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How to Create Your Minimum Viable Portfolio; Land Your Next Client

In my last article a posted 8 easy steps to become a freelance writer: in this post, I’ll major in simple ways to make your portfolio. Making portfolio pieces that clients will love is something of importance for every newbie in freelance writing carrier.

Quickly create a small number of portfolio pieces that clients will love (even if you don’t have any portfolio at all right now)
How do you go through this?

When I first started freelancing on Upwork, I discovered a big problem;
According to conventional wisdom, it would take me months or years of freelancing experience in order to build up an impressive portfolio that clients would consider… But how was I supposed to get freelancing clients without having a solid portfolio in the first place?

The way it works is simple: Instead of taking many years to slowly and painfully build up a huge portfolio, you can quickly create a small number of samples — but you have to make sure they’re highly relevant to what real paying clients need.

This is what I call a Minimum Viable Portfolio (MVP).
You can optimize your portfolio to attract high quality invites from clients who come to YOU, rather than the other way around.

This approach is so powerful; I’ve personally seen tens of thousands of Freelance-writers use it to succeed in their respective niches.
Once you have your MVP in place you can now use it to start writing proposals that actually wins.

But before you jump into it, I want to show you exactly how to create an MVP that’s effective and gets you clients. Here are three simple rules to follow while creating your MVP

Rule #1: Do your homework.

The last thing you want to do is blindly create a bunch of portfolio samples that clients aren’t interested in. Right?

As part of your homework, you should check out the job listings in your work category. This will give you a good idea of what real paying clients actually want, after that, you can create the “perfect” Minimum Viable Portfolio to show them that you actually qualify to do their job.


A great way to think about this is to view Upwork as not just a freelance marketplace — but an amazing market research tool by which you can see exactly what clients want, so you can create mouth-watering portfolio samples that appeal to them specifically.

As you normally update your CVs or Resumes to suit a particular employer, so it is in upwork or any other freelance marketplace.

Rule #2: Avoid doing free work.

To be clear, this technique I’m trying to bring here is not about doing free work for clients. Not only is that against Upwork’s terms of service, but it also devalues you and your work as well.

Instead, the idea behind an MVP is to create pieces that are similar and relevant to what clients actually need — but not so similar that they might mistake it for free work.

Here are some examples of good MVP samples that can never be mistaken for “free work”:

Suppose a client wants twenty 500-word blog posts about various places to visit in USA 2019– you create an MVP that consists of one 500-word article about various places to visit in Africa 2019.

A client wants a minimalist logo for a new tea company — you create a minimalist style logo for a coffee-related business.

A client wants a data visualization of their company’s stock price in the year 2019– you show them a visualization of Microsoft’s stock price 2018.
As you can notice, none of the above examples can actually be used by the clients whose job you’re applying to.

But at the same time, there’s a likelihood that your portfolio sample will be the most relevant one they get. This can increase your chances of winning your potential clients.

Rule #3: NEVER try to do EVERYTHING.

There are a lot of ideas for creating your Minimum Viable Portfolio. It is not necessary to do all of them.

You should remember that the entire point of creating an MVP in the first place is so you can start getting clients and getting paid to do work you love; not wasting weeks or months building your portfolio.

It can be easy to get caught in the trap of trying to do too much work on your MVP while convincing yourself you’re being “productive,” instead of moving on to the more important phase of actually getting paying clients—which may be the main idea of getting into this carrier.

I get that. But if you create even a small handful of high quality, highly relevant pieces of MVP, those will be enough to get the ball rolling. And start earning from your services straight away.

Advice: By the time you have your first solid MVP piece set in place, you should be already applying for jobs. Remember you can always create more as you go in order to accelerate your success.

8 Easy Steps For How To Become A freelance Writer

become a freelancerFreelance writing is becoming a popular carrier choice for those who wish to work from home. In America today, over 54 million people opt to forego traditional careers and start a freelance business that gives them more flexibility to create a lifestyle they love.

We’re currently witnessing unprecedented shift in the way companies function across the globe.

To them it is like a freedom as they can set their own rate of pay, their working hours and also having enough time with their family.

However, to set the ball rolling in this carrier, it takes some preparations before you have actually begun working from home.

