Change your mindset to succeed as a freelance professional

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If you’re a freelancer or self-employed, then you know it can be a constant battle to keep your income flowing. To do so, you have to adopt the right mindset. Here are 10 tips on creating that mindset and making sure that you and your income stream remain positive.

  1. Pay attention to your thoughts, particularly when they become negative. Don’t let yourself get roped into the chatter in your head. Find a way to stop negative thinking before it overwhelms you. A simple reminder – like a rubber band on your wrist (ouch) – will bring you back around.
  2. Be grateful for what is going well. Focus on the good by writing about those moments and wins in a daily journal. Positive talk / writing builds on itself.
  3. Hang out with people who are positive and abundant. Surround yourself with positive and successful people. Even talking or emailing them regularly will help.
  4. Give something away from time to time – money, time, talent, etc. Do things for other people, and it will come back to you.
  5. Look at some of your base beliefs. Think about how you were taught about money as a child, and work to make yourself better in those areas that are bringing you down or negatively affecting you.
  6. Look at a loss as an opportunity. A lost job means that you have time for something new, such as focusing on better clients.
  7. Stop being the victim. Don’t keep blaming others – the economy, clients, etc. You attract work and clients, so keep looking for opportunities. Take responsibility for your success and failure.
  8. Stop worrying about money. Do what you enjoy doing first, and pursue what you want to do. Money well come. To help clear your mind, do something else other than work – meditate, read, write, go for a walk, be kind to yourself.
  9. Do the internal work to improve. Take positive action to get better at what you do. Work with a mentor who can guide you and give you a different viewpoint.
  10. Most importantly, love what you do and believe in yourself.

These are all simple yet effective ways to change your approach to making more money as a freelancer. Adjust your way of thinking and things will change.

Bonus tip: This is a must do. Work on finding new clients – using whatever works for you – EVERY DAY. Finding work is a full-time job. Even when you are busy. No, especially when you are busy. Then you can turn down work when there is too much work. And you can drop troublesome or low-paying clients. All you need is a few minutes per day to do one thing – email potential or past clients, respond to ads, send a letter, write a blog post, answer questions on LinkedIn, etc.

Did you like those tips? Do you have any to share? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

Want to learn 14 ways to increase your income? So do I!

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Some time ago, I read 10 Minute Money Makers by Jeanna Gabellini. The book describes (among other things) a number of strategies for increasing your income in relatively quick and doable ways (I won’t say easy, as that will vary from person to person). The book is ideal for self-employed professionals (writers, coaches, consultants, etc.) who want to expand their influence through social media. Check out Jeanna Gabellini’s website for more information (I am not an affiliate and have no financial stake in her content or website).

Here are 14 ways to increase your income (some are better than others):

