Online Instructor Final

How to Establish Your Credibility as an Online Instructor

How to Safeguard the Credibility of Online Instructor?

Your success as an online instructor hinges on whether or not your audience finds you credible enough to teach the topics in your course.

Here’s the thing, no matter how effective and game-changing the ideas in your online course might be, all of it is going to be useless if you cannot convince your audience that you are a credible enough online instructor.

After all, no one likes to gamble with their time and money, right?

I mean, why would they even spend their money on buying your course, if they have no idea about your skill level or whether or not you can give them a satisfying enough solution to their needs, right?

That’s how crucial establishing your credibility is if you’d like to become an online instructor.

The good news is, while building your credibility might not be an easy task, the roadmap to making this happen is quite simple.

And that’s what I’m going to share with you today. If you’re looking to establish your credibility as an online instructor, then this guide is for you.

Let’s hop right in.

Increase your visibility in forums or Q&A sites.

This game plan is designed to get your audience to trust you even if it’s the first time they’ve seen or heard about you.

Here’s the scenario that we’re trying to imagine. Let’s say someone is looking for tips on how to earn online through publishing ebooks. They’ll then visit the forums and Q&A sites to start a thread, or to ask a question (or to look for existing threads that can answer their question).

Since you’re *already* on the platform and they can see your answers, they’ll be interested in learning more about you. They’ll then click your profile to have a better understanding of what your expertise is.

Also, it’s quite common for forums or Q&A sites to show the threads that you’ve started, the comments or answers that you shared, etc… When they visit the other threads that you’ve been commenting on and see how value-packed your ideas are, they won’t have second thoughts about trusting you since you clearly know what you’re doing.

When they see what kind of “Karma,” upvotes, or the connections you have on your profile, they can easily be convinced of how trustworthy you are.

Of course, when they see your website and see the courses that you’ve published as an online instructor, making the decision to buy becomes a lot easier for them because they already trust you.

Guest post.

Imagine being an online instructor that specializes in Search Engine Optimization. How do you think your target audience would feel if they find out that you are a contributor to sites like Moz.com, Hubspot.com, or SearchEngineJournal.com (and other sites of the same caliber)?

Can you imagine their trust-o-meter shooting off the roof?

I mean, how can your audience not trust you if the editors of the hard-hitting sites approve of your ideas to the point of them allowing you to share it with their audience, right?

Another benefit of guest posting is the fact that they can read your content and the kind of ideas that you’re sharing. This gives them an idea of how knowledgeable you are in your craft.

Think of your guest posts as your appetizers for your audience. If they love it, they’ll be more than happy to devour the main course (the actual course that you are selling) that you’re going to offer.

If you aren’t quite familiar with how to start guesting posting, then allow me to share with you the gist of how the process works:

  1. Compile a list of high-quality sites that are relevant to your industry.
  2. Check out each site’s editorial guidelines then pitch their editors accordingly.
  3. Once their editors accept your article ideas, you can then start writing the article based on how you and the editor agreed it to be written.
  4. Send the article to the editor. If they accept your content, then they’ll tell you when your article is going live.
  5. If there are edits that they’d like to be made, then just do the edits until they accept your article.

The process is quite easy to follow, isn’t it? What isn’t easy however is executing the steps. It requires perseverance and mental grit.

Once you start working on the process, you’ll realize that some of the steps are quite boring. You’ll also notice how most of the webmasters/editors that you’ll send your pitches to will outright ignore you.

Don’t let these challenges get to you. Just continue doing what you’re doing (while trying to improve your steps as much as you can), and you’ll surely get results.

Create case studies.

When you mix testimonials, data-backed how-to articles, and success stories, what you’ll most likely end up having are case studies.

Pretty amazing, huh?

That’s why most companies pay premium rates to writers for case studies since it can get the job done. Whether you want more customers, brand recognition, leads, or just to solidify your brand as an authority in the industry, publishing case studies can almost always help you with just that.

If small or big businesses are using it, then why shouldn’t you?

You can publish case studies on your website where you talk about the problems of one of your customers, then talk about how they used your course, the steps that they took to solve their challenges, and the kind of amazing results that they’ve gotten. When your audience reads your case studies, they can easily imagine themselves to be your client (the one in the case study) since they can pretty much relate to the problems. At that point, since your course was the one that helped your client achieve success, it gives more weight to how credible you are as an instructor.

When your audience reads your case studies, they can easily imagine themselves to be your client (the one in the case study) since they can pretty much relate to the problems. At that point, since your course was the one that helped your client achieve success, it gives more weight to how credible you are as an online teacher.

What’s next?

What are some of the tips that you can share with other online instructors to help them establish their credibility online?

Was there a silver bullet strategy that helped you achieve the level of trustworthiness that you have achieved? Please share your ideas in the comments section below. Cheers!

Freelance Writing Gigs

How to Use Facebook to Start Getting More Freelance Writing Gigs

According to Facebook, they have about 1,650,000,000 monthly active users as of March 31, 2016. That’s way too many zeros to ignore, don’t you think?

The fact is, if you know how to market your writing services on Facebook, you’ll never starve as a writer – ever!

I know. You’ve probably tried selling your services on Facebook, haven’t you? And I’d bet that you haven’t gotten a single lead (let alone client) out of your marketing efforts.

Trust me; you are not alone.

I know several other freelancers that are struggling with the same thing as well.

If you are in fact getting little to no results out of your marketing efforts on Facebook, then allow me to share with you the exact strategies that I am using when looking for more freelance writing gigs on Facebook.

Let’s hop right in.

Google’s Web Store + Facebook fan page

I’d like to start with this tip right off the bat since I’ve gotten several clients from Facebook by using this strategy alone.

The game plan is quite simple. I just go to Google’s Web Store to uncover apps that the people in my niche would use. From there, I put together a list of these apps so I can look for their pages on Facebook. Once I find their page, I then take the time to comment, share, or engage with their audience so I can learn more about their business and their community.

