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Skills Required to Become a Successful Freelance Writer

Bianca is a content creator who's been writing professionally since 2013. She is now working towards building her online writing business.

Freelance writing is more than just your talent for creating beautiful pieces of copy. It is a combination of many soft skills and qualities that are important for success. Even a great writer may be an unsuccessful freelancer without these qualities.

Time Management

Freelancing involves juggling multiple projects simultaneously. There will be times when you have deadlines for 2-3 projects on the same day, or a very big writing assignment with a short turnaround time.

In both cases, managing your time efficiently is very important. Poor time management results in late submissions, missed deadlines, mistakes or errors in your writing, and a negative impression on the client.

Planning out projects beforehand makes your life easier. With time, you'll have an idea of how long you'll take for a particular project, making it easier to chalk out a timeline.

Quick Tip!

Creating to-do lists helps greatly with time management and organization, because they help you plan. Knowing what you have to do in advance helps chalk out your work schedule, and you're less likely to forget tasks once they're on paper!

Organisation

Organisation is another very important quality to have as a freelance writer. As projects start increasing, you will see the number of doc files or Word documents piling up on your laptop.

When it's time to send invoices at the end of the month, a disorganised work folder is every freelance writer's nightmare. You will need to sort through files and find the ones that belong to one particular client, and then find the ones you did this month. You have to be careful not to miss any and also not to accidentally add any from the previous months.

A personal recommendation based on experience - Create separate folders for every client. Create a subfolder for the year. Create further subfolders inside for every month, and add new project files done in these months into these subfolders.

For example - Folder with client name ABC --> Folder '2021' --> Folder 'June' --> All the projects done for the month of June

This will help you when sending invoices, and also to quickly find any past projects or invoices.

If you find it hard to focus on a task for more than a few hours, then get up, do something else, and get back! Sometimes, taking a nap or just making a hot cup of tea helps greatly.

Discipline

One of the most important qualities that one must possess, or develop, to gain success as a freelancer. Discipline is the most important factor because it ties in all the other qualities and skills listed here.

If you don't have the discipline and strong will to sit and complete a piece of work, you may not be able to turn it in on time. No matter how well you manage your time or how organized your work folder is, if you aren't able to work through your boredom to finish projects, then the rest seems pointless, doesn't it?

If you're worried about how you may sound on a call with a client, list down some talking points beforehand. Practice them with someone else or record yourself speaking so that you can listen to yourself!

Communication

This includes diplomacy, negotiation skills and the ability to sell your writing services effectively. It also includes being professional in all your communication and conversations with clients, concise and yet detailed when it comes to giving updates about projects.

All these communication skills are very important because you're the face of your business and are dealing with clients yourself. Although skills like negotiation and diplomacy can be learned, you should be able to convince people to get you on board as a freelance writer and give you projects. You should also be able to send out well-drafted, detailed emails that provide all necessary details about what you wish to communicate without being unnecessarily wordy.

You will develop these skills with practice; but if you're worried about not being an effective communicator, there is a lot of information available on the internet. Do some research, jot down some points, maybe practice with your family or friends. This will help you get started.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Priyanka Athavale

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