  1. Make a “no kidding” decision. Decide on what you want to achieve as a financial goal. For example, do you want to sell $1000 of new books per week, or increase your service sales by $2000 per month. Then everything you do will be geared toward supporting that decision. The “how” is not as important as the “what”, which will be your focus.
  2. Follow up. (I am a big believer in this strategy!) Check in with past clients – ask how they are doing, what’s new, etc. Do not try to force a sale. Send a thank you to new clients. Send customers a feedback form or survey, and use the results in your testimonials.
  3. Offer past clients a deal. Offer a product or service with clear benefits and great pricing. Make it a simple, limited-time offer. Use the offer to thank them for being a customer.
  4. Make a quick, get-them-in-the-door offer. Create an affordable, discounted or bundled offer of your products or services. After the customer takes advantage of the offer, suggest something else that you do that will help them at the regular price.
  5. Just ask. Ask helpful people to help you with getting clients through referrals or introductions. You can also ask to be interviewed or recommended on social media.
  6. Talk to your virtual client. Have a virtual conversation with your ideal client about buying your highest ticket item or best service. Ask key questions to overcome: What is their biggest objection to buying? What do you need to say yes? When is the best time to call you? What can I do to improve my service? You have the answers.
  7. Take advantage of available resources. Think of an area in your business where you want to produce more money. Then turn to the Internet for new marketing ideas. Find a diversion to relax your mind and come up with what you need. Join a mastermind group to get motivated.
  8. Pump up the value. Update your products or services – add new material and content to make it fresh.
  9. Get famous. Get more media attention. Become a guest blogger. Start a Google Hangout. Get a testimonial.
  10. Step into the elevator. Create a strong elevator speech that is short and strong on benefits. Make sure to test it out whenever you can.
  11. Create a money funnel. A money funnel is a visual plan of how you invite people into your tribe and move them through your offerings. First, name the ways you get leads and visibility (e.g., published articles). Once you attract a potential client’s interest, get them to be part of your tribe by giving them access to free and inexpensive, yet valuable, content. Then introduce them to differently priced offerings that fit their needs.
  12. The price is right. Re-price your service offerings so that they feel right for you – they meet what you are worth and they are right for your audience. Increase your rates to increase your worth and the level of effort you bring.
  13. Prepare for your windfall. Create a plan to be successful before you are successful. Set up the resources and plans needed to fulfill what will happen when you get extra work, more attention, more money, etc.
  14. The Double It Game. Turn an aspect of your business into a game where you have to a reach a specific goal (such as doubling sales) within a given time frame. It should excite you to try to achieve these goals, and there should be a reward when you hit the goal. Make it a daily effort, and make it fun.

Jeanna Gabellini has a lot more to say in 10 Minute Money Makers. I shared what I thought was most relevant here. Make sure to give it a read.

If there are any eBooks that you’d like me to read and summarize for you here, or give my thoughts on, let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

How to succeed as a freelance writer

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Some time ago, I read 279 Days to Overnight Success by Chris Guillebeau. The book describes (among other things) how he became a full-time writer, his world-dominating strategy for building his brand, avoiding people who want you to fail, getting traffic without viral marketing, and more. The book is ideal for writers, bloggers, and other creative artists who want to expand their influence through social media. Chris Guillebeau has a lot to offer on his website, so make sure that you check it out (I am not an affiliate and have no financial stake in his website).

To follow is what I learned about succeeding as a freelance writer from the book.

Create a compelling strategy and be remarkable

Find your personal story – one that you have to tell. It will not be compelling to everyone, and that is OK. Telling your story will allow you to find your audience. Also create flagship content – this is your compelling story and the benefits to your followers. [Make sure to read A Brief Guide to World Domination.]

Answer “Reason why to follow/hire you” and “What’s in it for me?” questions

You must be able to answer these questions to attract and retain your audience. You must also keep answering these questions to give your audience a reason to stay.

Prioritize writing and marketing over everything else

Schedule time to write and market every day / week. Scheduling time is your motivation to write and market. Follow these two tactics: A. Write a minimum number of words per day (1000) to reinforce the habit and motivation. B. Take five marketing actions per day – Twitter posts/connections, reaching out to experts, scheduling a product launch). To help you do this, focus on spending time creating by yourself and thinking about the people who will be consuming what you create.

Be bigger than you really are

Act like you have more clients and a bigger audience, and that you are a bigger deal than you are. Be the authority in your field. Only you have your specific skills, knowledge and experience. Also, do not write to your whole audience – speak to a few people that you want to reach. To get bigger, get your site and materials reviewed by professionals / bloggers in your field, and get media coverage / reviews of your site / products.

Build long-lasting relationships

Spend time every day building and maintaining online and offline relationships – Twitter, LinkedIn, email, networking, phone calls, etc. Contact people that you read and respect (writers, editors, bloggers) and let them know that you enjoy and respect what they are doing. Develop a real relationship before ever asking them for anything.

