinforces the idea that you have to treat your writing business like a 40-hour a week job. And our need to diversify. We often can get bogged down with one aspect of writing and end up frustrated because it's not taking off like we want it to. So don't put all your marbles in one basket!

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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for the mention, Billy. Not only am I becoming noteworthy locally, but I am selling photos at a number of locations, too. I also have an art show coming up in October during Homecoming Weekend in October, hosted by my friend, Jeannie Dibble at the 9th Ave. Market.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mark! These are lessons that took me three years to learn, but they are worth learning for those just starting out.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bravo, Deb! I predicted early on that you would make it.....and why...because you understand hard work and paying your dues.

    • Monty Wheeler profile image

      Monty Wheeler 2 years ago from Arkansas

      my thanks for an informative post. this writers' world outside the pen and notebook still feels like the abyss :)

      Monty

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad I could help, Monty. It is a strange new world we find ourselves in. Best wishes to you, and thanks for following.

    • Andrew Uffmann profile image

      Andrew Uffmann 2 years ago from Long beach

      This is really one of the best articles on the subject that I've seen. Thank you for your insight and helpful tips to start my freelance writing career. I've read this article over a few times and I get more motivated each time!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Andrew, I am so happy that this has helped you. Thanks for the kind words, and best wishes on your new path.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 2 years ago from Florida

      Hi Bill,

      I started reading this once and someone came to my back door and when I came back the Internet was off. Here, I am again.

      This was a good tutorial for anyone interested in writing as a successful business. I wish I had more time to dedicate to expanding my writing, but I am doing what I can---when I can.

      I bet you were a great teacher, but then, you are still teaching us. And, I thank you for all the help I've received from you just by reading your hubs.

      Have a great Sunday.

      Bobbi Purvis

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bobbi! I had a wonderful teaching career, and I do love to teach here...I just want to make sure it doesn't sound like I"m a now-it-all, or that I'm lecturing. I'm just sharing what I've learned. :)

      Happy Sunday to you my friend.

      bill

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      It has been hard to do this writing gig as I like to put it sometimes, but as you point out in your article, things improve little by little and opportunities do come up. This is inspiring for folks that are just starting or for folks that might be questioning why they decided to choose a freelance career.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, like I said yesterday, I can't imagine doing this AND working a job. In fact, I doubt that I would. Carry on my friend. I think you are doing fine.

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