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

Last Updated on: June 20th, 2017

FITS Series Welcome Image

Here is another entry in the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well.

The “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is Joe Warnimont.

Be sure to stick around to the end, because I asked Joe a couple of questions, and have plans to ask him more in the comments!

Now please welcome Joe Warnimont to center stage.

This is a picture of freelancer Joe Warnimont.

Take it away, Joe!

How Joe Got Involved in Freelance Writing

I started freelance writing when I was at my first marketing job, straight out of college. It was in the golf industry, and although it allowed me to gain a better understanding about golf, that wasn’t exactly the most interesting industry, and not many people golf anymore.

I’ve always enjoyed writing down story ideas and random thoughts in a journal, but throughout high school and college, nothing ever came of this random hobby. I started structuring these thoughts when I built a blog and created twenty blog posts to start selling my writing to clients.

No, I didn’t start writing because of the passion; I eventually wanted to make money off of it. It never made sense to me when people said they just wrote for the love of it. Sure, it’s fun, but writing takes lots of work, and if you don’t have a plan to eventually gain recognition or make some sort of living, you can’t ever make a career out of it. You can’t drop that office job.

So, I built a blog in an effort to pitch to companies for my freelance services and to even make a bit of money through book sales and affiliate links.

I started knocking on digital doors, chatting with people on Reddit, posting my links and following other bloggers I enjoyed to let them know that I want to share my stuff with them and I’m interested in their stuff.

I was let go from my job about two years in, which was the best thing that ever happened to me. I probably would have stayed there for five more miserable years and not taken the dive into full-time writing.

I won’t lie; during the first year of freelancing I was quite poor, and no one understood my decisions. My parents kept asking which jobs I was applying for, and my friends joked that I was a deadbeat.

The way I see it is that you can’t just walk into any profession and start dominating. Doctors go to medical school, teachers go to grad school, and pretty much anyone who wants to advance their career puts in several years of being poor to develop a skill.

Living poor for one or two or three years is just graduate school for writers, as long as you’re teaching yourself and working hard.

As for me, this year and a half gave me a chance to strengthen my writing, take a few online classes and refine my pitch to companies.

I decided to mainly write blog posts for technology and outdoor adventure companies.

I set a goal for how much money I wanted to make every month and didn’t stop pitching clients through Problogger postings and cold emails until my client list made this much money.

Now I have enough work to cover eight hours of my day, and then I have time after that to work on my blogging and finishing up my sci-fi novel.

Joe Warnimont’s Top 4 Freelancing Tips

There are plenty of freelance writing tips you can simply search for on Google, but there are a few lessons I’ve learned that have helped me maintain a consistent revenue stream.

1: Move Your Focus to Blog Posts

During my first year of freelance writing, I picked up any job I could. Website copywriting, press releases, blog posts and product descriptions. After that year, I took a vacation to Italy, even though I really couldn’t afford it. When I returned, I noticed that most of my jobs had ended. It wasn’t that my clients forgot about me, but that I was doing jobs that had expiration dates.

When you write website copy, this is a one-and-done job. After that you have to scrounge around for a replacement job.

Press releases and product descriptions are just as flaky.

I decided to focus primarily on corporate blogging for two reasons:

  • these companies actually had money to spare, and
  • the jobs were ongoing.

I was able to sign clients who wanted two or three or four posts per week, and there was no end date.

2: Focus on a Niche

It’s much easier to land a job for a tech company when every piece on your portfolio is about mobile phones, website templates and cloud computing.

It’s a deathtrap when you accept work from every industry.

You don’t give yourself a chance to dominate in one area, and clients don’t see you as an expert if you write about everything.

3: Invest in a Timer

It’s tough to succeed with writing, because it’s so easy to get up for a snack every fifteen minutes. For some reason setting a timer on your phone gives you a little nudge to not be a waste of space.

Note from Lorraine:

Free online timers can be used, too. Some include:

If you don’t like any of these, you might find one among the Top 15 Of The Best Online Alarm Clock Websites.

4: Forget About the Marketing Experts and Just Build Relationships

Facebook is not a place to build a platform, it’s a place to connect with people.

Your blog isn’t just for pumping out content and hooking people to buy your stuff.

I’m guilty of overthinking this, but writing and making art is quite simple when you think about it. If you take pride in your work, hit your deadlines and outsource the parts you aren’t good at, you shouldn’t have any problems.

All these social media marketing tips and blog post optimization tools are just cluttering your workspace.

Think about it. If you are writing a book, all you have to do is finish the book. Setting your deadline is essential because your work is never going to be perfect. After you’re finished writing, you need to outsource the parts you’re not an expert in. This means hiring someone to complete your book cover along with someone to make edits. After those simple steps are taken, you should have a product to sell. Then your socialization efforts on your blog and social media start to pay off. Ten Twitter posts selling your new book are not going to put more cash in your pocket.

Trusting relationships push people to buy.

