I still remember like it was yesterday when I made the decision to drop out of college and try to make money online.
I was reading a bunch of blogs and sites that were saying to take surveys and do random tasks to make money. I quickly found out that didn’t work.
I ran across several blogs where people were saying they made a full-time income freelance writing, so I decided to give that a try. I did a few free samples for clients to build my portfolio and started cold emailing clients. After a few weeks, I landed my first gig and got paid for it.
How I landed 30 remote writing jobs
When I say I landed 30 remote writing jobs, I mean I worked with 30 companies who were hiring writers and I did work and got paid for it. I don’t mean I was working 30 concurrent remote writing jobs.
What I’m trying to detail here is the getting the job part. I’m a freelance writer, I’m not looking for a full-time role. Most of the jobs I get are ones I negotiate with the company that I do a certain amount of content for them each month.
Over the course of my first two years freelance writing, I’ve worked with over 30 companies. I’m currently working with 6-7 clients and I’ve lost clients in the past, so I’ve become competent at finding and landing remote writing jobs.
The primary method I used to find these remote writing jobs is cold email.
How does cold emailing work?
Cold emailing is basically reaching out to someone via email. It’s called cold email because you haven’t met the contact before, it’s a cold introduction.
Cold email doesn’t mean you just spam people with emails until you get a client, you need to target prospects that are actually in the niche you are in.
For example, if I’m a healthcare/medical writer, I would focus on emailing prospects that work at healthcare institutions like clinics, hospitals, etc. It wouldn’t make any sense to email an HR company because they can’t use my services.
Cold emailing is one of the best ways to market your services because it’s cost-effective. Besides paying for your email service and email finding tools, everything else is free. You can start with little money and use cold emails to land your first client.
There’s only a few steps in cold emailing, they include:
- Finding the email: You can find the email of a company or contact by Googling it or by using software that can help automate finding the email.
- Writing the email: Once you have the email of the contact, you have to write a subject line and body that will attract responses. Simply introducing yourself won’t do anything. Focusing on what value you can provide the client with is essential to getting higher response rates
- Email service provider (optional, but highly recommended): When you are sending emails, you have to be professional. Getting an email for a business service from a Gmail account is not professional. Buying a domain with your name and setting up an email is a great step in making yourself look professional before interacting with clients.
Factors that impact your cold email success
I’m certainly not the first or the last person to use cold email, but what is the reason behind success in cold emailing? In the three years I’ve been cold emailing, I’ve made all the mistakes in the book. I haven’t had great success with cold emailing until the past 7-8 months. Here are the main factors that I’ve seen impact cold email success.
Number of emails sent: Cold emailing is a number’s game. I remember when I first started cold emailing, I was very discouraged because I had a wrong understanding of conversions.
I assumed that if I email 100 people, 50 will reply and I can get like 5-10 clients. The truth is that getting a 5% reply rate on 100 emails is very good.
Once you understand the average statistics around cold emailing, you can actually build a good cold email strategy. Now, I know that if I want to get 1-2 good clients, I will likely have to send 500 cold emails.
That’s a conservative estimate, but at least I can plan around that. In the long term, sending 500 emails per week can result in 52 clients per year with that estimate.
Email finding tools: When I started cold emailing, I used to spend hours on Google trying to find one email for one company. This reduced the amount of emails I could send drastically.
When I learned about email finding tools, it changed everything for me. There are numerous email finding tools that can help you find accurate emails of any contact very quickly.
By automating the email finding process, I could use software tools to find hundreds of email addresses along with the name and company of prospects. This allowed to me go from sending tens of emails each day to 200-300 emails per day.
Email provider: The email provider you use will impact your success with cold emailing. This is because some email providers will label your domain as spam if you send too much cold emails.
I had this problem with Gsuite for a while until I switched over to Outlook. I’ve been using Outlook for over a year now and most of my emails arrive at the prospect’s inbox.
Additionally, I would recommend you use the paid option for email providers. If you use a normal Gmail or Outlook account, there’s limits on the number of the emails you can send per day and you’re far more likely to be marked as spam.
Time: The last important factor in cold email success is time. Cold emailing compounds over time; I still have people I reached out to two years ago emailing me back saying they want to work with me.
Time is more beneficial as you put in more effort with cold emails. Many times you’ll have clients who’ll say they don’t need your services, but they’ll reach out when they do. Believe it or not, some of them will reach out and ask to work with you.
