Sooner or later, many of you, creative people in love with words, arts, and travels, get fed up with a 9-to-5 office job. You start thinking of dropping everything and striking out on your own. The world of freelance writing seems a paradise with cotton candy clouds and tons of time to travel. But the truth is rather different.
After you give up the office chair for the fun and unbridled life of a freelancer, a lot will change: your attitude to life, money, and business; your daily routine; your opportunity to travel and be mobile, working from any place in the world. You become a kinda remote worker with the only difference: you’re your own boss now, and you are answerable to yourself for the result of your work.
To succeed here, you should reformulate principles and approaches to work. If you want to keep a head above water, follow these rules of an experienced freelance writer. Usually, it takes years of practice to understand them and organize a freelance routine accordingly; so I believe these rules could be rightly seen as golden and worth laying to heart.
For a newbie freelancer, it’s easy to yield to the temptation of working from a bed. You wake up in the morning and think, “Wow, isn’t it cool? I don’t even have to leave to start writing!” But a few weeks later, this comfort starts looking more like routine; you get bored, can’t focus on work, procrastinate; the quality of your writings and your productivity suffer.
Self-discipline is key here. You don’t have an angry boss anymore, who would control you and push you to meet deadlines. Now you need to organize everything yourself, in a responsible manner:
- Schedule your day.
- Organize a comfortable workplace.
- Stick to deadlines.
- Take care of your health: remember about launches, take breaks, go in for sports.
- Stay in touch with customers (always online), respond to their messages and calls.
- Let them know beforehand if you can’t complete the order on time, etc.
- Keep track of everything.
Never work from a bed. If you are trying to make freelance writing your primary source of income, then treat it like a job. Wake up, make a coffee, dress up, and sit at the desk. Plan your day, follow your to-do list, write a certain number of words or pieces, and meet your client’s expectations.
You need to understand your goals as a freelance writer: if it’s just a one-off gig for you, that’s fine but don’t expect to make a fortune then. Divorce creativity from income to see what are you writing for. Writing for a living has little to do with inspiration. It’s a job, and you’ll have to write even when you don’t feel like it.
#2: Embracing rejections
It’s impossible to be good and professional enough for everyone. Far from all will recognize your brilliance. Long story short, your life of a freelance writer may turn into a life of rejection. Learn to deal with it, practice to accept constructive criticism, and get the most out of it to become an expert in your field.
Explore the ground of why publishers reject your writings. Maybe you just send them to wrong places? Then you should work on being more selective about what articles to offer to what publication. Maybe they don’t accept your writings because of your poor grammar and style? Then work on it. Ask for professional editorial feedback from editors, test your work on other writers to see what they think, and practice more: write essays, keep a diary, craft blog posts, consider free writing and other tactics to write every day and thus polish your skills.
After all, the best way to learn writing craft is to write more, faster, better. Understand your weak spots and accept them for your further growth as a professional in writing business.
Okay, you know it for sure: a portfolio is a must-have for a freelance writer. Otherwise, how are you going to prove your competence to potential clients?
It may be a problem for newbies who don’t have a lot of published work yet. But you still need to show the world what you are capable of. Share your writing samples for people to see your writing style and types of writing you work with.
- Are you an SEO copywriter?
- Do you craft blog posts or informative long reads?
- Do you write academic essays or reviews?
- Are you a scriptwriter?
- Do you write brand stories?
Decide on which type of freelance writer you are, and don’t expect clients to believe your specialization and writing skills without any proof. Your portfolio itself, even if short and with samples only, proves your competence and responsibility as a freelance writer. Start building it today. After all, you can always edit it later, when you have more published projects and a stronger background.
Some clients are ready to pay for your writings only after they are published. Others’ payments are based on engagements and performance of your content online, or, in other words, on how many people will like, share, or comment on it. Or, you simply write text they need, send it, and get money, regardless of what they are going to do with it. Whatever payment type you prefer, make sure to formalize everything in a document.
Contracts are a freelancer’s best friends. Both you and a client put yourself at risk when trusting a stranger on the Internet. So, draw up some basic standards of your work and come up with some kind of agreement to navigate professional relationships with customers. It makes you look like an expert in the field and helps you build loyalty and trust.
Your contract doesn’t have to be official, sealed, and signed in front of a notary public. Just organize your freelance work in a way both you and your clients could have some guarantees in case that something will go wrong.
#5: Professional growth
Your writing is work. To make a bank of it, you need to grow, develop your skills, polish your craft, and create content that meets your client’s needs.
More often than not, clients want people to read the content you write for them. For that, stellar grammar and punctuation, as well as your unique writing style, are not enough. You need to adapt to the digital age: learn new things and develop new skills regularly to boost credibility and become more versatile. Consider SEO, Google Analytics, HTML, and CSS; learn the ropes of digital marketing and content strategy; get the idea of storytelling; understand the cognitive psychology, persuade with your writings, use power and sensory words for crafting killer content.
And don’t forget to build your personal brand as a professional writer, network with niche experts, and promote your services for more people to know about your writing practice. After all, your freelancing success drastically depends on it.