The New York Times is looking for writers.
Always. Seriously, if you sent editors at The New York Times an incredible story idea that their reporters have missed or haven’t covered, they’ll give you the assignment, with many more to boot.
How do I know? It’s exactly how I got my first break with them.
The thing is, the New York Times editors are always looking for writers. But not just any writer who knocks on their door who has no unique story ideas, no reporting chops, and no way to show them what they’d be missing. They’re looking for writers who come up with story ideas that are clever, unique, and interesting, and who can then package those story ideas in a way that’s so enticing that no reader—and therefore, no editor—can look away.
Can you do that?
If so, congratulations. You can have yourself an assignment, from The Times or any other publication you want, and you’ll never be out of work again. Because if you know how to find stories that editors love and package them in a way that gets reader fan mail, you’re a rare freelancer and editors will be approaching you with stories and assignments once they come to know of you.
However, if you’re not not making a living with your freelancing and have gone round and round in circles trying to figure out how to hack the code, I can guarantee that this is the skill you’re most lacking and that you most need.
Because chances are, you’re trapped under the weight of several things:
1. Subconscious beliefs such as “Freelancing is hard” or “No one makes a living doing this” or “Making six figures will cost me my integrity, health, relationships and/or family time.”
Well, here’s the thing. For more than 15 years, I made a living exclusively from freelancing, making more than most top editors in my city, including expat journalists. It wasn’t difficult or painful because I only worked with editors who respected my time and my work, the kind of editors who also pay exceptionally well. (Pro tip: The people who pay the least also tend to treat you the worst.)
And here’s the other, more important thing: When I started making money, I realized how much BS is associated with making six figures, BS I once bought into. I was taught that the more you earned, the harder you had to work for it. Instead, the opposite is true. The more money I have to spare, the more I can pay people, hire services, and invest in trainings and mentors that help me grow even further. In fact, I’ve moved countries this last year, spent time in four different countries, traveled for an entire month over Christmas, had weeks in places with no Internet, and am just about to embark on another long journey. My income remains unchanged. No, that’s a lie. My income has increased from last year.
These beliefs that we hold about money, about starving artists and struggling freelancers are just that: Beliefs. They’re not facts. And half the time you won’t even realize how they’re coloring your decisions and keeping you stuck.
2. Word count slavery.
Most of what’s taught out there about freelance writing requires you to become a writing machine. Ask me how I know. At first, in the early years, this doesn’t seem like a big deal because you’re a writer, a creative person, and you love writing. Getting paid to write what you would have written anyway? That’s awesome!
Except, then you start paying your bills with freelancing, and you find that this “throw at the wall and see what sticks” approach leads to assignments erratically, if at all.
And the more you write for low-paying publications that pay you $100 a post, the farther you get away from the dream of freedom and security that you once had. (And by the way, if you’re one of those people who says, “Oh, but I can whip up a blog post in an hour, so that’s $100 an hour,” ask yourself: When was the last time you wrote for 8 hours straight? And did you earn $800 at the end of the day? Yeah. See the problem?)
Here’s the thing to consider: How many words a week would you have to write to earn $4,000 a month from your writing if you were being paid $1-a-word as opposed to $100-an-article?
You’re smart enough. You do the math. And see how you like it.
3. Your marketing model is broken.
This is the most common problem I see and a trap that I personally fell into. You’re following the marketing strategy and business model of twenty-something digital nomads and vagabonds who don’t have mortgages, children, and pets that demand feedling. Look, I get it. I was once that person. And not having a regular income was fine, exciting even. If I wasn’t able to pay my rent one month, I just packed up everything I owned into a bag and went traveling, making my money on the road in inexpensive parts of Africa and Asia. I had no idea back then how exorbitant school fees can be and how much having a family can change a person’s perspective—and income requirements.
Not everyone wants to be location-free and living on a budget. I loved that lifestyle as a single woman but I don’t want that life now. It would burn me out, make me miserable, and I’d never get to go to the beach with my kid. So the strategy of “take whatever work when it comes, in whatever form it comes,” would not only kill my income, but make me a miserable writer.
Perhaps the reason you’re inconsistent with your marketing efforts isn’t because you’re lazy but because deep down you realize that doing more of it will only bring you work that’s out of alignment and not a good fit.
Look, if all this resonates, all you need are three steps:
- Find a killer story idea and learn how to present it to editors so that they’re dying to hire you to write it. (This is so simple and easy to learn, yet the part that most writers fail at.)
- Know where to find the editors who will pay you top dollar for this work (editors who, incidentally, will respect your time, your work, and your days off).
- A system that ensures that you’re consistently marketing to new editors with the least amount of effort and spending more of your time on the work you love and less time pitching and chasing invoices.
Where can you learn all of this and start building a freelancing career that you can be proud of?
In my program 30 Days, 30 Queries, I teach you all this and more. And don’t just believe the testimonials, because anyone can give you testimonials about their program. Look at our results. The students who go through 30 Days, 30 Queries actually get published in some of their top, dream publications and go on to have fantastic careers making money, doing the work they love, and living the lifestyle they desire.
That’s why we post screenshots of successes and not just nice words.
It’s your choice whether you want to send pitch after pitch that doesn’t hit the mark or if you’re going to step up your game, invest in your career, and own your spot in the big leagues.
See you on the inside.