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Grant Writing As A Freelancer Service With Eliana Echavarria

Are you looking for a signature service? Or a unique way to work with nonprofits and for-profit organizations? Today’s guest tells us all about what it’s like to have grant writing as a signature service. Eliana Echavarria brings energetic, cool-girl vibes to the driest of topics- GRANT WRITING (enter the yawns)! As a grant writer and freelance coach for Christian entrepreneurs, Eliana teaches aspiring freelance grant writers how to launch and scale their business with a Kingdom-focused mentality through her podcast “Nothing for Granted”.  Eliana is on fire for God and determined to raise her 4 littles to be the next generation of entrepreneurs by leading by example. Don’t hang out with her too often- she’ll have you believing you too can build a business where you don’t have to compromise motherhood, marriage, travel, and a career you love!

Resources From Today's Show:

The Contract Vault

Connect with Eliana
Eliana’s course: https://www.buffaloambitionco.com/grantwritingbusinessblueprint
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/buffaloambitionco/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/935019100400657/
Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/5ImniZFWrAXYdjvkOry4mw

This blog post is a summary of The School of Copy And Messaging Podcast episode #91. You can listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts

Full Audio Transcription of this Podcast Episode:

Amber (00:03):

All right. I'm so happy to introduce you guys to my new friend here. Eliana who was on the podcast today is going to talk to us about grant writing as a signature service. So those of you freelancers out there who have considered like finding a niche and you haven't found your niche yet. Great writing might be for you. Grant writing is not something that I personally have done. I don't know a lot about it. And so I wanted to find somebody who can come on the show and really talk to us. That's got some expertise in this area. I love all kinds of writing, but I don't know anything about grant writing. So, Eliana, I'm hoping that you're just going to enlighten us today on what this is as a niche. So to start with, please introduce yourself to my audience, tell my audience who you are and what your business is.

Eliana (00:45):

Amber, first and foremost, thank you so much for having me on your show. It is an absolute privilege to be here and to share a little bit about my story with your audience. I am Eliana Toria. I am a homeschool mom of four. I am the founder of Buffalo ambition, co I am a full-time university student and an independent grant writer. You know, cause I'm not busy enough for,

Amber (01:12):

Like you said, four kids and then homeschooling. And I was like, whoa,

Eliana (01:18):

Well, I like to say that I bring cool-girl vibes to the dry industry that is grant writing. It's not exactly a first-date conversation. If you know what I mean. Um, I like to work with my dream clients who are organizations within three to five years of having started their nonprofits. I specifically focused on community development, modern-day slavery, and, um, sorry, I just blanked community development, modern-day slavery, and entrepreneurial development. And the other facet to my business is I teach grant writers how to leave their nine to five businesses and our nine to five jobs and grow profitable, sustainable businesses as grant professionals with a kingdom-focused mentality. That is my passion. And that's where the Lord currently has me working. That's awesome.

Amber (02:12):

Awesome. Well, grant writing is really specific. I mean, that's a very specific niche. So I'm curious what attracted you to it in the first place and how did you get into that business?

Eliana (02:23):

Yeah, absolutely. So I am a go-getter Amber and a few years back, many years back. I won't say how much, cause I don't want to age myself, but my mom had a nonprofit and we spent tons of money on a grant writer who had made it just a bunch of guarantees and promises, long story short. It did not end well. And we ended up getting no funding. The person totally disappeared. And I just, I said, this is not going to happen to me ever again. I'll just learn. I'm going to, I'm going to teach myself, I'm going to figure it out and I help my mom do it. And that's exactly what I did. I now have six certifications in grant writing and yeah, it's not something that I would have ever thought I would be doing, but it makes total sense because I love research, and grant writing is really focused on technical writing with some aspects of persuasive writing. And I Excel at that. It's been great for me, but

Amber (03:25):

That's great. Well, I was curious, that is one of the questions I had is like, how do you start to get into it? Is there a certificate that you need to get if you're a grant writer and it sounds like you've got a lot of them? So how does that look? Like if you're a freelancer who doesn't even know anything about this niche, where do you start and what certificates could you get to become?

