Name: Elna Cain
Bio: Elna Cain is a professional writer and mom to twins. She has written for Walmart, Smartblogger, Blogging Wizard and has been featured on Leadpages, Meet Edgar, Convertkit, Forbes, and Entrepreneur. When she isn’t writing you can find her making slime with her twins.
How long have you been doing freelance work?
More than 5 years.
Tell us about your freelance business, in 200 words or less.
I’m a freelance writer for SaaS businesses and digital marketing brands. I write about digital marketing content like email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, brand building and blogging. I also write on several of my own blogs including Elnacain.com about freelance writing, Twinsmommy.com about blogging and working from home, Smartmomideas.com about pregnancy and postpartum and FreelancerFAQs.com about freelancing.
What do you consider to be your specialty? How does it help you in your business?
My ideal clients are usually Saas digital marketing businesses or solopreneurs with multiple sites. But, I am working on writing for bigger brands and recently landed a writing gig for Walmart. I hope to continue writing for notable brands this year.
What made you become a freelancer?
I knew I didn’t want to return to work as a special education teacher after I had my twins. But, this meant I had to find a way to contribute to our finances, and through trial and error, I discovered that offering a service online would be a great way to earn income right from home. I researched different services and found that many moms offered freelance writing or VA work. I enjoy writing so I put my efforts into learning more about becoming a freelance writer.
What do you love most about freelance work, and why?
The freedom to pick my clients, choose my hours and work on my own projects. During this time we have moved across the country, lived with family, and moved into our own home. I’m fortunate that when my twins missed over 60 days of school in kindergarten I didn’t have to stop working or use my “sick days” to take care of them.
What do you hate about it?
Motivation is something I still struggle with. I would rather work on my own projects than freelance at times. Other times I enjoy writing for a client and not have to worry about growing my traffic or growing my audience.
Tell us about your first paid job. How did you land your first client?
My first legit writing job was with Wheels.ca. I answered a job ad from a job board and offered my writing services. They responded that they wanted a Skype interview. After that, they hired me! My first writing piece was about the gas prices in Canada.
Do you think aspiring freelancers should take unpaid work to gain experience? Why or why not?
Yes. One thing I teach my students is to guest post to build their portfolio and gain credibility in their niche. It doesn’t hurt to write for free if it makes sense. I was able to guest post on various digital marketing sites and blogging sites to help me get in front of my ideal client and this is still a strategy that can have a high ROI.
Do you feel you’re charging what you’re worth?
Yes, I do. When I first started I charged $.04/word! I now don’t take anything less than $200 per 500 words. I was able to charge my worth over time by specializing in SEO long-form content as well as niching down my clients to SaaS digital marketing brands.
Describe your process for finding new clients? Where do you look?
I am not actively finding clients now. I have a lead generation strategy and gain leads every week from my website and writing pieces on sites. I don’t take all the jobs that come my way but instead, I choose ones that I know I can benefit from like big brands or notable sites.
Have you ever had to ‘fire’ a client? If so, why and how did you do it?
No I haven’t.
Name 3 tools (apps, equipment) that you can’t live without.
Grammarly, Gsuite, eCamm
What is your #1 productivity hack?
Batch your work. I like to do video on one day of the week, writing on another day, outreach on one day etc…
Do you outsource tasks? Why or why not? If so, which ones?
Yes I do. Since I own several sites, I hire ghostwriters for my niche sites.
In your opinion, what is the most important skill required for freelance work, and why?
An inner drive. Freelancers need to be able to motivate themselves even with times are tough, and having that passion or drive can really help during times of slow business.
Do you consider yourself a strong time manager? How do you stay organized?
Actually, I don’t! Ha! Because I have several sites, clients, twins, a house to clean, and meals to prep I often don’t plan things out. This means dinner is anywhere from 5 pm to 8 pm on any given night. This is a goal I usually have every year!
Do you also work a 9-5? If so, how do you balance it with your freelance business?
Where do you do most of your work?
I have a home office. I also have RSI (repetitive stress injury) and have to rely on an ergonomic office space. I do, occasionally, work from the couch but it’s rare.
Do you use a co-working space? Tell us a bit about it.
Name an entrepreneur/freelancer/influencer who inspires you. What is it about their story or message that resonates?
When I first started I was inspired by Mariah Coz. I started following her when she was a freelance writer and we emailed back and forth for a while. But then she pivoted to entrepreneurship and exploded!
Name 1 thing you would do differently, if you were starting over today?
For me, I would probably try to stick with cold pitching. I gave up on that strategy early on as it was too time-consuming, but I hear from my students of landing high-paying clients this way, and I often wonder if I would’ve had the same results much earlier in my career.
What is your #1 tip for aspiring freelancers?
Just start! Too many freelancers learn, and educate themselves about freelancing, and landing clients but then don’t do the work!
Keep Reading: Freelancer Success Stories – Barry Choi