Side Hustle Tales: Approaching the 2 Year Mark in Freelance Writing

Next month will mark my two year anniversary of being a freelance writer!

This year flew past me in a flash and I can’t believe everything that’s happened so far.

I haven’t talked much about my business since I’ve been in my business so much. I just haven’t had time to reflect and think about my growth.

Side Hustle Tales: Approaching the 2 Year Mark in Freelance Writing

I thought others might be interested in how I’m doing in my business.

Am I growing?

When will I make this my full-time gig? Am I selling any courses?

Let’s find out!

1. Freelance Writing

I currently work with about a dozen ideal clients – most request multiple posts per month and about a quarter of them need content on an ad hoc basis.

Let me tell you, I’ve become a very fast typer.

I’m still doing this very part-time since my full-time gig is caring for my twin toddlers…who are more like twin terrors around the house lately!

My minimum rate is typically $200 per 500 words bylined and $300 per 500 words ghostwritten, but of course I have some older clients grandfathered in at lower rates.

Most of my pieces vary around 1500-2000 words.

I’m comfortable at this rate right now and don’t see myself adjusting it anytime soon.

Most of my current clients are in the digital marketing niche.

So I write about blogging, email marketing, inbound marketing, social media marketing, branding and sales funnels.

Two awesome things have happened in my freelance writing biz in 2016 so far:

  • I’m a writer for OptinMonster – one of the top lead generation software companies around. I’m humbled that OptinMonster reached out to me and I enjoy writing for them very much 🙂

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  • I’m a writer for Huffington Post. This is actually one of the goals I set out in the New Year and I’m happy that I accomplished it actually months ago! I haven’t published anything yet on that platform but hopefully will soon.

Overall I’m happy with the clients I have and the work that needs to be done.

My business is growing more since I launched Write Your Way to Your First $1k course and have my other personal project that I’ll be needing to hire someone to help manage some aspects of my business eventually.

My twins will be going to school next fall and I don’t see me doing this full-time until they go to school.

This fall I plan on getting my twins ready for school by doing some preschool activities without me (i.e. where I drop them off and pick them up when they are done).

2. The Elna Cain Site

The one year anniversary of ElnaCain.com is approaching too! Last August I unveiled my new blog and lead magnet – my 6-day free email course on getting paid to write online.

Here is a snapshot of my analytics from the past month:

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I have met so many wonderful writers that regularly comment and follow me on social media.

I’ve been working on marketing my Elna Cain and Twins Mommy blog on Pinterest and it’s going great! It’s actually my #1 source of referral traffic.

A lot of my traffic is repeat traffic which is great to know. I’m growing a loyal following on this blog and I love it!

Over on my email list – I currently have over 1,400+ subscribers on my main list.

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I’m happy with the growth so far! I’m working on revamping my free email course because I learned that some of my emails aren’t hitting the inbox.

The nature of the course – working from home, making money online – has HUGE trigger words for spam.

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So I’m working on changing the copy so that more people actually read the course – because I’ve been told it’s pretty good!

twitter-testimonial

Or this one:

course-testimonial

Thanks for everyone who has taken my free courses and has continued to follow me!

And if I get my act together I might do a free video course too! Only time will tell (and if I actually have time too!).

3. My Writeto1k Course

I launched my freelance writing course mid-November of last year. And I can’t tell you how happy and excited I have been at helping so many wonderful students.

I also have affiliates promoting my course and are helping me grow my brand! Currently I’m averaging 1 sale every other day. My goal has always been to make at least 1 sale a day and it’s starting to become a reality.

Since the launch of my course I’ve added enhanced video training, updated lessons, added new lessons and even some new bonus material.

My goal is to make two supplemental guides – a quick-start business guide and tech guide.

I’ve also worked on my sales page copy and have updated it a few times. I’m also going to revamp the look of the sales page and do some A/B testing to see if a new more updated look might generate more sales than the more plainer look.

Other marketing strategies I have done is put up a course page over on my other site, FreelancerFAQs.

But, other than that, I haven’t done much else in terms of promoting my course.

I do plan on doing more marketing for this course like featuring some students on this blog and doing more webinars, since my last one generated almost $1k in sales.

4. My Coaching Services

I also offer coaching services to new freelance writers. Since unrolling this service I have increased my rate from $45 to $60 per 30 minute consultation.

Most of my consultations have been phone calls and after we are done I type up a report of what we discussed and email it to them.

Overall, around half of my coaching clients request another coaching session, which is great to know!

5. My Plan for Next Year

So, what’s in store for my freelance biz? Well the biggest hurdle I can see is my twins dropping their only nap.

If this happens I will lose half of my already half-time schedule.

When this happens, I can wake up earlier but for some reason, the children have ultra sensitive hearing and can hear the bed sheets rustling or me walking – and they always wake up. Plus, I’m not a morning person so that won’t work.

