The regular publishing industry may have suffered from the rise of the internet, but the writing world, in general, is flourishing. There are more opportunities than ever before for aspiring writers, with an online community for every niche, an insatiable demand for digital content and blogging alone being a viable career if approached correctly. [Read more…]
As freelance writers, we don’t necessarily have the freedom to pick and choose the topics we are going to write about all the time. There may be times when you end up writing about a boring topic. The good news is there are some strategies you can use to engage your reader and make your content interesting even when the subject is not one that happens to be one of your personal favorites.
One of the questions that I get asked most often about being a freelance writer is where do I find clients. One of the strategies that works is to visit job boards for freelance writers and applying for available gigs.
If you are looking for downloadable project management software for writers, where do you start? The best place is to consider exactly what you need and what you expect it to do for you to make your freelance writing business run better and more efficiently. Only then will you be able to evaluate the choices that are available on the market and find an option that will work best for you.
Have you ever had a client ask what forms of freelance writer payment you accept? Do you list them on your website so that clients know up front which ones are available to them? You have several options available and by offering more choices, you may be able to increase your client base.
Every industry has its horror stories and freelancing is no different. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what it’s really like to work as a freelance writer. As a prior manager of a freelance writing pool to a newly converted freelancer myself, I can safely say many of the things I used to hold true about freelancing were anything but.
Freelancing is a Piece of Cake
Freelance writers work incredibly hard for the money they earn. While they have eliminated their daily commute to the office, most freelancers fill those “extra” commuting hours with work. Don’t get me wrong, working as a freelancer is extremely rewarding and flexible, but it’s not the same as working as an employee.
When you’re an employee, your manager cares about your process and your progress; if you’re bombarded with work and are overwhelmed with deadlines, he can ease your workload and reassign tasks to other team members. As a freelancer, your client only cares about your deliverable. It doesn’t matter whether it took you 30 minutes or three hours to complete an article, the finished product is all that matters, and if you’re drowning in deadlines it’s up to you to find a life boat.
You’ll Make Tons of Money
Many freelancer writers are able to make a comfortable income, but that’s not true for everyone. The competition in the writing world can be tough and you have to keep up on what’s current and trending. If you put the work in to get clients and prove yourself you’re likely to do well, but you have to work hard to build a solid pipeline of high paying clients to make a comfortable living.
You Can Work When and Where You Want
While this can be true for some freelance jobs, it’s not always the case with freelance writing. Sure, you select the clients you want to work with and how much work to take on every month, but you still have to make a living. Odds are you’re going to have to take jobs that don’t excite you 100% of the time. Your contract may have specific hours that you need to be available. You can’t work on the beach with a margarita in your hand every day.
Freelancing is Risky
Freelancing doesn’t have to be risky business if you make the transition from working as an employee wisely. There’s usually the feeling of feast and famine in the freelance writing world – either your clients want all of your time or no new projects are coming in. While this may sound chancy, it’s easy to prepare for the famine by stashing extra money aside when you’re enjoying a smorgasbord of work.
You Can Work in Your Pajamas on the Couch
It is true freelancers have the flexibility to choose where to work every day. But the truth is, working on the couch and not getting dressed day after day can lead to depression and feelings of loneliness. Working on the couch also ignites the temptation to turn on the TV or take a nap, negatively effecting productivity.
While it might not hurt to work in your pajamas once in awhile, it’s best to get dressed for work every day and carve out a special place in your home to work. That way you can leave your home office at the end of the day and focus on the important things in your life.
What did you assume about being a freelancer before you started working as one?
Sarah is the Content Manager and a Writer at Virtual Vocations, the one-stop shop for telecommuters looking for legit jobs. With several years of marketing and writing experience, Sarah managed a group of freelance writers for a marketing firm before venturing out into the telecommute world. Follow Sarah on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.
For the past three years, I have run my own virtual writing and editing company, Desired Assistance. Born out of my ability to write and edit, paired with the increasing demand for virtual assistants, I combined the two to create my own business. This journey hasn’t always been easy, but it has certainly been worth it. Along the way I discovered things about myself, my writing, and business in general. Here are some of the lessons I learned.
Work Your Network
When I first launched my freelancing business, the majority of my clients came directly (or indirectly) from my college and church networks. The relationships I’d made and work I’d done in those environments set me up for great testimonials before my business even started. You never know who is observing you and the impressions that you’ve made.