Eliana (03:44):

It's familiar. Let's get into that. So I have six certifications because imposter syndrome is a real thing I could have. I could have just kicked off with one certificate that just teaches you, how do you write a grant? Because ultimately all it is is for you to get that foundational knowledge, but you really learned through trial and error. So you actually have to put these things into practice. So where would you start? Number one, I would look, you can look online because everything is pretty virtual nowadays. Um, you can look online such as you, to me, there's a couple of really great grant writing courses by, um, his name is Rodney. I forget his last name. Um, so there's a couple online or you can go to your local university. A lot of universities now are offering programs such as nonprofit management, they're offering grant writing or proposal writing or certification, um, certifications in grant professionalism.

Eliana (04:49):

I think there's one that's called. So your local university is a great resource to start or online. And then once you get that certification, you hit the ground running. I like to preach that you don't have to start as a volunteer grant. Writing is very time and energy-intensive. And so just keeping in mind that if you're a freelancer, you probably have a full-time job or you're like me and you have children and college, right? And you're just looking maybe for a way to, to get some side income going, coming in until you're able to take this into full-time entrepreneurship. So if that's the case, I really want to encourage listeners to start with competitively pricing your services, rather than just full, full throttle, being a volunteer, or finding a mentor and working alongside them. So for example, working with someone that's already a working grant writer and say, Hey, I'm learning the trade. Ken, can I take some things off your plate? Can you teach me your ways? Um, and then just working them. That is invaluable.

Amber (06:00):

That's such good advice. It's hard because, for people who don't have experience, I see it you know, in any form of writing, but especially something as specific as grant writing, I think you do you feel like you just have to do everything for free, but the little tiny bit that I know about grant writing, which isn't much is that it's very involved. And I think you do have to protect your time and your income too, even as, as you get into that space. So, well, how, how much do you think a new grant writer who wants to learn this trade should expect to spend, to get a certification, and kind of get started in their business? What's realistic.

Eliana (06:37):

So there are two parts to this question, right? You mentioned the certification. So certifications, for example, on you, me can go anywhere from $60, just for an online course up to, I've seen them for 500, $600. If you're going to your local university, then obviously it's going to start in the hundreds all the way up to the most that I've paid is 1500 for certification. So really there's certifications for every budget range. There is no excuse for you to not be able to learn this as a trade, because there's a possibility for wherever you are financially for you to learn, or you can just approach a mentor and say, Hey, I just want to learn because a certification isn't required, it's not like this. You're, you're learning how to be a scientist. You know, it's literally just your writing. And so once you have that experience under your belt, that's all people look at.

Eliana (07:35):

No one really looks at, I mean, with all the certifications, I have no one looks at that. No one cares they care about. Can you, can you solve my problem? And so if you want to get really scrappy, go to a grant writer and ask them, can you teach me? And then now you've got it for free. Um, now in terms of how do you start this business at a super low floor price? Well, you can start with as little as under a hundred dollars if you're not using any databases. So with grant writing, there's, there's a couple of different avenues that you can go with grant writing. And I'm going to go off on a little bit of a tangent here, just to give you some context as to why these prices vary. So as a grant writer, you can offer consulting, and this is something where you can help organizations get what I like to call grant ready.

Eliana (08:31):

So that's getting your paperwork together. That can be, you know, for example, just setting that foundational work in terms of what partnerships do you need, where are your areas of opportunities before you start looking for grants? So that's area one is you can start as a consultant area. Two is going to be research work. So you can pretty much just say, Hey, I'm going to help you find the grants that you are actually eligible for, because that takes a ton of time off of their plate. How often do we not go in? Let's just go back to high school and you go on, I don't know, whatever website Fastweb, for example, and say, I need to find a scholarship application. That's going to be right for me. I don't want it to be too much work. I want to make sure that I fit the eligibility.

Eliana (09:21):

And then you spend hours on that website. And at the end, you probably didn't even end up applying to any of them because you're so overwhelmed. That's where a grants researcher comes in because we know exactly what to look for. We know exactly where to look. We know exactly what questions to ask, to make sure that you are in fact eligible, not just on paper, but we, we do a whole holistic analysis to determine, does this organization actually have a chance of getting this grant? So that's area too. So we have consultants, we have grants researcher. Then you can move into the management portion. And that's after the grant has been awarded, many of these grants require follow-ups with them. They require, what did you do with the money? How's the progress going? Sometimes they have site visits. So you have deadlines that you have to meet.

