Category: Email

Freelancer’s Guide to Cold EmailingFreelancer’s Guide to Cold Emailing



Now that you’re familiar with the screening process when looking for your potential clients, the next task is to get a hold of their contact information. The only information you really need is their name and email address. Generally speaking, this information will be in their “About Me” page or “Contact Us/Me” page. If you get a hold of the name and email, great! But, if you only get a hold of their email, keep searching for their name. Usually, it will be in the tag of their blog posts right under the title. If you can’t find the name, you can still email them, but your chances of going into the spam inbox are high because the email isn’t personalized.

Before sending your cold email, you should go through a few pages of their blog’s content and see whether or not you think you’ll be able to deliver content from a similar angle. If so, keep them as a contact. If not, move on. You won’t get repeat work or recommendations from a client that doesn’t agree with your writing voice. Once you have all of their email addresses and names down, it’s time to get to the hard stuff! Choose three samples of your writing that are relevant to the blogs you’ve chosen. Make sure the samples are absolutely flawless and portray your business and your writing style in the best light. After that’s taken care of you’re going to craft your cold email template.

Personally, I prefer using an email template because it saves me a ton of time. Just be sure to customize the email when it comes to the blog name, the name of the prospective client and when adding a bit of personality. Remember, to always add a link to your business website so they can look around and see more samples if they wish. I just write a general email template and leave the personalized fields blank. When it comes time to send the email, I literally just fill in the blanks. Below, I’ve provided an example of what an exceptional cold email template looks like. For demonstrations sake, let’s pretend I’m targeting real estate agents with blogs.

General Cold Emailing Template

Hi _______,

___________________________________________________________________

_________________________ Are you interested in hiring a real estate writer to produce content on a consistent basis for your blog? I’ve been a freelance real estate writer for over three years and have gained extensive experience in the field. If you’re interested ________, I can create blog content that is search engine optimized to help you build a local readership. Search engine optimization is simply a form of free internet marketing that will drive traffic to your blog through Google and Yahoo. Below, I’ve included samples of my previous real estate blogging work. If you’re pleased with my samples you can contact me for a commitment free quote.

All the Best,
Jazmin Espinal

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3

www.capitalwebwriing.com

Personalized Cold Email Derived from the Template

Hi …

Becoming a Freelancer: How to Price Your Jobs and Make More MoneyBecoming a Freelancer: How to Price Your Jobs and Make More Money



As the economy lingers in a recession with little hope for a short term recovery, people who either have jobs but need more income, or are making a last ditch effort to find some income before moving back with mom and dad, should consider freelancing.

 

The next question obviously is, “freelance what?” It’s amazing what skills you already have that can be translated into cash whether you want full time, part time or even occasional work.

Many online sites exist that specialize in nothing other than freelance jobs. Most do require a nominal monthly fee to join. There is no long term commitment, no contracts, and it’s easy to “come and go” on these sites. For instance, if you are lucky enough to snag a three month assignment you can easily cancel or deactivate your membership (leaving all your profile information intact) until you need it again.

A simple Google search on “find freelance jobs” will give you plenty of options. The ones you choose should be ones that offer the type of jobs you want apply for. Freelance jobs range from writing blogs to full time engineering positions for Fortune 500 companies – and everything in between. Some are telecommute positions (work at home) and others actually require you to head to an office.

Again, figure out what you want to do and then these are the assignments you should target.

The trick now is to understand how and when to bid. Sure, you know what you’re worth and you know what you need to make to pay your bills. However, keep in mind that you are competing with hundreds of others, especially for work at home opportunities. If you are bidding too high, you won’t even be considered.

Many companies who post jobs online are looking for people to work for amounts that seem insulting. It’s a new game out there. And it does a bit to get used to. This isn’t to say that every company looking for workers wants to undercut you, but your chances of making what you think you are worth are pretty negligible.

Researching some sites over the past month showed me that some fairly large “real” companies are looking for workers to perform customer support services for under $4.00 an hour! Is this legal? Minimum wage in every US state dictates amounts closer to $7.00 an hour BUT there’s nothing you can do about this. Until you are hired, you don’t even know the company. You can’t complain! And if you get the job, you certainly aren’t going to file a complaint with the Dept. of Labor.

Bidding on and accepting one of these freelance assignments might even mean you don’t pay taxes on your wages. I’m not saying you don’t have to! I’m saying many of these online freelance jobs are short, meaning you don’t even reach the $600 limit that requires a company report your earnings to the IRS. By law you are supposed to report each penny you earn. …

Successful Freelance Business BlueprintSuccessful Freelance Business Blueprint



I recently wrote an article about how freelancers can get more clients and keep current clients. Today I would like to address some other factors that come into play when it comes to your freelance business being successful.

