The GenXer’s Guide to Making Money as a Ghost Writer

The GenXer’s Guide to Making Money as a Ghost Writer

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This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series The GenX Marketer

If you’re an online entrepreneur wanting to pinpoint the best starter business for you to pursue, consider becoming a ghostwriter. This is a career that’s perfect for those who don’t want to experience the fast-paced pressure of other business models.

As a ghostwriter, you’ll be providing services to marketers who have already seen a level of success. You’ll have the opportunity to earn money as you learn the ropes of internet marketing, so when you do want to step out into the spotlight, you’ll be ready.

Instead of spending a small fortune on courses and desperately trying to earn your first dollar, you’ll get to tap into the mindset and strategic processes of those who already make money doing it.

Benefits of Ghostwriting for Experienced Marketers

When choosing one business model over another one, you have to weigh the perks to see which one benefits you most. One major point people base their decision on is money.

They want it fast, and ghostwriting can certainly provide that for you compared to something like info product creation, where you have to do a lot more than just the writing to achieve a successful launch.

As a ghostwriter, you can get full or partial payment up front, and that can take the edge off if you’re hurting for money now. There’s good money to be made as a ghostwriter, too.

You first fill your schedule, and then raise your rates, replacing lower paying clients with higher ones until you max out on your earning ability. At this point, you may want to branch out and start pursuing other business models that allow your income to grow more.

As a ghostwriter for other marketers, you also get a lot of insider information that others taking generic courses don’t get. You might see niches that they tap into but don’t discuss with the public.

Publicly, they might teach marketing and offer access to their marketing courses. But you might be ghostwriting in some of their niches they don’t want revealed – such as wedding planning, dog agility, or something else you’d never have guessed.

You also get to see how they do things. Many of the projects and instructions they give you will unfold in a certain order, and they’ll provide very specific instructions on how they want things done.

You might see them hire you to create the lead magnet and emails first, then blog posts and product reviews, followed by an info product they can sell to their subscribers. If you don’t know what all materials a marketer needs, you’ll soon find out – because they’ll hire you to write them.

Another perk of working for these solo entrepreneurs is getting to form a close working relationship with them that others don’t have. So when the time comes for you to launch your own products, you already have a strong foundation to recruit them as your affiliate.

What Your Ghostwriting Client Expects from You

Whenever you start ghostwriting for others, you don’t want to present yourself as an inexperienced newbie. You want to instill confidence in their decision to hire you. So there are a few things you’ll want to understand.

First, know the terminology. You need to understand things like lead magnet or opt in report. You have to know about email autoresponders, squeeze page copy, and blog posts to name a few.

Second, you’re going to have to grasp the difference between how you wrote in school versus how you write for an online audience. The Internet is a place for casual, engaging conversation.

That doesn’t mean you throw slang around in your writing, but instead, cater to the audience with content they can easily comprehend. Don’t write as if you’re submitting a college thesis or paper that is stuffy and difficult to get through.

Your clients will expect a competitive bid. You don’t want to under or overestimate the cost of your services. If you need to buy books on a topic you know nothing about so you can educate yourself, just include the cost in the bid for the project.

They’re going to expect you to manage your time wisely. Don’t accept a project that you know you can’t complete in their timeframe. These people have launches and their affiliates are relying on the launch date, so when you fail to deliver on time, it creates a snowball of disappointment and frustration, not to mention that it ruins your reputation.

Your client is also going to expect unique writing. Now some will definitely lack ethics and try to get you to simply rewrite someone else’s work. That’s plagiarism and not something you should participate in.

Always write from scratch and gain a reputation for stellar content. If you can, branch out into many different niches so that you can ghostwrite for many marketers – even on topics you initially know nothing about.

Add some time for research and self-education about the topic if you’re going into it blindly. Spend a couple of days reading, watching videos and absorbing information so that you’ll be able to write from scratch.

Presenting Yourself as a Formidable Ghostwriter

Many people have a bad habit of presenting themselves in a humble manner. They’re almost self-deprecating about their skills. This stems from your anxiety about putting yourself out there as a professional and having someone disagree once they see your deliverables.

But marketers (especially the most successful ones who will give you repeat business) don’t want to hire newbies that are nervous. They want rockstars. They want to brag to their friends that they outsource to the best.

They want peace of mind that their project is in good hands. So present yourself with confidence at every step – from the initial bid to project completion. Most new ghostwriters will join sites like Upwork to bid on projects they find suitable for them.

Before bidding, make sure you have a profile completed and a portfolio uploaded. In your profile, don’t create a resume. This isn’t a job interview – it’s a project outsourcing, and that’s a big difference.

