Over the years, more high-quality employees have transitioned from their 9-5 jobs and adopted freelance work styles. Because of this, freelancers have been in higher demand recently. It is estimated that as much as 37% of the workforce makes their living as freelancers, and freelance writing is one of the most popular ways to do so.
Have you seen those ads running on Facebook or Instagram, saying,
“Would you like to make your own art?”
“Do you want to work for yourself and not under the pressure of somebody else?”
And so and so forth!
Yes, you have the liberty to work on flexible hours or manage to work by yourself.
But, as fun as freelance writing sounds and as easy as it might seem, there are many hurdles one must overcome to make it in this very competitive field.
And that is why we have come up with this blog post in which we will share the 10 best tips for a successful freelance writing career that will not only help you to overcome the hurdles but will give your career a higher jump.
So, let’s dive in!
Best Actionable Tips for a Successful Freelance Writing Career
Be aware of your goal as a freelance writer
Find your goals!
When you begin writing, it can be easy to lose focus or write about things that don’t matter. This is why ask yourself the following:
- Where do you want to lead your writing career?
- How much do you want to earn?
- Where do you hope to find clients who are looking for similar services?
- What marketing strategies are you planning to apply for your freelance writing career?
Remember that you’re in business, not just developing your writing skills. The more carefully you set goals, the more likely you are to succeed as a freelance writer and establish a marketable career.
Put work and home apart
Golden Rule: Learn to balance your work and leisure time!
Consistency and focus are essential traits for any successful profession. And freelance writing is no exception.
It’s true that you can work anytime and anywhere, but having a designated workspace – ideally, an office or studio space outside your home – can help you feel more inspired and productive. You also might want to consider a home office with a door you can close if you live in an apartment building. And if an office isn’t possible, set up shop in a corner of your home: The Chinese screen will make it look more official.
Find a writing genre you enjoy
Finding a niche is a must for any freelance writer!
When you start your career as a freelance writer, figuring out what to write on is not easy. Many of us jump at the chance to write about any subject, regardless of whether we have experience or knowledge in that area. When you have a plan, you’ll get to your destination with less stress.
As you get more assignments, look for a subject you enjoy writing about and write well about it. Then, focus on that topic as you take on more work. For example, if you like to write about finance, look for opportunities to write about finance and eventually you’ll become a sought-after writer within that field.
Tell your own stories
The pitch is a classic film marketing tool!
As a freelance writer, you may have ideas for stories rolling around in your head. Maybe you’ve been thinking about writing a piece on X, or Y, or Z. But how you tell them is equally important.
Start pitching your ideas to editors. The more pitches you send, the better your chances are of getting one published. When you get your first story published, it will be easier to pitch other pieces to different publications.
Be on the lookout for freelance writing jobs
The key here is: Always!
As a freelancer, you’re accountable for finding new customers and securing future freelance assignments. To prevent time gaps between projects and ensure ongoing income, you’ll have to market yourself aggressively to get new freelance work.
Employ a variety of online job boards. Send an email to the content director introducing yourself and your work to the publication. Network with experienced writers; they may be able to pass off some of their assignments or recommend you as an editor when they’re overbooked.
Work your day job instead of quitting
Don’t quit your day job!
Don’t rush into a career as a full-time freelance writer. First, ease into it. Start by carving out a few hours each week to write your own work, not someone else’s. When you’ve written several pieces and established a bit of an online presence, you can pursue a freelance career full-time.
Once you’ve gotten a handle on a freelance job, built up a client base, and have some good writing samples to show for it, start freelancing your full-time career.
Proofread your work
We do it best after we have hit send!
Imagine if you had to write a paper entirely in your head, then do solid research and still write it, only to find that the only thing people noticed are the typos! It’s frustrating, isn’t it? That’s why careful proofreading of all written content is so important.
Please make sure to thoroughly proofread and edit your writing before submitting it. Make sure your sentences are short, concise, and easy to comprehend. Check for typos and grammar errors.
Start a blog
You are the creator of your own destiny!
Once you find your sweet spot as a freelance writer, it’s time to take the next step.
Start blogging and consider subjects that ignite your passion, like parenting, traveling or snowboarding. Becoming a blogger will help you hone your skills, build your writing style, and become a better writer.
Moreover, your own blog will increase your online presence and build your credibility among clients that you possess the necessary skills. This will make it easier for your clients to find you online.
Understand the fundamentals of SEO
Good SEO = More Visibility
As a content marketing writer, you need to be able to write intelligent, informative content that makes web visitors want to buy the client’s product. Although there are many ways to do that, one of the most efficient ways is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO is an essential skill for all content writers and content marketers, learn how it works and how to place keywords in strategic areas of website pages so they rank higher in search results. But don’t make the mistake of compromising your content in order to get good search engine optimization.
Read Blog Writing for SEO: 6 Tips for Writing SEO Blog Posts if you want to know some SEO tips for blog writing
Develop a thick skin
Honest feedback is healthy!
Feedback on your work will come from your clients. Their feedback may require you to do a lot of editing, or it may be so positive that you feel no need for changes. Don’t take clients’ comments personally, and produce the content they expect, even if it means writing in a voice or tone that feels unnatural to you.
As a freelance writer, you will likely encounter several instances when you need to change something that you have written. This can be difficult, but it is an important part of the process and cannot be avoided if you want to succeed in your career.
Organize your time more effectively
Time is money!
Different writing projects will require different amounts of time. For example, a short piece for the local newspaper might only take you a few hours to write, while a 3000 word article assigned by your boss might take you a few days.
Take time to figure out how much time you need to finish each assignment. Then plan out your days and weeks in advance so you can get your work done in a timely manner.
Become familiar with each style guide
Polish your writing skills with style guides!
Writers who want to polish their writing skills should familiarize themselves with style guides and use them to associate a variety of standards with their daily writing. In most cases, style guides are descriptive rather than prescriptive, so they describe how language is commonly used rather than establish rules for how it should be used.
For example, clients often request that you follow the Associated Press Stylebook or the Chicago Manual of Style. Both books include guidance on grammar, style, spelling and punctuation usage. To be prepared for a client’s request, keep copies of each book in your writing toolkit.
Get ready with your marketing materials
Be ready with your portfolio!
To get freelance work, a good writer will make it easy for potential clients to get a sense of their style and what they can do. Have your best clips handy when the time comes to bid on a job. Clients want to see what you can do.
Have those samples organized so you can quickly send along with links to relevant work, and be ready to share testimonials if necessary.
Now you know everything you need to get started as a freelance writer or make your writing business work for you.
So what are you waiting for? Make your freelance writing career successful by following the tips we have provided above.
Are you interested in content writing? Here are some resources related to it.
About the Author:
Naveen is the marketing and product head at JoomDev. He loves to convert his ideas into reality by developing products to make your online business successful with his WordPress plugins and mobile app development services.