Here are some of top 10 tips for becoming a successful freelancer.

1. Define your goals.

Defining your goals before starting your freelancing job is very vital before can start. Why? Without clearly defined and easily measurable goals, you’re going to have a very difficult time getting to where you want to go.

  • Is freelance a means of earning extra income on the side of your 9 – 5 job?
  • What is your main ultimate goal? eventually becoming a full-time freelancer; because of the lifestyle benefits of being your own boss?

You have to decide whether you want to become a freelance writer?  Freelance designer?  Or Freelance developer?

You have to make sure this decision is the right move in your progression toward achieving your main goals.

As with starting a successful business, take time to understand why you are starting a freelance business. No matter what your ultimate goal is you have to make it as clear as possible.

once you have the clarity around where you want freelancing to take you, you can start backing into your shorter-term goals and benchmarks that will help your freelance business become a success.

Suppose your main goal is to become a fully self-employed freelancer. You’ll have to set your own work-hours, decide your work partner(s), and call all the shots in your business.

2. Prepare financially

Before you can think of a carrier in freelancing you must as yourself, “what if it doesn’t work?”

There are potential problems associated with freelancing which are not limited to the following:

  • A client failing to pay their invoice in time
  • A client failing to pay their invoice completely.
  • Variation in availability of jobs; you can have an overwhelming volume of work in one week and have a dead week next.
  • Also there can arise a dispute between you and your client that arise from misunderstanding of the terms of agreement.

All these potential problems result in not getting paid for your service. Therefore, you must have a well thought out financial goal in mind when you decide to quit your job and become a full-time freelancer.

Ryan Robinson wrote, “Because I’ve quit my day job too early in the past with the phone case business I started (and ended up moving in with my parents for a few months), my personal rule is that I now must reach a side income of at least 75% of what my salaried job pays me, before even considering quitting to pursue my side business – full-time.”

Before becoming a freelance writer, you should strive to eliminate all consumer debt while simultaneously saving for at least 6 – 12 months’ worth of living expense in an emergency fund after approximately 90 days.

If all these have been considered, then it is time to consider freelance as your carrier path.

3. Define Your Niche

In case you are considering being a freelance writer, it is very essential to write about topics that are near and dear to your heart.

If you take on writing gigs that require more time to research on, your hourly rate will suffer because you could underestimate how much research you will need to perform in order to write a quality article for your client. What you should have in mind is that there are a lot of competitors in your industry that’ll be willing to charge much lower rates than you, no matter what you do.

By taking time to find a profitable niche for your freelance business, you’re actually seeking out an industry and type of clients that value quality. When you’re in a platform that competes on quality, you’ll completely change the ways in which you sell your services. You’ll be actually competing on value; not price.

Once you’ve made yourself invaluable within your niche of choice, you’ll have a platform by which you can expand your freelance business in any direction you’d like in the future.

Instead of stressing yourself about how you’re going to get from step 0 to 100, take freelancing one small step at a time. Progress produces more progress with your side hustle.

4. Identify Your Target Clients.

In the same way, as it is important to find a profitable niche, so it is to attract the right types of clients for your freelance business. As you are just starting, it is a wise thing to dedicate your effort to land a few clients.

You need to strategize and wisely choose the target clients. Target them first, and after working with a few of them, you’ll develop a very clear sense of whether or not you want to continue pursuing similar clients.

This is no easy decision to make at first because it means turning away a lot of business. But still, the process of narrowing in on the target clients that you work best with will help you achieve much better results in the long run.

In order to determine the best type of target clients as you start a freelance business, ask yourself these questions:

• Which businesses or individuals will find my services useful?

• Which of them can afford to pay the prices I’ll set, in order to get to my income goal?

• Who are the decision-makers in these businesses, and what can I learn about their demographics & interests?

• Can I find a way to connect with them at a personal level?

When you have all of this information, you’ll be well-set to craft a suitable email that cuts straight to the core of what these clients need from you; you’ll be able to connect with them and offer immediate value.

Once you have a few selected clients who are willing to advocate for you, the momentum will automatically pick up.