I can work four hours at night.

From 8-12 pm but that’s not ideal either.

Since my husband also works from home we may trade off some days where I watch the kids during “nap” time so he can work uninterrupted and then he’ll watch the kids the next day so I can work.

It’s definitely not ideal and I really don’t know what my day will look like but it’s something I need to start thinking about.

We are not ready to put our twins in daycare and my in-laws already do enough with helping me during the day that I can’t possibly ask them to watch my twins even more.

But, thinking about the bigger picture, I do, however, want to focus on building Twins Mommy so that I can eventually monetize it by creating digital products or do some affiliate marketing.

And I also want to do more webinars in the fall.

I already did one for Twins Mommy and I have one lined up for this blog too (it’ll be a good one too!).

My Side Hustle Biz

I’m looking forward to when I can turn this side hustle into a full-time gig, but it will be bittersweet.

It’ll be next year when that happens, but I’ll also be sad to see my twins grow up and go to school! For now, things are going well so I don’t want to rock the boat.

Over to you – how’s your freelance writing business going and what are your plans for the future?

Hi I'm Elna and I'm a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.

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32 Comments

Awesome Journey Elna. You are such an inspiration. I have been into serious blogging for the past 4 months or so. I follow your posts regularly. Great fan of your writing style. ThanksReply to Himanshu
Hi Himanshu! Thanks so much! Glad you are finding some inspiration on this blog!Reply to Elna
Hello, My name is Joan, I love blogging but, at the moment I don’t make much from blogging. My writing income is still solely from content mills, and I’m making a bit from editing for real clients. That is a start, and it’s taken me the longest time just to get a business and marketing plan in place! I’m hoping to be able to do more with writing in the coming months. It’s very exciting to look ahead! Thanks for your inspiring story.Reply to Joan
Hey Joan! Thanks so much for stopping by. There is more to freelance writing than content mills! My free course, complete course and blog has a lot of tips and strategies to find the higher-paying clients so feel free to email me if you have specific problems.Reply to Elna
Congrats on the freelancaversary! 🙂 I have my first one coming up in October and every time I have an exciting day I start planning my version of this post in my head lol. I’m also *obsessed* with OptinMonster so I’ll need to catch up on reading their blog, clearly! 🙂Reply to Brittany
Hey Brittany! Thanks for coming over here! Yay! Yes, OptinMonster is awesome! Love it and love writing for them.Reply to Elna
Hello Elna, My name is Bukky, I love to write and could write almost about anything. My friends finds my writing interesting and insisting too. I just don’t know how to get it to the right audience and how to get paid from writing. Hoping to hear from you. Thank you!!!Reply to Bukky
Hi Bukky Thanks for stopping by! Glad to know that you love writing. Getting paid to write is a great business to start. Go ahead and sign up to my get paid to write online free course to get started!Reply to Elna
Two comments/questions. First, what expertise did you have in the field you write about? It seems that the field you are writing in (digital marketing) is probably one that 1) is in need of good writers and 2) is especially suited for this kind of work. (I guess what I’m getting at is, how much do you think your success is because of the content field you are in?) Second, some insight as a mom with older kids. I have 2 kids, now teen and tween, and worked mostly at home when they were younger. As they get a bit older it’s good to set them up with an activity close by. This fosters independence and creativity and allows you to get some work done. My daughter used to spend a lot of time simply cutting up paper! (She has very good fine motor skills!) It ended up with a messy office but I got to get some work done! It’s definitely a challenge, but there are ways to do it. It also sort of feels like they are doing their own work. And how great that your kids have a built-in playmate their own age!Reply to Alyssa
Hey Alyssa! Thanks so much for stopping by. As for my expertise in digital marketing – I learned as I went a long. I started studying it when I wanted to find more ways to market my freelance writing business. I got interested in inbound marketing, social media marketing and email marketing. When I landed a gig on blogging topics over at Blogging Wizard, I was able to write about blogging topics and eventually more digital marketing topics. Not sure what your other question was? My children are 3.5 years old and I only work on my client work and personal projects when they are sleeping. Right now they take a day nap for around 1.5 to 2 hours if I’m lucky and then go to sleep around 730-7:45 pm. I then work until 10:30ish. I try to get five hours in (if my MIL comes and watches the kids in the morning for example). It’s a grueling schedule writing for my clients and my two blogs plus managing other contributor blogs and my newsletters! 🙂Reply to Elna
Wow! I can’t believe you’ve only been doing this for only 2 years. I thought you’ve been blogging for like 10 years. That’s amazing. It’s great to know things are turning out great for you and your blogging business, especially when this is only just your part-time job. How many hours do you put in this for each day? Really inspired!Reply to Heide
Hey Heide! Wow what a nice compliment. Yes, only two years. Before this I had NO idea what WordPress was or even Twitter. 🙂 I was a complete newbie. As for the hours I put in to my client work and persona projects – around 5 hours a day if I’m lucky.Reply to Elna