 

I will touch on the following topics, as they relate to your freelance business:

1- Billing, Invoice and Rates 
2- Legal matters 
3- Tax 
4- Proposal Writing 
5- Project Estimation

Let’s get started.

Billing, Invoice and Rates. You earn your living through your freelance business. So this is the most important factor of the business. If you do not do it right, then the consequences might have negative impacts on your freelance business. Setting your rates might be hard if you are just starting. You might have a hard time adjusting to the fact that you have no clients and as a result people do not really know what you are capable of.

At the same time, you might well be really efficient at what you do. So how do you reconcile the two sides and lay down the foundation for sustainable rates to keep your freelance business going?

A very good way of doing this is to check out what other freelancers are charging based on various factors, including their experience, skills, technology packages, etc. Also, you need to keep in mind that your rates should be low to start with. You will need to increase your rates on a yearly or so basis.

The other major item in getting your income has to do with billing. More often than not clients will want you to give them bulk quotes for projects. In other words, they will want fixed fees. As a starter, you might fall into the trap and underestimate projects. Well, if you do, you will lose! So unless the project is ABSOLUTELY trivial, you should bill your clients for materials and time.

A good invoicing approach is to invoice your client upon completion of milestones. In fact, you need to make sure that the client approves the completed milestone and is happy with it. If so, then they will deliberately execute your invoice and pay you. Whatever method of invoicing you choose, make sure it is made known to the client beforehand. Also make sure that clients understand that payments for work they approve are final and are NOT reimbursable – in the event that the client would want to discontinue the work.

Legal Matters. You should always use work contracts whenever applicable. Even for subsequent changes to a given project, you need written/signed documents. Not all your clients will behave nicely all along. You need to have your assets protected by having a lawyer you can use for legal matters. Do not underestimate this factor of the business. Things happen!

Tax. If you are not good at doing taxes, you need to have someone who knows that stuff do it for you. You do not want any trouble with the IRS or such. Make sure that …

First Person: Keeping Track of My Freelance Income TaxesFirst Person: Keeping Track of My Freelance Income Taxes



As the year comes to end and we begin a new year, a necessary evil lurks just waiting to strike – tax time. I begin looking for the various forms that either come in the mail or email or we can now download. The W-2 and some other forms cover employment, and still other forms cover potential deductions. As employees, we have our taxes withheld from our paycheck. However, as independent contractors or freelance workers, we do not have taxes deducted. Therefore, we must keep track of the income total and the taxes due throughout the year and plan accordingly as we prepare our tax returns. Failure to do so will result in devastating refund reduction or extra taxes due.

 

Independent contractor

From 1998-2003, I supplemented my income by tutoring. At only $15,000 – $22,000 full time then, I really needed the extra wages. The tutoring job paid $20.00 per hour, and I worked enough hours to average over $700 more. Throughout the school year, I could make over $7000 in extra income, which looked great in the checkbook. However, I worked as an independent contractor, so I did not have taxes withheld. The manger told me this, but at the time I did not understand much about how taxes worked for independent contractors.

Forms W-9, 1099, and Schedule C

In the spring of 1999, I sat down to prepare my tax return. I knew Form 1040 well enough, and in previous years I had learned about itemized deductions. Forms W-9, 1099-MISC, and Schedule C, however, were brand new to me. (See sample forms from www.irs.gov by clicking each link.) I had already turned in my W-9, so I had no problem there. Then, I received Form 1099-MISC in the mail. This form showed that I had no taxes withheld from tutoring and that I would have to pay them myself. I then obtained a Schedule C from the post office. At first, the form intimidated me, but as I filled it out, I understood it quite well.

Inexperience cost me

Since I did not plan ahead throughout my tutoring months of 1998, I was shocked at how much that income affected my tax return. I did not pay attention to it, so I did not expect the amount of tax that I would have to pay on it. We received a far lower refund than I had anticipated. I vowed to keep track of that income from then on as long as I tutored. The next four years showed much better results as I learned to calculate and save the correct amount for taxes out of each subsequent paycheck.

Freelance writer

I stopped tutoring in 2003 when I began my master’s degree program. From then until mid 2011, my wife and I worked only as employees for each paycheck we earned. Therefore, we did not have the same hassles with the independent contractor forms.

In June of 2011, I became a Hubpages Contributor. As much as I love writing …

A Freelancer’s Guide to Everything ElanceA Freelancer’s Guide to Everything Elance



Why are so many freelancers jumping onto the Elance bandwagon, and buckling themselves in for a long and prosperous ride?

 

There is no one easy answer to that question. I could wax poetic about how Elance is by far the best site for freelance jobs on the net, but that tells you less than nothing about what truly makes Elance stand out from the crowd.