5. Set Prices for Your Services.

Whether you like it or not, the amount of money you make as a freelancer is proportional to the outcome you’re producing.

And this narrows down to 3 things:

• Making sure you’re able to clearly show your client what you can do for them (because some simply don’t understand how your skills can help them reach their goals)

• Making sure you have the right target market (because if they’re unable to pay a lot of money, then it doesn’t matter how good you may be) …

• Lastly, always trying to go for the “all-inclusive” packages as they are very vital for your decisions.

In other words, it doesn’t matter if you’re charging $650 or $6,500, …Clients always look at fixed prices as “all-inclusive”, and since they view freelancers as “working consultants”, or people who can not only do the work but also provide advice when needed. It’s important to plan accordingly, as that’ll save both parties trouble down the road.

Always remember that you need to price yourself based on the value you deliver – not based on what your competitors are charging.

Don’t allow anyone else to influence the terms by which you define your value. That’s actually not what starting a freelancing business is about.

Although some clients would prefer high rates, smaller clients, on the other hand, often don’t have as much money to play with, and thus can’t sustain much in terms of losses when projects don’t deliver big returns.

There’s no such thing as prices that are too high. Your prices may be too high (or too low) for the types of clients you’re targeting, but if you do your homework in deciding who to pitch your services to, you’ll be selling exactly what your clients need – for a price they can justify.

For freelancers who write contents that range from 1,500 to 2,500 words per piece, and designed to rank well in organic search results, may often charge up to $500 per post (plus distribution) and sharply go up from there, based on other requirements and add-ons.

Don’t charge too far above your value, but don’t ever undervalue what you’re doing for your clients. Always remember that price becomes a secondary concern if a client’s already convinced you’re perfect for the job.

6. Focus on your portfolio

If you are just getting started as a freelancer, your best bet is to begin taking small projects in order to build a portfolio.

Having a portfolio website is often the first impression a potential client will have of you, your style, your work and past clients you’ve worked with in your freelance business. You need to communicate effectively the services you offer, and to whom they are meant for.

Ask your first clients to start attributing articles to your name. you can also ask if you can get an author biography with a picture of yourself on their websites.

If you’re a known blogger within a particular niche and people can gauge your abilities, you can easily charge high prices that other firms are currently charging.

Above all, you need to sell yourself on why you’re the best person for this type of work – for the clients you want to work with.

7. Get In The routine of Refining Your Writing Skills.

Writing skills is what makes you different from others. As a professional writer, you will want to spend at least two hours per week to refine your writing skills and study industry analysis.

In order to get the highest return on investment, companies and individual clients will want to hire competent writers who will do the work at the lowest price.

It’s is therefore very important to work on your writing skill if you were to thrive in your niche because you will obviously have competitors.

8. Find your first client

Upwork is the number one website for those seeking and providing freelance writing services. If you are just beginning your career in freelance writing, Upwork is a good place to start building your portfolio.

As a freelancer who is just starting out on Upwork, be aware that many clients may seemingly ignore your proposals. It is important that you write a creative and well-packed proposal that catches the attention of your first potential customer.

When you begin to progressively add writing pieces in your portfolio combined with continuous 5-star feedback, clients who post the high paying freelance writing jobs on Upwork will start to take notice of your proposals.

In case you wish to avoid Upwork, other freelance writing platforms are also available such as:

Freelancer.com

TextBroker

Constant-Content

ContentMart

If you want to take a more organic approach to freelance writing lead generation. You can also consider setting up a website and lure potential leads to your service with your public portfolio.

You may also want to utilize social media channels, message boards, and direct marketing in order to gain more leads.

7 Hacks On How to Make Money While You Sleep

How is it possible to make money while one is asleep or idle? It sounds like a pie-in-the-sky or a scam, but the fact is that it is possible. You can make a home business that continually generates some income for you while you are asleep or spending time with family or friends or doing other things.

In the past, passive income was neglected to the people who could afford to invest in the stock markets or real state. However, with the advent of the Internet, passive income is now a reality for everyone.

What is passive income?

Passive income involves an initial investment of time or money. The idea here is that; you actively work upfront so that later you can make money when you’re not doing anything at all. Once you have your system in place. You can focus on enjoying life while still making some good money. You can even devote your time to other streams of passive income. Maintaining these systems can take you a couple of hours a week or a month.

