Freelance Writers: An In-Depth Discussion on Why You Should Register with Staffing Agencies to Land Writing Gigs, Part III

Written by Yuwanda Black

In the first part of this post on this site’s parent site, InkwellEditorial.com, we discussed in grave detail why you should register with staffing/recruiting agencies to land gigs – digging into details like what happens to your resume / professional credentials when you answer a job ad from a recruiter, or contact an agency directly.

In Part II, we discussed how signing on with a staffing/recruiting agency can stabilize your income. Today in this final part, we’re going to discuss the following …

Keys to Consider When Trying to Decide Whether Or Not to Freelance Full-Time with a Company

I put the final part of this post on this site because thanks to content marketing, there has never been a greater need for SEO writers. The field is growing quickly, and recruiters are scouting for talented copywriters who know the ins and outs of writing search-engine optimized copy. Proof?

Freelance Writing Advice on Landing Gigs from Staffing Agencies
See the ad for a Freelance SEO Copywriter (Minneapolis, MN) in a recent job listings post (it’s the 4th job listed and has a section entitled, “A Note about Applying for Freelance Writing Jobs with Staffing Agencies,” after it). So if you find yourself recruited by an agency, keep the following in mind to determine if it’s the right fit for you as a freelance (SEO) writer.

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Publisher Note: I’m still seeking recipes for a cookbook – it’s for freelancers by freelancers. If you are always on deadline and/or hate to cook (like me!) and are looking for cheap, easy meals to prepare, then this just may be your cup of tea! Get full details at http://bit.ly/1h6uhEv. Please share this with freelancers in your network. And thanks!
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6 Factors to Consider before Deciding Whether or Not to Freelance Full-Time with a Company

1. How long have you worked with the client: This is important because you want to get a “feel” for what they’re like. One project – unless it stretched out over some time – won’t tell you this. I’d say freelance via your agency for at least 90 days before you decide to jump ship.

2. On what types of projects will you be working: If it’s too far outside your scope of expertise (or interest), you might find yourself with a steep learning curve.

Most likely though, the reason they want you to sign on is because you have expertise in THEIR niche, so this isn’t a big concern. Just make sure though that the bulk of the work will stay within your niche so that you don’t look up one day and find yourself working on a project you hate – for an extended period of time.

3. How was the relationship: For example, your interactions with them, theirs with you. Usually, you’ll find yourself working with different people within a company. So if you decide to sign on with them instead of continuing to work through your agency, one thing to consider is how you’ll handle sticky situations if they arise.

You see, when you’re with an agency, all you have to do is tell your recruiter about any problems you may be having and they’ll usually “fix it” for you if possible. You won’t have this type of buffer if you leave the agency/recruiter.

4. Did the project(s) flow smoothly: Piggybacking on the last point, did they get back to you in a timely manner with changes, about questions you asked, about additional materials you needed? However the project went when you worked via an agency is most likely the same way it’ll flow if you sign on with a company directly.

Just know this going in – and if it’s something you can deal with.

5. Do you like the work: If you don’t like the work, no matter how much they’re offering to pay you, IMO, it’s not worth it – especially as it’s something you’ll be doing regularly. That’s NOT why you freelance. Sure, some projects are a pain, but the beautiful thing about freelancing is that they don’t last forever and you can be on to something else when one project comes to an end.

If you sign on with a company though – you commit to them – for an extended time usually.

6. How will accepting this offer interfere with your other freelance clients obligations: This can make or break you as a freelance writer if you make the wrong decision. Some freelancers sign on with companies and let them take over their entire business, ie, 80, 90, 95 percent of their business comes from this one client.

And, sometimes this can work out beautifully. But – and I learned this lesson the hard way early on in my freelance career – if they leave you, there goes your whole income.

Even if you decide to sign on with a company directly, leave time to pursue other projects UNLESS you have an iron-clad contract that says they must buy you out. This will practically NEVER happen though, so leave room for other clients.

Never let one client eat up the bulk of your time as a freelancer time because they could go out of business, get a new person in who brings their own team of freelancers , decide to bring someone in-house full-time – or a whole bunch of other unforeseen things could happen. In my opinion (and experience) it’s just too risky.

Conclusion

I’m sure there are other things you can add to this list, but these are some of the most important factors to consider before leaving a recruiting/staffing agency to sign on with a client directly.

I hope this series has given you some insight into how and why to work with recruiters and staffing agencies, and good luck if you decide to add this way of finding freelance writing jobs to your list.

Anything you’d like to add? Please share in the comments section below.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED POSTS

Following is what was published recently on InkwellEditorial.com, this blog’s parent blog.

Last Friday: The weekly Quick Tip for Freelance Writing Success (we post one every Friday; this is the most recent one).

Tuesday: Freelance Writers: An In-Depth Discussion on Why You Should Register with Staffing Agencies to Land Writing Gigs, Part I

Yesterday: Freelance Writers: An In-Depth Discussion on Why You Should Register with Staffing Agencies to Land Writing Gigs, Part II

Have a fabulous weekend!

Sunset: The Cliffs of NegrilP.S.: It’s Almost Time for the SEO Copywriter Training Class in Jamaica. Have you registered yet?

FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing.

That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Writer Salary 2014

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.

How Should SEO Content be Written in 2014 to Stay on the Right Side of Google? Here’s How

Written by Yuwanda Black

Over the last few years, there’ve been a few major Google algorithm update that have directly affected how SEO copy should be written. Namely Panda, Penguin 2.0 and Hummingbird. This can be sooooo confusing, especially if you’re new to SEO writing because it can be hard to keep straight things like what to make anchor text, what NOT to make anchor text and where to put keywords, for example.

