How a Pitching Challenge Changed My Freelance Writing Career

I have a guest poster for you today. Her name is Lenka Podzimek and she won $100 in the first pitching challenge I created just for my course participants of Write Your Way to Your First $1k. I put up $100 as a way to motivate students to take action and start pitching, hoping they land their first or next freelance writing client. Lenka is here to tell her story of how much she learned since taking my course and how much confidence she now has as a professional freelance writer.

I couldn’t believe it! Out of a very talented group of writers, I had actually won the pitching challenge that Elna started for her course students at the beginning of the year.

How a Pitching Challenge Changed My Freelance Writing Career

For a month, we tracked the number of pitches we sent, and the person with the highest number won. I ended up sending 50 pitches throughout the month and won the challenge.

It was hard work at times, and I didn’t pitch every day, but when I did, I made it count. I made a template that was easy to update or customize, and I sent 5 or more pitches on the days that I was pitching. I got into a groove and pretty soon the pitching process became second nature.

And it paid off.

I landed several new clients, some with recurring gigs, and one really big client, who hired me on for exclusive writing and editing.

I didn’t start out that way.

I Was a Struggling Freelance Writer

Let me rewind to a year ago, when I was a struggling freelance writer who hadn’t yet seen a penny for her work.

I was writing for free to build up my portfolio, and I hadn’t been paid for anything. I felt stalled and stagnant, and I was about to throw in the towel thinking I wasn’t cut out to be a freelance writer.

And then I discovered Elna (through LinkedIn, if you’re curious) and her course Write Your Way to Your First $1k.

I already knew her course would be different than the other ones out there.

I had been reading her blog for a few months and I appreciated the honest, actionable advice that she provides for freelance writers.

And she isn’t afraid to show real-life examples or point out her own mistakes.

So I signed up for her course and then my freelance writing business changed. I landed my first ever paying gig a few days after I started the course and I knew it was because I had implemented some of the actionable and practical advice that Elna offers.

And as I went through each of the course modules, I realized I was missing some key factors in my freelance writing business, and that I had been making some BIG mistakes.

Here are five things that I learned from this pitching challenge and her course.

1. I Was Looking for Writing Jobs in All the Wrong Places

A year ago, I was scouring Craigslist and Guru for writing jobs. And I found a lot of them listed there, but what I didn’t know was that these ads were for low-paying writing gigs or content mills.

Sure, you can find good writing jobs listed there too, but they are few and far between.

In her course, Elna teaches us there are much better ways to search for higher-paid writing gigs.

And isn’t that what we all want as freelance writers?

Here are the types of places I looked for freelance writing clients:

2. I Was Pitching all Wrong

In the past, I would answer an ad for a writing gig the same way I would answer a job ad.

Read: formal, boring and stuffy.

And that is exactly how NOT to pitch a writing gig!

I learned from Elna’s course that answering an ad for online writing doesn’t require a formal cover letter.

In fact, the opposite is true. The tone of a writing gig pitch should be conversational and easy to read.

But you still need to demonstrate you are a professional and skilled writer, and the course breaks down exactly what you need in your pitch email.

There are even templates for pitch letters included so it’s easy to get started.

Your pitch letter is definitely a showcase for your writing talent, so you need to craft it carefully to stand out from the crowd.

3. I Needed a Tribe

A year ago, I was a lone ranger. A solitary soul trying this writing thing all on her own. I felt lost and isolated, and just figured that loneliness was part of the deal of being a freelance writer.

I did have the company of my three cats, and, don’t get me wrong—I love my cats, but they’re hardly qualified to give advice or encouragement for my freelance writing career.

After signing up for Elna’s course, I realized things could be different. There is a whole community of writers out there who support each other and cheer each other on through the daily grind of running your own freelance writing business.

I belong to the private Facebook group for course participants and it’s made up of wonderful writers who are all there to help each other succeed in the best way possible.

No question goes unanswered and no post gets ignored. What a great tribe.

4. I Wasn’t Writing Proper Blog Posts

Sure, I knew you had to be creative and engaging when writing a post, but I didn’t know there was actually a proper way to structure the content.

Or that there are actual rules to follow when writing a blog post.

When I was writing pro bono, I was happily scribbling whatever came to mind and no one told me that blog posts needed a call to action, for example.