After about a week or so of nurturing my visibility in their page through commenting, sharing, and liking, I’ll then send the business a private message asking if they’re looking for someone who can help them with their content.

* Important note – I do not just ask the prospect the question, “Do you need someone who can help you with your content?” I feel that the question sounds generic to the point where it looks spammy.

I tend to be very specific. I tell them things like, “I noticed that you haven’t updated your website’s blog posts since (the date since they last published). Are you currently in need of…” This kind of question clearly shows the prospect that you’ve done your homework, and that you aren’t just sending canned messages to everyone.

Be active on communities.

By “communities”, I’m talking about groups or fan pages.

There are several routes that you can take when using this strategy; you can straight up interact with groups that talk about how/where to get freelance writing jobs online, or, you can connect with groups that are all about the niche that you specialize in.

I’m a huge fan of the latter, however.

I’d like to be in niche specific groups since the kind of leads/clients that I get from these groups are of better quality. The topics that they want me to write about are things that I am familiar with, so it becomes easier for me to write their articles.

Invest in networking.

Not many freelancers understand the concept of networking. For them, it is just an idle “hi” or “hello” to other users. They have no clear idea of what it is, or how to even start.

The good news is, while there are in fact several important points that you need to consider to make sure that you’re networking the “right way,” we can pretty much sum the whole thing up in one line. And that line is, “How can you help them?”

Think about this statement when networking with other Facebook users, and I guarantee you that you’ll get better results out of your efforts.

Other freelancers tend to think about, “How do I approach this person so I can benefit from him?” when “networking” with others. It’s because of this that a good number of freelancers end up pitching their services even on their first contact with the other users when they should be focusing on learning more about the needs of the other person.

Look, you’ll need to be a bit more strategic when connecting with the other users, otherwise, you’ll just be spamming them with you first email pitch.

Why don’t you do this instead? Why don’t you ask the other user about what he does in the current company that he is connected with (or the business that he is managing), then ask him how you can help make things better for him?

That’s a pretty good strategy to get the other person to open up to you. Once they’ve opened up to you a bit, you can then strategically pitch your services to them.

Interview

Interviewing other users is also an effective means to turn them into paying clients.

Here’s the gist of the strategy.

All you need to do is reach out to the other Facebook users in your niche, and tell them that you’d like to interview them. Doing so will make them feel that they are important to you and that you value them.

For the most part, I have found that majority of the people that I pitch interview requests are almost always happy to oblige — unless they’re busy or something.

While you can certainly offer to interview someone for free, you might want to be a bit more selective about going about this.

After all, depending on how you want to run the interview, it can be quite time-consuming.

Instead of pitching an interview request to some random person within your industry, you ought to check the individual’s number of followers or his/her position in the company that he is connected with (among other things).

You need to be a bit more selective about who you choose to interview since your goal for connecting with them isn’t merely for the sake of interviewing them, one of your main reasons for doing so it to establish relationships, and win more customers.

As you can probably imagine, there is a world of a difference between the kind of chances that you can get when it comes to closing new clients, if you’re interviewing someone at the executive level, or someone in the frontlines.

When you’ve built a relationship with executives, they can quickly bring you more projects themselves, or they can refer you to their contacts.

What’s next?

Have you been using Facebook to get more freelance writing gigs? What are some of the best strategies that you can share with the community?

Please share your ideas in the comments section below. Cheers!

client referrals

6 Things You Need to Know When Asking for Client Referrals

Six Tips to Know Before Asking for Client Referrals

1. Don’t beg. Position your ask strategically.
2. Ask when you are praised for your effort or output.
3. DO NOT ask when you have unfinished business with your client
4. Be careful with the timing you ask for a referral.
5. Build a meaningful relationship with your clients.
6. Be confident when asking for a referral.

You’ve heard it haven’t you? You’ve heard others say how powerful of a tool client referrals can be when growing your client base.

I for one would attest to that. I’ve been using referrals for quite some time now and it has helped me get more clients, even without me having to do my usual client acquisition strategies/methods.

If you’re looking to learn more about how to ask for client referrals, then this guide is what you need. The tips and ideas that I’ll share with you will help drastically increase your chances of getting your clients to say, “Sure!”, when you go for the big ask.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Don’t beg. Position your ask strategically.

Don’t make your client referral ask sound like you’re begging.

If you’re reaching out to them telling them that you don’t have enough money to pay your bills, so you’d appreciate it if they’ll refer you to their community, you’re doing it wrong — terribly wrong!

Instead of going the “pity-me” approach, ask in this manner instead, “Hey (your client’s first name), is there anyone you know who might need my services?”

Asking in this manner will make you sound like you just want to help others solve their problems.

2. Ask when you are praised for your output. No matter how small of praise it might be.

This strategy has worked wonders for me.

Whenever I ask for referrals immediately after my client praises me, they almost always respond very positively.

I mean, when I ask on a normal scenario where they haven’t praised me or anything, I tend to get a, “Sure Jim. I’ll help you”, reply. However, whenever I ask for a referral where my clients have just praised me, they reply with, “Absolutely Jim! You’re the man and I’ll be more than happy to tell the world about how awesome your work is…”

The difference in their replies are like night and day.

Follow this strategy and you’ll never get a negative reply from your prospect clients.

More importantly, they tend to take action on your referral ask immediately in scenarios like these. I know this because minutes after they’ll tell me that they’ll refer me, they’ll get back to me saying 2 – 3 of his/her contact will connect with me today or within this week to discuss the possible opportunity.

Isn’t this strategy amazing?

All you need to do is provide solid work (just like you normally would), then you’ll manage to get more clients.

3. Do not ask when you haven’t completed your work, or proven your worth yet.

If you’ve heard of others saying that they ticked off their client because of their referral ask, then you need to dig deeper and learn about how they asked for the referral, and when they did it (among others things).

Here’s the thing, just like in most things in life, there is a right way of asking for referrals, and the wrong way.

Of course, asking for referrals when you have not yet established how “referral-worthy” you are is a terrible mistake.

This mistake is so wrong in so many levels, mind you.

