My Top 5 Tips for Freelance Writers
I see a lot of writers that want to turn their passion into profit, and I can certainly appreciate that desire.
As with anything in life, I think it requires a solid mindset. You have to have a long-term perspective, and be willing to build towards your goals little by little.
Skill is good to have, but persistence is even better. Even if you aren’t the best writer in the world, if you can become better at expressing your thoughts, you have already won. You’ll probably earn more as a result, too.
Here are some thoughts that I hope will enrich your journey as a freelance writer.
1. Be Entrepreneurial in Your Approach
In other words, be willing to problem-solve and create your own opportunities. Don’t wait for the proverbial phone to ring.
I’ve talked about the fact that I’ve approached businesses with the idea of starting a blog before, and I still think that it’s a legitimate way to increase your earnings.
People are a lot more cognizant of content marketing today than they were just three to four years ago, but there are always new businesses popping up, so there is a never-ending supply of prospects as long as content marketing is in vogue.
Of course, there are plenty of other opportunities too. If you’re not doing as much business as you’d like to be, be willing to drum up business, take on new challenges, and – as James Altucher says – choose yourself.
Do away with the idea that you are an aspiring writer. You’re not an aspiring anything! Today, you are a writer, so start acting like one.
2. Develop Your Determination
I think a lot of writers are hoping to land the big gigs right out of the box. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way.
I’m not saying that there aren’t some lucky breaks here and there, but in general you have to be flexible, make yourself available, and demonstrate some tenacity.
For example, your own blog can actually help you to generate a lot of leads (especially if you’re getting your content out to the right places on a regular basis). However, you probably won’t get people reaching out to you all of the time.
It’s going to take some time to build that kind of traction. How long? Longer than you think!
Are you willing to push through? Can you sit yourself down to write one more blog post when it doesn’t make sense to do so? That’s what will set you apart.
3. Build Relationships with Others in the Business
There aren’t necessarily a lot of people offering content as a service. Sure, if you go looking at sites like Fiverr or Elance, there are plenty of international writers who are doing writing work in exchange for cheese and pretzels, but it’s a bit of a different story with native writers.
Why not connect with those who are already doing the work? You never know what could come of it.
Maybe you could get hired on as a writer for those individuals. They may even have some suggestions for you as far as opportunities go.
Other writers are already smack dab in the middle of their careers, so who knows more about writing than other freelance or professional writers? Virtually no one!
Taking a chance and connecting with others has certainly opened up new opportunities for me, so there’s no reason why it can’t work for you.
4. Pick a Focus
This advice is almost self-contradictory.
Why? Because I think it’s just as important to be able to write for a variety of situations, from magazine articles to blog posts to editorials, and so on. Moreover, the jobs that come your way won’t always play to your interests or strengths.
However, if you have your own blog, or if you’re thinking about writing for revenue sharing sites, having a specific focus is helpful. It establishes you as someone who knows something about the particular industry or interest you are talking about.
Though I have other irons in the fire myself, I am mostly known as a personality in the music industry. Therefore, when opportunity comes my way, it usually has something to do with music (by the way, I can think of far easier niches to be in).
Others in the music industry see my writing, and if they like it, they might hire me to do a piece for them. Or, if they hear my podcast, they may ask me to speak at their upcoming event.
It’s extremely helpful if you are passionate about what you write, because that will generally translate into more opportunity.
5. Show Up Every Day
The only way to become a better writer is to practice. It takes time to find your style and your voice.
Putting your thoughts into writing takes effort, and no matter how good you get, I don’t think that dynamic ever changes. However, over time, you can become a more efficient, more skillful writer.
Showing up every day may not even mean writing a full article. If all you do is write 100 words every day, at least you did it. Moreover, it’s far more duplicable than 1,000 words per day!
Consistency builds momentum. However, if you give up midway, you’ll never give yourself a chance at really getting the ball rolling.
If you want to write, and you’re passionate about it, you will find a way to make it a part of your daily schedule.
If you say that you want to be a freelance writer, but you’re not showing up every day to do the work, you could be unwittingly sabotaging your efforts. Work on developing a consistent habit.
Here’s a bonus tip: do your research.
I know of a lot of sites that pay for articles and writing work, but I don’t utilize all of them. In fact, a majority of my paid gigs come from one source!
Even if I never take advantage of any of the other sites, there’s no harm in knowing about them. I’m just putting more tools in my kit.
There is something empowering about knowing that you have plenty to fall back on, should the need arise.