Joe’s takeaway tips:

  • Find your niche
  • Move your focus to blog posts and building relationships
  • Use a timer

A quick Q and A:

Lorraine: Are there any other freelancers who have helped you along the way, or whose blogs you follow? Any particular blog post that had an influence on you?

Joe: Carol over at Make a Living Writing has always been quite helpful in my freelance journey. This post really got me pumped to start making money with my writing: How I Made 6 Figures as a Freelance Writer in 2011.

I also listen to the Smart Passive Income podcast by Pat Flynn, which helps me through the business side of things.

Lorraine: For accounting purposes, which system do you use, or recommend?

Joe: Accounting system? Honestly I just pay an accountant to do everything for me ($100 a year, which I can write off), and track my finances in an Excel sheet. Paypal also pretty much tracks everything for me in case I’m missing something. Paypal is perfect for invoices too.

YOUR TURN:

Which of Joe’s tips “spoke” to you?

What accounting system do YOU use?

Are you a niche writer?

Did you pick up your free gift yet? Get it when you subscribe to my author newsletter.

I’d appreciate it you thanked Joe on Twitter, too!

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 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 Christy Birmingham

“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.

Joe Warnimont is a freelance writer for tech companies out in Silicon Valley and outdoor adventure companies all over the world. He makes a living off this income, and pushes people to take simple steps towards building viable businesses through writing. Check out his blog called WriteWithWarnimont, and connect with him on Twitter.

 

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

  1. Nice to meet you as well Carol. Blog posts are a wonderful focus, as I make most of my money of them just like you! I’m glad you liked the post Carol. Have a nice weekend!

  2. Carol Amato says

    Hi, Joe,

    It’s certainly nice to meet you here on Lorraine’s blog.

    You make me smile with the phrase “I started knocking on digital doors,” – cool!

    Wow, you’re writing a novel? That’s awesome. Since I am an online entrepreneur, and my blog is the main and central hub of all of my Internet activity, I do focus on blog posts.

    Oh boy, you got that right. I have a kitchen timer on my desk, as well as digital timers and alarms. I’ve learned my lesson about procrastination and focus.

    Yes, building relationships with influencers is definitely where it’s at, great advice!

    I appreciated your article, thanks for sharing.

    Telling my friends…

    – Carol

  3. Hi Lorraine and Joe,

    Though I was not aware about Joe before reading this article but still its good to know that there are many people in our online market who have potential to show their magic.

    I like when Joe said that he never got in his mind as why people say that they do blogging because they love it. In my opinion somehow Joe is right.
    But it also contain another surface. Its dependent at time and person to person as they write for fun or making money.

    Its really impressive as how he has achieved his success from collage to become an entrepreneur.

    Thanks for letting us know about him.

    I hope you both are enjoying your day.:)

    ~Ravi

    • Thanks for the kind words Ravi! You’re absolutely right. It is dependent on the person if they want to make money with their writing. I think eventually everyone wants to start making some money, but sometimes it’s just nice to write in a journal to jot down your thoughts. I think time comes into play as well. Getting started off you kind of have to write for fun, since not many people will pay you, but hopefully you can build up a client base or write some books that people buy.

      Have a good one!

  4. Hi Joe; You make two points here I definitely agree with. One is go for recurring revenue. I can’t tell you how often I am amazed by people who get hired as part of a tv show or as the spokesperson of a company or its product and then decide they no longer want to do it. I mean if the checks are coming in every week, what is the problem? 🙂 and i recently struggled with my own first ebook. the content felt thin imperfect not ready; but you are right it will never be perfect. I was finally convinced to press send and turn it over to my editor guess who yes the wonderfully talented lorraine reguly. she says it will be beautiful and perfect and I know she is right. now my search for a good cover image is another story. Its hard to come up with something really good when the guy with the idea is totally blind. I mean part of the problem is not being able to see the finish product so i absolutely have to trust whoever that person is. thanks for sharing your tips. continued success with your writing, max

    • says

      Max, it’s funny that you mentioned a cover image here today, as I was going to ask you about that! I’ll correspond with you via email, though, on that matter.

      FYI, I’m sick with a cold and sore throat and so you might not hear from me until next week. Okay?

      Joe will respond to your comment in due time, too. You know I moderate comments so it might take a day or two to be approved. It all depends on how I feel tomorrow and the next. It’s times like this that I wish I had help instead of being a one-woman show!

    • Hi Max,

      So many things to consider when putting together an eBook! Hmm, that’s quite interesting, and amazing that you’re doing, what so many people can’t, while blind. Do you have a group of people who can look at it to help you figure out if the cover is any good or not? Obviously you have the vision in your mind, but I’d think it might be easier with more people giving feedback and communicating their thoughts to you. I could just be an idiot though… 🙂

  5. says

    Joe, I was wondering if you could elaborate more on how you use your timer(s), and whether you charge your clients on a per hour or a per post basis… or if it depends on the client.

    There are readers who would like to know!