Eliana (10:14):

And if you're really good at time management and reports, this might be a great area for you as a grants professional. So those are the three main areas. Of course there's areas within them, but that would be the three pillars of grant of being a grants professional, where typically freelancers would fall into. So, so interesting. I had no idea. Yeah, it's a lot. And a lot of, a lot of grant current grant writers, right at nine to fives, don't even know that this is an opportunity. They just assume, of course, how could I have forgotten the most important part grant writing the actual writing of the performance of the proposal? How funny is that skip that step? So of course you can actually be a grant writer. And that is when you actually write out the narrative, write out the budget, write out the grant within itself.

Eliana (11:07):

And that is where the bulk of the time is going to go. So that's a section where you want to make sure that you're a strong technical writer. You want to make sure that you have strong collaborative skills. Um, there's just so much that goes into it because you're looking at about two months of writing a proposal. And so you need to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row so that you're not running around getting partnership statements so that you're not running around, trying to make sure that the budget makes sense. You have to have really good time management skills in order to Excel at being a grant writer. It's not just about the actual writing, it's everything else that's involved with that. So going back to my last statement, there's actually four pillars. Those would be the main pillars of grant of being a grant professional.

Eliana (11:56):

So what does this mean in terms of pricing? If you were going to focus on the research work, then you're looking at $200 and above to start your business. The bulk of that is going to go into databases. Databases are really expensive. Uh, one of the more expensive ones that I use is about 160 a month. So it's, it's up there. And then when you start tacking on things like zoom, when you start tacking on things like Calendly, right? These are on your website, these are all added expenses, but if you want to start super scrappy with a free Wix website, you have your computer already. That's literally all you need, just get your website up. You've got your two content right form. So you've got your long-form content, your short-term content. And then that's it. You have your LinkedIn, you have your social media and you hit the ground running. So you can actually start a grant writing business, pretty inexpensively.

Amber (12:55):

That's good to know. Cause I think I don't know about everybody else, but when I hear grant writing, I think of like, I just think of like this really, really big industry that would be expensive to get into. And so I love hearing that there's some options, like, depending on how you want to build your business, um, because you know, everybody comes in at a different point, right. And so it's nice to know that there's those options. Well, I know there must be a lot of different types of grants I'm assuming. And so, because of that, do you have to have specialized knowledge of all types of grants or is writing a grant regardless of what type it is pretty much the same for every grant? Like how does that work in the industry?

Eliana (13:32):

Absolutely. So I will preach till the cows come home that you have to have a niche. Um, I mentioned early on, I'm super specific on who it is that I work with and that, and thank God that's exactly who I attract because my communication is to that person. So it's those non-profits within the three to five years, they specialize in entrepreneurial development, community development and modern-day slavery. That's what I do. And the grants that I write for are within that, those causes taking it a step further, a grant writer, someone trying to get into grant writing can then decide, okay, so this, these are the areas that I want to focus on. Do I want to focus on federal grants, which are high ticket items, of course, a lot more time-intensive and a lot more competitive, but it's an option. You can also focus on corporations or you can focus on foundation grants.

Eliana (14:27):

So there are different types of grants and every single category has a different level of difficulty and a different level of work that's required to actually secure that grant. And do you have to have any specialized knowledge? You just have to have a willingly, willingness to learn as long as you are willing to learn, as long as you are willing to put your yourself out there and say, I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm going to try it. The great thing about grant writing is that a lot of times, if you are new, if it's a new organization, if this is their first time applying for a grant, they probably won't get it all the time. But I like to say it's at least a foot in the door, so it's a benefit to the organization, but it's also a benefit to that freelancer because they just got that experience.

Eliana (15:16):

So it works to everyone's benefit. So with that being said, you can go into every single aspect of it. You can go into any of the grants that are available out there. It really just depends on where do you want to specialize? Who do you want to speak to and who do you want to work with? Because when you are working on a federal grant, for example, are you offering these federal grants to smaller grassroots nonprofits that probably don't have the capacity to fulfill the requirements of that grant. And then it's that piece of, and can you have that communication and that education piece with the nonprofit to say, Hey, this grant is probably not what you want to pursue. Let's maybe look at a foundation grant or corporation that we can partner with and go that, that route. Um, there's a lot of different pieces when it comes to being a grant writer that you have to have in order to be successful.