So when I updated the SEO copywriting course, I came up with a cheat sheet of sorts for students. Of course, this will change over time, as Google is constantly updating their algorithm. But as it stands right now, following are the SEO writing rules you need to keep in mind to stay on the right side of Google.

2014 SEO Writing Checklist

The 2014 SEO Writing Rules Checklist

Note: Most of the extensive SEO writing guidelines (brought on by Google’s Panda Update in 2011) are things you’ll be doing automatically – as the vast majority of them are kinda common sense.  

I. Place Keywords Properly

Put them in the five places it’s generally accepted that they should appear. Be sure not to overuse the same keyword/keyword phrase; vary them – use secondary and tertiary keywords to accomplish this.

II. Use Long-Tail Keywords

Those with three or more words, for they bring better, more qualified traffic. Learn more about why long-tail keywords are so effective, especially in light of Google’s Hummingbird Update.

III. Write Themed SEO Content

Piggybacking on this last point, here’s the link again to show you how to write themed content (which is basically getting a lot of those long-tail keywords in your text). This basically means finding other keyword phrases (lots of others) — besides the main one – to sprinkle throughout your article/blog post.

IV. Anchor Text

While using a keyword for anchor text is still recommended, stay away from grammatically incorrect keywords (eg, exact match anchor text). Also, vary anchor text. Don’t use the same keyword for anchor text within a given article.

V. Keyword Density

Keep it in the 1-2% range. To do this, don’t repeat a keyword phrase more than once every 100 to 150 words.

VI: Cite a Source(s)

Use reputable ones like from universities, well-known industry leaders, etc.

VII: Grammar/Spelling

Make sure it’s letter perfect.

VIII: Try to Answer a Popular Question

As web surfers look for information, see if you can find a popular question about the subject at hand and answer that in your copy. Why? Because if you’ll remember, the Hummingbird update was about mobile search. When people are talking into their Smartphones, for example, what are they doing usually? Asking questions about something, right?

So ask yourself, “What would a web surfer want to know about this topic that I can address in detail in my article?” Remember, Q&A sites like http://answers.yahoo.com are great ways to come up with frequently asked questions by web surfers.

IX: Call to Action

Content marketing has ushered in the age of “ingest information, then DO something.” So while this has nothing to do with staying on the right side of Google at first look, it really is. How? Because content that moves surfers to take action is likely shareable.

Google’s algorithm pays attention to signals from social media to rank content. Proof?

Within the US, among 44 ranking factors examined, social signals account for 7 of the 8 most highly correlated with Google search results, according to a new study from Searchmetrics. …

That social signals correlate with Google rankings is not news to search marketers. According to a recent survey from BrightEdge, 80% of search marketers believe social sharing of content will be either a much more (31%) or more (49%) important means to improve rank this year than last. [Source: MarketingCharts.com, Social Signals Again Seen Highest Correlating Factors With Google Rankings]

So include a call to action. It counts!

What Say You?

Did I miss anything? Anything you’d add to this list of SEO writing guidelines for 2014? Please share in the comments section below. And, if you found this post helpful, please share it. Thanks!

RECENTLY PUBLISHED POSTS

Following is what was published recently on InkwellEditorial.com, this blog parent blog.

Last Friday: The weekly Quick Tip for Freelance Writing Success (we post one every Friday; this is the most recent one).

Saturday: Seeking Recipes from Freelance Writers: Wanna Contribute?

Tuesday: How to Create a Freelance Writer’s Client List & Lasso Them In in 3 Super-Simple Steps!

Yesterday: How Much Does It Cost to Start a Freelance Writing Business in 2014? Here’s What I Spend. It’s a more detailed post than the one I did last year on this subject. It details all of the expenses I encounter each month.

Hope you enjoyed the short work week (to my American friends) and that you have a fantastic weekend. 🙂

Sunset: The Cliffs of NegrilP.S.: It’s Almost Time for the SEO Copywriter Training Class in Jamaica. Have you registered yet?

FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing.

That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Writer Salary 2014

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.

2 Aspiring Online Writers Ask, “How Much Can I Earn as an SEO Writer?”

Written by Yuwanda Black

Over the last few months, I’ve received a few inquiries from aspiring freelance SEO writers asking some version of the question, “How much can I earn as a freelance SEO writer?” Following are two.

Question #1 Received on 9/27/2013

Hi Yuwanda,

I’am really impressed by the amazing experience surfing your website and blog and would like to thank you for all insights you are providing your audience with.

Before asking my question, let me first quickly introduce myself to you. My name is Tarik, i am Moroccan and always dreamed about making money online as a freelance marketer, but never did it! when i visited your website for the first time and read all the articles about seo writing and the kind of lifestyle and income you can have once you know what are doing…i wad definitely INTRIGUED !! and wanted to ask you a simple question..

Here comes my question : is it really possible to make 250$/day for someone who lives thousands miles away from the US and know nothing about SEO ??? is it really possible to make it in such a short period of time ???

Your sincere answer would be highly appreciated !!

Thanks for your time !

All the best,
Tarik

My Answer to Tarik’s Question

Tarik:

Yes, it’s possible — because SEO writing is done online. How much you earn is directly proportionate to how you market yourself and how hard you work.

FYI, here’s a link which contains a series of posts I wrote giving advice to non-U.S. based freelancers who want to start this career: http://www.seowritingjobs.com/freelance-seo-writing-advice-for-non-native-english-speakers/

Good luck!

