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There’s a faded note tacked to the bulletin board above my desk that reads:
“Don’t be a doormat writer. What amount of work are you willing to put forth in exchange for your client’s budget?”
I’ve glanced at this little piece of paper countless times over the 16 years I’ve been freelancing as a reminder not to undervalue my services.
No wonder it called out to me again when four fellow writers shared their experiences on partnering with nDash.
To have their writing services and subject-matter expertise fairly valued—not only by the brands retaining them but also through nDash’s support—was a commonality among these writers.
After researching other freelance marketplaces, “…they all seemed like such a race to the bottom,” said Amy Hooker Kidd, a B2B writer with a niche working with tech companies.
She felt discouraged to find so many assignments aiming at getting a massive volume of content written as cheaply as possible.
“That’s not the kind of writing I want to do, and that’s not the kind of relationship I want to have with my clients. I found nDash, and they made sense,” she said.
Beginning with “Value,” here are the top four traits these nDash writers say set them up for success.
Writing is work. Outlining, researching, writing, and editing takes time, requiring communication expertise.
“When I came upon nDash, I found I could work with clients and get the rates I’m used to charging because they understand the value,” Hooker Kidd said.
She feels nDash “…combines all of the fabulousness of having this automated platform, but you’re not having to cut your rates or take on all different kinds of work that you would normally just say, ‘No, that’s not [the type of work] for me to make [my business] successful.'”
Respectable prices for meaningful work mean writers can look to nDash to deliver a dependable piece of their freelance income pie.
For Jess Shanahan, a B2B content strategist and journalist specializing in technology, SaaS, and the future of mobility (e.g., electric cars), nDash comprises “…around 20-30% of my total income each month.”
Hooker Kidd approximates nDash represents between 30-40% of her work. Other writers like Devin Dickerson use nDash to freelance on the side.
“I freelance for extra income and have a full-time job in software development,” said Dickerson, whose expertise is technology, software, and product management. “For my writing income, nDash makes up about 75%.”
“The hardest thing for a freelancer is building a reputation and acquiring clients,” he said. “nDash simplifies both of these processes so you can focus on writing great content.”
Great content — catch that?
When writers are valued, brands get great content.
Inquisitiveness runs through the work of every good writer.
After many years of writing solely corporate communications, I’ve found nDash has opened my work to greater diversity by revisiting my roots in journalism — researching and pitching stories and learning about many interesting companies and people.
Caroline Castrillon follows her curiosity to pitch companies where she sees opportunities to learn more about their products and services.
“The ability to do a deep dive into their business is really fascinating, and I am always learning something new,” said Castrillon, a career coach and prolific writer with a background writing for agencies, small firms, and large Fortune 500 companies. “I look for companies that I have a genuine interest in and where I feel I can add value based on my professional background.”
“I like to focus on clients with exciting products and services,” said Dickerson. “It makes the writing a lot more enjoyable.”
“It’s brought me variety and many clients that I would not otherwise have met,” said Hooker Kidd.
Variety is also part of what makes nDash work for Shanahan, who has been writing on the platform since 2018.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with some interesting clients,” she said. “There’s always a great mix of work available if I’m looking to get stuck into something new.”
At one point, before freelancing, I worked in a PR department where my department’s “clients” were all the other departments in the organization. We routinely turned down client requests for random press releases or trade-press articles that fell outside our PR strategy.
“We are not order takers,” my boss would say.
The best brand content gets created in partnership, not under orders. nDash provides opportunities for strategic partnerships to flourish.
Dickerson credits establishing a niche as the key to forming lasting partnerships that generate repeat nDash business for him.
“We work together to craft a narrative that we can implement across multiple posts,” he said. “Long-term relationships will significantly improve the efficiency of your freelance writing business as a whole.”
Establishing such relationships pays dividends for brands too. As writers understand the company’s objectives, messaging, and tone, brands save time with less editing and explaining. The value of their spend on writing support goes up.
“As I continue to work with the same client, I feel an even more integral part of their team,” said Castrillon.
“Build out a comprehensive profile with lots of writing samples so clients can get a feel for your tone and style,” recommends Castrillon. “Don’t be shy. Let your personality shine through, and don’t forget to include a photo!”
A robust profile sends the unwritten message that a writer means business. It’s a chance not only to provide clips and demonstrate expertise but also to convey personality. After all, people work with people.
“I keep my profile and portfolio updated and believe this has helped me secure work on the platform,” said Shanahan.
By routinely updating your profile with new clips, tweaking your “about” summary, and adding to your expertise, you’ll be better suited to reflect your work and attract the work you want to do.
You can even get creative with the features available in your profile. For example, if breaking into a niche or style of writing falls among your goals, consider writing content for sale in these areas. These pieces pop up in your profile and further demonstrate your capabilities.
Good profiles aren’t just for writers, as Hooker Kidd reminds us when explaining her process for finding brands to pitch.
“I look at companies with a robust profile,” she said. “If they’ve created a profile with writing guidelines and that sort of thing, it shows me they’re serious about working with this platform.”
In other words, you get what you give. Get serious.
And get going!
Most of these writers have been with nDash for little more than a year or even less, yet they’ve experienced great success relatively quickly.
“Don’t just reply to open opportunities,” said Shanahan, the veteran in the bunch going on four years with nDash. “Get out there and pitch to companies on the platform. I regularly pitch companies with success.”
The sky really is the limit on leveraging nDash to build a lucrative freelance writing business. The tools for success are at your fingertips. Being active on the platform, accessing these tools, and seizing available opportunities to market your work is key.
“The people are supportive, the assignments are interesting, and the clients are cutting-edge, collaborative, and easy to work with,” Castrillon said. “The ideal trifecta!”
“I feel like, from a writer’s perspective, they have my back,” said Hooker Kidd of nDash.
Probably because they do.