Since there is no simple way to sum up what Elance can do for freelancers, we’ll take the long route, I’ll give you the million-dollar tour, and I let the site features speak for themselves.

Elance’s main page sums it up with: Find work. Deliver results. Get paid. What they can’t tell you in a short catchy tagline are the large number of site features that go along with these three steps designed specifically to ensure that the freelancer thrives. So the first stop on our Elance tour is the Sign Up.

Plans

Elance offers four plans to suit every freelancer’s needs: the free basic plan, the professional plan, the small business plan, and the large business plan. For individuals, starting out with the basic plan is a great way to test the water, but you’ll soon want to upgrade to the professional plan in order to bid on more jobs and get priority in search rankings. The small business plan is designed for companies with five employees or less, and the large business plan is for companies of unlimited size.

Categories

The first step, once you’ve chosen your plan level, is to select a work category to be listed in from the following: Admin Support, Design and Multimedia, Engineering and Manufacturing, Finance and Management, Legal, Sales and Marketing, Web Programming, Writing and Translation. Choosing a work category allows you to submit bids for jobs that are listed in that category, and allow buyers to find you in searches for experts in those particular fields. But what if your skills span two or more categories? Not a problem. All of the Elance paid plans allow the option of choosing additional work categories for a small monthly price.

Connects

Next stop on our tour is Connects. Each plan gives users a monthly allotment of connects, which are used to bid on jobs. Lower budgeted jobs require less connects than bigger budget projects, and extra connects can be purchased at any time.

The connect system is a great way to weed out the riff-raff found on other freelancing sites, like the ones who spam every job post with useless bids. Connects ensure that the bids come from serious bidders who have read the job description and are really interested in the project. A nice change from those other sites. But what good are connects if buyers don’t know who you are and why they should hire you? That leads us to our next stop:

Profiles

This is where you get to strut your stuff, show off your skills, experience, and credentials, and make yourself stand out from …

Tips I Wish a Freelance Journalist Had Told MeTips I Wish a Freelance Journalist Had Told Me



My route into freelance journalism was haphazard. Once I picked up these tips, everything fell into place.

  • Scout constantly for news. Editors rely on freelancers for extra news. Train yourself to find it for them. Look for potential stories around you, and then research them for newsworthiness. The first time I pitched stories to an editor, I emailed her five ideas. She selected the fifth idea, but I had neglected to research that one, and it turned out to be a dead end. Once you have dutifully researched, scout on to find the right publication for your ideas.
  • Generate clips any way you can. The first newspaper I wrote for was a “penny saver” I grabbed on the way out of a grocery store. I wrote three articles for free for that newspaper and used the clips to legitimize myself to paying editors. When you draft story pitch emails, include links to your published clips. If the clips are not online, upload them to a personal webpage and link to them there.
  • Specialize for your benefit. By freelancing, you can employ your wacky hobbies and career sidesteps. If you did a stint in the rodeo, you may have expertise to write about the rodeo circuit. If you work in a restaurant, you could become a food critic. You may even want to maintain a day job in your specialty to scout for stories and establish yourself as an expert in the field. Then you can target industry publications with your story pitches.
  • Set expectations with editors. Before beginning an assignment, make sure you are in sync with the editor and publication. Resist the urge to be obliging and instead resolve any uncertainties you have. I like to get expectations in writing, usually in email, including the pay rate and formatting guidelines.
  • Go for it! I would have saved lots of worry and garnered many more clips if I was simply confident that I could do this. It is doable to be a freelance journalist. Any of the wonderful Yahoo contributors could tell you that. Get to work, freelancer. You can do this.

How to Create Job Resumes for Freelance VideographyHow to Create Job Resumes for Freelance Videography



There has been a new market emerging for videographers who want to expand their freelance gigs. Many people have started to send video resumes to potential employers. While this practice may not be widely accepted in every industry, these newly developed employment tactics can increase revenue for your video business. Resumes on a recorded video disc can be emailed or shown directly to employers. The following tips will help you to make money by providing a freelance video resume service.

 

Watch Video Resumes

It is important to research these items prior to adding them on your service list. Video resumes can be easily found online. Browse through various clips and pay attention to the overall presentation. This will give you an idea on how to produce a video resume on your own. Basic technical skills obtained from previous freelance jobs can be applied to your resume service. Once you have become familiar with how video resumes are laid out, it will be easier to begin searching for customers.

Start a Video Resume Website

If you do not already have an online presence, one must be established for this type of freelance opportunity. Create a website, listing pertinent information that will encourage people to contact you. It may even help to create a pre-recorded example and upload it to your website. While using free video hosting services will help cut costs, select one that has a more professional appearance. Youtube videos may be entertaining, but the quality and logo spells “Amateur” to potential customers.