SEO Writer Salary: 7 Factors that Affect How Much You Can Earn

Question #2 Received on 10/20//2013

I am so excited about this endeavor, but it’s scary! I am working on both SEO and sales copy. Need to be paying my minimum bills by February. Reasonable? I have an MBA in Marketing so may have an advantage or a hindrance, not sure which one yet. haha…Thank you so much for the personal message.

Amanda

It was Amanda’s question that really prompted this post.

The simple truth is, there is no set answer to how much a person can earn writing SEO copy as a freelancer. However, there are factors that determine your earnings. I’ve covered this subject from different angles in various blog posts before, but as it’s the beginning of the new year and many are kicking off their freelance writing careers for the first time, I thought I’d list them again.

7 Factors that Determine How Much You Can Earn as a Freelance SEO Content Writer

Following are seven things that, in my opinion, ultimately determine how much you earn as a freelancer writing SEO content.

I. Marketing Ability

In my opinion, this is the most important factor because if you’re not a consistent marketer, then you won’t earn very much. Fellow SEO writer Jean sums it up perfectly in the comments section of this post:

… all marketing takes time to gather momentum, so even the “quickest” way to market will take time to give you results if it’s new to you. So what’s worked for you in the past will work for you during the slow months.

And, of course, consistency is key. Market all the time, at least once a week, every week. Every day is better, of course, but consistency is the real key.

II. Marketing Message

Just as important as marketing consistency is your marketing message.

First (obviously), it has to be free of grammatical and spelling errors. Even I’ve made this blunder, sending out a bunch of emails and not getting any response. Then, when I look back at it, I find a typo. I can’t tell you how common this is. So, make sure your message is error-free.

Second, make it benefits oriented. Many freelancers focus on what themselves when they market, using pronouns like me, our and my. But your marketing messages should focus on the client – as in, what can you do for them. You should use pronouns like you and your – which keeps the benefits you offer clients squarely focused on them.

See #10 in this article on how to write effective sales copy. It illustrates this point perfectly.

Copywriting Tip: FYI, study the other tips the above-linked article also. Writing sales copy is a highly valued skill – one that can earn you a lot of money. Many copywriters like Bob Bly earn 6 and 7 figures per year because they write copy that produces quantifiable results.

Copywriting is a skill that has to be constantly developed. I work on this skill a lot – constantly reading articles on how to become a better writer. It not only helps me write better copy for my firm’s clients, but when selling my products and services as well.

III. Writing Niche

First, you should select a niche to specialize in for all the reasons listed here. Again, this is just my opinion. Second, some niches pay better than others. For example, you can charge more for writing medical, legal and technical SEO copy than say, fashion.

IV. SEO Writing Rates

This incites a constant debate among freelance writers – in all niches. I don’t believe in telling SEO writers what to charge. My pat answer is, charge what you need to pay your bills. This is different for each person.

Again, freelancer Jean summed it up perfectly in the comments section of this post, writing:

Every freelancer’s business is different. I’m learning not to compare myself to others. This summer has been my best ever. I’m quoting rates I know others would envy (and often getting them). But it’s taken me ALMOST FOUR YEARS (that’s right) to get to this place.

So I’m a “loser,” aren’t I? Taking me four years and others have received (and keep) dozens of clients from the get-go. They have recurring/retainer clients they get two months out with a guarantee of $3K a month for the forseeable future. Can you say, “Well, gee, I’m Jean and my middle name is..Envious!”?

But now I know I’m the envy of others; I know I still envy others. I still feel sorry for myself; I’m still feeling proud of myself. The key is thus: Go after a niche and/or general clients that pay well. They’re out there.

Here are some previous posts on how to set your rate as a freelance (SEO) writer that can help.

Posts on Freelance & SEO Writing Rates

SEO Writing Rates: How to Determine What to Charge as an SEO Copywriter

How to Set SEO Writing Rates to Make $250-$500+/Day

How to Set Your Freelance Writing Rates to Make a Real Living

4 Guidelines for Setting Blog Posting Rates

Freelance Writing Rates: And the Debate Rages On . . .

Advice for Freelance SEO Writers: How to Negotiate Rates When Clients Want You to Go Lower with the Promise of More Work

V. Writing Ability

I’ve had some freelancers contact me and ask why they can’t land clients. Then, when I look at their writing samples, they’re not up to par.

In a few cases, the writing is horrible, but in most, the writing is just not up to par – you know the kind, it’s not bad enough to be called bad, but it’s not something that you’d pay a professional for (although, I have seen writing samples by writers who said they have clients and the writing was sub-par, in my opinion).

My best advice here is to ask someone with writing ability to assess your samples. Ask for honest, straightforward feedback – and then do what you need to do to get your skills where they need to be before marketing for writing jobs.

Here’s some insight into how to become a better writer.

VI. Services Offered

Ostensibly, the more services you offer, the more you can earn. For example, social media goes hand in hand with writing SEO content. And, who better to post something to a client’s social media accounts than you, the person who created the content.

I’ve increased some of my invoices by 50% or more by managing client social media accounts, in addition to creating their content. Nina Lewis, co-author of Inkwell Editorial’s social media consulting ebook, speaks to this in the post, Social Media Management Services: Insight into What It Takes to Earn $2,000 to $3,000 Per Month Managing Social Media Accounts, writing:

The trend I am starting to see with my business right now, is that  the wide majority of my Social Media clients are requesting either  a newsletter or a blog in conjunction with their Social Media management.  ( of course, I charge them for the writing portion).   So, I would add some aspect of writing to my social media packages, or include it as a visible upsell on your sales landing page.).

So look for services you can add that complement the writing services you offer.

