Starting A Freelance Writing Business

starting a freelance writing business

If you’re thinking about starting a freelance writing business, of if you’re a prospective client curious to know how freelance writers work, then this article is for you.

Tips On Starting A Freelance Writing Business

CEO Blog Nation recently reached out to me, asking for my thoughts on the subject, and they were nice enough to publish what I had to say in their post 13 Entrepreneurs Share Advice On Starting A Side Business.

The main takeaway is that freelancers – and anybody who runs their own business – should think of themselves the same way that a company thinks of itself.

From birth we’re trained to do one thing and one thing only.  We go to school, obtain a degree specializing in a certain field, then go to work in that field.

That might be great for people who only want a 9-5 day job, but that approach simply doesn’t work for entrepreneurs and people starting a freelance writing business.

How To Think And Act Like A Company

This isn’t so much about incorporating yourself, having your clients sign freelance writing contracts, and collecting on bad debt.  Although all of those are important aspects of any freelance writing business.

Freelance writers should spend some time thinking about how to develop multiple revenue streams for themselves, just as a regular company does.  For example, Mercedes doesn’t just sell one car.  They sell multiple cars and they also design and build engines for other uses besides passenger vehicles.

Multiple Freelance Real Estate Writer Revenue Streams

Entrepreneurs thinking about starting a freelance writing business can use the same approach.

Here are three ways that freelance real estate writers in particular can make money with multiple revenue streams:

  1. Write real estate books and distribute them on multiple platforms, not just Amazon.
  2. Market your core business of freelance real estate writing through various offline and online venues, such as Upwork.
  3. Invest in real estate, even if it is just through a crowd funding site or by investing in a REIT.

Doing these three things will help you with your freelance writing craft, and also help demonstrate to prospective clients that you have first-hand experience with what you’re writing about.

How To Sell Your Home For The Most Money

sell your home for the most money

A writer from a national real estate publication recently contacted me asking how to sell your home for the most money.

Here are three quick tips on how to do exactly that.  One tip requires a high level of negotiating & people skills.

Make It Easy For Buyers To Call Your Place Home

There’s a lot of emotion tied up in the home buying and selling process.  As a seller, it’s important to tap into the buyer’s emotions.  One way to do that is to make it easy for the buyer to imagine living in your home.

This can be done by removing personal items such as family pictures, trophies or ribbons.  And anything else that reminds prospective buyers of you and not them.

First Impressions Count

Numerous articles have been written about the importance of curb appeal, first impressions, and removing clutter when you try to sell your home for the most money.

That’s because when you live in your home, when the place you are selling is your home, it’s difficult to be objective.  Your real estate agent won’t always be honest with you because they don’t want to offend you and end up looking for another listing.

So, consider bringing a close friend to critique your house.  One who isn’t going to mince words with you and who isn’t afraid to hurt your feelings because you’ve known each other for far too long.

Sell Your Home For The Most Money

This tip takes a lot of negotiating skill, up-to-the-minute knowledge of your real estate market, and a high level of understanding the emotions of buyers.

This technique involves pricing the home below market in order to attract multiple offers and encouraging a bidding war on your home.  The best offer wins, which will just so happen to be the highest priced offer.

This isn’t an easy thing to do, but it can be done when you have an experienced real estate agent as a negotiator on your side.

Offering real estate pre-possession to your buyer is another tactic used in a buyer’s market.  But, there are definite drawbacks to using this approach as well.


STEM Tenants

STEM tenants

STEM tenants currently drive the demand for office and industrial space in many markets throughout the U.S. and Canada.  They’re taking available space in previously vacant buildings, bringing relief to some depressed real estate markets.

What Are STEM Tenants?

STEM is an abbreviation for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  In other words, cutting-edge industries such as high technology, biotechnology, and biosciences.

There are two reasons why STEM tenants have been bringing relief, and much needed rental revenues, to new building owners and investors in REITs.

Why Are They Good?

A recent article in the World Property Journal noted that when STEM tenants lease space, they lease lots of it.  Often times in the 50,000 foot plus range.

Secondly, they’re great not just for owners of buildings with a high vacancy rate, but for secondary and tertiary markets as well.

That’s because companies that employ workers skilled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics find that they have to go where the talent is, rather than successfully recruiting employees to relocate and come to them.

Going Where The Work Force Is Skilled

That’s one of the reasons by high-tech companies such as Google, Amazon, and venture-capital funded startup companies are appearing in cities where you might not expect them to be.

They’ve got to go where the labor pool is.  This works out well for the tech companies too, because often times the non-traditional technology areas also have much more affordable space to lease than would Silicon Valley or Silicon Beach in California.

