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10 Tips for Starting a Successful Freelance Writer Career

I am a professional teacher, writer, researcher, and learner. I always try to learn because there is no age for learning.


If you’re planning to become a freelance writer, you’re going to need to know how to sell yourself and your work in the most effective way possible. After all, if people don’t want what you have to offer, there won’t be any point in trying to sell it at all. Use these 10 tips for starting a successful freelance writing career to get started on the right foot.

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1) Is Freelance Writing For You?

If you have an interest in writing and editing, freelance writing might be your thing. You'll be paid to do what you love (if you're any good, anyway). It's not as glamorous as it sounds; it requires long hours of focused work, just like any other career path. Still interested? Here are 10 tips for starting a successful freelance writer career Acknowledge that success is measured by profit: Many writers struggle with their desire to express themselves freely versus their need to make money from their work. Making money from writing will almost always require some compromise on expression, but if you know that going into it, then you can accept this fact and approach your career rationally rather than emotionally.

2) Set Yourself Up For Success

Your dream career won’t happen by accident. You’ll need to be disciplined about your business, both before and after your launch. Before you start, create a plan of action; once you’re running, schedule time to work on new articles. Also, make sure you understand how much money you can expect to make and plan your expenses accordingly. While success isn’t guaranteed as a freelance writer, following these 10 tips will increase your chances of becoming one. Get ready—the world is waiting.

3) Assess your Freelance Writer Skillset

If you have little to no freelance writing experience, chances are your resume doesn’t accurately represent your skills. Having a robust portfolio of clips can help change that. To get some, you first need to find projects or publications that would like to see your work. Networking is important here: ask other writers if they know anyone looking for freelancers and doesn’t be afraid to reach out directly via email or even LinkedIn if it seems appropriate. The more places you pitch, and the more variety of assignments you take on, the more likely it is that someone will want to pay you (and possibly hire you) full-time.

4) Define your Brand and Niche

Defining your brand and niche is one of those things that seems hard but is simple. Branding is what makes your business unique, it tells people why they should hire you instead of someone else. Start by asking yourself: What do I want to be known for? Once you’ve defined your niche, make sure that you can say something unique about it every time you introduce yourself—your expertise and understanding of what makes you stand out will help clients feel confident in hiring you. To get started with defining your brand, create a list of words or phrases that describe what it is you do best—from there, just keep adding to it over time and perfecting until it’s clear and concise.

Young Woman While Writing

5) Set up your Home Office

If you’re going to be doing work from home, your workspace is all-important. You don’t have to rent an office in a prestigious business park—in fact, you shouldn’t. While you may want to write off as much of your day as possible, working from home is a distraction waiting to happen if your home environment isn’t conducive to getting down to business. You don’t need every convenience, but it should be quiet and peaceful (no kids allowed!), have plenty of natural light and good ventilation, and allow you to isolate yourself so that you can work without interruption.

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6) Write Articles, Tutorials, and eBooks

Write articles, tutorials, and eBooks that teach others how to do something well. Write high-quality pieces regularly, then submit them to relevant websites. Create an eBook and sell it on your website, or give it away through webinars (for example, teach people in your webinar how to solve problem X and offer it as an incentive for attending). Give good interviews on podcasts. Do consulting projects for bigger companies. You could even try doing speaking gigs at conferences or other organizations where you can pitch yourself as an expert in your field.

7) Get Feedback on your Writing

You can’t learn unless you put yourself out there. Get feedback from others on your writing style and make it better by asking questions, listening to comments, and incorporating their ideas into your next piece. Pay special attention to people who critique your work—you want them to take time out of their busy lives to help you because they think what you’re doing is good enough. If they don’t, that means you still have plenty of room for improvement. Also, never be afraid to accept criticism; criticism drives learning and will make you both a stronger writer and person. The only true way to fail at learning how to write effectively is not getting started in the first place!

8) Promote yourself Effectively

In today’s economy, freelancers are in high demand. Even though you’re not an employee, people want to hire you to get things done. To begin promoting yourself as a freelance writer, follow these steps: 1) Start with your network. 2) Focus on quality over quantity. 3) Focus on employers that match your experience level. 4) Stay patient and never take on more than you can handle. 5) Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family members for help or advice when it comes to professional development or networking strategies.

Man Reading a Script

9) Negotiate with Clients Effectively

If you're just starting, negotiating with clients might be scary. Don't worry. A lot of professionals shy away from it because they don't want to stick their neck out, but that's precisely why you need to do it! You can't expect to get paid what you're worth if you don't know your worth (and can't articulate it). Before pitching a new client, spend some time researching average freelance rates and make sure your ask is reasonable in comparison. Or, if you have multiple bids on your project, use that information as leverage to secure more pay. Never be afraid to negotiate. It doesn’t mean they won’t work with you again; it just means they may come back with a lower price.

10) Stay Motivated

One of my favorite ways to ensure that I always stay motivated is to set up weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals. To keep my goals updated, I like to use an app called Toggl. This app is great because it allows me to keep track of how much time I have worked on certain projects and be able to add notes about what I have worked on throughout each day. When setting up your weekly goals make sure you also set realistic deadlines so you can successfully meet them. To stay motivated make sure you are setting achievable goals that are in line with your personality and abilities. Remembering why we want something will help us stay motivated when working towards our goals!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Ghulam Nabi Memon

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