VII. Mindset

You have to believe it to achieve it. I think Jessie Jackson is credited with saying this. While it may seem like some new-agey, hippie speak, it’s true. Successful SEO writer Paul Lindquist of Quality Copywriting Services put it best in the comments section of this post, writing:

What freelancing requires is a certain mindset — I would refer to it as an ‘abundance mentality’. It’s the same principle as in the days of the ‘door to door’ salesman (which there still are a few of); the more doors you knock on, the more sales you’ll make.

But it’s much easier in our business, because we don’t have to go door to door or even cold call if we don’t want to. All we have to do is send emails…over and over. And sooner or later, you will get responses. And eventually, one client, then two, then three, and on and on.

The hardest part is getting that first one. And while marketing and waiting, it’s very easy to get discouraged. But you have to know that they’re out there (in abundance) and that as long as you market consistently, you can build this business to whatever level you aspire.

You see, when you have the right mindset (belief in self), it will help you envision what your success will look like. Once you invest in that vision, then you’ll move heaven and earth to do what you need to do to make your dream come true.

Freelancer Joyce, explained this concept beautifully in the comments section of this post, writing:

Another thing that helped me was that I truly envisioned writing full-time. It wasn’t just a pipe dream that I thought about once in awhile. I made plans for how I would organize my days, what I would do, and I gave myself deaadlines along the way.

Since you usually have to make enough money to get to that point, I willingly worked four and five hours (or more) during the night to earn enough money to set aside so that I could quit my full-time job. I would give myself goals of how much I needed to earn and when I would reach that goal so that I knew I was earning as much writing as I was in my other job. Small goals that you can reach within a few weeks or months keep you moving forward.

As you can see, belief is a motivating foundation that propels you to achieve your dreams. First you believe, then you work to achieve.

Share Your Thoughts

What would you add to this list? Please share in the comments section below.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED CONTENT

Following is what was published recently on InkwellEditorial.com, this blog’s parent blog.

Last Friday: The weekly Quick Tip for Freelance Writing Success (we post one every Friday; this is the most recent one).

Monday: Freelance Writing Jobs for the Week of 1/13/2014

Tuesday: Becoming a Freelance Writer: The Highs and Lows of My First Six Months

Yesterday: Can Ebook Piracy Actually Help Self-Published Authors Sell More Books?

Sunset: The Cliffs of NegrilP.S.: It’s Almost Time for the SEO Copywriter Training Class in Jamaica. Have you registered yet?

FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing.

That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Writer Salary 2014

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.

3 Questions All Freelance SEO Writers Should be Asking Themselves in 2014

Written by Yuwanda Black

At the beginning of every year, I like to take stock of my freelance writing business to assess things like how much money I’ve earned, where I can increase earnings, services I need to add/cut, etc.

This has been particularly helpful since I started New Media Words, my SEO writing company back in 2008. Why? Because writing search engine-optimized copy requires you to stay up to date on so much, namely the ever-changing Google algorithm.

With this in mind, following are three questions I think all SEO writers should ask themselves right now.

3 Questions Every SEO Writer Should be Asking Themselves in 2014

1. Am I Up On the Latest Search Engine Algorithm Changes?

Namely, those made by Google.

As we’ve seen with recent changes like Hummingbird and Penguin 2.0, when search giants like Google tweak their algorithms, it can have a significant impact on how SEO content is written. And, if you don’t stay up on these changes, you could be doing your clients harm.

Source to Consult to Stay on Top of What Google Is Doing

Here’s a list of all of Google’s algorithm changes; this site lists a quick snippet of what each update was all about. It’s a good idea to bookmark this page if you’re an SEO writer.

The reason you need to pay particular attention to Google’s algorithm changes is that they are, by far, the most dominant search engine. Proof?

Google gets three times more traffic than the number two search engine, averaging one billion (yes, billion with a “b”) unique visitors per month as of this writing. Bing, their closest competitor, averages 290 million uniques per month.

2. Do I Know How to Write Engaging Content?

Content marketing is extremely popular. You can’t read anything about writing for search engines without running into the phrase “content marketing.”

No longer is keyword stuffed, anchor text heavy, copy enough to drive traffic – like it was when I first started out in 2007.

Now, you need to not only observe search engine writing guidelines, you need to know how to tell a story, how to engage readers, how to get them to take some defined action (eg, sign up to a newsletter, download a free ebook, call a toll-free number, make a purchase, etc.).

In short, you need to know how to write copy that holds the interest of the reader – and makes them want to do something after they’ve read it. This is no easy feat.

How to Write Engaging, Action-Oriented Content

FYI, here’s one of the better articles I’ve read on how to create engaging content. I particularly like #5, but all of these suggestions are great. If you only use a handful of these, you’ll be on your way to creating amazing content because writing is a skill – a skill that goes beyond just stringing words together (as most writers know, right?).

But, the kicker is that a lot of writers don’t take the time to study their craft and get better. Many keep churning out the same type of copy over and over.

Set yourself apart – spend time reading up on how to get better as a writer, take a class, stretch yourself to expand your skill set by taking on different types of writing assignments. Over time, it can pay off big.

3. Have I Mastered the Art of the Headline?

This may seem like a little-known skill, one not worth mentioning as a standalone talent, but particularly in the world we live in today, it’s more necessary than ever. Why do I say this?

Well, think about it, there’s social media, newsletters, blog posts, web articles, etc. all competing for reader attention – especially online. What’s the one thing we see first? The one thing that for many of us decides whether or not we click on an article, post, etc.

It’s the headline, right?

No matter how great the content is you create for clients, if no one reads it, it can’t produce any results. So learning how to write headlines is definitely a skill that you should constantly be working on.