    Thanks. 🙂

    • Sure thing Lorraine,

      I use the default clock timer on my iPhone, and rely on the Pomodoro to write in bursts and take breaks after these writing bursts. I usually write for an hour and take a ten or fifteen minute break after that. I walk to Walgreens or just around the block to clear my head during the break, because I’m a strong believer that sitting at your desk during your break is not doing yourself any good.

      In terms of charging clients, I charge per post, and I try to push and see how high I can go with each client, because it’s hard to ask for a raise later on in the relationship when you are just doing the same work. If a client insists that they don’t have the budget for my “per post” rate, I’ll negotiate with them, but then figure out a way to fit that rate into my target hourly rate. So basically my per post rate (usually for between 700-1000 words) is equivalent to the work I can complete in an hour. If they don’t have the cash to meet that rate I’ll just write faster or proofread less. Sure, I like to take pride in my work, but some clients are going to simply be a paycheck. For these few clients I don’t typically put that work on my portfolio.

      I probably wouldn’t do this for a byline post though. Only write sacrifice quality when the client is being cheap (so they get what they pay for,) and when your name isn’t slapped on the final product. (press releases, ghostwriting, product descriptions)

      • says

        Joe, thanks for explaining that. I’ve heard of the Pomodoro technique before, and know it’s used by many people. I’ve even started using it myself, lately, and am finding that I’m more productive when I use it. I guess that is why so many people rave about it. 😉

        I can clearly understand your point of view when dealing with clients who either don’t have the money or who don’t want to pay what you are worth, although I can honestly say that I’ve never written for such clients. Of course, my business involves both writing AND editing, and I’ve never looked for jobs on content mill sites. In fact, I don’t do much prospecting at all, but my situation is a bit unique since I also am on disability. Perhaps I am fortunate in that respect; I’m not a struggling writer who will starve if I don’t write or edit.

        Thank you for being so candid in your responses, too. One of the things my readers LOVE is the honesty I am known for, and I know that they appreciate your openness, even if they don’t happen to comment. 🙂

        FYI, I woke up with a sore throat today and have a cold that is getting worse, so it might be a couple of days before you see any more comments appear here.

        Thanks for everything, Joe, including your understanding! Have a great day. 🙂

  6. Martha Gail Moore says

    Developing a niche is what “spoke” to me. I want to move in that direction. Thanks for sharing your story, Joe!

    • Anytime Martha. I’m glad you found something salvageable out of my ramblings. 🙂 But yea, when you focus on a niche you slowly start to feel more grounded and confident in your work. It’s easier to sell yourself as an expert and it’s even easier to explain what you do to your friends. (“I’m a tech writer,” as opposed to “I write product descriptions, website copy and blog posts for fashion, sports, tech and finance sites.”)

  7. Dr. Nicolas Rao says

    Refreshingly honest and practical. Yes! I used to write for Freelancer.com 300-600 word web content. My niche was products- household and watches. In fact I started my work with writing about “High quality replica watches and clocks.”
    I wrote for about a dozen recognised top brands..In the process I learned a lot about Horology and watches in general.
    But after hours of research, all I got paid was peanuts. I did it for a while, hoping things would pick up. They did not.
    My work increased and I realised as long as my content came in from India there really was no point. However, good the work, the price was fixed. No one was to blame but my fellow countrymen, willing to work for that price. They not only worked at that price, but actually employed teams to work for less. So competing with them was a total no no.

    I agree with Niche writing. It makes the most sense as one gets a greater knowledge about somethings and not a general idea on a whole lot of unrelated material.

    As far as a timer is concerned. I always used the one built into my phone. That is something everyone carries always.
    On Android I use an app called Alarm Clock extreme. It works perfectly for me and has multiple alarms and stop down timer. Its pretty complete and can be seen in the dark.

    • Thanks Dr. Nicolas,

      Freelancer.com has become a rather ridiculous race to the bottom. I started out there, but you slowly realize that no career is possible by simply working through a content farm or a site where people work for pennies like Odesk or Freelancer.com. I focus my efforts on job boards that see higher paying gigs such as Problogger, and I also occasionally send out cold calls through LinkedIn and other sites if my client list isn’t full.

      Funny, I used to have Alarm Clock Extreme on my old Android, but now I just use the default clock timer on my iPhone. Good to see we are both cracking the whip with our timers!

      • Dr. Nicolas Rao says

        Thanks Joe,
        It looks like we have been down similar roads though I did not make it to the better sites.
        I use a Mac desktop a Mac mini with i5 processor and 16GB of RAM and a Dell HD monitor which allows me to run my favourite PS and LR comfortably, but am not yet into the iPhone.
        Both my daughters use the 5s and yes, its fantastic.
        Thanks for the tips. Will check out those sites whilst sharpening the scythe.
        I need to write a little again to warm up!
        Nicolas

    • Thanks Jo Ann,

      I’ve bounced around trying to test out different accounting software, but I’ve always crawled back to Excel. I think it’s just the fact that you can create whatever you want instead of sticking to the features offered by another accounting software.

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