In your client’s point of view, when you ask for referrals even if you haven’t shown him your work could mean that your just interested in getting more projects.

That’s a big “no no”.

You need to show your existing clients that you are focused on their project alone, and that you aren’t thinking of any other clients but them. You need to make them feel confident that you are giving their projects your best efforts.

4. Be careful with the timing.

It goes without saying that if your client isn’t in a good mood, you ought not to ask for referrals. Asking for referrals when your client is seeing red can cause you all sorts of problems. Enough said.

5. Build a meaningful relationship with your clients.

Having a meaningful relationship with your clients (or to everyone for that matter) almost always pays.

When you’ve reached a point where you can chat, or laugh with your clients casually, there’s just no reason why they would take offense in you asking for referrals, right?

However, as you can probably imagine, you’ll only get to a point where you can have an established enough relationship with your clients if you are consistent in giving them quality results.

It will only happen if you’ve won their trust, and they see you as someone who has genuine concern for them.

6. Be confident when asking.

There are a lot of misconceptions about asking for referrals.

Most freelancers think that doing so is beneath them, and that their clients might get turned off because of them asking.

They can never be further from the truth.

Look. Even if you ask seasoned freelancers (and business) who are worth their salt, they’ll be upfront in telling you that they are keen on asking for referrals.

They have a totally different mindset about it.

They rarely worry about blowing off a relationship with their clients because of referrals, because they know that it rarely happens.

Not asking for referrals is a mistake that most beginners make. I know this because I had the same mindset as well during my first few months in freelancing online.

It was only when I heard a podcast about the techniques on asking for referrals that I ended up trying it. And guess what… it works! It actually works quite well!

In fact, I’ve been trying to ask for referrals whenever I can from my clients, ever since my first success with the strategy.

Here’s the kicker… I don’t ever remember anyone getting annoyed at me for asking for referrals. In short — I didn’t have any burned bridges because of me asking for referrals. Not a single one.

What’s next?

Have you been asking your existing clients for more referrals? What are some of the techniques that you’re using to get them to say “yes”, and to increase the chances of them taking action in their commitment to helping you with referrals?

Please share your ideas in the comments section below. Cheers!

Online Freelancer

Limiting Beliefs that will Ruin Your Career as an Online Freelancer

If you’ve read your fair share of articles about how to succeed as an online freelancer, you’d have learned by now that while there are bajillions of successful freelancers, there are just as many who failed miserably — maybe even more.

Of course, none of us wants to end up becoming the latter. I know I wouldn’t. I hope you feel the same way too.

After having helped several online freelancers take their career to the next level, I now have a better idea of what made some of them fail, and what made others succeed.

The good news is, I’m going to share with you the kind of limiting beliefs that the freelancers who failed had, so you can peg them to kind of self talk that you have. Should you uncover that some of these limiting beliefs are inside you, you can then do whatever it is that you need to do to get rid of them.

* Note – Be honest when assessing yourself, otherwise, you’ll just undermine your success. Remember that we aren’t just here for mental exercise. Our goal here is to help you truly succeed at becoming an online freelancer.

Let’s hop right in.

1. I’m not good enough.

For the past 4 – 5 years, I’ve been taking the time to read/study almost everyday to hone my craft. I’m doing this because I know exactly where I stand. Not only is English my second language, but I didn’t graduate as an English major as well. In fact, the course I took up way back in college has a lot to do with machine design and metal fabrication — in short, I didn’t learn much about the English subject when I was still studying.

Look. I’ve been doing my due diligence to study and improve my craft for the past 4 – 5 years, yet I still feel that I’m not good enough. And quite frankly, if the other writers are going to be honest with you, I’d bet that a good number of them feel the same way as I do.

What I’m trying to drive at here is that feeling of not being good enough will never disappear.

You need to learn how to live with it.

You need to accept it as something that you’d probably have to wrestle with almost everyday.

However, you also need to realize that it isn’t always true.

Instead of allowing this self talk to ruin your career, use it as a means to fuel your hunger to succeed.

Here’s a tip. Instead of telling yourself that you aren’t good enough, why not let your clients judge that for you?

Just give them your best. Proofread your piece 5 – 10 times if need be. Whatever you do, stop lingering on the idea of you not being good enough. Just do what you need to do. And give it your all.

2. I should always do what pleases my clients.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for pleasing my clients. I am all for making them feel that I value them, and over delivering to blow their minds off.

However, there are times when the client’s requests are unreasonable. In situations like these, you need to be professional enough to tell them about it, and possibly decline the project (or request) if you feel that you won’t be compensated enough for the task.

Here’s the thing, if you’ll just suck it up and do the task even if you feel like you’re not getting enough value from it, you are bound to feel burned out and “used”.

You need to realize that for you and your client to have a successful working relationship, you both need to feel happy about the collaboration. You need to feel that you are respected and compensated enough, and he/she should feel that he’s getting enough value from what he/she is paying you.

3. Never turn down a project.

Don’t treat your online freelancing career with an eat-all-you-can-buffet-like approach. You need to learn to refuse projects, otherwise, you’ll end up getting spread out to thin.

Assess yourself. Are you still able to operate effectively with the amount of projects you’re working on? Or are you having to compromise on the quality of your work for the sake of meeting all the deadlines?

If you’ve been doing the latter, then I urge you to revisit the idea of letting go of some of your clients.

There are 3 things that I’d like to point out when declining projects, or letting go of some of your clients:

  • Continue to nurture your relationship with your clients. Do not simply let go and forget about them. Remember that it is more costly to win new clients, than to have your existing clients to order from you.
  • Be honest. Tell them that you’d like to decline the project for now since there’s just too much on your plate. I always make it a point to tell my would-be clients that I wouldn’t want to give them a half-baked output so I’d rather decline for now. Be sure to end your conversation with them in a positive note.
  • Give them an idea of when you’ll be available. Ask them if they’d like you to leave a slot open once you have several openings available.