It’s an area I struggle with; hence, it’s something I’m constantly studying. Like everything in the creative arena, there is no absolute right or wrong – just room for improvement. 

Share Your Thoughts

What questions do you think freelance SEO writers should be focusing on this year? Have you taken stock of your writing biz? Are there particular things you’re working on this year? Please share in the comments section below.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED CONTENT

Following is what was published recently on InkwellEditorial.com, this blog’s parent blog.

Last Friday: The weekly Quick Tip for Freelance Writing Success (we post one every Friday; this is the most recent one).

Sunday: The State of Freelancing: What Freelancing Will Look Like in 2014? Some Predictions

Monday: Freelance Writing Jobs for the Week of 1/6/2014

Tuesday: For the Freelance Writer and Marketer: 4 Tips on How to Keep Your Writing Life Balanced

Yesterday: Self-Publishing Insight: Can You Write in Different Genres and Still Make Money?

Sunset: The Cliffs of NegrilP.S.: It’s Almost Time for the SEO Copywriter Training Class in Jamaica. Have you registered yet?

FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing.

That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Writer Salary 2014

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.

LEARN SEO IN PARADISE – NEGRIL, JAMAICA

Publisher Note: This seminar is no longer offered in person (ie, in Jamaica). You can still take the e-version of it though.

How would you like to train for a career where you can earn $50,000 to $75,000 per year?

As a freelance SEO copywriter, you can. In case you didn’t know, the average salary for a SEO content writer in the U.S. is $66,000 as of this writing. Freelancers can earn even more because they set their own rates. Also, they can have as many/few clients as they want.

Note: If you can’t take the class in Jamaica, you can take it online immediately and work at your own pace. Just click the “Add to Cart” button at the bottom of this page.

Earn While You Live / Work in Exotic Locations Like Jamaica

The April 2013 SEO seminar in Negril was a huge success — so much so that I’ll be giving another one in May 2014 in Jamaica. I asked participants to answer a few questions about the seminar. Following is what they said:

1. Did you feel like you got your money’s worth? Yes, yes, yes! And the setting was priceless. Pretty hotel right on the beach.

2. Was the seminar too long / too short? Perfect length. Lot of info covered in the two-day time span.

3. Did you learn things you didn’t know about SEO writing before you took the seminar? If so, what? Yes, and I know a bit about working online and SEO. [I learned about] Themed content, tons of marketing ideas, tricks in performing keyword research. Some things I would have never thought of doing to find out what surfers are REALLY looking for.

The long-tailed keyword research tips were really invaluable. Also, the invoicing tips and info about how to deal with clients. Everything from initial conversation, to follow-up, and more are treasured nuggets.

4. Do you feel like the course prepared you to realistically start a successful SEO writing career? Yes, definitely. The manual provided by Yuwanda for the course is VERY DETAILED. And the actual in-class work and keyword homework were great learning tools.

The feedback she provided immediately on the homework was very helpful. She took each student’s assignment and shared it, along with her feedback, so we could learn from the other.

5. What would you change, add, cut, etc.? I wouldn’t cut a thing. I would add more in-class sample writing.

6. Any additional comments you’d like to add, eg, accommodations, travel preparations, etc.? Yuwanda’s small business knowledge is incredible. Lots of first-hand advice. She knows this business and was very open and candid in her discussions about small business and SEO.

She’s a very open teacher; if you ask her something, she’ll tell you and expound upon it, never sugar-coating. Loved the class. Can’t wait for more.~CB

Read what others have said about this SEO course.

Why Is This SEO Course Given in Jamaica?

If you’re a regular reader of my sites and blogs, you know that I spend a lot of time in Negril, Jamaica. Since I started blogging about my adventures as a freelancer living in this island paradise, I’ve received a ton of questions from people who want to visit. They inquire about what to do, where to go, where to stay, what to see, is it safe, etc. Many even want to meet/visit me there!

So I decided to combine business and pleasure, and put together this on-site SEO copywriter training course. Now that you have some background, following are the specifics on the next one in Jamaica. And, you can even bring a friend/mate (more on that in the details below).

About me: course instructor.

Get Much More Insight about This Course.

Details on the May 2014 SEO Copywriter Training Course in Jamaica!

7 Mile Beach, Negri JamaicaThe Infamous 7-Mile Beach in Negril

SEO SEMINAR DETAILS

Date: May 21-25, 2014

Attendee Limit: 15 Students — First come basis. (I’m limiting enrollment because I want to be really hands-on, answering questions in detail so that when you leave, you’ll not only possess foundational knowledge of SEO, but you’ll know how to go about starting the type of freelance SEO content writing business YOU want).

Location: Negril, Jamaica [Note: You can bring a friend/mate, as you’ll, of course, have your own room and your accommodations will be paid for!]

Schedule: Following is how it all pans out. Note that classes start late enough to rest from the fun of the night before, but early enough to get in a full day of training. And, you end early enough to get in some amazing beach time (the water is so warm, and the sunsets are so amazing, you’re gonna want to get in as much beach time as possible).

Paradise — It Does Exist: Here are a few of my personal photos that illustrate what I mean: Sunset on 7-Mile Beach in Negril; horseman on beach at sunset; 7-Mile Beach in Negril Jamaica; horseback riding on the beach; the cliffs of Negril (and yes, the ocean really is that blue!). Click for enlarged views.

Wed 5/21/2014: Arrive and settle in

Thur 5/22/2014: Class from 10-4:30 (FYI, there will be one to two hours of homework per night to complete after the class).