Office, Industrial, and More

While STEM employers are users of Class A office space, they will also re-purpose older Class B or C space for new landlords, or renovate dated industrial property into a work environment that will attract the labor force that they need.

In certain markets there’s also an increase in shared work and office space, because when high-tech employers come to town, small support services and entrepreneurial businesses are also created.

Why Invest In A REIT?

invest in a REIT

Tell a friend you’re going to invest in a REIT and they’ll probably ask you why?

After all, most people get their start in real estate investing by buying a single family home to flip, them progress into smaller multifamily or apartment buildings.

On the commercial side of real estate investing, people often get their start by buying a small office condominium or a building for their own business.  Then, they branch out from there.

What all of these have in common is that they involve direct ownership of the real estate, something that a REIT does not.

What Is A REIT?

A REIT is a real estate investment trust, which is a form of group ownership of some or more pieces of property.  REITs can be asset class specific, for example investing only in apartment buildings.  Or they can be more generalized, holding a mix of real estate assets and targeting a specific return or investment strategy.

REITs can also be public or private.

An example of a large, publicly held REIT traded on the New York Stock Exchange is Equity Apartments (symbol EQR).

Privately held REITs have become more commonplace since the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012.  This allows smaller, non-accredited investors to put some of their capital into privately held REITs.

Three Reasons To Invest In A REIT

Unless a real estate investor is dead-set on owning properly directly, there are several advantages to investing in a REIT.

#1 Indirect Ownership of Property

This is an advantage because the real estate investor doesn’t have to get involved with the day-to-day issues of leasing or property management.

#2 Access To Class A Property

While the definition of Class A property varies from market to market, in general this term refers to only the newest or most updated property, with the best amenities, and credit-worthy national or regional tenants.

#3 Invest In Multiple Asset Classes

When a real estate investors buys directly they usually have limited resources, meaning they can only purchase one or two properties.  Investing in a REIT allows people to potentially own a mix of property across different real estate asset classes.

Is Investing In A REIT Right For You?

Since different investors have different investment strategies and objectives, only the investor can answer this question for sure.

But given the way the real estate market is growing, and the advantages that REITs offer, many people are finding that putting some investment capital into a REIT is a good way of diversifying their real estate investment portfolio.


Hurricanes and Real Estate

hurricanes and real estate

Hurricanes and real estate are definitely in the news lately.  Because I’ve been receiving a fair amount of client inquiries regarding this topic, here are a few takeaways to consider.

Hurricanes (and other things) Happen

“What all happens in a hurricane?”

“The wind blows so hard the ocean gets up on its hind legs and walks right across the land.”

The above conversation is from the 1948 movie Key Largo starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. They are stranded inside a hotel in Key Largo, Florida along with fellow travelers in the middle of a hurricane.

But this exchange could just as easily have taken place inside of any hotel when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean and Florida, or Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

This isn’t meant to downplay in anyway the tragic loss of life and property.  But it is meant to point out that natural disasters do occur.

Hurricanes and Real Estate

The amount of projected damages just from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma are about $200 billion.  Many local, national, and international real estate investors are questioning whether investing in coastal, hurricane-prone area makes sense.

Real estate investors need to consider their own comfort level when answering this question.  But taking a step back and a deep breath, it’s important to recognize that real estate markets consist of many sectors or asset classes.  All of which are affected differently following a natural disaster.

Different Real Estate Sectors React Differently

Professional real estate investors realize that just because a hurricane hits a large metropolitan area in the U.S., that the entire real estate market is not going to be destroyed.

Let’s take Hurricane Harvey in Houston, for example.  Of the total destruction, much of it was in the single family home asset class.  Over the short term, and possibly longer term, this boosts the multifamly housing and hotel real estate sectors.

Rebuilding also gives a boost to the industrial sector of Houston, as additional space for contractors, material and equipment is needed.  The retail sector also receives a push as companies such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, and other home improvement retailers see increased business.

Coastal Commercial Real Estate

Coastal cities such as Houston and Miami also play a major role in the global economy.  That’s highly unlikely to change because of weather.

Professional real estate investors should always consider the long-term, big picture of demand.   Risk management techniques include flood and property insurance, protection of mechanical systems, and sustainable construction such as rebuilding to LEED certified standards.



Why Use An American Real Estate Writer?

american real estate writer

“Why should I use an American real estate writer?”

A potential – and now current – client of mine in Australia recently asked me this question as part of our mutual, two-way interview process.

The truth is that in her case I couldn’t answer the question because at that point I really didn’t know enough about her or her project.