While I’m telling you to decline some of the projects that are headed your way if you can no longer manage them effectively, there is also another route that you can take — outsource the task.

Should you decide to outsource some of your tasks, be sure to tell your clients about it.

Remember that your clients are hiring you based on the quality of work that you produce. If the quality of work they’ll get is very different from the sample output that you’ve shown them, it can cause all sorts of problems between you and them.

What’s next?

What are some of the limiting beliefs that you’ve been struggling with right now?

Please take the time to share them in the comments section below. Cheers!

Effective Cover Letter

How to Write an Effective Cover Letter that Will Get Your Hired. – Part 3

Note – We’re in our 3rd and final installation of our “How to Write an Effective Cover Letter” series. If you missed reading the previous posts, you can read the first post here, and the second one here.


If you’re reading this, then you must’ve enjoyed reading the first 2 posts that I shared about writing an effective cover letter.

Great! I’m glad that you enjoyed reading them.

However, I hope you weren’t JUST reading. I hope you took the time to implement the ideas, otherwise, you’d have missed out on a lot of opportunities — job opportunities at that.

Remember that our goal here is not just to give you techniques on how to write an effective cover letter — this isn’t just a mental exercise. More than equipping you with the knowledge, my goal is to REALLY help you get more jobs.

Of course, I won’t be able to do that if you won’t act on the things that you’ve learned. That being said, don’t just be a learner, but be a “doer” as well OK?

Let’s proceed to our last 3 tips.

1. Keep ’em short and crisp.

Ideally, I would keep my cover letter’s length at 3 – 4 paragraphs. I feel that anything more than that might be a bit too lengthy.

However, this also depends on the kind of information that your prospect employers are asking on the job listing that they posted.

If I see something generic, where they aren’t asking for any information in particular, I just make sure that my cover letter contains these 6 things:

  1. My rates.
  2. My portfolio
  3. The best method that they can contact me in.
  4. How they can benefit from me.
  5. My scarcity element.
  6. My special hook (like freebies).

Imagine. If you’re looking to hire someone; won’t you feel that all the information that you need about the applicant is within these 6 points?

That’s what we’re trying to accomplish (see article number 2).

I know that the points may seem a lot. However, if you’ll be very careful with your choice of words, I promise you that you’ll be able to add all of these in a 3 – 4 paragraph cover letter.

2. Mention someone famous in their industry.

When you mention familiar names on your cover letters, the person screening it will tend to think that you’re quite knowledgeable about the industry. They’ll think that you are “one of them”. Look up the term Homophily, and you’ll understand why this technique will increase your chances of getting hired.

When I tried applying for a content marketing project, I mentioned that I’m an avid follower of Neil Patel of Quicksprout.com, or Brian Dean of Backlinko.com.

My having mentioned the names of these influencers will almost often strike a cord to the one reading my cover letters. I know this to be true since more often than not, my prospective employers would reply telling me that they’re a huge fan of both influencers too.

Of course, at this point, they’ve already considered me as a strong candidate for the job, otherwise, they won’t even bother replying.

If you’d like to take things further, instead of simply saying that you’re an avid follower of the influencers, you can tell your prospects that you tailor your output based on the kind output that these influencers are publishing. You can then add more weight to your words by adding your portfolio.

Here’s a thought. Why don’t you try putting yourself on the client’s shoes this time.

Let’s say that your business is all about internet marketing, and you’re looking for a writer to publish blog posts consistently on your website.

You then read a cover letter where the applicant said something along the lines of…

“If you like reading the articles over at Backlinko or QuickSprout, then you’ll love my articles too! I tailor my write-up’s quality based on their writing sstyle. These are some of my previous works…

– Article 1

– Article 2

– Article 3”

If your samples are in fact what you say they are (their qualities are tailored based on the quality guidelines of the influencers), then I promise you that you’ll be way ahead of other applicants!

* Note – use this strategy if you’re walking the talk. If you feel that your output isn’t on the same level as the quality of work the that influencer you quoted is publishing, don’t even bother using this.

3. Insert a testimonial from your previous clients.

Have you ever read Robert Cialdini’s, Six Key Principles of Influence? I have. And it was such a game changer for me.

One of the things that really caught my attention was his point about social proof.

The idea is, people will tend to do things that they see others are doing. For example, when you’re in a crowded place, and you saw the people around you looking at the sky, you will tend to look at the sky yourself.

Such is the power of social proof.

Social proof is the reason why most ecommerce sites take the time to show the number of sold inventory of their products. Because their web visitors can see that others are buying the product, it makes it easier for them to make the decision to buy the product themselves.

In your case, adding a short testimonial from your previous clients will tell your prospect client that other businesses are using your service — and they’re happy with it.

The testimonial will act as your social proof.

Do you have any tips on how to write an effective cover letter?

We’re at the end of our How to Write an Effective Cover Letter series. At this point, there’s nothing left for you to do but to implement the tips that we’ve talked about across all 3 posts.

If you’ve applied some of the tips and are reaping results from it, please take the time to share your experience in the comments section below.

Also, if you found this post valuable, please take 3 seconds of your time to click the “Share” buttons. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Cheers!

effective cover letter

How to Write an Effective Cover Letter that Will Get Your Hired. – Part 1

Note – this is a 3-part series on How to Write an Effective Cover Letter. I’ll try to keep the tips as clear and as detailed as it can be, so you won’t have a problem implementing the tips.

When you are applying for jobs on freelancing sites like Upwork.com or Freelancer.com, you need to have a carefully crafted cover letter to increase your chances of getting hired.

Sure. What I said may sound like it’s common sense, however, you’ll be amazed at how most freelancers aren’t giving this thought its due respect.

I know this for a fact since I’ve posted several jobs on Upwork myself, and have seen my fair share of cover letters that you can include in the Guinness World Records for the lamest cover letters ever made.

The sad part is, the cover letters are one of the things that can make or break your career as a freelancer. Take the time to create an outstanding cover letter, and you won’t have any problems getting a constant stream of projects. If your cover letters are crappy, however, you’ll end up experiencing a lot of dry spells in your freelancing journey.

