This is a guest contribution from Andy Nathan, of Smart at the Start.
I have a secret formula for using the Problogger job board that will enthrall many, and bring others to tears with their boredom. That is OK! I do not want everyone to use what I am about to explain below, because that just means more business for me.
In fact, I struggled with whether I should even share this information to anyone, because…well… human greed being what it is. Over the past year, I have automated the process on the Problogger job board to the point where I spend roughly 5-10 minutes prospecting for every new client off the board.
Pardon my laziness, but I don’t want to work to get clients business. I want to work to keep their business by focusing on awesome content. This is why the Problogger Job Board is simply the best, as we will discuss below in my step-by-step tutorial.
My Ideal Client
Before we get into what I did to earn $15,000 from the job board here on Problogger, I want to step back and explain what I believe my ideal client should look like. This is important, because if I did not have a picture of what my ideal client would look like, then I would never know how to use the job board correctly.
First, I do not want to spend time talking to clients if possible. It is not that I don’t like people. I sometimes go to networking events as much for the socialization now as I do for the business referrals. The fact is, speaking with a client is time that I am not writing for other clients or playing Video Catnip and watching my cats go a bit crazy.
Time management is huge as a freelancer. This was something I did not understand when I started. I used to be a “good” salesperson who met every client face to face. Somehow seeing my beautiful mug (see selfie) would magically turn prospects into sales.
What I realized was that for a 10-20% drop in my close rate, I could do a few less coffees and accomplish a whole lot more for my clients.
As of today, 50% of my clients are people I have never spoken to once in the entire relationship. All communication is through email and social media. What a difference it makes.
Another 25% are people that I connect with over the phone as well as email.
The remainder are my networking clients. Clients I met through various networking events over the years. Generally, those ones want to meet me face to face and make sure that I am a “real” writer.
Second, if I have to explain the benefits of blogging this is probably not going to work. I have spent too much time in the past explaining to general contractors, attorneys, and other professionals why blogging is important.
If you don’t get it, I am sorry. I am not your blogging messiah. I write ridiculously awesome content for you (sometimes in your own voice) optimized for search traffic. However, you go ahead and keep cutting and pasting articles from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, (old time newspaper fill in the blank), etc. See how well that works!
Third, I have written close to 3000 blog posts over the past five years. Not saying that to impress you. I am telling you this, because I want compensation for my experience. I personally like having money in my account. The wife is much happier (aka happy life), my bills are paid, and that creeping sense of dread fades away.
Now for the ProBlogger Job Board info you crave…
Now that we got this little rant about ideal clients out of the way, what did I do to earn money from the Problogger job board? Automation.
I would recommend opening a new tab, so you can follow along while I discuss how I use the board. It is not that you have never seen a job board, but this is my unique twist. You might just want to set this up as you read this post.
Take in the board for a second. Notice that there are only about 3-5 listings per day. It is not an overwhelming horde of listings, but a constant stream of leads. This is important. When I used this process on Craigslist, the nonsense chatter on the site, even after using the filters, made it an extreme waste of time. Plus, no one likes worthless emails coming into your email box all day.
Notice in the bottom right corner, there is a subscribe button. This is crucial to my laziness. A RSS feed of all the job posts in one spot.
Copy the RSS feed below:
Open a new tab, and type in IFTTT.com. This is an automation site. You can use this for a variety of purposes online. If you don’t have an account on IFTTT, you will need to set one up in about two minutes. Fear not, accounts on the site are free. In fact, for freelance writers this entire process is free.
When you login, you will go to your dashboard. Below is what my dashboard looks like currently:
To automate processes you need to create a recipe. Recipes are easy to create. The site’s real name is “If This, Then That.” The entire automation system runs on one equation that you can use for a multitude of purposes.
You create recipes that trigger one online platform to perform a task on another online platform.
While this might sound confusing, the truth is this is simple to use. For our purposes, all you need is the Problogger Job Board URL that you copied and an email address. If you do not have an email address then you can use Gmail.
Step 1: Select the Feed symbol.