Eliana (16:15):

I like to preach that if you have other skill sets. So for example, copywriting, add that into your business model. Anything that you know, that you can monetize it more importantly, be of service to your client. Absolutely add that to your business model, because there are so many nonprofits that need help in marketing and copywriting. They don't know how to do it. And they put a high school age intern or volunteer to do that work. And then they wonder why their content is not reaching people. So if you, if you know that you have this skillset, add it to your overall business model, because that's another service and another problem that you can help solve in the interim as they get quote-unquote grant ready.

Amber (17:07):

That's interesting why I have a, I have a woman in my community right now. Um, so, so Danny, when you hear this, I'm thinking of you, um, for, for someone who wants to work with non-profits as a copywriter, if they can also understand the grant writing process, is, is that kind of a natural thing to kind of couple them together, because I'm just imagining that if I'm a nonprofit organization and I've got somebody in my organization who can do the copywriting, who can do the grant writing and who understands that I, when you go for a grant understanding the marketing that you need to have in, in the company or in the nonprofit, as well as the content that you're putting out, how it's going to attract the right customers, does that matter for getting grants? Like when I apply for a grant, is that, am I going to be kind of, I don't want to say put under a microscope, but that's kind of what's in my mind, are they going to come look at the marketing are doing, are they going to look at the content that you're putting out? And, and do you want to make sure that you've got somebody on staff who can do all of those things? Does that, does that make sense?

Eliana (18:09):

Absolutely. Because the way that you would position it is well by having good copy, you're going to have a better community support, right? Because in the nonprofit sphere, it doesn't translate necessarily to good copy equals sales. It translates to good copy equals individual contributions. And that's a huge piece when it comes to sustainability and sustainability is, I would say eight out of 10. One of the reasons why non-profits do not get their grants approved. So do you see how it is all interconnected? So why would I need good copy as a nonprofit? Well, good copy is going to translate into individual contributions, which you have to show anyways to funders when we're speaking to that sustainability piece. So you're, you're interlinking everything and that's so important to funders. They want to know that even after you got that money, you can still sustain yourself. You can still continue with the program that this was just a little push that you needed to get to that next level, but you have a plan and action to keep going for the next 2, 3, 4 years. So, absolutely. I think that this is such a great arsenal to have in your toolbox when you were approaching nonprofits.

Amber (19:31):

Awesome. One thing that just kind of came to mind is what do you think is a realistic timeframe for somebody out there who maybe has their business set up as a freelancer, but you know, is like me and really doesn't have any knowledge about grant writing and they want to maybe add this as a niche. What is the realistic time to take on a client and start getting paid? Is that a year? Is that a month? Is that six months? Like, what do you think is kind of realistic for just setting that expectation?

Eliana (19:59):

Well, first and foremost, I'm huge on God's timing. God's timing for our businesses. That's just what I really meant leave. And so when I started my business and I can only go based off of my experience, I, I do have some students that have already gotten freelance work, but they were grant writers before then. And that's really who I work with our current grant writers that are transitioning into entrepreneurship. Um, so if you are a new, if you're new to that space, realistically speaking, you can start getting clients as in my experience within a month, because there's such a need for grant writers. I mean, think of it. Our global pandemic has completely exposed the fact that there are there's free money out there for, for profits as well as non-profits as well as individuals. This has never before been seen in our history. So now more than ever, I'm having for-profit organizations come to me and say, how can I get in on this free money?

Eliana (21:04):

I didn't even know it existed before, for example, PPP. So right now is really such a great time for you to get into this industry. And I kind of want to also touch on the pricing because there's a lot of different structures that, that freelancers can take when it comes to pricing. I, for one take all of my pricing before anything is awarded or declined. Why? Because I'm charging for the work also it's against the grants professional association code of conduct. So you shouldn't be charging on contingency. So what that means is you shouldn't be charging whether or not the grant gets actually awarded because you, as the writer, all you're doing is positioning this nonprofit in the best light to demonstrate. This is why we should get this grant, but for him, but they do their own due diligence. They do their own investigation.

Eliana (22:04):

And so when they're looking at everything holistically, they know this person, this, this organization is not ready for this money. So what I'm trying to say, Amber is that it is not 100% certain that because you wrote that grant, it will be awarded or declined. There are so many other factors that go into whether or not the organization gets that money. So you should never put yourself in a position where your time and your money is dependent on that grant being awarded. I would prefer if freelancers set it up so that you say, this is the fixed rate for this project. And I do believe on charging, fixed rate and not per hour, unless you're charging for a consultation. That is the only time I would say, charge per hour, charge your fixed rate for that jobs. Get your scope of work at your contract, you know, cover yourself.

