Being a freelance writer can be a rewarding and interesting way to supplement income or even build a career.
But to learn how to become a successful freelance writer takes something more than just a casual attitude and a passing knowledge of how to write a sentence, you also need to know how to navigate freelance writing marketplaces.
If you are serious about wanting to become a successful freelance writer, here are seven tips to get started.
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1. Understand Your Role
As a freelance writer, your job is to write what your client wants you to write.
If you write for your own blog, or you choose to write your own book, that’s when you can do your own thing. But writing for clients means that your personal preferences need to take a back seat.
You’re absolutely performing a service for hire as a freelance writer.
And, while you can take certain creative liberties, they must be constrained within the boundaries of what your client hired you to do.
2. Don’t Let Personal Opinions Get in the Way
To be a successful freelance writer, as the saying goes, you may have to kiss a lot of frogs along the way.
Not every writing assignment is going to be juicy and interesting. Some assignments may even go against your own personal opinions.
But if you’re paid to be objective, then you need to be objective. This may mean writing on topics that go against what you personally believe.
The good news is, as a freelance writer, you do have choices. You can always turn down projects that go against your values.
But if you’re going to be a successful freelance writer in the long term, there can’t be too many instances of turning down good-paying work.
3. Extend Your Added Value
Bearing in mind that most clients hire freelance writers with an end goal in mind, you should work on extending your added value to clients.
Specifically, you need to stay on top of marketing trends so that the content you create works to bring in traffic, convert warm leads, or do whatever else the client is hoping to accomplish by hiring you.
If you think it’s okay to simply be a good writer and leave the marketing to someone else, then maybe you haven’t heard of Google, ranking, or SEO, either.
A great freelance writer is also adept at content marketing strategies, SEO, and making sure that as Google’s algorithms change, the writing strategy changes accordingly.
4. Learn How to Meet a Deadline
If you’re a person who has trouble paying bills on time or showing up to appointments on time, then it’s going to be hard to be a successful freelance writer.
As a freelance writer, no one is going to come in and turn off the TV and announce that you’ve only got two hours until an article is due. No one is going to keep you on schedule except for you. You need to be a master of your own timekeeping.
There are all kinds of ways to create reminders. Try them, test them and figure out a way to make at least one of them work.
Because as a freelance writer, your day—and night—is going to be ruled by deadlines.
5. Figure Out a Money System
One of the biggest challenges of being a freelance writer is handling cash flow.
Some of your clients might pay immediately after submission (but few do), some might pay in ten days and others might not pay until six or eight long weeks have gone by.
If you want to keep the lights on at home and not live a life of feast or famine cycles, you need to figure out a money system where you have a decent cash flow.
How you do it will be entirely up to you, because it depends on your client base and how often you get paid. But figuring out a money system is just as important as knowing how to spell when you’re a freelance writer.
6. Keep Your Tools Safe
Your tools include your computer, your internet, your passwords, your reference library, your pens, papers, and anything else you need to complete quality work in a timely manner.
You need to keep these things safe. Just as you wouldn’t allow your kids and friends to run riot all over your business office, you shouldn’t allow anyone to take over your writing tools or space when you need to work. This includes teenagers who want to use your computer to download songs, play RuneScape, or anything else.
Let your tools be your private domain so that they can be safe and secure for you to conduct the business of being a freelance writer.
7. Be Professional
During the course of your work, you’ll have many instances where you need to communicate with clients. Sometimes it will be to learn about the writing assignment, sometimes it will be to clarify instructions, and sometimes it will be to take criticism of your work.
Not every client is going to be pleased with your work all the time. They may ask for changes, they may accuse you of not doing research, or something else.
No matter what the client says or how they say it, you should be a professional.
In the face of criticism, you should say thank you for pointing out your errors. In the face of rudeness, respond objectively and ask how you can make things better.
It’s never okay to lose your temper or be sarcastic or disrespectful to a client. And chances are when a client sees how even-tempered you are, and how professional you handle criticism, they will respect you and place more orders with you.
These 7 tips on how to become a successful freelance writer will help, but what you really need is a place to find clients and earn money.
That place is WriterAccess, where you have the potential to join a global community of freelance writers who are already finding success. Why not see if you have what it takes to be a successful freelance writer with WriterAccess? Start with a free trial to see what we’re all about.