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Danielle Vick: March 2016 Barefoot Writing Challenge Winner



Congratulations to Danielle Vick for Winning the March 2016 Barefoot Writing Challenge! (Your $100 prize is on its way!)

The Challenge was to write an essay that answered this question:

What’s the most important self-marketing task you do for your freelance writing business, or the one you plan to do when you launch your business?

Danielle shared an uplifting account of a major hurdle overcome in her freelancing career, which brought about surprising benefits. Enjoy her winning submission:

Like many writers before me, I sweated over my website.

In hindsight, setting it up wasn’t exactly rocket science. But at the time, I found it vaporized precious hours. And the worst part was I felt those hours were wasted.

I just wanted to write the copy, fling it up on my website, and have it look precisely how I wanted it to look. Learning how to achieve that tested my limits.

In the end, I was quite proud of my website. It looked great, and I felt I’d overcome a major hurdle.

I moved onto the next step and sent out my carefully crafted prospecting emails.

Every morning, I checked the stats on my website. Not too surprisingly, my numbers were discouragingly low. Really low.

I did try to learn how to perform SEO and code my way to the top of the search engines. Really, I did. One day, when my curiosity was more than I could bear, I typed my search words into Google.

I was nowhere to be found. As in, nowhere.

I took about five minutes to be brokenhearted.

But being discouraged wouldn’t get me jobs. So, I tried to look at it a different way and began down the path that would, ultimately, turn out to be my best self-marketing tool.

I first chose this method to try and trick the search engines into finding me. But I quickly found it had other benefits.

It allowed me to hide behind my fears. I despise cold calling. I know we’re supposed to be brave and approach our new career with courage. But sometimes, breaking old habits is hard. I find cold calling makes my palms sweat, my cheeks blush, and more often than not, I end the call feeling lethally discouraged.

But perhaps most importantly, this self-marketing method allowed me to actually practice and hone the skill of copywriting.

My most important self-marketing tool turned out to be… writing blogs.

In the long search for clients after I finished the Accelerated Program, I found it hard to fit in the Write portion of the Write-Market-Study routine.

Writing blogs allowed me to practice all three.

To write good-quality blogs that would be useful to my industry, I had to do a fair amount of studying. Then, I had to actually write them. And finally, I had to market those blogs. I published them on my website, on LinkedIn, on other free blogging sites, and even shopped some of the better ones around to environmental magazines.

Write-Market-Study? I combined all three, and I got something better than more website traffic.

I got jobs.

By posting regular, high-quality content on my website, I ultimately achieved what hours of trying to figure out coding could ever do.

Now, when you type in environmental copywriter, I’m the first name on the page.



  1. Sierra Anderson on

    I’m a new member, so I can’t think of a better first comment than one that encourages another writer. So: Congratulations Danielle! (And nice niche choice, by the way.) ;D

  2. Thank you Danielle for sharing with us. Your past experience is exactly what I am going through right now. After reading your story and how you turned it around I feel more encouraged. I did check out your blog and website and I really like how you have it set up. I, too, am writing for the green industry and sustainability.

    Again, thank you for your encouragement and congratulations !

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