And so the question becomes, “How exactly will you create an effective cover letter that can get you more clients?”

I’m glad you asked.

Allow me to share with you 10 tips that will help optimize your cover letters, so  you’ll be able to get more clients.

Let’s hop right in.

1. It’s not about you. It’s all about them. Focus on the benefits.

Remember that your prospect clients do not care about who you are, or how many courses you’ve finished when you were in college. The point that they want to ascertain is whether or not you can solve their problems.

It doesn’t matter if you are an engineer, or if you are the president of the United States. If you can’t do the specific job that they’re looking to have done, then you’re not getting hired. Period.

Just like what I always say, the question that you need to address that the other person is always asking is, “What’s in it for me?”

That being said, you need to make sure that your cover letter will address just that.

Here’s how.

Instead of talking about who you are and what you’ve accomplished (the features), you need to talk about what kind of value they can get from you (the benefits).

Here’s an example.

Instead of saying, “I am an experienced writer”, you can say, “You can forget about the frustration of experiencing the writer’s block. I’ll take care of that”.

As you can see, the second statement clearly addresses the question, “What’s in it for me?”. While the first one doesn’t address it at all.

Look. I know that there is value in telling your prospect clients about who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Heck, in one of my profiles, I even detailed my experience rather than the benefit that the clients can get from me (I did it because the experience I shared greatly differentiates me from the other writers).

All I’m saying is that you need to focus on telling your prospect clients about how they can benefit from hiring you, instead of focusing too much on who you are.

2. Offer freebies.

You probably haven’t thought of that, have you?

At this point, you’re probably scratching your head while asking yourself why you haven’t been using this strategy, when it seems so obvious.

Trust me. You are not alone.

I’ve only thought of this strategy several years after I’ve been doing my freelancing work.

What I like most about this strategy is it gives your cover letter that extra “oomph!”

It helps differentiate you from the other applicants since they’ll most likely be just talking about who they are and what they’ve done, and how they are a perfect fit for the job.

As you can probably imagine, the whole “freebie strategy” will make you look like you’ve taken things a step further. And you can bet your family jewels that your clients will be able to see just that.

Should you decide to use this strategy, however, I need you to pay heed to what I’m going to say next…

Tailor your freebies to your client’s needs.

Here’s the thing, if your prospective client is looking for web developers since they’re looking to have a website created for their business, it won’t make much sense for you to offer video marketing as a freebie.

That’s quite far off from what they’re needing right now. Sure. They may need it later, but that’s usually like 3 or 4 steps ahead (depending on the kind of plan your clients mapped out of course).

Since your prospective client’s main concern is to have their website developed, you can offer them free plugins, or perhaps free graphics even if they’ll hire you as their web dev.

As you can see, the free plugins and graphics are a bit more direct, or, it is closely related to the web dev task that they want to be done when compared to pitching video marketing.

3. Keep your first sentence punchy!

Just this once, imagine being the client. You’re scanning the 20th cover letter on file and you’re tired as a mug.

You pretty much know how the drill works, the letter will start with a “Dear sir/ma’am” intro, the applicant will talk about who he/she is, and how he/she is interested in getting considered for the job.

Sigh… “Life is so boring”, you say to yourself.

At this point, you’re just about ready to call it a day.

But then, as you click the 21st cover letter (the last one that you’re planning to review for the day), you don’t see any of the dead-boring intros. In fact, what you saw is a meme of Deadpool holding a cardboard saying “Hire Me! Or else…”

After seeing something like that, won’t you feel intrigued?

Won’t you feel the urge to give this guy’s cover letter a closer look?

If you’re anything like me, or most millennials that are looking to hire another team member, you’d have answered with a resounding “YES!”

I get it. The whole Deadpool meme might not be applicable at times, especially if you’re applying for a huge company. However, I hope you’re not missing the point here. You don’t even need to use a meme, per se. You just need to make sure that your first sentence is SO PUNCHY, that it becomes almost impossible for your prospect clients to ignore it.

What’s next?

I want to tell you that the tips that I shared above flat-out works. I’ve used it (and have still been using it), and other seasoned freelancers are using them as well. However, no matter how effective the tips may be, if you don’t take the time to implement them, you’ll never get any results.

That being said, don’t just read the article and make it a form of mental exercise. That is not what we are trying to do here. Our goal is to help you get more jobs by creating an effective cover letter.

Did you find value in reading the article? If you answered with a “yes”, then please take 3 seconds of your time to share it. Cheers!

* Note – I will be publishing the second (and the last part) of this series on Monday, May 16. Be sure to stay tuned.

writer's block

Tried And Tested Tips to Get Rid of the Writer’s Block – Part 3

Note – We are now on the third and last installment of our “Tried And Tested Tips to Get Rid of the Writer’s Block” series. If you haven’t read the previous guides yet, you can read them using these links: Part 1, Part 2.

8. Use a template

I love this technique!

This method is so effective since it doesn’t rely on you feeling motivated, or your creative juice flowing. Regardless of whether you are “in the zone” or not, you’ll be able to put words on paper — meaningful words at that!

As you can probably imagine, writers have varying templates that they can use depending on how they want their articles to flow. This one, however, is my favorite…

Title

Intro

– Pain points that the readers can relate.

– Data/statistics that validates the pain points that I mentioned.

– Comforting the readers by telling them that I have the solution.

– Transition to the subheading

Subheading 1

– What it’s all about

– Data/statistics or quote from an authority in the industry

– A short story to solidify my point.

– Why this idea is important.

– What the readers need to think about

Subheading 2

– What it’s all about

– Data/statistics or quote from an authority in the industry

– A short story to solidify my point.

– Why this idea is important.

– What the readers need to think about

Subheading 3

– What it’s all about

– Data/statistics or quote from an authority in the industry

– A short story to solidify my point.

– Why this idea is important.

– What the readers need to think about

Closing paragraph

– My conclusion based on the points that I shared.

