It’s one thing for an author to write a complete, focused and HELPFUL book like Work At Home Jobs.
Finding an author who can excel at the “what have you learned since writing your book?” question is pure inspiration.
Some authors laugh it off. Others confess. They’re done with their warmed-over advice and teachings rehashed n their last how-to. They’re moving on, ready for a new title. Their subtext implies: “Thanks for the royalty, but I have other fish to fry.” Translated: I shared only when I was done with these techniques. I milked the cow dry, then left you with a bucket of empty possibility.
Not Paula Neal Mooney. She walks the walk. Her response?
“Yes, I’m still plugging away at gaining freelance writing clients via Elance, and it’s still quite the blessing!
I guess the biggest things I’ve learned since publishing that book are…
#1 – Charge more for your writing!
You’ll find plenty of jobs willing to only pay $3 per 500 words and the like, and that can be a great place to begin for newbies just trying to get used to the whole system. (Only if you’re dealing with a great client who also loves leaving you great reviews and feedback.)
Over time, however, you may discover that it’s not practical to burn yourself writing for such low pay. I learned there were plenty more clients out there willing to pay me a lot more money because of what I bring to the table: Quality writing and great ideas for articles. Therefore, I increased my hourly rate because I learned that it might actually take me two to three hours or more simply to come up with the concept for one 500-word article, research it, write it and then make any revisions.
#2 – Compromise, but don’t haggle with troublemakers
I’m not set in stone. If there’s a job where I bid $75 for a 500-word article and a client asks for a discount because they’re ordering lots of writing, or the writing isn’t all that difficult and doesn’t require too much research, I may lower my price. Especially if they are kind and have a great rapport.
However, if a client seems like a pill from the start — you know the kind you’d find written about on that “Client From Hell” Tumblr — expecting deep discounts from the start, lots of revisions or are just generally confusing, I’ll feel quite happy in letting them move right along to someone else.
I had to realize that it’s a God-given gift to be able to string sentences together that make sense, and it’s okay to be paid accordingly for the work.
#3 – It’s worth it to potentially pay Elance to participate in other categories
Although you’ll find plenty of writing clients in the “writing” category, I learned that there are great clients who post essentially what amount to writing jobs in categories like “Sales and Marketing” or “IT” and other categories. So there are times when I pay the $20 per month to be able to submit proposals in those categories, too, and I’ve won great jobs that way.
#4 – Bend over backwards, but don’t give the clients all your time
It sounds like an oxymoron, but I’m willing to do a lot to keep my clients happy. However, they can only push me so far. I will rewrite articles until my clients are happy, yet those who want the moon from me are probably best served elsewhere. Certain clients want to “jump on the phone for 5 minutes” prior to hiring me, which translates to an hour call, I’ve learned. So I tell them I’d be glad to set up a milestone for a conference call at my hourly rate.
Basically, I’ve learned to respect my time and not give it away for free to clients who want to Skype all day. (Although Skype is a great way to communicate with some of them — and it can be verbal or audio wise, not just video based.)
#5 – Send reminders, watch out for scammers and outsourcing Elancers
Another big thing I’ve learned is to keep all my jobs and their due dates on my Google Calendar so I’ll keep them all straight. This helps bunches when you’ve got about 20 milestones to complete in one week. And I keep in mind that some clients are simply busy and more unorganized than others. Thank God I’ve had a lot of clients who quickly response and pay promptly.
Others, however, will take days or weeks to get back to you. It helps to send reminder emails and file your status reports timely and send out reminder links to invoices that have gone unpaid. I love that Elance automatically releases funding for the job milestones that have been funded and market completed, even if the client disappears.
Also, sometimes after a job is completed, it helps to simply follow-up with the client about any other writing they need done. I’ve gotten extra work that way.
Another thing to be careful about are the folks on Elance that are simply outsourcing work to you. For example, a person on Elance might pay them $100 to write a 1,500-word report, but you don’t know this and they set up a job and offer to pay you $50 to write the same report. In this instance, it’s better for you to work directly with the person posting the job. Not only will you get paid more, but you’ll eliminate the confusion that middlemen can sometimes cause.
Whew! It’s like I’m ready to write another book on the subject.
Well, I can’t close without offering another word about scammers. Yes, they are still on Elance and even after one year I fell for one recently. One guy (with big connections to big companies) offered to pay $25 to write a quick movie promo. He offered to pay thru PayPal (frowned upon by Elance) so I was desperate and went for it and he didn’t pay up. I could’ve reported him but didn’t, because it could’ve simply been an oversight.
Either way, it helps to do it the right way: Make sure your first milestone is funded on Elance after you’re awarded the job, and try to stick to working with those clients that have some kind of great feedback — or at least no negative feedback. Avoid the ones who do.
Hope this helps tremendously and let me know how your Elance journey goes.”
Thank you, Paula. I’m ready for that follow-up book, or any other titles you write!