Tell the world about what you do

Once you’ve developed good design and you have enough content, tell the world about your site / product. Send emails to everyone you know, and ask for feedback. Make sure to write great content and deliver great value – do not launch or promote your site before you are ready.

Respect your followers

Give your followers the best you have to offer. Don’t send them to other sites via clickthrough ads, as you have no control over where they are going. Answer every email from your followers. Ask them for feedback on what content they want to read. Read their questions and create content that answers those questions. Ask them why they visit your site and how you can best help them.

Do what you love

Your goal should be to do something you love and enjoy, and that will also help you to earn a living. Do something that you like that people will pay you to do. What you do should also help your audience in some way – by entertaining, educating or inspiring them.

Chris Guillebeau has a lot more to say in 279 Days to Overnight Success – I took a lot of notes, and shared what I thought was most relevant here. Make sure to give it a read.

I plan to write more summaries of eBooks I’ve downloaded over the years. I have a lot of them to read and share. If there are any eBooks that you’d like me to read and summarize for you here, or give my thoughts on, let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

How can you position yourself as an authority to prospects and clients?

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People want to work with professionals who are experts in their field. We don’t want to work with amateur lawyers, doctors, bookkeepers, plumbers, financial planners – we want to work with people who know what they are doing. Working with knowledgeable and experienced people gives us the feeling that things will be done right (although this does not always happen).

If you are sole proprietor (like myself), consultant, self-employed, sole business owner, etc., then you should position yourself as an authority. You’ve been running your business for some time, and you obviously have the skills and experience to do the job. But you have to prove to your clients that you are capable of doing the job because you are an authority in your field.

The first step is to focus on who you are, rather than what you are. You are not just a professional writer or consultant or generic service provider. This will sound odd, but you are the only you there is. There are many writers, but you are the only writer who has your specific experience, skills and authority. Change your perception in the market’s mind. Don’t focus just on your skill level, but who you are and what makes you different.

Who you are will influence your prospects and clients. If you are an authority, then you will become in greater demand, which means you can also charge more. Your client list also affects your value. Working with high-profile clients means that you are worth more by association. They chose you because you are an authority; therefore, others will want to work with you as well.

Do not wait for the market or others to tell you that you are an expert or that you are an authority in this field or that. Your authority depends upon your mindset. Realize that you are skilled and bring value, and that you are an authority in your field. Then present yourself in this manner. This will determine how others view you.

As an authority, you know more about your given topic than anyone else. Make sure that you make this fact known – on your website, in your social media, when you talk to prospects and clients. That does not mean bragging “I am the best.” It means demonstrating your knowledge when required. Focus on where your business is seen, and how prospects perceive your business.

To be viewed as an authority, associate with other authorities. Interview experts in your field, and related areas, and give them exposure – this will allow you to be seen as an expert as well. Are you a marketing writer? Interview marketing experts, and authors with marketing books. Every field has its published experts and authorities. It’s up to you to find them, and ask them to speak about what they do best. Share these best practices with your clients and prospects. Now you’re an authority.

Do you need help with becoming an authority – writing articles, blog posts, etc.? Are you an authority in your field, and want to talk about what you know? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

Using storytelling to encourage decision-making among clients and prospects

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Whatever business you are in, storytelling will help you to move potential clients to make faster, more favourable decisions. You can also use social media to help you create that story.

Social media enables you to make “warm” calls and emails to potential clients. All it takes is some research effort on your part. You can use a host of tools (such as LinkedIn and Twitter) to find out more about your potential clients – what they do, what they like, where they spend time, what their problems / wants / needs are. All this information is at your fingertips. Write down a few key points, which will now form the foundation for your story.

Once you have this information about your potential client, you must determine how you can provide them with value. You are selling something (such as widgets, or writing and editing support). Now you need to determine what value you can deliver to that prospect to get them to move toward a decision.