Step 2: Decide what type of feed you want to use. Personally, I use the new feed item, because I find the keyword too limiting for my needs. However, if you are looking for targeted terms, then use the “new feed item matches” as a trigger.
Step 3: paste the Problogger Job Board feed.
Steps 4 and 5: choose email icon for your action. You will need to have your email address connected to IFTTT for this to work, so do not give them a spam account. They do not email people a lot, so do not worry about spam.
Step 5: Click the “Send me an email” link.
Step 6: make sure you are receiving the best information for the post. Generally, they will include the information you need already. Just double check that the “EntryUrl” is in the email body.
Step 7: The finished recipe will look like the one I created last September for Problogger. Confirm that you want to set up the recipe.
Since last September, I have received 532 emails. While most of the listings are never answered, over the course of the past nine months I probably responded to somewhere between 50 to 100 posts. Out of these posts, I received about 5-10 new jobs that brought in around $15,000 in revenue.
Now you have the recipe for an automated lead generation process; however, we still have to convert the leads into clients. For that, let me take you behind my conversion process.
Now that we have these leads coming in, let’s look at how to convert them into clients.
Below is the template I use for all leads. I save this as a draft with an attached resume (available on Google Drive for your convenience.)
While each article is usually a little different, most follow a similar pattern.
I am following up on your request for a (name type of writer needed here). Based on your description I believe I should (put in relevant information you requested in your job board listing about the position here at the top, showing that I do listen to what you requested).
Here are a few articles I wrote recently to give you a feel for my writing style:
Additionally, check out my LinkedIn profile with 13 recommendations. www.linkedin.com/in/andrewmarcnathan
Finally, attached is my resume.
Please feel free to call me at 847-710-7093 or respond via email with any questions you have for me.
Right now, this email has about a 1 out of 15-success rate. Therefore, I spend two minutes on each email then I will spend 30 minutes total for a new client. Considering some of the clients I brought in have produced thousands of dollars in revenue that is worth it in my opinion.
Final note: I do not write free sample articles that will determine if I am paid in the future. If someone asks you to write a free article for him or her, run like the dickens!
What are the downsides of the ProBlogger job board?
Now, I hate when people give this story about too-good-to-be true stories about a tool, without letting you know about any pitfalls.
Here are the three downsides that I have found using the Problogger job board:
First, with only five or so leads coming in every day, you will have a number of days where you get no leads. In fact, sometimes I have seen up to a month stretch where I did not feel it was worthwhile to follow up on any of the leads.
Second, this means do not quit your job and expect this to bring you a full time income right away. I still do other work for clients. The job board just made it easier for me to make money.
Third, this is a tool to help you find prospects. It is up to you to make sure that they are the right fit for you, as well as a source of potential income. When I started in this industry, my first assignment was for $5 articles. I will never look at laser hair removal the same way again! More importantly, I will never write an article for $5 ever again. My time is more valuable than that. Determine what you believe a fair rate is ahead of time. This is where understanding your ideal client comes in.
Additionally, if you do not have the experience, go out and get it.
Do guest posts to build traffic, and use them in your portfolio. Start networking online and offline to find new clients. Be aggressive when you need to be, and then you can take the easy way out later when you have a healthy portfolio.
This process works for me, because I put in the time and effort to master my craft. Do the same, and do not expect this to be a quick fix.
Now go forth and be a lazy freelance writer!
That is the process. You are now an expert, so get started with this process right away, so you can discover how easy it is to make money with the Problogger job board. Or if you want to make sure that I have more money in my pocket, you can just go back to your daily activities like nothing has happened.
Either way, let me know in the comment section below what you found to be the most useful part of this tutorial?
Andy Nathan is the founder of Smart at the Start, an internet marketing agency. He is also the author of the upcoming book, Start Up Gap. However, since he keeps getting distracted by writing guest posts, responding to Problogger job board inquiries, playing with cats, and other shiny objects, the book is not available until August. In the meantime, you can get a free copy of his eBook, 101 Online Tools: Tools you need to succeed.