Fri 5/23/2014: Class from 10-4:30

Sat 5/24/2014: Full free day to do what you want.

Sun 5/25/2014: Checkout. You’re not gonna wanna leave . . . trust me! 🙁

Cost: $1,097 or $1,497.  It’s only $1,247 if you pay for or reserve a spot before September 1, 2013 (save $250)You can reserve your space for just $147 and pay the rest off at any time in any increment before 4/21/2014 (more on this below).

FYI, these rates INCLUDE your accommodations for 5 days, 4 nights (don’t forget you can bring a friend/mate). Yes, you read that right!

Note: Pay $1,097. Before I gave the first on-site seminar in April (2013), I had several people contact me saying that they either live in Negril or travel there frequently. Hence, they didn’t need accommodations. If this is the case — or you just want to handle your own accommodations — then you can attend the seminar for the regular rate of $1,097. All other details remain the same.

REMEMBER: You’ll leave the course with a concrete marketing plan detailing exactly how to go about earning $50,000 to $75,000/year.

Where You’ll Stay: Rooms on the Beach. You can take a virtual tour of the hotel here.

Remember, I personally viewed this hotel and attendees stayed their for the April 2013 seminar. I travel a lot and if you’ve ever seen something online and think that it’s great, only to be disappointed upon arrival, then you know why I did this. So, what you see on this virtual tour is exactly what you get. And like I said, the staff couldn’t be more professional and nice (something the video can’t tell you).

To refresh your memory, following are some of the details I found important …

About Rooms on the Beach Hotel in Negril

It is aptly named in that it is “right on the beach” (10 steps and you’re there);

Large closet;

Large room (some hotels can make you feel squeezed; not this one, the rooms are very spacious);

Flat-screen TV (with cable);

Great amenities (eg, coffee maker right in your room which is replenished with supplies daily);

Large; roomy shower (really nice bathrooms all around);

Two beds in each room;

In-room safe for valuables;

Nice, cold AC (a lot of the hotels here have AC, of course, but it doesn’t get cold enough sometimes);

Balcony and/or terrace off each room (depends on which floor you’re on);

Security (almost every hotel here has this too, but this one is super secure – you won’t have to worry about a thing – eg, no one who’s not staying at the hotel can enter);

Free Wi-Fi (in the lobby only (not in your room, although you can pay for access to it on a daily/weekly basis if you want)). This was the only downside to this hotel IMO; and

Extra-nice hotel staff – they couldn’t have been more accommodating to my gazillion questions. I met the hotel manager herself and she personally escorted me around.

The hotel is relatively new, so everything is super nice (a lot of the hotels here, though nice, can be dated). Not this one, everything is super shiny, extra clean and just all-around nice.

Remember, the cost of your hotel is INCLUDED in the price of this SEO writing course.

And, you can bring a friend/loved one at no extra cost, as your room includes two beds.

BONUS: You’ll get to experience Jamaica from someone with first-hand experience, so you can look forward to this trip without the worries of where to go, what to do and how to stay safe.

Get the Negril Travel Guide Free

Negril on the Cheap: What to Do, See, Eat and DrinkOnce you’ve paid for the course in full, I’ll send you the “Negril Travel Guide” (written by me).

It details everything you need to know about where to eat cheaply; best places to drink cheaply; tourist traps to avoid; where to take the best photos; how to get around safely; day trips you can take — and a whole bunch of other stuff that’s gonna make your Jamaica experience memorable.

Click cover for a larger view.

FAQs about the SEO Writing Class in Jamaica

Where Will Classes for This SEO Writing Seminar in Jamaica be Held? You don’t even have to leave your hotel grounds. The hotel has a conference room, and the class will be held there.

What Happens After You Sign Up for the SEO Copywriter Training Seminar? I will send you a confirmation email letting you know that your spot has been secured.

Then around mid-April (2014), you’ll receive final details. As soon as you sign up though, your spot in the class is secured. The only thing you’re responsible for after this is …

Your Airfare to Negril: I suggest subscribing to the newsletters of major airlines near you so you can get their (usually weekly) deals and discounts. The best deals are usually 30-60 days before departure. Note: I specifically scheduled the class around Memorial Day (a major U.S. holiday) because airlines usually offer some great deals around this time to the Caribbean.

Jamaica Travel Tip: April 15th starts the slow season in Negril (another reason I chose the dates I did for the seminar). Slow season runs through December 15th.

Question about this class from a Facebook fan. He wrote:

You have an ebook on SEO copy writing – does some of this material merge? What’s the difference between the Ecourse and the live training in Jamaica? I may be interested in joining up, but Jamaica would be an addition expense from here in Ireland 🙂

You have an ebook on SEO copy writing – does some of this material merge? Yes, out of necessity, ie, what is SEO and how to write SEO content.

What’s the difference between the e-course and the live training in Jamaica? The differences are mainly:

(i) Role playing as it involves actual clients — I recount actual scenarios that have happened to me and ask how you’d respond, then give feedback from there); and

(ii) Q&A about YOUR type of SEO writing business — Defining a niche and determining how to market to it is extremely important and many students struggle with this. In the live version of the course, I help students do this and answer all the questions they have as they flesh out this plan;

(iii) Live feedback on your writing samples and keyword research abilities; and finally

(iv) Direct access to me — So many students have asked me over the years to provide hands-on coaching (eg, via telephone or live video) because they want someone in front of them to answer their questions immediately. Unfortunately, my schedule just doesn’t allow for this. And, that’s one of the reasons I put this class together.

I’ll be right there in front of you to answer all of your questions. This will go a long way towards alleviating any start-up fears many have.