She wasn’t trying to be adversarial.  On the contrary, she was being inquisitive.  But it did start me thinking about why somebody in another country would want an American real estate writer rather than a local copywriter.

I’ve written about real estate for clients in Canada, the U.S., Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, China, and yes, Australia.

Sometimes the project has involved writing for a foreign company wanting to introduce their clients to another country.  In one case it was a private REIT fund in Saudi Arabia wanting their investors to begin thinking about opportunities in the U.S.

In another case the real estate writing project involved writing for a company in one country whose investors were mainly from another part of the world.

Other times I’ve written real estate copy for use within a certain country, such as a green energy system in Sweden or a real estate attorney in Canada.

Reasons To Choose An American Real Estate Writer

My future client had asked a good question.

I thought about it for a while.  I realized that unless one is using slang words, writing about real estate isn’t really that different from one part of the world to the next.

True, the words may be slightly different to reflect the local language.  But buyers, sellers, investors, tenants, and managers of real estate are all looking for the same thing.

Sometimes it’s return on investment or appreciation, other times it is maximizing cash flow or finding & keeping good tenants, or maybe it’s all about moving from one real estate asset class to another.

Other times, the reason for choosing an American real estate writer is to get an American view point.





Property Management Blog Article Ideas

property management blog article

Here are three property management blog article ideas for people looking to create their own content.

These ideas will work for blogs, social media posts on Linkedin, or can be consolidated into a give-away ebook for readers who opt-in to your email list.

Property Management Blog Article

These property management blog article ideas can be used for both residential and commercial property management companies:

#1 How To Choose A Property Management Company

This property management article idea easily lends itself to using three, four or five ways to choose a property manager.  Naturally the reasons you use will tie into why your property management company is the best choice for the real estate investor.

#2 Where To Find Great Tenants

Renting to a tenant is one thing, but renting to a great tenant is really what every landlord wants.  If most leasing agents rely solely on sign calls, you can list the things that your company does to attract the best tenants possible.

#3 Service After The Lease

Turning tenants over rather than renewing the lease with the current tenant can be expensive for the landlord.  With this property management blog article you can list the things that your company does after the lease is signed that keeps tenant turnover low and occupancy high.

Targeting Your Audience

The above three article ideas are general on purpose.  But if you’re writing for your property management blog you’ll want to make the articles as niche specific as possible, such as my recent article on LEED certified office space.

Some niche examples are residential vs. commercial, the best tenant match for the property – such as a vacation home or a retail space – and the online rent payment service that your company provides.

Turn Your Property Management Articles Into A Book

After you’ve written enough property management blog articles it’s easy enough to put them together in an ebook form.  Depending on the length of the book and your objective, you can use your new property management ebook as a give away, or if it’s long enough consider publishing your book on Amazon KDP or Draft2Digital.

Before you know it you’ll have a portfolio of published real estate books to your name and will have another tool to position yourself as an expert real estate property manager!

Advantages Of LEED Certified Office Space

LEED certified office space

Having LEED certified office space is steadily becoming a top priority with Class A commercial office space tenants.

LEED, which is an abbreviation for ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’, along with the Energy Star certification, identifies office space that is ‘green’ or ‘efficient’.

Established in 2000 by the U.S. Green Building Council, the LEED certification was developed in part to help office building investors, developers and property managers implement and maintain sustainable energy practices.

A little over 10 years ago the number of LEED certified office building stood at just 5%.  Now, according to the most recent National Green Building Adoption Index, the amount of green or energy efficient office space now stands at 38% across 30 markets in the U.S.

Growing Demand For Office Space

Much of the recent demand for Class A office space in the U.S. and Canada is being driven by the high-technology industry.  And it’s not just in Silicon Alley, Silicon Valley, or Silicon Beach where demand is strong

High-tech employers are finding that they need to go where the well educated employment bases are rather than trying to recruit workers to come to them.  This is a flip-flop from a generation ago when employees have to go where the jobs were.

As a result, demand for office space is growing in secondary and tertiary markets in North America where the work force has the qualities that high-technology employers seek.  An added bonus to the employer is that prime office space in these markets tends to be much more affordable than in the higher-priced markets of California and New York.

Why LEED Certified Office Space Is Important To Tenants

A significant percentage of tenants that are leasing today’s office space are in the high-technology industry, sometimes also called STEM tenants.  The terms ‘green’, ‘LEED certified’, and ‘energy efficient’ convey a certain status and have a psychological appeal to this type of tenant.  That’s in addition to the obvious cost savings of leasing LEED certified office space.