Eliana (22:56):

And then if any, if there's a denial and this is the way that I like to position it, if your organization gets this grant denied, then I want you to approach me and we can find out the another consultation. How and why was this decline? What can we do better? So that's another service that you can offer is a followup service and organizations love to hear that. Why? Because you're saying I'm not done with you. We can still continue working together. And I care if this was declined, I want to know why. So that next year, when we come back and apply, we can have a better strategy. We can modify whatever needs to be modified. Organizations love that. Yeah, well,

Amber (23:40):

Can I can see where that would be important for them because I'm that they, they probably don't want to start over with another grant writer either. If something did get denied, they, they I'm just guessing would probably prefer to work with somebody who already has done the research who already understands the organization, because you probably have a better chance of getting an approved the second time versus a new grant writer. I'm just making, I'm making a ton of assumptions

Eliana (24:03):

And they're all right there. All right. I think the only time that an organization would not want to work with a grant writer is if there has been a disconnect in trust. And usually this happens, if the communication has not been good, if you're not communicating with your organization every two weeks, for example, Hey, this is where we're at. Hey, this is, this is what I need from you. Hey, I'm S I'm still checked. So for example, um, I submitted a grant about six weeks ago. Technically my contract with this organization is done, but I still continue going into the portal and checking, Hey, just wanted to let you know, I entered the portal today, or just wanted to let you know, I followed up with the, or with the funder just to see what the status of the grant is. And that person said, thank you so much for doing this because the last grant writer just said, well, our contract's over.

Eliana (24:55):

You're not paying me for this time. Just wait for a letter, go the extra mile, go the extra mile so that you have that retention with that client. And they love that. So, and I think that this is one really key point that I just want to kind of drift into is the trust factor. One of the reasons why they say a good grant writer is worth their weight in gold is because most grant writers, they feel they, most organizations feel the grant writer cannot be trusted. They disappear after a contract, or they disappear after the Grant's been written, never to hear from them again, or they didn't get the grant and they didn't bother to follow up with the funder and say, why didn't we get this grant or educate the organization further on next actionable steps. So when you're entering this industry, you really have to baby your clients. You really have to stay on top of them, educating them every step of the way so that they feel like you're in control. You are the expert and you're looking out for them.

Amber (26:06):

Yeah. That's great advice in any industry. Really good advice. I love that. Well, can you walk us through, like, what's a day in the life of a grant writer, look like you mentioned there, some research you've mentioned the followup and the kind of the customer service side. Like what does that paint that picture for us? If I'm interested in this and I kind of want to know what are the activities I'm going to be doing. So I know if I'm going to like it or not. Can you kind of walk us through the day in the life?

Eliana (26:33):

Absolutely. So a day in the life for a grant writer will typically look like this, a lot of research work. Okay. So one, I would say, I like to organize my day when I first come in. I like to make sure that I know exactly what I'm doing, who I'm working with. If I'm working with a client where I'm starting from zero, then I create an itinerary for our meeting. What are the questions that I need to ask to make sure that I'm getting the same answer? Even if I'm asking the question three different ways. Okay. Very important. I'd like to do my research on the organizations that I'm working with, not just the grants that we're going to be applying for, but I like to do my research on who do they say they are online and is that consistent with who they're telling me they are?

Eliana (27:17):

Am I getting that same message? So I'm doing a lot of backwards work to make sure that when I approach that client, I have everything that I need. So if something is disconnected, I can piece that together and help them see how we're going to piece that together. So that's from a consultation perspective. Then if we're moving into the research part of it, the way that I like to structure my research work is first of all, I'm a night owl. Like I said, I've got university and four kids. So I work from the hours of 10 o'clock at night to two in the morning, from 10 to two in the morning, all I'm doing is on my database, looking at grants that they're actually eligible for. I'm looking at nine nineties. I'm looking at who are the people on the board who have they previously funded?

Eliana (28:05):

I'm doing a bunch of what I like to call FBI work to make sure that when I tell the nonprofit, this is who you're going to work with. This is the grant that you're going to apply it for. I have backups statistics as to why is this a good fit for you? And then if I'm working on actually writing a narrative again, not 10 to 2:00 AM, I am just hashing out the narrative. First, second, third drafts. Then I send it off to my reviewer. And I do recommend, regardless of what faucet of grant writing, you are writing, you're working in, have somebody review your work. I think that's really important because sometimes we think that something makes sense and then someone else reads it and it's all over the place. You know what I mean? That's, that's so true. And in grant writing, you have to be really concise.