The only difficult part about cold emailing is doing it when you have existing client work. For example, if I spend the first 5-6 hours of my day on a client project, I still have to cold email for a few hours, so I can get new clients.
Going crazy with cold email for a few weeks will not change your life. Setting aside 1-2 hours each day for cold emailing will ensure you’ll never run out of clients and job opportunities as a writer.
Tools you need to cold email
You don’t need a ton of tools to cold email. Here are the few tools I’m actively paying for to land remote writing jobs.
Email provider: I use Outlook and I pay $8-$12 each month for a professional email address. This is my primary email address I use for all of writing related work. Using either Outlook or Gsuite is a good option to make sure you have a professional address.
Seamless.ai: Seamless.ai is an email finding tool that I pay $125 for each month. I know that’s an expensive subscription, but it has helped me grow my writing business almost 5 fold since the beginning of 2021.
Seamless.ai is an advanced email finding tool that helps you find email addresses from prospects on LinkedIn. In less than 10 minutes, I can get 1,000 email address from LinkedIn. It’s that powerful.
What also makes it great is that the email addresses it finds are very accurate. I’ve used other tools before, but none of them have generated the same results as Seamless.ai.
You can check out my full review of the product here, it’s by far the most important tool I use in my business.
If you’re going to apply normally, do this
Finding a job is already difficult, but finding a remote job can be nearly impossible if you don’t know what you’re doing. When I first started to look for remote writing jobs, I literally spent months waking up each day and applying to dozens of jobs.
Guess what was the result? I didn’t get a single interview.
Two days ago, I applied to a remote writing job at HubSpot. I got an interview request this morning.
This is the only normal job I applied to in almost two years, so what changed?
My education is the same (I have no formal writing education lol), but my skills and CV are vastly different.
Here’s my exact CV word for word.
The ending cut off because it was too long, but you can get the gist of it from the screenshot.
As you can see, I’m clearly stating the value I can bring to the HubSpot team. Instead of giving a generic answer like “I’m going to work hard”, you can say specific things about what you know about the role and how you can complement the company.
Basically, what I’m saying is that if your credentials (education, resume, etc) don’t stand out, your cover letter should be phenomenal to separate you from the other applicants. Once you create a good cover letter, you can use it as a template for other jobs.
Where should you look for remote writing jobs?
Finding high quality remote jobs can be difficult to find if you don’t know where to look. Here are some of the best places to look for to land remote writing jobs.
Popular job boards: To find the most available remote writing jobs, your best bet is to look through job boards like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Monster and LinkedIn. These sites have millions of job postings, so searching for terms like “remote writing” is a good place to start.
Spending a 10-15 minutes a day on each of these sites can help you find a few dozen job postings each day.
WeWorkRemotely: WeWorkRemotely is a remote-only job board. It’s one of the best places to find high-quality remote jobs because the companies are vetted and they pay well. Many of the remote writing jobs on there have salary and other benefits.
AngelList (angel.co): AngelList is another great resource to find jobs. What makes AngelList great is that you can see the exact compensation for a job. Additionally, if you decide to work for a startup, you may get the chance to get a little bit of equity in the business.
Remote.co: Remote.co is another job site dedicated to remote work. From my experience, Remote.co publishes about 1-2 remote writing jobs per day.
These jobs are full-time jobs and they’re generally at larger companies. What’s great about Remote.co is that you can sign up for their email list.
Their email list can provide you with job openings directly to your email. You can choose to turn on notifications for each time a new remote writing job is available. Here’s a direct link to the remote writing job board on Remote.co.
I hope you found this blog to be very beneficial. Without knowing someone who’s done the remote job application process, it can be hard to navigate on your own. If I can give one advice for landing a remote writing job, it’d be to stand out.
Standing out doesn’t necessarily mean you have an outlandish application. It means you take an unconventional approach that’s in your favor. The more you can separate yourself from the crowd, the better your chances are at landing the job.
If most applicants are just sending in the application, cold email the company and follow-up. That alone will immediately make you stand out from other applicants.
Also, you need to remember this is a number’s game. Even if you’re JK Rowling, you will need to apply to dozens of remote writing jobs before you get an interview or land the role. Set aside a few hours each day to sending applications and if you do this over a period of time, you will land your first remote writing job.