Since you’ve already done your research on the prospect through social media, you can reach out to them in the same way. For example, if that person made a comment on LinkedIn, respond to their comment with feedback of your own. Once you have their attention, and a foundation, you can reach out via email. Begin your story based on that touchpoint. Engage them in a conversation that leads to a discussion of what you do and how that adds value.

The key is to relate what you do in a concise way so that it touches the prospect’s business or life. Do not just state what you sell or do. Tell a story about how you helped another client using your product or service. The case study is the heart of your story. And it’s real, so the person should be able to relate to it, because they might have dealt with the same situation.

The story does not just sell you or your product/service. It shows how you solved a problem, filled a need or created value for someone. The story is real, which makes you more relatable to the prospect. They know more about you, and think of you as a person who understands their business, and what matters to them.

Telling a story helps you to turn prospects into clients. Once you’ve researched your client and found out what is important to them, you can map out the information that they need to make a decision. This will help you to write your story. By providing the person with valuable information that ties directly to what is important to them, they will come to value what you have to say, and look forward to future communications.

Do you need help telling your story? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

How to use a framework to focus your writing of blogs, articles, and newsletters

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Getting started in your writing can be very challenging, no matter what you try to write. The first few words and sentences can often be the hardest. And once you get started, it can be difficult to communicate what you want to say in an order that makes sense.

One way to make the process flow more smoothly is to use a framework. The framework supports your content by giving you something to build upon – much like a house’s frame enables builders to construct a house. Instead of trying to build from the ground up, you put up “scaffolding” to hold up the rest of your content.

For example, suppose that you want to write a newsletter. Start with your title or headline. This will be the first plank in your framework. Then add your headings and subheads – these will be your main topics and supporting topics. Write three to five bullet points under each heading and subhead. These will come from the main topics of discussion for that section.

You’ve now developed the framework for your writing. You’ve broken your content into chunks. Take each chunk, and focus on writing just that one bit. Use your headings, subheads and bullet points as your supports to build upon. Each point is its own room in the house you are building. Take one bullet point, and write what you know or want to say about it. Everything should focus on that one point. When you’re done, move to the next one. Eventually, you will have filled all the rooms and written a full first draft.

After that, it’s a matter of sanding the edges, adding some finer touches, and making it look pretty. And then you’re done!

Perhaps it won’t be that easy, but the framework will help you to organize your thoughts, break your writing into digestible chunks, and make the writing process go more smoothly. You can even create a template where you fill in the blanks with your headings, subheads and bullet points, and then build from there.

Do you have any tips on helping to make the writing process more efficient? Would you like help with writing your content? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro

Two shortcuts to writing better headlines for articles and blog posts

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Whether you want to write an article, a newsletter, a blog post or even an email, your goal is to ensure that it gets read by as many people as possible. Creating an effective headline is the best way to achieve this goal. A well-written headline will increase the likelihood of your content being read. You could have amazing content, but if the headline does not attract the reader, what’s the point?

I’ve written several posts on writing more effective headlines:

Even with all that great content, here are two shortcuts that can help you to be more efficient at writing headlines.

Follow a formula or template to write a headline

This enables you to stick to an effective structure and will make it more efficient when putting together headings. Here is one formula for writing list-type articles: X ways / things / ideas to [achieve a desired result / rid yourself of undesired result] in [given time period].

For example:

  • 10 ways to write emails that sell within 10 days
  • 10 ways to double your sales in one month

Write 10-15 different headlines for the same topic

Repetition will help you to find new and interesting ways to say the same thing, and will uncover the key points that will attract your reader. It will enable you to discard the bad ideas when better ideas come along. Practice makes perfect, and coming up with multiple headlines for each article will make you a better writer.

Conclusion

These shortcuts will help you to write more effective headlines in less time. Once you get the hang of writing headlines, you will become an expert at it, and will definitely an increase in reader response.

Do you have any suggestions on writing better headlines? Do you want help with writing more effective headlines? Let me know – contact@davidgargaro.com.

David Gargaro