I hope this insight helps, and I look forward to the possibility of meeting you in Jamaica. And speaking of …

Jamaica: The Best Value in the Caribbean

Many who come to Jamaica come back year after year after year; not only because of its natural beauty, but because it’s one of the cheapest (if not the cheapest) destinations in the Caribbean. And, once you know what to do — and what not to do — you can have so much fun.

This one trip will give you some invaluable experience that you can use to have more fun — cheaply — if you decide to come back to this Caribbean paradise (and 9 times out of 10, you will!).

Who Should “NOT” Take This Course

Yes, there are those who are not suited for this type of freelance business, ie:

Those who don’t like/want to work from home;

Those who aren’t self-motivated;

Those who are afraid of running their own business (because this is what you’re learning how to do — start and grow a home-based writing business);

Those who can’t work independently; and/or

Those who don’t worry about job security.

If any of these apply to you, then this course is not for you. But if you’ve always dreamed of running your own business, working from home and having income security (as opposed to “job” security), this is an ideal business to start. And you’ll have all the tools you need to do so successfully once you complete the training.

The SEO Writer Who Landed a $24,000 Contract

Speaking of “income security”, read about the SEO writer who landed a $24,000 contract (yep, twenty-four thousand dollars — not a typo)? With that being said, here’s …

How to Register for This SEO Writing Seminar

Payment/Deposit: Reserve your space in the class for only $147 (see payment schedule in “Important Dates to Remember” section below). Send all payments via PayPal to payment@inkwelleditorial.com. Put “SEO Jamaica” in Subject line.

Don’t have a PayPal account? It’s free, quick and easy to open one. Once you do, you can pay via major credit card, electronic debit, instant transfer, etc. And it’s completely safe and secure; you never have to reveal any personal info when you pay via PayPal, which is why it’s our preferred method of sending and receiving payments.

About Your Receipt: Your PayPal payment serves as your receipt. Please keep it for your files, as the cost of the class is tax deductible. In fact, keep all of the receipts related to your expenses for this trip for tax purposes.

More Details: SEO Writing Course in Jamaica

Deadline to Register: April 21, 2014 (or until class is sold out; remember, there’s limited registration).

Airport to Fly Into: You’ll be flying into Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, which is about an hour and 15 minutes from Negril.

Getting to Negril from Montego Bay: From the airport, you’ll take the JUTA to Negril.

How to Get to Negril from the Montego Bay Airport Cheaply (This Knowledge Alone Can Save You $75+!)

As previously mentioned, Negril is about an hour to an hour and 15 minute drive from Montego Bay.

DON’T take a taxi. They will charge you anywhere from $60 to $100 or more to get to Negril. But, you can do it cheaper. It’s a “secret” I’m surprised more tourists don’t know about. The JUTA is a bus that picks up people staying in popular hotels in Negril from the Montego Bay airport. You’ll pay $25 EACH WAY as of this writing.

The JUTA bus will drop you off and pick you up right in front of your hotel. You pay on the bus, usually right before you’re let off, or when you get to the JUTA office in Negril. You can pay in American or Jamaican dollars. I always advise Jamaican.

FYI, there’ll be more info on currency exchange – and a whole bunch of other stuff – in the “Negril Travel Guide” all course participants will receive.

When to Book Your Flight to Jamaica: I usually book mine 30 to 60 days out.

Passport Needed: If you’re a U.S. citizen, you need a passport to enter Jamaica (I don’t think that’s true for English citizens, as Jamaica was a British colony until its independence in 1962). At any rate, check with your country’s INS (or similar) department, to find out what you need.

If you have any more questions, send them in and I’ll post updates here.

Recap: Important Dates to Remember

Deadline to Register: April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014: Deadline for balance of payment due.

May 21, 2014: Arrive in Jamaica!

May 22, 2014: Start training.

Payment Schedule: You can send payments in however you want, eg, pay the balance all at once, or a little at a time. We track it for you.

If you reserve your space with a deposit ($147), the balance is due on/before April 21, 2014, ie:

$950 is due on/before 4/21/2014 if you’re paying $1,097 just for the course and don’t need hotel reservations;

$1,100 is due on/before 4/21/2014 if you reserved your spot before 9/1/2013; or

$1,350 is due on/before 4/21/2014 if you reserved a space after 9/1/2013.

Note: No refunds will be given after 4/21/2014; no exceptions.

Additional Questions: If you have additional questions, you can always email me [info-at-InkwellEditorial.com]. As I get a lot of email, put “SEO Jamaica” in subject line so I can find your inquiry in my Inbox quickly.

See you in paradise!
Yuwanda

P.S.: Remember, learning SEO is about so much more than learning a new skill; it’s about changing (taking control of) your life!

seo-copywriting-training

 

 

3 Lessons I Learned about Paying Myself Early On That Increased My Earnings as a Freelance SEO Writer

Written by Yuwanda Black

First, let me say, I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year! I had a great, but tiring one – travelling all over the U.S. to see friends and family. I’m happily back in Jamaica now – where I plan to be for the next six months, then off to St. Croix in the Virgin Islands (more on this in a future blog post in the Living in Jamaica series).

Now, to today’s post …

As a freelance (SEO) writer, knowing when and how much to pay yourself can be a pain because earnings can be sporadic. One week you may make $1,000; another you may earn $200. I’ve been freelancing since 1993; full-time since 2007 as an SEO writer.

Freelance Writing Advice on Paying Yourself

Want to Earn More as a Freelance SEO Writer This Year? Take These 3 Lessons to Heart

Following are three lessons I’ve learned over the years about paying myself that have actually increased my earnings.

