Sophie knew she was a fantastic writer. But even after getting published in magazines and writing her own book, she was still struggling to get paid for her writing.
“I tried everything. I wrote articles for Yahoo! and made some money that way. But just as I started getting used to having a bit of extra money in the bank, they shut down the program.”
With that gig dried up, Sophie tried her hand at “content mills” — websites that publish huge amounts of lower quality articles. But that proved to be a pretty underwhelming experience.
“The pay wasn’t great, the work wasn’t enjoyable, and the hours were ridiculous.”
While Sophie’s love for writing never wavered, finding a legitimate way to make a good living doing it seemed impossible.
Persistence starts to pay off
Even though she was disenchanted by the low pay and crazy hours of writing for content mills, Sophie continued searching for freelance writing opportunities.
“One of the newsletters I followed suggested using freelance sites, like Upwork. But I didn’t really like that idea. It just seemed scammy and difficult. But they kept mentioning Upwork over and over again, so I finally decided to check it out.”
Once she had her profile set up, Sophie started applying for jobs right out of the gate.
“In the early days, I flitted about, doing whatever jobs I could get. For one client, I wrote four 1000-word articles every day. Even though that was intense, I never missed a deadline. In fact, if I knew I was going to take time off, I would actually give him articles in advance.”
At this point, Sophie was consistently getting writing jobs, but there was one big problem: She’d been charging just $5 per article, which couldn’t produce the sustainable income she was looking for.
“Every now and then, I’d look at what other freelancers were doing. There were people charging $80/hr and I remember thinking, ‘How do I get that?’ I’d never been able to charge that much.”
Searching for a way to earn more
As she looked for any information that would help her charge higher rates, Sophie came across Freelance To Win and decided to sign up for Danny’s Upwork Hacks.
“The amount of information Danny gave away for free was so valuable that it made me wonder, ‘If this is what I’m getting for nothing, what can I get if I actually join his paid course?’”
So she decided to go for it and join Secrets Of A Six-Figure Upworker.
“I’d never paid for a course to advance my career. But I was already getting better results from using Danny’s free material — and I really wanted to see how far I could take this.”
A great opportunity…in disguise
After going through the course material, Sophie noticed something strange…
“I started the course, but, for some reason, work seemed to dry up. I started to freak out a little bit at first.”
Instead of throwing in the towel, she decided to reevaluate her strategy. She looked closer at the types of clients she was already attracting and thought more about the types she wanted to attract.
“I realized that I was actually just chasing away the clients that were no longer appropriate for me! The ones who wanted somebody as good as me for bargain basement prices. When you decide to charge higher rates, they’re not going to hang around. So even though I was getting fewer jobs, they were much higher quality, which is a good thing.”
“In the course, Danny says that our natural instinct is to try to please people. When someone says they really love your work but they can’t afford your rate, you naturally want to help them. But I’ve learned that it’s about having the professional boundaries to be able to say, ‘I would love to help you but I can’t,’ and I’ve had clients who actually waited until they could afford me.”
Going further than she ever thought possible
Armed with her new mindset, Sophie started designing her freelancing business to attract the high quality clients who would be happy to pay higher rates for her work.
“Soon afterwards, I got a job writing a voice over script. Normally I would’ve charged very little for it because it was just so much fun for me. But after going through Danny’s course, I decided to bid 3 times what I would’ve charged normally — and I got the job without any friction.”
Winning that job helped Sophie realized that she didn’t need to pack every minute of her schedule to make a living as a writer. “I had fewer clients but I was making more money from them than I ever did before.”
On top of that, Sophie has been consistently pushing herself to reach higher.
“When I started SSFU, I thought I’d be doing well if I could charge $60/hr. But now I’ve gotten clients at $130/hr. I’ve definitely come a long way from those $5 articles!”
Looking ahead to a brighter future
At the moment, Sophie is freelancing just part time on Upwork. But she’s already looking forward to taking on freelancing full time.
“My oldest son has autism and we also homeschool our 5 children. But even then my part-time income is more than the average full-time income where I live, and it’s rapidly growing. My income has gone up by 50% in the last year after taking Danny’s course and it’ll double when I can do this full-time. I think that’s phenomenal.”
Best of all, Sophie loves the fact that she is in full control of her freelancing income.
“People working in a regular job have a fixed income. If they need a bit more money, they’re basically out of luck. I know that if I need a bit of extra money, I can pick up a few more clients and work a few more hours. I have control over that.”
Growing professionally through freelancing
As much as Sophie enjoys being able to charge what she’s worth, that’s not the only benefit she’s uncovered.
“Freelancing has made me a lot better at my craft. I’ve learned not to take rejection personally. I write fiction and in the past I would’ve been much more upset when I got editing notes back. But now, I relish the opportunity to grow.”
“My publisher found me because of my work on Upwork and I’ve now got two books out — Behind the Scenes and We Just Clicked. My long term goal was always to focus on my own writing and Upwork basically helped me get to where I really want to be.”
“I went to Oxford and my peers are politicians, actors, CEOs, and heads of entire industries. Every now and then, I’d get my college newsletter showcasing the things they’ve achieved…and there I was, just a mom of 5. But now, I feel like I’m in the same league as my peers — but on a very different route. I’m in the top 10% of something I love. And even though I started late, I’ve still been able to shoot up to the top.”
Turning freelancing into a family business
Today, Sophie is using her freelancing savvy to help her entire family grow and prosper.
“My husband’s starting his own business. It’s very different from what I do but I’ve been able to take lessons from SSFU and teach him everything I’ve learned about the psychology of clients and we’ve been applying it to his business.”
Sophie’s kids have become inspired by her, too.
“I hope that my experiences will show my children that you don’t have to be employed by somebody else, that you can do anything you want to do, that you can take it with you anywhere in the world, and still have a really good life.
In fact, they’re considering following in her footsteps and becoming freelancers when they grow up!
“My oldest daughter is already talking about being a freelance writer. She wants to be able to travel the world and I truly believe that she’s going to be able to do that while supporting herself with writing.”
All in all, Sophie’s loving the freelance lifestyle she’s built for herself.
“For me, it’s not about the money. It’s about the experience and having fun. I love being able to take the children out on a Tuesday or staying in bed until 11AM.”