You Don’t Work for Them, You Work for Yourself
This is something that took a while to get into my head on my first (long-term) freelancing job. The individual that hired me was under the impression that I worked for him. I thought this too until my business advisor set me straight.
It’s the same with doctors, dentists, mechanics, hair stylists, and others. We are service providers. It actually helps to see it more as a temporary partnership: they provide the funds and you provide the services to produce an expected end.
If you can grasp this concept now, you will gain a new level of freedom in your business.
Cheap Rates & Frequent Discounts Breed Cheap Clients
This one’s a toughie. When you are passionate about a talent that comes naturally to you, it can be hard to charge and charge rationally at first. This is especially true if you are surrounded by individuals or a community with a pervading poverty mindset. EVERYBODY wants a discount.
But guess what? You need to get over it. Set a new standard.
Think of it this way: Wal-Mart offers cheap prices and frequent discounts. Bergdorf’s does not. Accordingly, each store attracts a certain type of customer. Which end of the spectrum do your clients swing to?
You are a professional. You deserve to make a good living by the work of your hands.
Writing Farms Suck
I hate, loathe, and despise writing farms! Someone or some entity that herds writers like cattle (hence the term writing farm) and expects you to do excellent work for crappy pay. Stop the madness!
Most of the individuals who work in this environment speak and write English poorly. They get hired for pennies on the dollar and when a high-quality writer comes along nobody wants to hire them because they’re content with sub-par work at cheap costs.
If we band together against this modern day indentured servitude, then the world of writing will undoubtedly be a better place.
Stay True to Yourself
I’ll try not to preach on this one, but what is your foundation? What are your guiding principles and values? I’m a firm Christian, yet have been approached by New Age gurus, mediums, and more who have attempted to hire me for projects. And even though at times I entertained the thought, I had to remain true to my values which usually meant turning the gig down. (I’m trying to figure out how they overlooked the titles plastered on my website like Godly Government and Faith and the Imagination!) And let’s be honest, it’s probably best for the conflicting brand to choose a freelancer who’s likeminded or at least familiar with the subject matter.
I refuse to prostitute my talents to support a lifestyle or career that clashes with my worldview.
You may not believe as I do, yet I bet you have your own set of guiding principles which have shaped who and what you are today.
And the issue may not be something as large as religion. It could be filthy language, sexually explicit content, praise of drugs and other unhealthy actions.
Consider this: would you want your professional brand affiliated with the brand or project in question? Would you want to be thanked in the Acknowledgments? How will this truly affect your business?
You must remain true to your brand, whatever it is.
Bottom line: you must value yourself as an individual, artist, and professional. One size does not fit all! And why should it? There are more than enough freelancing gigs to go around if we would only seek them out.
About the Author
Desiree M. Mondesir is an author, columnist, blogger, and entrepreneur who has run her own virtual writing and editing company, Desired Assistance, since 2010. She loves to help writers become better through her writing consultations and coaching classes. Her books include Godly Government, Faith and the Imagination, and How to Write Fiction that Doesn’t Suck. If you’d like to hear more from Desiree, sign up for her email updates and get some great free gifts. You may also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Desiree is 27 and resides in Charlotte, NC.
Freelancing is awesome.
You are your own boss, there is no daily commute, you avoid the office politics and drama…there are so many benefits of working for yourself. However, that also means you have to learn things the hard way, and without a safety net. Accepting full responsibility for mistakes and your actions comes with the territory of being a freelancer. [Read more…]
Man, it just isn’t easy to be a freelance writer sometimes. Sure, you have the ability to set your own hours and rates. You can work from literally anywhere with an Internet connection and you are your own boss. Plus, if you ever need to take time away you can do so. All in all, it is a good career choice, but it still has its difficulties. [Read more…]
OK so that’s all I got. That’s my splash. Spectacular wasn’t it?
Seriously though, all this labor and angst over finding your “voice” as a writer… does it really have to be so damn hard all the time? (Hint: OF COURSE IT DOESN’T.)
Sorry, was I shouting? Forgive me, it’s all the pent up passion y’know. Wreaks havoc with my social filters.
Anyhoo, you probably already know the usual tips to finding your writing voice and groove, like:
- Write a lot.
- Write a lot more.
- Then write even more. [Read more…]