#115: How Chelsea Baldwin Booked Her First Five-Figure Month (Without Driving Herself Crazy)

Someone recently commented on our Facebook page that the words “high-income” and “writing” don’t belong together.

According to this gentleman, it’s impossible to earn a great living as a writer. Unless, of course, you get lucky and publish a bestselling novel.

I don’t bother arguing with people like him. They just don’t get it. But I also recognize that there are doubters everywhere. And there are doubters who want to believe. But they have good reason to be skeptical.

If you’ve yet to earn a dollar from your efforts, you have reason to doubt.

If you’ve yet to consistently break the $1,000-per-month income ceiling, you have reason to wonder if this business is for real.

If you’ve been freelancing for years and never come close to reaching six figures in annual full-time income, I can understand why you may have given up on this high-income idea.

Trouble is, I know too many people who make a high income doing this work. So while I understand and respect your doubt and skepticism, I have to tell you — this high-income thing is entirely possible.

True, most people who try don’t make it. That’s the nature of any endeavor that requires a ton of work, perseverance, focus and chutzpah.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

My guest this week is a perfect example. Her name is Chelsea Baldwin, and she started freelancing on the side six years ago. But it wasn’t until two years ago that she quit her day job and went completely solo.

This past July, Chelsea had her first five figure month. She brought in just over $10,000. And she’s booked at that level (or close to it) through to the end of the year.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

Tell us about yourself

Chelsea Baldwin started freelance writing over six years ago. She graduated with a degree in journalism but couldn’t land a job. So she ended up taking some online writing projects.

Eventually, she landed an internship in marketing while still freelancing on the side. She climbed the corporate ladder but didn’t enjoy it.

Two years ago, Chelsea quit her job and started freelancing more seriously.

About a year ago, she formed an LLC and things have taken off since.

What were some of the benefits of your internship?

The internship was a game changer. It took her to a high position in the company. She didn’t necessarily enjoy the work, but the marketing experience she gained became a major selling point for her when she returned to freelancing.

Tell us what happened to your income recently

In July, Chelsea had her first five figure month. She brought in just over $10,000. And she’s booked at that level (or close to it) through to the end of the year.

How did you manage to get there?

After she established her LLC, Chelsea hit a bit of a slump. So she joined a business coaching program. It changed the way she looked at her business. She found new ways to book client work, and she didn’t feel worried all the time.

Next, she published her fees on her website, which made it clear that she was offering a premium level service. She didn’t have to waste time with prospects with low budgets. It set the foundation for getting more of her ideal clients.

Then, she started booking retainers. Today, she always pitches retainers to clients. Retainers are a way to start every month or quarter with some income in the pipeline. It gives you a level of comfort because you’re not always starting from zero.

A couple of retainers can bring in around $5,500 a month.

Retainer agreements make it easier to consistently reach a higher income level.

What was the thinking behind publishing your fees?

Chelsea already had clients who were paying good and fair rates. But she really wanted to go for premium level services.

At first, she worried that no one would book her. But they did.

Now, prospects know her prices up front. It sets expectations. They know her services are an investment, and they treat it like one. It was a forced up-leveling that paid off.

And she delivers an experience that matches her fees.

How do you communicate your fees?

Chelsea lists a few fixed fees for specific content, such as a sales letter or a page of content. For content that can vary widely in scope, she lists a starting price.

She also offers some packages.

How did you put together the packages?

Chelsea knew the types of services most clients need but often don’t ask for because of budget constraints. So she put together some of these services into packages and applied a discount—while making sure they’re still profitable.

She lists these packages at the top of her page. It’s a great way to sell more services. Lots of prospects ask about them.

Service packages are a way to generate interest in under-the-radar services.

How do you find most of your clients?

Most of Chelsea’s clients come to her. She has published content in her niche across the web, which brings people to her website. She has also built up her mailing list over time.

She also gets referrals from clients or other professionals. She’s also been doing a better job at networking.

How do you maintain the mindset that this is the new normal?

Chelsea has to work at not falling back into old habits and mindsets.

When she’s feeling iffy, she’ll identify what her negative beliefs are and why she’s holding onto them. She acknowledges them and deals with them.

What would you tell listeners who can’t imagine getting close to five figures a month?

Don’t let your beliefs get in the way. Two years ago, she was satisfied making only what she needed to be “okay” every month. But that doesn’t lead to a happy and financially secure life.

Do let a big goal overwhelm you. You can grow in steps. And as you grow, you figure things out.

It’s about the longer journey. By taking it in increments, you’re less likely to sabotage yourself.

How can listeners learn more about you?

Chelsea’s blog: Getcopypower.com/blog

Chelsea’s YouTube channel: Copy Power TV

Twitter: @chelseajanea