Freelance writing is a way to get paid for your words. There are scores of sites that offer freelance writer jobs, but the competition can be fierce. You will need all the tips you can get on how to land these jobs and keep them coming in if you want to succeed as a successful freelance writer.
The purpose of this article is not to give you some quick-fix solution to all your problems with freelancing, because there isn’t any. The truth of the matter is nobody knows what it’s like to be a freelancer better than another one, but these 7 best practices for managing your freelance business like a pro might help you avoid some common pitfalls that new writers fall into when they first go out on their own.
1. Understand the importance of deadlines
Most freelance writers, don’t realize it but they are people too. Everyone knows that writing is a creative profession and therefore it’s all about inspiration, but even poets need to drink water to quench their thirst. And this is precisely what you should make yourself understand if you want your freelancing business to succeed. You cannot write whenever you feel like it, otherwise, no one would ever pay you for your words since there are already so many other writers out there willing to work for free. No one wants to work with an amateur, who can only produce half the amount of work as compared to another professional writer who works full-time hours every day. So remember deadlines are important because clients don’t have much time to read your articles.
2. Always ask for at least 3-4 free articles before pitching them to a client
The only thing that might be as bad as requesting payment upfront is asking clients for some kind of samples of their work, for no good reason. If you are just starting out as a writer and don’t have any published works on sites such as Ezinearticles or Associatedcontent, then it’s obvious that the first time potential clients will come across your name would be on submission sites such as Craigslist or Elance. It is only fair if they request something from you before hiring you, so always send three free sample articles before expecting them to pay anything at all. On top of this these few samples don’t really count as articles you can only submit them to the client as a good-faith gesture.
3. Never freelance until you are ready, always use “freelance writing as a side gig”
Freelancing is not easy and those attempting it must be prepared for a lot of rejection. You might find yourself getting rejected for no reason or perhaps clients will just disappear on you after hiring you for their projects, so please do not quit your full-time job before you’ve reached some sort of steady income flow with freelancing. It’s always better to start slowly by working part-time hours while keeping your day job than quitting everything and then failing miserably at your first attempt at freelancing because of the financial pressure that comes along with it. Freelancing should be treated as a side gig that you do in the small hours of the night or during weekends to supplement your income.
4. Always write with your reader’s vis-a-vis in mind
When writing, always remember who your audience is and what they want. If you are writing an article about football then don’t fill it up with fancy words like “phygital” simply because you think it sounds cool; nobody will even bother to read past 100 words if the writer makes no effort to engage them. And this might sound obvious but many writers forget this simple step when starting out, so make sure you keep your readers first and foremost on your mind before ever thinking about yourself as a writer.
5. Never take any task that doesn’t interest you
Even though freelancing is not your full-time job (not yet at least), it should still be treated as such. Every writer has a little voice in the back of his mind which tells him to “never work with clients who don’t know what they are talking about” and this should never be ignored because it normally means something. There might come a time when a potential client will ask you to write a piece for them on XXX, XXX or XXX and even though the topic seems interesting from the outside you have to use your own discretion as well as common sense before accepting. If you have no idea what Amazon Kindle books are then pricing yourself out would be the best decision, because if someone really needs a writer to write on such a topic and doesn’t know anything about it then they probably aren’t worth your time.
6. Don’t work for free, not ever
There is nothing more frustrating than seeing other writers out there willing to work for no money at all because they are simply naive or desperate. A tool like PeachPay can help you greatly with managing your finances.The real world does not work this way, if you want someone’s attention you have to make an impression by working hard and showing them what you can do before expecting anything from them in return. It might sound harsh but stop being so naïve when dealing with clients who will take advantage of you if given half a chance. You don’t see bricklayers or truck drivers asking for free materials or labor yet these people still manage to make a living somehow, so if you go on and agree to work for free then don’t be surprised when the client is making money while you are losing it.
7. Don’t bother with obvious scams
There’s no such thing as a free lunch and we all know that, so why would someone give away their time and knowledge for nothing? It simply doesn’t make any sense at all, so you have to take a step back and really think about the situation before ever going ahead with it. Don’t be the guy that falls for every scam that comes his way just because he wants to “make an impression”, as mentioned before you should always work hard first and then expect something –