This list presents some of the ideas you can put in place to help you make some money while you stay idle.

1. Create YouTube videos

Most of YouTube videos today have advertisements placed on them. As you have heard before, most comedians, YouTube tutors, and musicians make a lot of money today through YouTube videos. You can make money through your videos that you feel people may be interested in watching. It is not a must that you be talented in order to shoot videos that people would like to watch. That is not true. Some people just capture events that they feel would be appealing to other people but they are still earning.

Some channels make a lot of money every year with their YouTube videos. People like Justin Bieber, have launched carrier of YouTube videos and are making six or seven figures annually.

2. selling eBooks

Platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing makes it extremely easy for everyone to get a book up in front of millions of people. Once you have written an eBook and have a nice sales funnel set in place, you’ll be right there enjoying your money while your eBook sells.

What if you can’t write an eBook but you still want to sell an eBook? Well, you don’t need to worry about it, there are tons of freelance marketplaces that can help you get a ghost-writer to handle all the writings for you. Freelance marketplaces like Upwork provides you with options in finding the right person that will write you a standard eBook of your choice.

3. Affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest methods one can use to make money online. It is very easy to implement your site. Here you promote another company’s products and get a commission when the user makes a purchase. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about product creation or even customer service. Your job is to push people towards a product and leave the conversion job for the seller of the product.

The largest affiliate marketing is Amazon’s Associates Program

4. online courses

In the contemporary world, people are hungry for knowledge. This has made online education a burgeoning market, but with all the competition, making a profit out of it may be challenging. Actually, many of the would-be educators wonder if it’s even possible. Well is very possible, however, there is a lot of upfront work in creating the course itself. Once you have your course ready, you have two options of hosting your course. The first option being, going the Amazon route, where you have an audience already set for you. However, if you want most of the money in your wallet then check out Teachable as your second option. Here you will have to build your own audience.

5. online advertising

With your website, you can make some money through online advertising. The only known downside with this method is that, if you want to make more than $1000 a month then you probably need to increase your page viewers to over 100,000 a month. Which is not easy.

Here a metric called CPM which means cost per thousand views is used. Therefore, for ads paying you a rate of $5 CPM, you are going to make $5 for 1000 viewers. Ad networks can be found at Adthrive Adthrive, AdSense, media.net etc.

6. create an App

If you create an app, you’ll earn money every time someone downloads it.

7. Take Beautiful photos

Do you have a passion for photography? If your response would be yes, then here is the good news—you can sell your photos to sites like; Shutterstock, a place where amateur photographers can sell their photos. You’ll earn a commission that ranges anywhere from 25 cents to $75 or more for every image of yours downloaded. Other sites are, Istockphoto, Shutterfly. It is a wise thing to do your research and find which one best suit your need.

Top 10 Signs that an Online Job is a Scum

Have you ever wondered whether a given online job is legitimate or a scam? Possibly the answer may be yes if you’ve been actually searching for legitimate online jobs. To be sincere, there are tons of online job postings that are just aiming to swindle applicants and many of these scams have one thing in common—they require fees or credit card information according to WTOP news.

Here are some ten signs that can help you detect whether a given online job offer is a scam.

1. The Job Offers Higher Salary to Be True.

The undeniable truth is that; good jobs are hard to find. Besides this, good paying jobs are requiring high qualifications and considerable work experience. But here are some websites that offer you a highly rewarding job without serious qualifications requirements.

A friend of mine once told me his story of a given website he bumped into. This was a captcha entry job. So he registered and started working right away. After one hour he had made $50 dollars when he tried to withdraw his cash, he could not succeed. So he started to be skeptical about the website and started to research it. To cut the long story short, he realized he had been wasting his time. This is the website: http://www.admoney.fun/login.php

2. Vague Job Descriptions or Requirements

Most commonly, scammers will want to make their jobs descriptions to appear simple so that, they can cast their nets wider. A job description like, “must be 18 years and above”, “must be a citizen”, “must have access to the internet” (you couldn’t have seen their advertisement or their job offer if you didn’t have access to internet right?).

