“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Christy Birmingham

Last Updated on: February 5th, 2018

FITS Series Welcome Image

This week we are continuing with the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well, and the “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is Christy Birmingham.

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Now please welcome Christy Birmingham to center stage. 😉

Take it away, Christy! 🙂

Christy Birmingham Photo

The Ups and Downs of the Freelance Writing Field

After working in a range of jobs from a chocolate factory line worker to manning the front desk of a bustling office, I decided to take the plunge into a freelance writing career. That was two-and-a-half years ago, and the journey has been one full of ups and downs.

I like to focus on the ‘ups’ but, of course, there have been a mix of good and bad experiences during the last few years. I hear ‘that is normal’ from other writers, although many people I know pursue their writing dreams outside of their day job or have a partner who contributes to the home income. As for me, it is ME alone who pays my bills, and I do so from writing online.

How and Why I Became a Freelance Writer

I took the path of freelance writing as my career because, after emerging from a long bout of depression and anxiety, I wanted to pursue my dream of being a writer. I had thought about it before but never taken the risk – and  do not get me wrong, it IS risky! I decided that if I didn’t try it, I would have regrets, and I had seen my share of those already in my life. So, even if I tried and didn’t succeed, well, at least I had made the effort. That said, I went for it, with hands to keyboard!

The start was tough, let me tell you. I had no clue what current writing rates were and often short-changed myself, accepting rates lower than Canada’s minimum wage just to be able to get work from clients. I worked every single day and often very long hours. I continued that way for about a year and tried to figure out what to specialize in for writing tasks and topics. I changed from focusing on social media tips to health tips to … well, now I do a lot of writing for a range of business websites, producing content for their websites and blogs. I also take days off now and then to recharge my batteries and keep writer burnout far away.

The Changes I Made After the First Year: Tips To Raising Rates

After a tough first year in the freelance writing industry, I took a step back and thought about why I was not able to get ahead financially or get more balance in my working hours. When I took that step back, I saw that I was getting excellent feedback on my writing projects from clients most of the time and was even starting to get referrals to new clients. With that in mind, I realized it would be wise to raise my rates, as my work quality spoke for itself.

I recall approaching a client I had worked with for about six months and sending him an email to explain that I would be increasing my rates. In the email, I offered examples of my strong work ethic and great writing skills to qualify the increased rate. For example, I explained that I always responded promptly to his project requests and often delivered work before the deadline. I also pointed out the great content I had produced for him already, including a number of blog posts.

After I had sent this email, I felt anxious as to what the response would be. Within only a few hours, the client responded and said that he would increase the rate and was thankful to have me as part of his team. I was very appreciative and explained that in my response back to him. I was glad I had taken the risk!

I also recommend that email approach to a freelance writer who is thinking of raising rates with an existing client. I will add, however that you do need to qualify WHY you are worth the higher payment and you also must be prepared to get a ‘no’ (possibly) from the client.

While some days are difficult as a freelance writer, with rejections to job proposals and critiques over work submitted, other days are amazingly full of opportunities for new projects and the pride of getting deadlines done ahead of schedule. I love that I am pursuing my dream of writing, and I refuse to give up on it. I truly believe that if you want something bad enough then you will keep going until you achieve success at it!

About Writer Christy Birmingham

When Christy is not writing content for businesses, it’s likely that you will find her on her blogs Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire. In addition, feel free to connect with me on Twitter and Google+.

YOUR TURN:

Have you ever had a problem deciding on your rates?

Have you ever had a client refuse to pay you more? What did you do?

Share your experiences in the comment section!

And don’t forget to thank Christy for her freelancing advice!

Check out the other freelancers in this series:

Some Life Updates and Info about Freelancing from #freelancewriter Lorraine Reguly

An Interview With “F.I.T.S.” Series #freelancewriter Elna Cain

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Candace Simonson

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter DD, an Addicted-to-Heroin #Freelancer

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Alicia Rades

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Corinne Kerston

F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Ali Luke

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Joe Warnimont

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Brian Morris

F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Janine Ripper

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Harleena Singh

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Crystal Nay

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Tom Bentley

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter William Ballard

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Deevra Norling

Freelancing Tips From Kirsty Stuart #freelancingtips for #freelancers

7 Reasons for the FITS Series on Wording Well (with results!)

If you want to raise your freelancing rates, read How to Ask for a Raise (and Get One!) from your #Freelancing Client.

If you want to know why you should be gathering testimonials you can use on your website, read about The Power of Client Testimonials.

31 thoughts on ““F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Christy Birmingham

  1. Zachery Smith says

    Christy,

    Thanks for the great information on your site. This is my first visit, and realize I have been here nearly an hour reading all kinds of great information. I have a question about inspiration, I tend to find inspiration when I am sort of out from the technology bubble and was wondering your thoughts on how to take advantage of that inspiration when I am without much to write it down?

    Thank you

    • says

      Hi Zachery. This is actually my site, not Christy’s, although you are leaving a comment on her post.