Eliana (28:59):

You don't want a lot of fluff. So I like to send it off to my reviewer, make sure all of my deadlines are on point to follow up with people that I need to follow up with. And because I worked in a internal hours, I just like to schedule my emails out for the next morning. That way I can sleep in peace. If I'm working with an organization that maybe has a denied grant, then I like to schedule a consultation with them. And I will tell them because it is a paid consultation, I will always do my due diligence and following up and see, okay, did you actually get the grant or not? But then I offer them as an add on service. Do you want to have a followup consultation to discuss what the next steps are going to be? That way? When we approached the grant, the funder, we can say, okay, these are the questions that we have.

Eliana (29:48):

This is what we understand, help guide us to what we can do different. So that's a, I don't service that I, that I offer. Usually they take it because they do see the value in it. But it's up to me to, to relay that value. It's up to me to tell them this is why it's important, and this is how it's going to change your process next year. So that's pretty much what a day in the life for me looks like as a grant writer, it's a ton of fun, a ton of time online. But if you like research, this may be the space for you.

Amber (30:21):

That's good to know. Very good to know. Well, a couple of things that came up for me in there, I've got someone in my audience who I know is a proofreader, a couple of them. And so I'm wondering, is that something that maybe somebody who's like, okay, I'm going to take some time to go get a certificate and I'm going to look into grant writing, but I'm not quite at the point yet where I'm going to take on clients, but if they already have a proofreading side of their business, is that maybe something they could add to an already existing niche by reaching out to other grant writers who are more established and saying, Hey, I can offer proofreading services. Do they have to know a lot about grant writing in order to do the proofing for that? Or is it more about just proofreading in general? Like, I just want to ask that question because I do know I've got some proofreaders who maybe you're out there listening to this and thinking, oh, is that something I could add to my proofreading?

Eliana (31:11):

I love that. So there's actually two offers, two offers that they can have with their proofreading one. And this is something that, that I like to teach my students as well is approach organizations that already have an on-staff grant writer and say, Hey, I know you have someone on staff. I would love to connect with them and see if they can gain value from my proofreading services. I know that you probably have a couple of grants you're working on. So helping take this off your plate would probably be really beneficial in terms of staff time and, and, and financial resources. Is this a conversation that you would like to pursue further? And usually they will say, you know what? That would be great. Why? Because your outside eyes and these funders are outside eyes. So if you can get to the impact and the mission and you get the goal of that grant, then boom, they just fulfilled their whole purpose with that proposal.

Eliana (32:08):

So that's one thing that they can do. That's one service they can offer is to the organization themselves to speak and to speak to, um, internal grant writers. Now you can also, like you mentioned, Amber, you can just approach grant writers themselves and say, Hey, do you have a reviewer? Can I help you? If you don't or maybe you're looking to transition out of that reviewer, get somebody that has more experience with this. That's another excellent option and a great partnership that you can build 100%. Do you have to have experience with grant writing in order to be a proofreader? I would say yes and no. I like to say that I focus on skillset and not experience. Um, so I think that once you read enough grants, you know what to look out for, and you can even work with the grant writer themselves and say, Hey, this is something that I'm transitioning into.

Eliana (33:03):

I would love to get my feet wet. These are my pricings. Would you be interested and having someone in your corner to proofread your work is invaluable. So I don't see why a grant writer would say no. So it's a, it's a, it's a benefit for both of you. So I don't think that you necessarily have to have experience if you, because your mind is telling you, no, I don't have experience. I can't do this. It's going to be so hard. Okay. No worries. Go online and read proposals or volunteer at a local foundation to read proposals, to review proposals and say, Hey, I'm, I'm working on becoming a proofreader. Uh, I would, for grants, I would love to serve on your panel. Or I would love to read some of the past grants that were, that were submitted. There's so many options for gaining that experience. If you feel, if you absolutely feel that you will not be able to do it without it, otherwise stick to what you know, your proofreader, you know, your stuff, stick to your gut.

Amber (34:03):

Yeah. Oh, I love that method. Stick to your gut. So good. So good. Um, well, I would imagine that there's probably lots of clients that a grant writer can work with. You've mentioned nonprofits, you mentioned some organizations. Can you kind of tell me a little bit more about what are the other types of clients that a grant writer has and how do you go find clients as a grant writer?

