Full disclosure: This post is a self-promoting testimonial.
Newbies are motivated to get started.
Newbies know that nothing will kickstart their freelance career more quickly than a portfolio of solid writing clips. But how do newbies start building their portfolio, if most places won’t hire without one?
Motivated newbies don’t let others dictate their future. They know they’ve got writing chops. Rather than wait to be hired, they find creative ways to get their work in front of prospective clients. (Ahem. Insert self-promoting cough.)
Newbies are eager to build their reputation.
Newbies didn’t just wake up one day and decide they want to be a freelance writer. Chances are, that’s a dream they’ve been nurturing for years. So when they finally do take the plunge, newbies are all in and eager to get their foot in the virtual door.
To showcase their talents, they will cover all sorts of topics, such as: ‘Why Your Teen is Obsessed with Snapchat and Tumblr’, ‘Why Completely Random Stock Photos Are Still Good for Your Traffic’, ‘What Fido is Trying to Tell You With His Tail’, ‘The Importance of Breastfeeding and Why It’s Still a Touchy Subject for New Moms’, ‘Raising Kids In a Politically Divided House: How to Engage in Appropriate and Respectful Debate When Your Spouse Insists on Supporting the Wrong Candidate’.
Newbies know that reputation is gold in the freelance world. You can bet they will hustle to establish themselves as valuable contributors by producing awesome, buzzworthy content.
Newbies are research hounds.
Newbies are not afraid of what they don’t know. The digital era has leveled the playing field, and they use it to their advantage. Blog posts, articles, web content, newsletters, books, podcasts, videos. The sheer vastness of the resources available can be overwhelming, but newbies are research ninjas. They are deft at cutting through the noise and finding just what they need to craft compelling, thoughtful content for your website or business.
Newbies are sometimes sea glass disguised as newbies.
I know, say what? Bear with me.
Newbies routinely sell themselves short, often without realizing it. Consider this pitch:
Hi, I’m Newbie. Although I’ve never written anything yet in the B2B field, I have years of experience working with lawyers and doctors in the medico-legal field. I’m confident I can pick up the lingo and write your B2B sales copy in a way that will help you get the results you’re looking for.
Newbies are surprised when this pitching style does not ‘make it rain’ for them.
Let’s read between the lines:
The newbie** in the above example may not have actual B2B sales copy experience, but she did spend over a decade as a medical malpractice paralegal helping defend doctors and hospitals against all sorts of allegations: delays in diagnosis of cancer, loss of limb(s) due to compartment syndrome or diabetes, complications from necrotizing fasciitis, negligent spinal fusions, cerebral palsy and/or shoulder dystocia due to birth-related trauma.
** Based on author’s true story.
Was this newbie a doctor or nurse? No.
This newbie started in the mailroom of her law firm, worked her way up to legal secretary, and, within a year, was promoted to medical malpractice paralegal.
Did she have any special medical training? Surely she must’ve known about CPAP machines, tumor markers, fetal monitor strips, subdural hematomas, and lumbar laminectomies before diving into this position. Again, no.
In fact, she had to look up the Merriam-Webster audio pronunciations of countless medical terms just so she could say them correctly in client meetings.
What made this newbie think that with absolutely no medical training or experience she could serve as the right arm to defense counsel defending complex, often life and death, medical issues? The better question might be, what made the attorney she worked for so confident she would succeed?
Determination and dogged research skills. What this newbie lacked in experience, she more than made up for with her exhaustive research skills. She pored through industry journals, online resources and, yes, even Google, to bring herself quickly up to speed so she could write compelling (sales) arguments (copy) on behalf of her medical (B2B) clients.
In essence, this self-proclaimed newbie spent years writing copy in the medico-legal niche. And if she can excel in this complex field, she can use the same skills to excel in other niches.
Of course, in a textbook example of how we often subconsciously undermine our own value, none of this comes through in the newbie’s pitch.
If she reframes her expertise, prospective clients will see that she’s not a newbie at all, but sea glass–a little rough around the edges but with great underlying value.
You were once a newbie, too.
The thing is, all experienced writers, marketers, entrepreneurs, etc., were once newbies. All anybodies were first newbies before hitting their stride: Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Shonda Rhimes, Richard Branson—even the President of the United States. To be clear, anyone making their first Presidential bid is asking voters to accept that their background and experience qualifies them to do something they’ve never done before.
While comparing freelance writing to running the largest democracy in the world may be a bit of a stretch, you get the idea.
Yes, I see that you do, because you were once a newbie, too.