Almost everyone can qualify for such jobs. A genuine company will want to employ competent work-force and therefore their job description must be specific.

Advice:

  • In case of such vague job description please check whether that company truly exist or it’s just a scam. Trust only after researching.

3. Job posted on social media; especially with short URLs

The newest platform for job scams is social media. Did I mean that all the jobs in social media are a scam? Of course no! The undeniable truth here is that most of them are a scam. Be cautious of jobs and recruiters you find in social media—Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter etc.

Scams can be found in Twitter where the link is a shortened URL (bit.ly or ow.ly) from a real or fake account. It is wise to verify that the recruiter or the employer’s social media account is genuine before you click apply.

Advice:

  • In case the twitter account has fewer than 500 followers be skeptical, especially when the employer’s name is well known.

4. You Are Asked to Provide Confidential Information

Some scammers will always ask you to provide your bank account information claiming to set a direct deposit or transfer money to your account. They may also ask you to open a new bank account and provide the information to them. Others may as well ask you to fill out a credit report form.

Advice:

  • Before you can disclose your confidential information, check to make sure that the website is secure.
  • The web address should begin with https:// and not http:// e.g. http://www.admoney.fun/login.php is a scam.

5. Unprofessional Emails

Although some emails from scammers are well written, many are not. Real companies hire professionals who are competent and therefore can write a flawless email. If the email is clouded with spelling, punctuation and grammatical mistakes, be on your guard.

6. Online Interviews

Most of the attempted scams reveal that the interview will take place online using an instant messaging service. They normally ask for confidential information regarding your bank account, social identity or even a driver’s license.

Advice:

  • If you are applying for an online job whereby online interview is employed, research the company and its representatives before you agree to be interviewed.
  • Ask detailed questions during the interview
  • Don’t give confidential information e.g. bank account, credit card or social security number.

7. Emailed Job Offer Supposedly from an Employer Or Recruiter

Scammers normally will send an emailed job offer masquerading to be a well-known employer or recruiter. They normally claim to have found your resume on Monster or from their website. Their emails will always claim that you’re the perfect candidate for that new opportunity.

Always they do pretend to be interested in hiring you immediately. As usual, they will want you to disclose your confidential information—they will ask for driver’s license (tell them your birthday), your social number (to complete the paperwork to hire you) or your bank account number.

Advice:

  • Do not be fooled by logos and names of companies—logos and names can be borrowed from websites. Always check the email address carefully bearing in mind the from: email may be

“spoofed” with some email software, do not trust as genuine, it may not!

For example, a fictional employer from Microsoft company whom we may call, Example, will have an email like example@microsoft.com. Such a recruiter won’t tell you to submit your information through an email like example@gmail.com or example@yahoo.com if really you are applying for a job at Microsoft company.

8. They Contact You at Odd Hours

As we all know, the business world operates 24/7. But hiring managers don’t. Scammers will tend to send emails at odd hours, say 2.00 am. If this is the situation you’ve found yourself in, be cautious. Real hiring employers don’t operate at this time. Most work emails will be sent—and answered—during normal business hours.

9. Emails from Non-Business Address

Legitimate hiring managers will normally have their company’s name as the ending of their email addresses e.g. example@microsoft.com. In case your potential boss sends an email with an AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, or any other non-company email address, you can bet it is a scam. Hiring managers will send their correspondence from their business email address, not their personal one.

10. They Ask You to Pay Some Money Before You Are Hired.

Scammers masquerading to be hiring companies will often ask you to process some transaction for them before you’re hired. Imagine a company wants to hire you but they still want you to pay for something. Under normal circumstances, there should be no reason for you to pay money, process payment or even transfer funds in order to secure a job. Research, research, and research before you can pay for anything.

Conclusion

Internet fraud is rampant and scammers consistently prey on the job seekers. Some of them are too smart to detect their weird plans very easily. Your appropriate defense is to do your research and report internet job scammers.

You could face very painful consequences in the loss of your identity, loss of your money, a mined credit rating, and even worse. Once they gain access to your private information, they have everything they needed for their scam. They can drain your bank account, or even land in jail at times. So take care.

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