Eliana (34:24):

Yeah, absolutely. So, number one, I think that it is so important for you to approach your business regardless of the space that you're in from a service lead perspective. Right? For me, I like to say I attract clients. I don't chase clients. And how do I do that? Number one, I put God at the very center of my business and I say, God, the people that you have for me, you're going to bring them to me directly. Does that mean I don't do my due diligence? Absolutely not. I show up consistently on my podcast, I show up consistently in the online space, just to make sure that I'm providing free content, where grant writers that want to transition into entrepreneurship can gain value. So I think that's number one is really understanding that you don't have to chase anybody for your services. If they're for you, they're going to be attracted to you.

Eliana (35:12):

As long as you put in the work, have good copy, right? Your messaging is spot on and they will be attracted to you. But some of the clients that are not non-profits that you can work with me, surprise you. The first is for-profits. So just regular small businesses, you can actually help them get grants through what's called fiscal partnerships. And this is just relationships that they would form with nonprofits, strategic partnerships that you would form. And then you can apply to grants through, through that avenue. You can work with individuals. So some examples would be on third anthropologists, um, creatives. So whether they're in the music space or the film space, they can actually submit for grants as well. So these are just a couple of examples. Yeah. Yeah. So in Atlanta, I'll give you this. Yeah. I'll give you this example. So in Atlanta they have a huge creative scene and Fulton county is actually, they actually have a grant specifically for dancers and artists and filmmakers. So it's, it's really cool when you can work one-on-one with creatives and help them get the funding that they need to achieve their vision.

Amber (36:25):

That's cool. I had no idea how awesome. Well, I think you're right, that it, um, like with what's happened in the pandemic and PPP loans and like, it started to at least crack the surface, a little bit of the knowledge that there's like money available and probably more than any of us realize. Right. And I think sometimes, especially from my time in government work, I kind of envisioned this like money sitting in Washington, DC, but like never get used because people don't know about it. And there's so many possibilities. And I think the PPP loans were just the very first kind of tip of the iceberg of what's available. That people just have no ideas even there that they can take advantage of.

Eliana (37:07):

So I actually want to give you a, um, a statistic that has been rolling around for years, and it says that there's $3 billion that go untouched in grant money every single year, $3 billion. And why, because people don't know how to access them, that the government makes it so difficult for businesses to access this money. That it just goes on touch. It's just like you said, this money sitting there in a pot that just is collecting dust. Wow.

Amber (37:42):

That's insane. Oh my gosh. But it's an interesting statistics. Well, what other activities does a grant writer perform? Um, do they do fundraising do like maybe they could, what are some of those other services that a grant writer might offer in their business?

Eliana (37:59):

So for me, I think that that's what makes each grant writer totally distinctive, right? Is that they offer whatever they know. So if what you know is copy offer copy. If what you know is fundraising offer fundraising, whatever it is, you know, add that into your business structure, because these are all just tools that you can use to help your client get to their end goal. And in the non-profit space, trust me, they need all the help that they can get. So don't think that, well, you know, non-profits probably don't need this or for-profits probably don't need this. I bet you, they do. I bet you, they need help with their recruitment. I bet you, they need help with their marketing or social media strategy. I know they do. And so, whatever it is that you are a pro at anything that you even just want to learn and want to dip your feet into, go for it, build that within your business, because it's going to make you distinctive to other grant writers out there. And I think that that is so key right now because there's a lot of really big names in this space. Right. But what I have noticed, especially in this past year is that people don't want to work with big corporations. They don't want to work with big grant corporations anymore and where they want to work with a person. They want to work with someone one-on-one that can offer a personalized service to solve the problem that they have.

Amber (39:31):

Oh, I'd love that message. Very good. Well, I know that there's gotta be some pros and some cons to this industry because there is with any industry. So shoot us straight. You've got, you've got some on your mind. I'm sure. So give us some of your top three pros and cons of being a grant writer.

Eliana (39:48):

So top three pros I'll start. There is of course freedom as an independent grant writer. I'm sorry.

Amber (39:56):

Sorry. No worries.

Eliana (40:01):

I bet you it's the turtle in my backyard. Bear with me for just a second and I'll be right back.

Amber (40:07):

No problem at all.