1. Set a Payment Schedule

When you first start your SEO writing career, early on, you may be living off savings until you can land some clients and start earning money.

But, one thing you should figure out before you start to freelance is how much you need to be earning in order to meet your financial obligations. This will solve a whole bunch of problems many newbies face, namely, what to charge.

You see, if you decide early on that you’re going to pay yourself a certain amount every week, then you’ll work that much harder to make sure you have enough in your account to make that withdrawal.

Years ago, my business mentor gave me this piece of advice when I ran Inkwell Editorial as a staffing agency. We had temps who worked on site and client offices for us, and I had been going months without getting paid – because there was usually not enough left over after I paid my temps.

My mentor told me to stop this practice. I said, “But how can I pay myself when I don’t have enough left over?

He said, “Then what are you in business for? To work for free? If you can’t afford to pay yourself, then do something else; you’re not in this to work for free.”

He went on to tell me to add myself to payroll just like I did my temps.

I did, and you know what? Something miraculous happened. Knowing that I had one more “temp” to pay every week (me!) made me work that much harder. I never missed paying my temps because they were “on payroll.” Once I added myself to the payroll, it’s like a mental switch in my brain flipped. I started treating my salary as a company expense – just like my temps were.

Before I guess I had been more lackadaisical about it, saying subconsciously, “If there’s enough left over; if we earn “X” then I can afford to take a salary.”

But once my salary was a company expense, then it became a financial obligation I had to meet as well.

So put yourself “on payroll.” At my firm, we paid every week. Your pay schedule can be anything you want, eg, weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, etc. Whatever it is though, make sure you meet it.

2. Give Yourself Raises

Monthly expenses rise – and so should your salary. Once you start earning money under your own steam as a freelancer and paying yourself a regular salary out of it, you’ll really see how far money DOESN’T go.

This is why it’s important to give yourself raises. This usually means raising your rates – which scares the bejeezus out of many. But it’s a must. Every business must sooner or later do this; it’s part of being a successful entrepreneur. As one freelancer noted in the post, SEO Writing Advice from — and for — Other Freelancers: 5 Tips from Experienced Freelancers:

As someone who has doubled rates over the past 2 years (I now charge $50 for a standard web page, more for themed), I can attest that raising rates is absolutely the best course of action. …

I considered lowering rates a bit, but then decided to stick to the new prices. Eventually, the work came in, and the quality of the clientele is much better at these pricing levels.

I landed a large client at these higher price levels and I think a company like this might not have considered a $25 a page writer.

Bottom line – raise your rates, and stick to them even if things seem slower at first. You won’t regret it.

3. Live Frugally

Being a business owner in general kinda forces you – if you’re smart and want to stay self-employed – to live below your means.

There have been times in my freelance career when I lived off savings, eg, when things were slow. Remember, I pay myself regularly, so even when no money or very little money has come in, I still have “payroll” to meet. So if no money has come in, where does it come from?

Savings.

It’s sobering to see just how fast money goes when you’re taking it out of savings and not putting it in. So I don’t even get excited when I land a big client or get paid for a big project. I still take my regular salary, put a portion in my tax account, and put the rest away.

One thing I may do to “celebrate” is buy myself a more expensive bottle of wine than I usually do, or go out for a nice meal. But, I don’t go on a spending spree.

You see, you learn very early on as a freelancer that it can be an up-and-down financial existence. But, that doesn’t meant it has to be a feast-or-famine existence for you as a freelancer.

Make saving money a lifestyle. It’ll increase your chance of staying self-employed probably more than almost anything else you can do. I talk about this in the post, The State of Freelancing: The 2014 Employment Outlook for Freelancers, writing:

I’ve been freelancing since 1993. During this time, I’ve held full-time jobs for probably two or three years in total. And one of the things that made me go back to working for someone else was debt.

Now I’m debt free – and it makes freelancing so much less stressful. I discuss all of this in detail in How to Know When You’re Ready to Quit Your Job to Freelance Fulltime: 6 Signs It’s Time and How to Go About It.

I don’t drive the latest car, wear the latest clothes, eat out at the fanciest restaurants, or get my hair and nails done nearly as much as I want. So it’s a tradeoff – one I gladly make to live a less stressful existence …

Conclusion

As you can see, paying yourself as a freelancer forces you to confront money issues head on. And it’s one area many don’t like to deal with. After all, we’re creative, right? Pshaw, who wants to think about or deal with finances?!

But it’s a must if you want to stay successfully self-employed as a freelance (SEO) writer.

Share Your Thoughts

What financial lessons have you learned as a freelance writer? What scares you most about starting a freelance career? Are finances a major stumbling block? Please share in the comments section below.

Recently Published Content

Following is what was published recently on InkwellEditorial.com, this blog’s parent blog.

Last Friday: The weekly Quick Tip for Freelance Writing Success (we post one every Friday; this is the most recent one).

Monday: Freelance Writing Jobs for the Week of 12/30/2013.

Tuesday: How to Stay on Track with Your Freelance Writing Dreams in 2014: 5 Easy Things You Can Start Doing Right Now.

Yesterday: 4 Reasons to Start a Freelance Writing Business in 2014.

Sunset: The Cliffs of NegrilP.S.: It’s Almost Time for the SEO Copywriter Training Class in Jamaica. Have you registered yet?

FYI, did you know that the average salary of search engine optimization writers is $66,000 as of this writing.

That’s $15,000 above the median household income in the U.S. right now.

SEO Writer Salary 2014

Remember, when you learn how to write SEO content, you learn so much more than this one skill because it gives you the knowledge you need to take control of your financial future.