For a project outsourcing, they need to know your ability to grasp their needs. So discuss how you work with clients – whether you require a partial payment up front or a full one.

Let them know what your rates are per page and what your turnaround time is for a variety of projects. Use their terminology so they know you’re familiar with internet marketing content.

As you gain more experience, you might be able to add information to your profile about what kinds of projects you’ve done or who you’ve worked for, if the names are big enough to be recognized and they don’t mind being named.

For your portfolio, which should showcase a variety of your writing, you don’t have to put client work in it. In fact, some will balk at that. Instead, pick about three topics to write a one-page article on.

Make them different, such as success mindset, weight loss, and survival. This will show them that you’re adept at researching and creating content for all of their needs (because many of them will be in more than one niche).

When you bid, do not use canned commentary. Some ghostwriters have a spiel they copy and paste into every project bid. Prospective clients see this and feel as if you aren’t giving them personal attention – not even enough to read their listing and address their needs specifically.

So instead of saying, “As a ghostwriter, I strive to deliver on time and can write about anything you need,” say, “I read through your project and I’m confident I can complete your 20-page lead magnet in five days. I’m familiar with the survival niche and look forward to discussing it more.”

Strategic Ways to Succeed with Ghostwriting

As a ghostwriter, you’ll have competition to deal with, so you need to approach your client and completion process strategically. Let’s start with pricing. You probably assume that the best way to get business is to undercut your competitors.

But most marketers avoid the cheapest writers because they believe they won’t deliver the best goods. You want to start out in the middle – competitively bidding, yet not over or under priced.

You will inevitably encounter some haggling from clients who try to convince you that the project is easy or quick, and you should lower your rates. They’re preying on your desperation, and these types of marketers will see you cave to a lower price and then book your schedule so they can continue getting more for their money.

That might seem great to be booked with work, but not when it means giving up clients who were willing to spend more for good deliverables. You never want to get bullied into charging less than your worth as a ghostwriter.

Watch for direct messages from prospective clients. Don’t rely on a platform to email you. Check in daily so you can respond to invitations or instructions from people you want to do business with.

One of the things clients worry about most is a ghostwriter disappearing with their money. If you accept a project, keep communicating with your customer so they’re never unaware of what’s happening with their deliverables.

If you’re going to be late, let them know. If you have a question, ask. When you deliver the content, you might even want to wow them with the concept of overdelivering. If they asked for 15 articles, deliver 17.

Just those two extra freebies can go a long way in helping you succeed. Not only will they leave a glowing review on the platform you’re using, but they’ll hire you repeatedly – and tell their friends about you, too! Word of mouth is a powerful moneymaker in the world of Internet marketing.

Increasing Your Earnings as a Ghostwriter

As you start amassing a client base, you’re going to get to know their needs very well. In your spare time, you might want to begin creating products or packages that increase your earnings.

One way you can do this is to offer a variety of package deals. For example, you might offer 52 articles and a 5-page lead magnet. This allow them to queue up one email article per week to their subscribers who opted in using your lead magnet.

You might also offer a full package that comes with an eBook, sales letter, lead magnet, email autoresponders, blog posts, and social networking content. Or, you might offer eCovers, infographics, a slide presentation, or other elements to help increase your earnings.

Whenever a customer comes to you for a set of 20 articles, you might let them know about your bulk article and lead magnet discount, so it increases the amount you earn, and they get a slight discount for ordering more.

Another way to increase your earnings as a ghostwriter is to start creating private label rights. Not only are you ghostwriting the content, but instead of making one sale, you’re making hundreds or thousands.

Private label rights is sold much cheaper than one-client ghostwritten content, but you can earn a lot more simply by selling to so many customers. Even if you’re ghostwriting for someone, you can add on some PLR sales.

For example, you might have a client come to you for a 50-page Beginner’s Survival Guide. You can do the work, and upon delivery, let them know you also have a pack of articles and reports on your PLR site.

After you begin earning some money on platforms like Upwork, take the time to invest in a domain and hosting so you can install a blog and have your own freelance website. You want to put your service packages on the site so people can see what all is included and how much it will cost.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to begin blogging about hiring a ghostwriter so that those looking up these keywords and phrases are exposed to your link and can find you. Here, you can price your services a bit higher because you’re not directly competing with anyone on your site. As time goes on, make space on your calendar to put yourself as a client. You need time to work on things that will earn you a residual income, such as a course or a store full of private label rights. This strategy helps you break through the ceiling when you max out on how much time you have to ghostwrite versus how much the market is willing to pay.

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