A video resume service does not have to be limited to those looking for corporate positions. You can make employment videos for aspiring TV hosts, actors, models and salesmen. These specialty areas have an additional list of online groups where customers can be located. Make sure to identify the destinations that will bring in the most sales. This is where more of your time and energy should be spent.

Join Employment Groups Online

There are tons of online groups and forums that offer advice and leads to job hunters. By joining the most relevant and active groups, you will be among those who are looking for ways to stand out from others. These are the people who will eventually be paying for video resume services. It is important to make sure that you are the first one that comes to their mind. There are business related social networking sites that may bring some sales your way. Myspace is not the ideal place to set up shop, but a simple online search will yield helpful results in locating professional networking websites.

Market Locally

A video resume service can be advertised in your local newspaper. Many of the smaller publications charge less than $100 for classified ad listings. The Craigslist website could also be used to bring in video resume sales. This online bulletin board is a great way to market your services without spending a lot of money. Local educational publications are also a good place to advertise …

How to Format a Freelance JournalHow to Format a Freelance Journal



Earlier I discussed why one should keep a freelance journal in my article “3 Reasons to Keep a Freelance Journal”. Now I will tell you how to keep a freelance journal.

 

Materials Need to Keep a Freelance Journal:

-Journal or notebook

-Pens and/or pencils

That’s it! Of course, you can use a number of decorations and such if you want, but they aren’t necessary to actually keep the freelance journal.

How to Set Up Your Freelance Journal

Here is an outline of how I keep my freelance journal. I date and number the entry and then use a series of subheadings, numbered lists, and bulletins.

1. Ezine/Hubpages

Under this second, I keep track of how many daily page views I received, the total page views for the month, the total payment for page views, any new offers, feedback, or assignments that I claim if any.

2. Email

An email can be very important in the world of the web. Keep track of important emails from the sites you produce for, potential clients, current clients, and any emails that you send.

3. Article Ideas

This is pretty straight-forward: write down new article ideas. Leave a bit of space in case you think of more throughout the day.

4. Daily Goals

This section is also fairly straight-forward. Write down what articles you want to produce, how many of them, etc.

5. Other Jobs

If you write for other places, keep track of your other jobs in this section. Write down if you take down any new jobs, the requirements of the assignment, the date, the payment, etc.

6. Other Goals

All freelancers have to do things that aren’t just writing. You know the ones I’m talking about, the housekeeping stuff like promotion. I also write down other types of content I want to produce here (slideshows generally for me).

7. Other Articles

Keep track of articles that you write that aren’t on your goal list. Sometime you decide not to write the topics you picked out, and write something else.

8. Overall Daily Statistics

Write down the number of articles you wrote during the day, how many were published, how many pieces of other types of content you produced, the total number of articles you have published overall, your biggest PV earner daily, how much money you made on offers and PV, etc.

Tips on Keeping a Freelance Journal

Do this every single day or the purpose of keeping track of your successes and failures and making yourself a better freelancer is lost.

You might want to tweak the formatting, obviously, but this is a good place to start and covers all of the bases.…

Freelancers and Consultants May Need Established Work HoursFreelancers and Consultants May Need Established Work Hours



One of the joys of working as a freelancer and consultant is knowing that you can work whenever you want to, right? Many of us are drawn to freelancing or consulting work because we crave a more flexible schedule and do not want to be tied down to established work hours. What many of us find out rather quickly, however, is that if we do not set some regular hours, we are working around the clock and our clients and customers assume they should have free access to us at any time of the night or day. In reality, established work hours can be beneficial for freelancers and consultants too.

 

Keep in mind that establishing set work hours does NOT mean that you need to work 9 – 5. For example, someone who works as a financial consultant from her West Coast home may find that she is up early (5:00 am) so she can be working when the markets open on the East Coast. This may mean that she is finished working by early afternoon. A freelance writer may find that he or she works better when the house is quite; this means working evenings or early mornings and using the rest of the day for other tasks.

Establishing work hours can also keep you from losing perspective and working too much. Likewise, many of us find that when we DON’T have to work set hours, we slack off and do not get much work done at all. Establishing hours for work can help us to stick to a schedule and create a culture of productivity where we might otherwise find excuses not to work.

When you do decide to establish work hours, decide how flexible you will in regard to taking phone calls, checking emails and other “work-related” tasks outside of those work hours. Some freelancers and consultants find that they can break up their work hours and tasks instead of working straight through for several hours. This can be a good way to stay fresh and focused and mix in other activities and errands during the day. For example, you might want to check e-mail first thing in the morning and make a work plan for the day. Then, take a break and have breakfast, exercise or run errands. You then might be back at work at 10 am and start returning calls and emails. Be sure to let those you work with know when you are working and when is the best time to reach you. This will also cut down and being contacted OUTSIDE of those established working hours.…