      I’m guessing you read the article I wrote (at http://wordingwell.com/act-when-inspiration-hits/) about what to do when you’re hit with inspiration… and so here’s my advice:

      I’d carry a pen with you. If you have a pen, you can always find something nearby to write on… including your hand or arm (if you get that desperate). Seriously. A pen is small, light, and easy to fit into any pocket… or even a wallet.

      Add a blank piece of paper (folded up), and *presto!* you are all set. 🙂

      I hope that helps!

  2. Great Write up Christy, and very useful to not sell yourself short.. 🙂 And thank you to your host Lorraine for inviting you to write your guest post… Good luck to both of your future projects in this field of work.. Love Sue xox

  3. says

    Hi Christy – thanks for this post – it had some great tips for all bloggers. I think many of us get into blogging ‘just because’ but eventually we want more. Your advice is going to be of great help.
    Lenie

  4. Cynthia says

    Christy – had a bit of time this weekend and wanted to come say hi! Oh, yes, two years ago I took a plunge and started writing. I liked it, but yearned for more time around people and went back to teaching and grad school – plus, it was really hard to make ends meet. I don’t have any regrets. I still intend on following my dream of writing and photographing for myself using the lessons I learned the first time around. But, this time, I’m going to do it from a safer “employed” position and re-focus my efforts – I wasn’t niche at all and I know that having lack of focus was one of my downfalls.
    I love your inspiration and as soon as I finish grad school in 2.5 months, I want to continue writing and doing photography. I can’t wait to catch up with my online friends and get back to writing – for me. 🙂

    • Thanks Cyndi for taking time here amongst your busy schedule! I admire you for all that you are doing right now and the great part about when you do freelance again is that you learned so much from the last time around! You will be even stronger than before! I wish you so much success and look forward to when you are around more regularly 🙂

  5. says

    As with some of the others I am in the learning curve stage of the business operation; the part I am least comfortable with. Your post gives me some guidelines and for guidelines I am always grateful.

  6. says

    Hello
    I am in process of learning and I really liked the advice of taking risk. You never know about response or results but at the end of the day you feel relaxed that at least you have tried.
    I have never worked for someone in this field and still I do not think I am on that level to do so. I am just a beginner and with every single day Learning a lot. Here I have learned that trying for something is first step to success. Thank you for nice share.

  7. Hi christy , Enjoyed reading your tips and the candour with which you described your experience as a freelancer . Your writing is very much a reflection of the straight and unassuming person that you certainly are . I am sure your words will inspire and guide the way forward for many wannabe writers…

    And Lorraine , nice to meet you thru your site . It is most fitting that you invited a person like Christy to grace FITS…all the best for your initiative…

  8. says

    I remember my first writing gig when I was a newbie writer. I was paid a dollar for every 500-word article. But after getting acquainted with web content writing for several months, I realized that the pay was too low. Nevertheless, that helped me grow.

  9. Shawn M. Soles says

    AH Ha!! I knew it.. wait!
    What was the question again?
    *scrolls up*
    YOUR TURN:
    Have you ever had a problem deciding on your rates?
    Nope, but I will indeed need to reconsider the possibility.

    Have you ever had a client refuse to pay you more? What did you do?
    Nope, I systematically calculated the numbers to retain an acceptable outcome.

    Share your experiences in the comment section!
    ok, will do…

    (And remember, if you leave a comment, you will be automatically entered for a chance to have one of your blog posts edited by Lorraine!)
    Sweet!

  10. Great advice Christy. I so appreciate that you took the steps to honor yourself and your writing and raised your prices. You are a talented writer and worth every penny of it! 😉

  11. Wonderful guest post Christi and I truly agree the honest email approach about discussing current rates and even when you do feel the need to raise them. Thank you for sharing on this here today and truly appreciate getting your honest opinion and take on this.

    • Thank you Janine for your comment here and for the support! Yes, I believe in explaining why we are honestly worth the writing rate, and I’m glad you’ve also found this approach helpful for you. I am thankful I got to express what I learned here at Lorraine’s site! Take care and keep writing 🙂

  12. Thank you Lorraine for inviting me to be part of such an exciting series! I am happy to be able to contribute tips that help other people with their own paths as freelance writers so that we can all continue to grow and learn from one another. I’m proud to be here 🙂

    • says

      I appreciate the shares on your social media sites, too. 🙂

      I agree: It’s great when we can all learn from one another. That’s the beauty of blogging! See you soon. (Oh, and be aware that I moderate comments here, so it may take a day or two to get more.) See you soon!

  13. says

    Christy, thank you for your contribution to my Freelancer In The Spotlight (FITS) series. I noticed that one of the links didn’t work – the one to Poetic Parfait, but I just fixed it!

    Thanks also for sharing such a useful tip with everyone. When I asked Greg from Dear Blogger to give me a raise for writing my blog posts for him, I qualified my request with numerous reasons (such as: they come edited, I am reliable, they are written to his satisfaction or beyond, etc.) and he readily agreed. 🙂 So I know firsthand what you are saying is true!

    Most people, too, will not argue with such solid logic. 😉 And everyone deserves a raise now and then! Thanks again for such a wonderful tip, Christy. I’m sure you have helped many people who were a bit too shy to request more money and given them the boost they needed to do so!

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