Buenas Dias! Felicidades EPICA on reaching your 2 year milestone! that’s brilliant to year. I would love to read some of the amazing goals you’ve achieved in that time and some of your best moments. Brilliant post, i would like to reach a dozen ongoing clients too. Gives me great inspiration so thank you.Reply to Enricoh
Hola! Thanks so much. That’s great you enjoyed my post and good luck on your business.Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, Congrats on all you’ve achieved, i’m so happy for you. Due to my desire to start a part time freelance writing business, i’ve been reading your blog for a while now, even taken your free courses and i have learnt a lot. Taking your advise, i will be sending out a few guest posts in a few days to help build my portfolio and take my business to the next level. Wishing you all the best.Reply to Sola
Hey Sola, That’s great! Good luck on your guest posts and building your portfolio 🙂Reply to Elna
Elna, I’m so very impressed and inspired by your success. I’ve been working at building my own freelance business for over a year myself and have found some success (not nearly what you have experienced, though.) I work a full-time day job (that is very demanding and often encroaches into my evening and weekend time.) My main client has been a mentor in addition to a paying customer and continues to push me to reach higher levels. My biggest problem now is, not the number of orders, but finding the time necessary to produce 2,000-word posts. I can knock out a 500-word post in an evening, but the longer, more complex posts are really challenging me. Any advice on how I can write faster? These are in the home-improvement niche and often require research. I’m trying outlining with some success but could use some extra tips on how to speed things up.Reply to Debbie
Hey Debbie! Congrats on YOUR success though. Don’t feel like you have to compare your success to others. Yes, the 2k-word posts are a challenge for me too, especially if it’s tech-related or needs a lot of facts and stats. I can suggest batching tasks. So do all your research on one day. Then pick a good chunk and write half of the post. So practice typing faster and if you know you can write 500, next time push it to 550 then 600 and so on. It takes practice for sure. Good luck!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, I love your blog and have recommended a few of my workmates to get on it for freelance advice. I’m still in the process of starting off as a freelancer. My goal is to land my first client in the next two months, so hopefully that goes according to plan. Keep up the good work!Reply to Tina
Hey Tina, Thanks for the word of mouth marketing! Love it! Good luck on landing your first client! I have a lot of posts on this blog to help you out and my free course will too!Reply to Elna
Thank you for having taken your time to provide us with your valuable information relating to your stay with us.we are sincerely concerned.., Most importantly, you Keepit the majorReply to jeffiepriya
Thanks so much! Glad you liked it.Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, Wow– I cannot believe how much you get done as a “side hustle.” Very impressive! Your blog posts always give me a little extra motivation when I’m having doubts. Thanks, FionaReply to Fiona
Hey Fiona! Thanks so much. It’s hard though. Like today, I took my kids to gymnastics in the morning, then this big Teddy Bear Picnic in the afternoon and I just put them down for a “nap” but it’s like an hour late and they are wound up so they’ll probably stay quiet for about 20 minutes before I call it quits. I have about a billion emails, comments to reply on my blogs and my client’s blogs and I still have to write and edit.Reply to Elna
After spending all afternoon researching free lance gigs, I opened my email and clicked on your post! Thank you for the boost of encouragement, for sharing your successes, and for offering great products. My goals are to keep writing articles for online Christian Publications and expand as much as possible. Thanks again, Jennifer WaddleReply to Jennifer
Hi Jennifer! Thanks for coming over and leaving a comment. I love knowing more about my subscribers! Check out this post of Christian magazines that pay writers https://www.writersincharge.com/christian-magazines-that-pay-writers/Reply to Elna
Congrats on doing so well!!!!!! You give hope to those of us trying to make money from home! 🙂Reply to Brianna
Hi Brianna! Thanks so much. I love being a mompreneur! Blogging rules 🙂Reply to Elna
HI Elna It’s great to read about your success. If I may ask, how have you adjusted your rates since you started out? I feel like I may be charging too little, but when I think about increasing my rates, I’m afraid that I won’t get any leads. Many times I would adjust the rates per project, but it’s not even close to your numbers. 😉 Thank you for a great post. Good luck with the coming ventures!Reply to Anneke
Hey Anneke, I started offering $.04/word. I quickly moved up to $.10/word and worked my way up. For every new inquiry I raised my rates. There’s no hard and set rule for establishing your rate. Just go with what you want to get paid for and that works for covering your expenses.Reply to Elna
This is basically my strategy as well! Every new request I bump up the cost per word. You just need to keep track of what you charge each client – because if you’re grandfathering people in (like both Elna and I do apparently) it can get chaotic.Reply to Colin
Hi there Thank you for your reply! Okay great, then I seem to be on track – but instead of raising my rates yearly, I should consider per project. Thank you for the advice. 🙂Reply to Anneke