5 Career Tips for Freelance Writers
For many writers launching a successful career as a freelancer may seem fun and glamorous as it affords a sense of independence and opportunity that few other positions can match. In the most extreme and fortunate cases, freelancers can create lucrative networks of clients that generate a bountiful yearly income. In the worst case scenarios, freelancers find themselves eating leftovers and borrowing money for monthly rent.
If you’re considering beginning the adventure of freelance writing and aren’t really sure where to begin then you there’s a few things you absolutely should know.
Here’s our top 5 career tips for freelance writers!
1. Be Open to a Variety of Projects:
It may seem overwhelming when you first start off as a freelancer to find work that suits you properly. Often times projects may be a bit daunting because they’re outside of your immediate comfort zone but don’t despair! In many cases a freelance gig will allow research and education time to be factored into the project schedule. Many clients will provide informational materials to bring you up to speed on the project as well.
Taking on these kinds of projects will allow you to gain a better grasp on the various types of work you’ll face in the freelance market space and what kind of dynamics you’ll need to consider as you encounter projects in the future. It’s important to be open-minded about what projects you are or aren’t interested in taking and don’t shoot down or ignore a project just because it falls outside of your comfortable expertise.
2. Be Realistic About Quotes:
When quoting prices you should always be realistic about your work. Recognize your skill level, experience level and the full scope of the project and quote a price that is both reasonable but also realistic for both you and your client. Writing site copy for a small local business is probably not going to net you luxurious fees or glamorous opportunities but it will provide steady income and expand your portfolio for future clients. It’s important to keep both ends of each project in perspective as you work. You should never suffer financially under unreasonable deadlines or workloads, nor should you ever charge outlandish prices for the work you do.
By setting realistic goals for both yourself and your clients you will find that contract work goes much smoother and both you and the client will be able to conduct business on more pleasant terms.
3. Maintain Relationships:
If a client needs copy or writing services you can safely assume that they’ll need them again sometime in the future. For this reason, Tip #2 is critically important. As you complete projects and build a good working relationship with a client it’s important to foster a trusting and professional interaction that you can carry over into future projects and leverage later.
Upon completion of a project, be sure to add satisfied clients to some form of network, whether it’s through Linkedin, Email or just an old-fashioned address book, keep them in mind for the future and don’t forget to reach out to them down the line to see what they’re working on and where you could potentially fit in. As a freelancer, having a network of “regulars” who you routinely get repeat work from is a great way to line your coffers.
4. Broaden Your Horizons and Portfolio:
As a Freelancer, one of the best ways to expand your chance of being hired for new projects is to expand your knowledge base and familiarity with new interest areas, content types and formats. This will allow you to demonstrate a functional level of awareness in subjects that may be directly tied to the projects you’re looking to take on and as a result create a more authoritative position to come at prospective projects.
5. Never Be Afraid to Compete:
Despite a lack of experience or even a lack of knowledge on a given topic, content and copy are ultimately driven by talented and skilled writers with a passion for the work they do. As a new freelancer, you shouldn’t shy away from potentially valuable projects simply because you fear to compete with more qualified writers. In many cases you will find that your particular style or skill carries more value to the client than the portfolio samples or past experience of another writer. Additionally, there’s always something to be said for negotiating prices during the contract phase. Be aggressive, be smart and stay focused. There’s an ocean of opportunity in freelance writing!
For more information about how to get started in the world of freelance writing, be sure to also check out 5 Steps to Becoming a Freelance Writer!