Brick by brick


November was my month for marketing my freelance writing business

I did a bit of cold emailing (as time permitted, considering I have a very busy toddler), and I have a few warm leads as a result.

I also started a new blog, Marana Unwrapped, both because it’s an interesting topic and it’s a more specific niche. (I consider Crayon Writer to be a more personal blog that also has some universal appeal.) Hopefully the exposure in my community will help me gain more clients, and the niche should attract advertisers also.

So December is my month of looking for freelance gigs, while I also continue looking for another day job.

What’s a freelance gig? Projects I find not by marketing myself, but by perusing freelance sites. Right now I only use Craigslist. With access to cities across the country (and the world, if I choose), I should be able to find some nice side work.

If you’re a single parent or sole breadwinner, how did you get started with your freelance business, and how do you keep on keepin’ on?

13 Responses to “Brick by brick”

  1. Deborah Dera says:

    I’m not a parent, but I’m currently the sole breadwinner. I’m working another full-time job while I start freelancing on the side, but my goal is to freelance full-time next year…

    Some places I find helpful are elance,, and a few other sites I’ll have to look up. I’m still experimenting with some. Elance is a paid membership site, but I’ve made much more than I’ve spent in membership so it’s worth it so far.


    • Theda K. says:

      Thanks for the comment, Deborah. I just started checking out Elance. I’m not sure I like the idea of paying a fee, but I’m considering it. I’ve been hearing good things about it.

  2. Dennis Edell says:

    “cold emailing” is spamming, be careful.

    • Theda K. says:

      I disagree that cold emailing is necessarily spam, and the “laws” are pretty unclear, I think. I also think it’s strange that I could cold call businesses that publish their phone numbers, but it’s an issue to cold email businesses who publish their email addresses.

      In my case, I address a specific person the majority of the time, and I don’t send an email to dozens of people at one time. Each email is sent individually (and is time-consuming too…no “bots”).

      Also, I don’t use deceptive subject lines, and I never email someone again if they don’t respond. I just tell them who I am, and ask them a legitimate question.

      What’s the “official” definition of spam? From my limited research, it seems like there were some changes to the “law” in the works in 2005, but the FTC website doesn’t seem to make it crystal clear.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • Dennis Edell says:

        Hi Theda,

        I hope you didn’t take me wrong, by no means did I mean to imply you did it on purpose or anything 🙂

        Basically, and “unsolicited commercial email” is not good.

        start here, and it will tell you where to go from there.

        I think the difference between that and the phone is, you’re not going to get 1200 “junk calls” to answer in 4 seconds LOL

        • Theda K. says:

          Hi Dennis,

          I didn’t take offense to your comment. I actually did some research on spam before I started cold-emailing, and did some more research the other day. The laws really aren’t clear, they keep changing, and the way I write my emails isn’t spam. Not all unsolicited commercial email is spam, according to the FTC. It depends on how it’s done. It would take me 1200 minutes (at least) to cold email 1200 messages. Spammers will send 1200 in 4 minutes, like you said. I’ll be writing an article about this, with my assessment of the laws, soon. Stay tuned!

  3. TripHow Ling says:

    Well..I started out with Craigslist a couple of years back. First six months were horrible. Hardly made anything. Then got some regular clients, and some montly contracts for writing. I check into Craigslist now once in 3-4 months, to add some new customers. What I can suggest is that, for beginners, you send emails, at least 15-20 of them, everyday, in response to posted jobs. Try to build personal relations with website owners. These are the guys who will keep coming back to you for more – Again and again – If you do a good job. Just my 2 cents, so if anyone has better ideas, I’ll be glad to read and discuss.

  4. sonoma kango says:

    I don’t think that what you are doing is considered spamming. It is not defined well yet, but, you are just trying to generate business and you are doing it individually and personally. I see nothing wrong with that.

    Sounds like you are a busy working mother. Good luck!

    • Theda K. says:

      Thanks! I totally agree that spam isn’t defined well yet, even by the FTC. They are pretty clear that sending out the same email to hundreds of addresses at one time is probably spam. Far from what I’m doing. I have a feeling the whole thing will be squashed sooner or later.

  5. Matt says:

    I think building up your taps/leads, aka cold calling or mailing is a great tactic and can be done without spamming. Nice to see everything is going well, and congratz on starting another blog

  6. […] reading Crayon Writer for a while, you know that my primary method of getting new clients is via cold emailing instead of cold […]

  7. Patio Ideas says:

    Thanks for reminding me about Craigslist. Can you really get some real work on their? Or is it mostly spam.

    Patio Ideas’s last blog post..Patio Ideas – Slate Patios

  8. Theda K. says:

    Hi Patio Ideas,

    I do get real work on Craigslist, though of course you have to watch out for spam. Whenever I reply to an ad, I use a resume that doesn’t include my address. But the spam is usually pretty obvious. If there’s a “Click here to apply” then I just go on to the next one. And I look at Cragislist ads in various cities to increase the chances I find something that works.

    Good luck!

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