– Call-to-action

* Note – you can add as many subheadings as you need.

When you have a template like this, everything becomes pretty straightforward. You just need to answer what is being asked on each point, then you’ll end up with a write-up that’s relatable (because of the story), credible (because of the statistics), thought provoking, and value-packed.

9. Word vomit.

The goal of this technique isn’t to put “real” or “meaningful” words on paper — since you’ll probably end up deleting 80% of what you’ll write — it is meant to get your creative juice flowing.

The game plan is to write anything that comes to your mind about the topic, no matter how shallow, useless, or cookie-cutter your ideas are. You just need to keep on writing no matter what. Heck, you can even write about how you think your cousin Ray Ray would react to it.

As you keep on typing in the words, you’ll soon notice that you’re slowly getting “in the zone” and your typing in words that provide real value to your readers.

From there, you just need to ride the wave of motivation and continue typing till you finish your write-up.

* Note – as I’ve mentioned above, the whole point of this strategy is to get your creative juice flowing. That being said, DO NOT edit or proofread as you write since it can easily kill whatever creative juice you’ve had flowing.

10. The 5 minutes approach.

Sometimes, what causes writers to experience the writer’s block is their being overwhelmed with the project that they need to work on.

It could be because of the write-up’s length, perhaps they aren’t familiar with the topic, or sometimes, they are keen on pleasing their clients so much, yet they aren’t certain if the client will even like the quality of their work.

Sounds familiar? Well, you are not alone.

I have struggled with this issue myself, and it has caused me to become paralyzed and unable to write for days (sometimes even weeks) countless of times.

It was when I heard a podcast that I learned about the 5 minute approach.

I forgot which podcast I heard it from, but I can remember that the podcast wasn’t about writing, it was mainly about productivity and conquering your BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).

So the game plan is, instead of thinking about “I need to complete this project right now” you just need to think about working on your project for 5 minutes.

Yup. You read it right. Just 5 minutes.

Considering how short 5 minutes is, it makes it easier for you to start working on the task. Of course, when your time is up, there is a chance that you can still continue working since you aren’t exhausted yet. Just continue writing for as long as you can without compromising the quality of your work.

As you can probably imagine, because your mind is only set to working for 5 mins, you’ll barely feel overwhelmed when thinking about working on the project. This frees your mind which then helps your creative juice flow.

11. Nag

When you’re experiencing the writer’s block, you tend to become frustrated because of how unproductive you feel.

When you have all of these pent up frustrations inside you, it’s going to become harder for you to think clearly and be able to put words on paper.

How do you get rid of these frustrations, you might ask?

Nag.

Just hack away on your keyboard writing about how frustrated you are.

This one is a bit different from the Word Vomit technique since when nagging, you aren’t necessarily talking about the topic. You’ll just write about how you feel until you’ve loosened up and are ready to write.

When I’m using this strategy, I end up writing things like, “Why on earth can’t I write anything? I’ve been staring at the screen for 3 hours and still not a single sentence…”

At this point, I just keep going at it until I get inspiration or I feel that I’m ready to start really writing — this usually happens when I reach the 200 – 300 word mark.

What’s next? Are you still struggling with the writer’s block?

What are your thoughts about the tips that I shared in this series? Which tip helped you the most in terms of conquering the writer’s block, and being more productive in writing? Are there additional ideas that you’d like to share when it comes to helping others when experiencing the writer’s block?

Please add your answers in the comments section below.

Also, if you found value in reading this post, please take 3 seconds of your time to click the share button. Cheers!

writer's block

Tried And Tested Tips to Get Rid of the Writer’s Block – Part 2

Note – If you missed part one of this 3-part series, then you can click this link to access the previous post.


Did you take the time to implement the tips that I shared on the previous post? If you didn’t, then I urge you to give them a try right now, before you even start reading this second installment of our series.

However, if you feel like the tips that I shared previously aren’t resonating with you, allow me to continue with these second set of tips.

Let’s carry on from where we left off…

5. The story telling approach.

While there are several different stages (or phases) that you can use to write a story, I use the 5 different phases that I found at Changeminds.org. These stages were described by Gustav Freytag as:

Regardless of what topic you’re writing about, you can almost always create a story-type write-up where you’ll follow the pattern above.

If you’ve had your fair share of reading blog posts on the internet, I’m sure you’ve read somewhere how storytelling is a powerful tool that businesses or marketers can use to keep their audience from clicking away.

True enough. It is.

The thing with storytelling is, the readers tend to get drawn in the world that the writer has created. They almost always end up asking the question, “What’s next?” after reading every line since they want to know how the story will unfold.

Having said that, the storytelling approach is also an effective strategy that you can use to reduce your website’s bounce rate.

6. The Skyscraper method.

Great. You have a topic in mind that you know your audience will love.

When you Googled the topic, however, you realized that there are already several articles written about it.

Now here’s a question for you? Would you…

1. give up and look for another topic to write about?

2. still write about the same topic with half of your efforts, since you know that your article will become “just another article” about the topic?

Or…

3. gather all the information that you can find about the topic, then put together one massive — let alone value-packed — guide that will blow your audience’s minds!

Choose the latter option. Choose the Skyscraper method!

At this point, I hope you’ve already figured out why the technique is called as such. Because your content will tower over all the other content online, your article becomes a “skyscraper article”.

You can read Brian Dean’s blog post about the Skyscraper method to learn more about it.

What makes writing easier when using this method is you don’t have to formulate your ideas from scratch — or at least most of it.

All you need to do is gather the ideas that are shared by others, put them all together in one massive article, add your own wisdom bombs into the mix, and voila! Your epic content is created.

As you can probably imagine, writing using the Skyscraper method is a lot easier since the ideas are already out there, you just have to rephrase them, and add your own twist to the ideas.

Note – DO NOT copy and paste content from other websites. What you need to do is to learn the concept behind the ideas that they are sharing, and share it to your audience using your own voice and understanding.

7. Do the next right thing.

One of the reasons why people experience the writer’s block is they tend to get overwhelmed by how huge or challenging their writing project is.