My recent article on How To Get The Most From Your Freelance Real Estate Copywriter discussed the importance of knowing your target audience.  LEED certified office space is a perfect example of this.  It offers a way to get inside the head of your audience while increasing the appeal of your message at the same time.

The demand for green office space is a trend that’s still beginning.  It’s quite likely that in the not-too-distant future in order for office space to be Class A the property will need to be LEED certified.

If you’re not familiar with how to market to tenants who are looking for LEED certified office space it’s not too late to start learning.


Where To Publish A Real Estate Book

publish a real estate book

When new writers decide to publish a real estate book their first stop is usually Amazon.  Unfortunately that’s usually their last stop as well, and in my experience that’s a big mistake.

Here’s why.

Books About Real Estate

Under the pen name Jeffrey Roark I’ve personally written, designed, created the covers, and published numerous books on real estate.

Titles include How To Find & Keep Great Tenants, Investment Real Estate Analysis: A Case Study, How To Make Money In Property Management, along with my very first book, The Real Estate Property Management Guide.

Trulia was even nice enough to mention one of my books in a recent blog post on their site.

If you read their post you’ll notice that they paid me an even greater compliment by linking to the book using one of their affiliate links.  This allows them to promote my book and make a little extra money for themselves in the process!

Where To Publish A Real Estate Book

Authors who publish a real estate book solely on Amazon KDP – aka Kindle Direct Publishing – are leaving out a major part of their potential market.

If you work in a traditional residential real estate company, it would be sort of like listing a home for sale only on the MLS and ignoring other real estate listing websites such as Zillow or UpNest.

So in addition to Amazon KDP I also publish the electronic versions of my real estate ebooks using Draft2Digital.  This gives me access to numerous other book distribution sites such as Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Oyster, 24Symbols, and a few other sites.

The publishing process for Amazon and Draft2Digital is the same.  Simply write the text using a Word document, create a cover for your book, upload the information, and then publish your real estate ebook.

For the print versions of my books I used CreateSpace, although both Amazon KDP and Draft2Digital now offer an option of creating hard copies of your books without having to use a third site.

Smashwords is another option for ebook publishing that is worth taking a look at.

Increase Your Market Share

The more of your target market you can reach, the more buyers you will have and the more money you will make.  That’s a basic business axiom and applies as much to publishing your real estate book as it does to your real estate business or marketing your property management business.

Frequently there are months where I earn more from my real estate books sales through the distributors I reach using Draft2Digital than from the revenue I make from Amazon KDP.

As the saying goes, “Why leave money on the table?”.


How To Get The Most From Your Freelance Real Estate Copywriter

freelance real estate copywriter

If you’re hiring a professional freelance real estate copywriter for your project you want to be sure you’re getting the most for your money.  Be it a small ad on Facebook or a real estate profile for LinkedIn, a blog article for your real estate website, or an entire content creation project.

Here are three things that you can do to ensure you get the five-star product you’re looking for.

Know Your Freelance Real Estate Copywriter

A lot of the real estate copywriting that I do is through the Upwork platform (click for my profile there) where I am a top rated freelancer.  But that doesn’t mean what I write is going to be a match for every client.

Some clients may want a different writing style.  Others may find my rates out of their budget.  Or I simply may have too much on my plate to complete their project in the time frame that they’re looking for.

Upwork makes it easy to see the past types of project a freelance real estate copywriter has worked on and their client satisfaction rating as well.

Know Your Real Estate Topic

Oftentimes clients who hire a real estate writer have only the vaguest idea of what their real estate topic is going to be.  Usually this happens with real estate people who are launching a new website.  Other times they are entering a new market – for example, a Middle Eastern client wanting to introduce its readers to the U.S. real estate market, or vice versa.

Sometimes a client not having a specific idea of a topic can be good, provided you have a good writer who can work from the basic guidelines that you give him or her.

Other times not having an idea of your topic can create problems, especially when clients – either accidentally or on purpose – ask for multiple revisions from their freelance real estate copywriter as a way of figuring out what they really want their real estate article to be about.

Know Your Target Audience

In order for your real estate writer to create the most effective copy possible, they need to know who they are writing too and also how to ‘get inside the head’ of your target audience.  The more you know about the characteristics of your potential buyers- or tenants if you are a landlord – the better.

Some clients believe that everybody is a prospect for what they have to sell, and on a very generic level that may be true.  But that’s how you end up with a generic piece of copywriting.

Take this article for example.  I could have written about copywriters in general, but instead we’re discussing freelance real estate copywriters.  It’s a subset of the copywriter category topic, and something that both you and I are specifically interested in.