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Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 5:11 pm
by Pellucidean
I've been trying to make it here at CC for about five months or so, and in some ways I've done great. I've learned how to handle the editors and it's a long time since any of my articles have been turned back for anything at all. I'm also writing enough per day that it seems like I should be able to make enough to stay afloat… The problem is my sales rate is wretched. Only about a third of my articles have sold. It's still about the same rate for months old article. I really don't know what I'm doing wrong, since most of my articles are in popular categories. Since I don't know what I'm doing wrong, I don't know how to improve or correct it… I keep on hoping there will be a 'breakthrough' where I sell a ton of articles, but it just stays at a slow, slow drip.

I'm kind of just venting since this is a very frustrating situation, but if anyone has any suggestions or help I would appreciate it. Should I try another content writing site? Any ideas on how what I can do better here? Or is CC experiencing a slowdown or something? If I can't ever get my sales rate higher than a third I don't know if I can stick it out here. Selling way less than even half my work is just depressing, especially since I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I keep on hoping that I've just had back luck so far and that things will improve, but nothing changes.

Thanks for any help, sorry if this was long-winded.

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:35 am
by JasmineStone
I sell well over two thirds of my articles on here eventually, but less than half those sales are within the first six months. Sales really do seem to happen in cycles...there are times when I've written 10 or 20 articles and only sold one of them, but then a few months later a customer comes along and picks a whole bunch of them up. It can be disheartening when sales are slow, but most articles sell here eventually. From my own experience on CC, sales have little to do with pricing, keywords, categories or word count...but that's just my experience and not much help to you if you're struggling with sales!

Having said all that, 5 years ago my sales ratio here was a lot higher than it is now, but I put that down to CC hiring more writers.

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:37 pm
by Lysis
I wrote about this in another thread. The 70% sales rate is pretty accurate for me, but it happens over time. The people who make decent money here have been here a while. I would use this place as a supplemental place and not a main place for money. There's no real guarantee anything will sell. You could sell most of your stuff in months. If you have a large library in the open pool, you'll probably do OK, but of course your cost of living and bills are probably different than mine. :^)

There are also different rates for different categories and some sell faster than others.

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:37 pm
by Gail Kavanagh
I've been with CC since 2005, and while business has been better than now, it has always fluctuated. Sometimes I can't sell enough, other times my sales stay stubbornly at zero, like now. As Lysis and Jasmine said, it's cyclic and supplemental. The batch requests are probably best for regular money but the pay is low. I avoid them, using the fallow periods to build up my catalog and hopefully, my sales. Your not doing anything wrong, that's how it goes. sometimes buyers have big budgets to play with, sometimes no one has any money to spare, and those who have are not buying what you're selling. That's the writing business. Spread yourself around, find other writing venues, get on mailing lists like freelancewriting.com or writer's weekly, and keep up with the markets, there are plenty out there.

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:22 am
by Abbamay
Is this your only job, Pellucidean, or do you have a main job as well?

I have found that if you have a specialist subject or something that makes you different, you might get noticed and given specific work. I have hardly anything in my catalogue because everything I write these days is for pools or private requests. I'm lucky because I think I got asked to do private work through CC because I'm from New Zealand and a client needed someone from that part of the world to write about NZ and Australia. After that I was invited to all sorts of pools. Have you selected everything you can in your profile so that clients and editors can see if you have a specialty? Maybe that will help.

The other thing is that I probably had to wait for a year of submitting and selling small amounts before my workload and sales increased. It might be a matter of time for you too. Good luck anyway.

Abba

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:04 pm
by evaku
Your catalog sales are about the same as min, Pellucidean, so I can't really offer you any tips on that. All I can tell you though is to keep at it if you can, even if you need to write less because you need to find some other work to make ends meet. Just stay consistent and keep delivering content, even if it's only a few articles a week. Are you in any of the writers pools? If you show the site that you can deliver good, error-free content, then it won't be much longer until you are added and have access to a lot more work.

I find that this site really rewards consistency. The vast majority of my sales comes from a good core group of private clients, but I didn't come by them over night! Also they come and go, so it is important for me to always try to keep adding to my catalog so that I can attract new ones. My whole first year and a half on here I got barely any private requests, but now I sometimes get so many that I have a hard time keeping up! I doubt it will take you as long as it took me, I started while I was in school and so I wasn't writing very much right off the bat.

Like Abbamay I was also lucky with getting a lot of requests for content pertaining to where I live, which is something I never expected! I just wrote a bunch of things on my city and province because I know them, and next thing I know I am being asked to write about the city or about snowmobiling in the mountains, just because I live here. Try writing some articles specifically about your area, and about any specific interests that are unique to you. I have a degree in religion and for the first little while that was almost all I wrote about on here because I wanted to be high up in that category. I'd say it's one of the worst-selling categories on the site but some of the longest and best clients I have found me specifically because they needed content about religion.

I knew I would never make it writing about the more popular topics so I took my skills and ran with them. Now I am much more comfortable branching out but I wouldn't say my sales have been any better in the popular topics than they ever were when I stuck mostly to my own interests. It does take time but if you stick to it you should find what works for you!

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:06 am
by Lysis
Last year, I doubled my rate on Elance and decided to target very very specific types of jobs. I've sniped quite a few jobs by selling my set of skills in the writing world. I was nervous, because I think most people offer to write anything at a much cheaper rate cuz more is better, right? That's what I was trying to do and I just found that I would get burnt quickly.

But, I now bill for 4 hour days and make my financial goals with just one job that uses my skill set instead of juggling multiples at a much lower rate.