Eliana (40:59):

Real-world here.

Amber (41:01):

No worries at all.

Eliana (41:03):

Thank you so much. So top three pros and cons of being a grant writer, I'm going to start with number one, which is of course, freedom. I love having the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. We are huge travelers. Uh, earlier we were talking about our V life and my family of five and I, we live two years in a new camper and I loved just being able to work from home and not have to decide, do I want to raise children or do want to build a business, but the fact that I could do both of them simultaneously, what a blessing, you know, number two, like I mentioned, I love, I love research work and I love helping organizations that don't know where to start. So I love that I'm making a real impact. And number three, that has absolutely nothing to do with being a grant writer, but more just the space of being a freelancer is the fact that I get to choose what message I put into the world. I get to choose to share my faith with people and my life in a way that's authentic and genuine without being judged, without worrying that HR is going to come after me. You

Amber (42:15):


Eliana (42:17):

Wow. What a blessing. So that's, that's my three pros for you. I'm my only con that I could think of is actually probably one that my husband would say. And he would say that I'm a workaholic. I just, I love providing more. I love over-delivering. And sometimes that can be, you know, to my detriment, right. To my destruction, but I just love meat, making clients feel like I got so much more than what I bargained for. That's important to me. Yeah.

Amber (42:57):

Well, I think that probably comes across in your customer service that you provide that is becoming more and more rare today. And so I think when we provide that level of service, it really goes a long way with people. That's great. Well, I want to ask one more question before I kind of let you tell my listeners where they can learn about you. Um, I know that my audience is going to be upset if I don't, uh, give us a realistic expectation, a new copy or a new grant writer versus maybe a more seasoned grant writer. What's the realistic income that you can make with this niche.

Eliana (43:33):

So as a new grant writer, a competitive price would be about $50 an hour. So, which is pretty competitive. Um, if you're looking at working per fixed price, you can start as cheap as two 50 to write a grant and then work your way up for premium pricing. I mean, you can go 150 an hour. So it really just, I like to say it yes. Experience, but what feels good to you? What makes sense to you? And do you actually believe in what you're charging? Do you actually believe in the transformation that you're saying you're going to provide audiences, your P your clients, if not, it'll be very difficult for you to charge those pricing. So I would say start off at 50 as a competitive price and then work your way up.

Amber (44:24):

Okay. Good to know. Good to know. Well, where can my audience learn more about you listened to your podcast? Had I believe you have a course that you offer as well. Where can they learn more about that?

Eliana (44:37):

Yeah, absolutely.

Amber (44:43):

It's good on Beyonce noise.

Eliana (44:46):

He is, we have this turtle, my kids called rock and any time the turtle comes around, my dog just goes, wa

Amber (44:57):

No worries. This is all part of the life of a day in the grant writer, right? Like,

Eliana (45:01):

Absolutely. I think better this. Then I had another episode where my kids came out of the shower and literally mid episode, they were like naked. No

Amber (45:17):

Real. It's just real life. Like you say, real life. Very unfiltered.

Eliana (45:25):

Listen ours. Thank you. First of all, thank you so much, Amber, for having me on your podcast, this has been so much fun. I have had so much fun talking to you and pouring into your audience today. Where can listeners find more about me? I am the host of the nothing for granted podcast here on apple or Spotify or wherever you like to listen to your, to your podcasts on Instagram. I'm at Buffalo ambition and co I do teach a course for current grant writers that want to transition into Keenum entrepreneurship. So I teach, how do you find your niche as a freelance grant writer? I teach, how do you manage your money? How do you create processes, especially if you're going to be traveling, right? So that is what the grant writing business blueprint is all about. Just answering all of those questions that are nagging at you as a new entrepreneur and how to do this in a way where you have to hide your Christianity, nothing to be ashamed of here. And then if you want to learn more about me, you can visit my website at wwwdotbuffalomissionco.com.

Amber (46:32):

Awesome. Well, we will link all of those in the show notes. It says that they're easy for everybody to access. Eliana, thank you so much. Um, you and I have spent the last few hours together recording a few different podcast episodes, and it has been such a joy to get to know you. Um, I feel like we're going to remain friends and I just have such a heart for the fact that you are so real in your business. And I appreciate that. And I think that there's a lot, you can teach other entrepreneurs. So thank you so much for sharing everything with us. 

Eliana (46:59):

Thank You so much, Amber bye guys.




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