Imagine having to write a 20,000 word guide.

When you put together your first few sentences, there’s a good chance you’ll experience the writer’s block because you’ll feel a sense of overwhelm. And you feel that way because you are comparing where you are at right now — where you’ve written very little to no words — to how the end product looks like (which is 20,000 words). When you see the huge gap, you tend to get overwhelmed and stressed, which leads to you experiencing the writer’s block.

The solution? “Do the next right thing.”

I learned this from having listened to one of Michael Hyatt’s podcasts.

He mentioned how we should stop thinking constantly about the stage where we’re at on completing the project, as compared to how the completed project looks like, since it can cause us to be overwhelmed.

Of course, before you even do any kind of work, you need to plan accordingly and set up your roadmap to reaching your goal.

This ensures that all of your actions (or your written content) won’t stray away from what your main objective is for writing the article.

Once you’re done with the planning stage, you can now follow the, “Do the next right thing” advice that Michael Hyatt shared.

When  using this strategy, you first need to figure out what your “next right thing” is. In my case, when I have a huge writing project that I need to deal with, I think of my “next right thing” as completing 1 thousand words (maybe 2 – 3 thousand words, even).  Or I can say that my “next right thing” is completing 1 chapter.

With this kind of mindset, I am not constantly thinking about completing a 20,000 word guide (which is overwhelming), my mind is only focused on finishing a 2 thousand word write-up which is really simple to do.

What’s next?

Alrighty! Now we’re done with the second installment of our 3-part series on how to get rid of the writer’s block.

At this point, I hope you’ve found some very helpful tips that you can use to speed up your writing, all without compromising the quality of your work.

Can you share your thoughts on the list of tips that I mentioned? Has any of them worked for you? Better yet, can you share your own tips for getting rid of the writer’s block? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Important Note – I will be publishing my 3rd and last post this Monday. Please stay tuned. I’ll add the link here once my last post goes live. Cheers!

How to Succeed at Finding Customers as an Online Freelancer. No, Really!

Finding Customers as an online freelancer

Warning: This guide is brutally detailed. If you’re an online freelancer and you’re looking for a proven and tested strategy to find more clients online, then you’d better buckle off…

I get it. There are gazillions of articles talking about how to find a client as a freelancer. If you’ve done your fair share of reading, however, you’ll find that a good number of these guides are sharing tips that are so vague and cookie-cutter, they’re pretty much useless.

Not. This. One.

What I am about to share with you is one of the most effective strategies that I use to get more customers.

The best part is, this tip isn’t just going to help you get more customers, it’ll also help you grow your network of connections, and help you establish yourself as an authority in the industry you’re in.

What marketing strategy am I talking about?

Linkedin Marketing. (*insert cricket sounds here*)

Continue reading, or else… :)

Don’t worry, I understand why you aren’t as stoked as you ought to be.

I’m pretty sure you’ve read about Linkedin marketing a couple of times before and felt that what you did was an utter waste of your time.

I promise you that this guide is going to be different. No, really! We aren’t going to talk about those “optimize your profile”, “network”, or “write blog posts”, advises that makes you and your cousin Ray Ray wanna puke out of disgust.

In fact, I’m going to talk about ONE marketing tip only. And you can bet your family jewels that this one packs a punch. A massive one at that! I know because this isn’t my first rodeo using this tip. I’ve been using it for as long as I can remember and it’s gotten me real results.

What tip am I talking about? I’d like to call it, “The Welcome Marketing”.

Here’s the gist of it. When someone adds you at Linkedin, you’ll send them a welcome message that’s short and crisp, yet something that would encourage them to collaborate with you.

Here’s the template that I use:

“Hello (first name),

How’s everything in your side of (which country they are from)? I’m glad that we are now connected.

Can you tell me more about what you do? I’d love to explore if there’s an opportunity for us to collaborate.

Kind regards,

(Your name)

(Your job position)

(Your company)”

There are 4 things that I need you to take note of about the template:

  1. Since you’ll write their first names and the country that they are from, it makes your message look personalized.
  2. I did not pitch any of my services on my first contact. Pitching on your first message almost always leads to them ignoring you.
  3. Instead of pitching my services, I asked about THEIR services instead (or what is it that they do). This is a big one because everybody wants their existence in this world acknowledged. You are basically addressing one of their basic needs (which is recognition), since you made them feel important by asking about what they do.
  4. The language used is professional yet very friendly. This helps them loosen up a bit instead of being all defensive about you.

Pretty amazing, huh?

I have gotten several clients from the past using this strategy alone.

So in essence, this strategy is simply about taking the time to accept the connection invites that others are sending you, then sending them an epic welcome message that will open doors of opportunities for the  both of you.

The missing link…

Everything that you’ve read is good an all, but if you’re THAT perceptive, then you’ll realize how there is one missing link to what I have shared with you up until now.

And that is… everything hinges on others adding you as a connection.

If they don’t add you, then you won’t have anyone to send your welcome messages to.

You might be thinking, “What are you talking about Jim, I’ll just proactively add them myself”, that’s a terrible idea. Terrible on steroids, even!

You see, I did that myself in the past. I looked up a bunch of guys from Linkedin who are either business owners, executives, or managers (they are my target audience, by the way), and just clicked the “Connect” button.

The result? I received the dreaded, “Your LinkedIn account is temporarily restricted.” message from LinkedIn.

Friends, that’s the kind of warning shot that you’ll get from LinkedIn before they ban your account entirely — that is, if you don’t change your ways.

TLDR; don’t add people randomly. You’ll risk your account getting banned.

How do I get the people to add me?

This is the remaining piece of the puzzle that needs to be addressed. While there are a couple of strategies that you can go about doing this, I will share with you just one tip that I know will bring tons of other users to connect with you.

And that tip is… look out for posts from the L.I.O.N. (LinkedIn Open Network).

They are a group of LinkedIn users who will connect with anyone and everyone freely. They are the type of people who won’t tag you as “Spam”, or report to LinkedIn that they don’t know who you are.