With Elna’s course I learned the correct way to structure a blog post and even how to format the post so it is easily uploaded into the client’s content management system.

5. I Didn’t Have a Website

Well, technically, I still don’t. But it’s in the works. That’s where I’m currently at in my freelance writing journey—at the website design stage, because, well, I need one!

I have managed to get by with my LinkedIn and Contently profiles, but there comes a time when you need a website to be a credible freelance writer.

It’s a place to list your services, showcase your portfolio, and even create your own blog. And you can be as creative as you want since you are in full control. I know I have a few special things planned for my own blog!

A writer website is a great marketing tool and it can help you attract clients and get writing gigs.

Wrapping It Up

I gained confidence in myself as a freelance writer, which gave me the courage to join the pitching challenge.

And I won, not just the challenge, but at freelance writing.

And you can too!

Thanks Lenka for your wonderful words of wisdom and praise. Take it from Lenka, enrolling in the course and joining the private Facebook group can be a game changer in your freelance writing biz.

Over to you – have you had a chance to look at Write Your Way to Your First $1k?

Leave a Reply


I blog as a hobby and have never considered myself to be a writer but I will pin this post to my Pinterest board called Blogging Info.Reply to Trista,
Hi Lenka, it’s great to see that you not just won the challenge but that it gave your freelance business such a boost. Well done. It also shows that what Elna is teaching does work for everyone. Can’t wait to see your website. All the best to you, IlkaReply to Ilka
I enjoyed your comments, Lenka! Thanks for the great insight.Reply to David
Lenka, such an inspiring post! Big congrats, once again, and thank you for sharing a little bit of your journey with us. It’s such a wonderful thing to watch your career take off just by applying a few small yet vital changes, isn’t it? I’m super honored to be part of this tribe and very happy to see you β€” and everyone else β€” reach your goals and celebrate big wins and meaningful life changes alongside you. Keep up up the great work, Lenka! And, of course, thank you Elna for all the valuable resources and hard work you’ve put into your course.Reply to Ralitsa
What a great success story, Lenka! Happy to keeping right track to running your freelance writing business.Reply to Venkatesh
Thanks Venkatesh! The freelance writing journey is both exciting and challenging, but so fulfilling! πŸ™‚Reply to Lenka
Hey, Lenka! What a great write up. Glad to have found this “tribe” myself.Reply to Heather
Thanks Heather! Yes, our tribe is pretty awesome and it helps so much with the isolation you can sometimes feel as a freelance writer. πŸ™‚Reply to Lenka
Great article. Having a rough template of what to say definitely helps, whilst keeping the tone conversational. NickReply to Nick
Thanks Nick! Templates are so helpful for pitching and Elna’s course provides a few of them so it’s easy to get started! πŸ™‚Reply to Lenka
Congrats Lenka! Your post is inspiring. I am also a graduate of Elna’s course (in the last two weeks), and I couldn’t agree more how well-written and informative the course is for newbies. I also have purchased two others how-to freelance write courses, and Elna’s is by far the best. The private FB is so friendly too! I plan to participate in the March challenge. You’ve proved to me now that it becomes second natureβ€”you just have to take action and try!Reply to Michelle
Thanks Michelle! I’m so happy that you found the post inspiring. Getting started is definitely the hardest part, but when you start pitching and landing clients, then your confidence will soar. Good luck in the March challenge! πŸ™‚Reply to Lenka
Hi Lenka, (like the sound of that!) Congrats again. You deserved to win. I’m still awed by the total number of 50 pitches. Kudos to Elna for that wonderful challenge. It helped me to get my act together. Elna’s course is a must-have for anyone who wants to learn how to earn as a freelance writer from scratch. One thing I learnt from the challenge is that it takes persistence. You just can’t give up after few tries. Off to share this now. Enjoy your day.Reply to Ruth
Thanks Ruth! Yes, persistence is definitely key. The more pitches you send, the more success you will have! πŸ™‚Reply to Lenka
Hi Elna, Thanks again for the opportunity to guest post on your site. I really enjoyed writing the blog post! And thanks for starting the pitching challenge. It motivated me to send some pitches and land a few writing gigs! πŸ™‚Reply to Lenka
Hi Lenka, Thanks so much! I was excited that you won and thought it would be a good idea to let others know about your journey! Can’t wait to see your new writer website!Reply to Elna