It is true what they say though in freelancing: it's feast or famine. This month, my first two weeks projected that I'd make 5 figures this month. The last couple of weeks have been pretty blah and destroyed that real quick lol. But, I've still managed to avoid the $27 for 600 writer pools. lol

I wrote my first article for a private request yesterday. Haven't done that in a while. Last year at this time, CC was good for me. The writer pools haven't been much to brag about lately.

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:39 pm
by remoteriverman
Hi Pellucidean -

My sales rate while I was writing for CC always hovered around (or slightly above) 80%, but I think that kind of rate was easier to achieve back when there were more consistent writer pool opportunities. Because of a range of issues (poor admin communication, strange site glitches, horrible pay rates for mass low-quality requests, etc.), I longer write for CC. Funny thing is, as soon as I stopped writing for them, created my own writer website and starting pursuing my own clients (both through my site and through LinkedIn), my writing career took off like a rocket.

Just two months after giving up on CC, I was pulling in between $4000 and $8000 a month from a small handful of high quality clients (online retail, insurance, app development, etc.) and have been basically writing non-stop since October. Instead of the $900 USD a month I got for my best 2 months at CC, I'm on track to make about $40,000 for roughly 7-8 months work this financial year (I travel the rest of the year).

So at least for me, it wasn't about improving my sales rate, it was about improving my income as a whole, which could only be achieved by abandoning CC altogether. The difference between charging 25 cents a word for clients who value your worth and dealing with sporadic email responses, bizarre editorial whims and crummy income potential on CC has been like night and day. Even when I was writing for CC, it was more of a 'filler' site for a few extra bucks while I went after better-paying and less 'nitpicky' work. These days, CC simply isn't worth the trouble. There are plenty of better ways out there to make a reliable income from writing - and thanks to the joys of PayPal and Skype, your client base can include businesses in any English-speaking country on earth.

Cheers,
Kevin Casey

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:28 pm
by Lysis
I've decided to increase my rates on here. I sometimes wonder if people do the math on here. lol If someone is paying $27/600 words, that's $17.50/article. I was selling 600 words for $60, so about $40/article. If I write two of those for the open catalog, on average I will sell at least 1. That's more than double what the public pool is offering. I could write 1/day for just 2 days and I'd make more than that 1 600 word article for the pool. Let's say you write 10 of those low paying gigs. You're guaranteed to make $175. OK, you have the guarantee. I get that. But, if you write 10 articles with the same word count and sell them at $60/article, you're writing $400 in content and you pretty much know that you'll sell at least $250 of that... probably more.

I don't understand why some people do it. You're pretty much guaranteed to make more if you just write for the open catalog.

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:17 am
by remoteriverman
I think you're right, Lysis. These days the public pool work isn't what it used to be. There was a heady time in late 2013 when it was possible to crank out high volume, reasonably well paying writer pool work and make decent money. What's on offer in 2015 is a whole other story, unfortunately.

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:36 pm
by Pellucidean
Meant to post this weeks ago, but thank you very much to each person who replied. All the posts were very helpful and informative.

Anyway, I'm going to start working at Elance. I'll still be around here but I can see that diversifying is a good idea. I can already tell Elance is going to be a big learning curve, but it looks promising as well.

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:56 pm
by Abbamay
Good for you, Pellucidean. I hope it goes well for you. Let us know how you get on! Yes, stick around on CC and see if you start getting into writer pools after a year or 18 months maybe. You never know...

Take care,

Abba

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 4:46 pm
by Lysis
Stay away from those forums. ;)

I have had a really bad dry spell at Elance for the last few weeks and my high paying client disappeared so I have to wait a month for escrow of $1360. Oy. I need that money. Welcome to Elance.

Things have picked up a bit for me but it's slow. It seems to me (and maybe it's my perception) that a week prior, the week of and the week after a holiday is really slow there.

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:21 am
by Pellucidean
I have made it into the writing pools for two projects already, the WStreatment and restaurant HP ones, though both of those were quite low paying.

I was wondering about those forums. I went to ask them a question about what I could upload to my portfolio and, while no actually answered my question, they gave me a bunch of general advice which contradicted a lot of the other stuff I'd read about Elance in other places.
I can see trawling through jobs and trying to find something worth submitting too is going to be a huge pain, as is learning how to write proposals. Still, it seems like it can be worth it if you find a few decent clients you can have a long-term working relationship with.

Re: Improving A Poor Sales Rate

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:50 am
by Lysis
Yeah, those forums are filled with either noobs who want someone to tell them how to get a job (umm, the other writers are your competitors?), noobs who got scammed, or angry regulars who spend a few hours a day reporting people while I make money. :^)

I like to read the forums just for the lulz.
Poor noob: High guys I like writing how I find job?
Angry regular: OMFG YOU CAN'T HAVE AN IMAGE AS A PROFILE PIC OMG YOU DID NOT READ TOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!

Absolute gold lulz.


It's really tough landing your first job. I did a really small job if I remember. It was like $80 for 2000 words or something like that. Then I did some other small jobs, but then I raised my rates and usually I bid based on a few factors. I bid anywhere between $33/hour to $85/hour depending on the resources I need to use, how many competitors I think I have, the level of difficult (dog articles are easier than writing software API docs), and how much back and forth I think I'll need to do.

Also, it's difficult to see through the RFP and figure out what the customer really wants and then wow them with the proposal.

It's tough man. Elance is a big learning curve, but you'll get it with some practice. Best advice I can give is put yourself in the customer's shoes and ask yourself what you would like to see if you were a legit buyer looking for content.