They’ll just hit the accept button. Period.

These open networkers will often publish an update in their profile or even an article for the sole purpose of people adding them. Their posts’ headlines will often say “Let’s Connect”, “Open to Network”, etc…

It pretty much looks like this…

Finding Customers as an online freelancer 2

* Important note – DO NOT add your email address on the comments. You can simply say that you are open to networking, and that you won’t tag anyone as Spam or IDK. The other open networkers will then click the link to your profile, then add you to their network.

At this point, all you have to do is wait. You’ll start seeing people sending you connection invites over time.

Summary

While the strategy that I shared is pretty cut and dry, I’m sure that you can see how the tip is very actionable, and the methods that I shared are logical (let alone proven and tested to bring real results).

Here’s the gist of the strategy again:

  1. Look for L.I.O.N. posts and express how you are willing to connect with anyone.
  2. Once you receive the connection invites, approve them and send them a powerful welcome message asking them about what they do.
  3. Try to pitch your services strategically once they reply to your initial message. Remember that you don’t always have to pitch your services on your first, second, or third message to them. Just build the relationship, and be strategic with when you’ll pitch your message.

What’s next?

I need you to give the marketing strategy that I shared above a shot. Give it about 3 – 4 weeks and see if you’ll get any kind of results from it.

Please take the time to share your experience with the strategy in the comments section below. Cheers!

Photo courtesy – © michaklootwijk / Dollar Photo Club

 

How to Ask for a Pay Raise – And Get Approved

Ask for a pay raise

There are those that work their butts off day and night, yet when pay day comes, the amount they receive is barely enough to put food on their tables.

That’s tough, isn’t it?

I mean, if you’ve been working all day long yet all you’ll get is money that’s barely enough to pay for your bills, then you’d never enjoy your life.

You’d just end up becoming drained from all the work, all while ONLY managing to keep yourself afloat.

Don’t let this happen to you, OK?

Life is certainly more than just working to get your bills paid. You need to stare it in the eye, enjoy it, control it, and have a blast while you are still in this world.

If you are in a situation where you actually have a work (and are overflowing with it), yet you still aren’t earning enough, then a viable solution you could look into is asking for a pay raise.

Allow me to share with you 5 tips that you can use to drastically increase the chances of your client (or boss) giving you that coveted “Yes” answer when you ask for a pay raise.

1. Timing can be everything.

I cannot stress to you how important this tip is.

Can you imagine asking your boss for an increase when you have TONS of past due work, and your boss’ clients are hounding him/her relentlessly day and night because of how you weren’t able to complete the work that you should have produced?

Asking for a raise at this point is pretty much a business or a career suicide.

However, if you’ve just made your boss’s life easier, or you helped him/her rack up some recognition points from his/her clients, or even his/her direct boss’, then you’ll be in a perfect place to ask for an increase.

This strategy has a good chance of working because of the principle of reciprocity. This is a principle described by Robert Cialdini in his six key principles of influence.

2. Do not give your boss an ultimatum.

I get how your landlord might be banging your door every-single-day asking you for your rent.  It’s frustrating, scary, and sometimes… life threatening – especially if your landlord is on drugs.

However, if you want to increase the chances of getting your pay raise request approved, you’d be better off if you don’t give your boss an ultimatum.

The thing with ultimatums is that it pressures people and it can put others (your boss) on the defensive. And we all know how everyone would submit to your requests if you pressure them, right?

WRONG!

You need to give them a leeway to set things in order on their end. You need to give them a chance to work everything out on their side of the court. The fact is, depending on how a business is structured, granting a pay increase on one of the employees can prove to be quite a pain.

That being said, if you feel like there’s no way around your situation but to ask for a pay increase, be sure to ask for it as soon as you can while considering point number 1. Or at least, during times when you still have enough wiggling room for you to work on your finances.

3. Don’t play the pity party. Focus on the benefits that you bring to the company.

Playing the pity party is an underhanded tactic that others frown upon.  Sure. It may have paid off for others. But know that you put yourself at a huge risk if you choose to go this route.

Instead of doing that, however, why not use the route most professionals use by talking about the benefits that you bring to the company (or your client’s business).

If you’ve been doing business with them for quite awhile now, then there’s a good chance that they’ll remember how reliable, trustworthy, and how valuable your services are. And that you are definitely deserving of the increase that you are asking for.

The important point is that you focus on value. That you talk about how much your client/boss has benefitted from doing business with you.

4. Talk about the other offers that you’ve been getting.

Be very careful when using this tip.

Make sure that you do not assume a threatening tone. Instead, just try to be as sincere and as truthful as you can be about the better offers that you’ve been receiving.

Explain how the offers that other companies are giving you can really help improve your life – and your family’s. Mention how despite all the better offers, you would rather stay with the same company, or do business with the same client. But with how your finances are turning out for the worse every single day, you just might not be left with much choice except to leave.

Remember, the game plan is you want to come across as someone who doesn’t want to leave despite all the offers that you’ve been getting.

5. Ask about the criteria for getting a pay raise.

You’ll be amazed at how your boss might react when you’ll ask about the criteria for getting a raise. Because the truth is, in most cases, there aren’t any. It usually just comes with the job title (or your position in the company).

However, if you’ll bother to ask your boss about the criteria, there’s a good chance that it would stimulate a good discussion among him/her and the higher ups paving the way for a criteria to be made.

I mean, think about it.

If there is such a criteria for having a pay increase, then you’d never hesitate asking for the increase if you’ve met all the criteria, right?

What’s next?

The thought of asking for a pay raise can be nerve-racking. However, if you come prepared and are equipped with ideas, tools, and strategies that are proven and tested to have worked, there’s a good chance that you’d get an affirmative answer from your boss (or your client) after leaving the negotiation table.

It’s important that you remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when asking for a raise. That being said, be sure to tweak the tips that I’ve shared above to fit to your situation.

If you have other ideas or tips that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments section below.

© mudretsov / Dollar Photo Club