There are many benefits to being self-employed as a freelancer. You can essentially choose your own schedule. You control which clients you work with. And, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, there is really no limit to how much money you can make. [Read more…]
The world of freelance writing is growing every day and the opportunities are more lucrative than ever before. For example… did you know that there are currently over a billion active websites on the internet today? Not only is it true, it also means there is a massive demand for new content to be created across these sites every single day.
With only around ten pages rankings organically on the main page of Google, it’s more important than ever for small, mid-sized and Fortune 500 brands to come out with great new content on a daily basis. For the most part, a great majority of this content is being outsourced — whether through agencies, writing networks of hiring new in-house or freelance writers.
In short, if you’ve ever wanted to find success with freelance writing, now is the best time to get started. To help with this process, I’m going to provide you with three actionable tips to not only help you get started but also to help you earn more in the process.
1 – Create Your Own Freelance Writer Site
In a world full of freelance writers, one of the best things you can do to stand out from the crowd is to have a professional website and portfolio of your own. With literally millions of writers to choose from, the odds will quickly swing in your favor just for having a simple website with a bio section, writing examples, past clients, testimonials and anything else of value you can offer.
Best of all, setting up something like this is now easier than ever. There is no need to set up your own hosting account, registering a domain name and messing with all the frustrations of setting up a real site. Solutions like WiseIntro make it easy for anyone to create a personal profile site in just minutes, and at a fraction of the cost a web hosting service and professional designer could charge you. Or, you can start with fully managed WordPress hosting which is prefect choice for lean startups & medium sized businesses with a limited budget.
You can see an example of a personal site designed through their platform below. As you can see, it includes everything a freelancer would need to provide enough information (picture, bio, social profiles, portfolio, contact info) and value to their potential clients to further convince them to move forward with a writing deal. The premium version of WiseIntro also includes access to their WiseStamp service, which allows you to create a custom signature within your emails — which can also result in additional freelance writing work. To put this into perspective, just think about how many emails you are sending out on a daily basis!
Should your potential client have the decision between a freelance writer without a site and one that has everything professional laid out for them like the in the example above — the choice is clear. Adding a personal website and portfolio to your freelance writing business is a complete no-brainer.
2 – Utilize Freelance Writing Networks
One of the hardest parts to being a freelance writer is actually finding a constant supply of work. More often than not, new clients will come and go based on the actual amount of writing work they need completed. The horrible thing about this, is that your incoming revenue can simply dry up overnight.
A great way to combat against this is to simply take advantage of other high-end writing job sites already out there. Upwork is a great site for getting your name out there and occasionally bringing in new work, but it’s also extremely saturated. Better alternatives may come through sites like TextBroker and iWriter. These two sites are perfect for freelance writers of all sizes and skills, as writers are paid based off the quality of their work and their writing skills. (based off client ratings)
While freelance writing job sites mostly offer work on an ‘individual’ order/article basis, this can definitely add up over time, and it’s also a great way to bring in new clients that send a continual flow of new articles. TextBroker also has “Groups” set up within their system, that allows for clients to upload a large amount of articles to a select group (based on quality/expertise), which can result in many writing opportunities at any given time. Both of these sites also cater to writers who specialize in SEO — as most of the jobs coming through these sites will be for content sites that are looking to improve their existing search rankings.
Another benefit to using these sites is that payment isn’t collected or managed directly between the writer and the client. Instead, the actual writing site charges a transaction fee to the individual placing the order and will issue payment to the writer once the client is happy with the work. The benefit here is on both sides, as the writer will always get paid for their work, and the client will always be happy with their completed writing job.
3 – Secure Longterm Writing Deals vs. Single Jobs
The ultimate accomplishment for any freelance writer is to secure enough clients on a recurring basis. Once this goal has been met, it leaves more time for you to focus on the quality of your work and not worry about where your next paying job is coming from. More often than not, these opportunities will come out of nowhere but are definitely based off the skills and professionalism you present as a freelance writer.
To improve your chances to securing a long-term client, here are a few tips to implement right away.
- Offer Bulk Discounts – Yes, your writing time and skills are valuable, but if you can secure a client for long term work by offering them a discount, this is definitely something you should consider. This can also play a huge factor if you are writing outside of a micro-job site where the client might already be paying a transaction fee.
- Create Client Packages – Not all freelance writing work will come from job sites. This is especially true if you have a social media following, are well-represented on other sites and also have a bio/portfolio site of your own. If this is the case, be sure to offer writing packages through your site, and not just a blanket rate of “cents per word“.
- Simply Ask for More Work – Freelance writers shouldn’t be afraid to ask for more work from their clients, especially if they are a good one. Something as simple as asking, “How can we schedule in new content to make this easier for both sides?” could result in new monthly recurring clients.
- Use Invoices and Contracts to Close Deals – When working outside of a writing job site, it’s important to protect yourself and your writing in the process. Always have a contract or signed invoice in place to make sure you are paid for your work. To learn more about how to set this up, see these contract writing tips.
In addition to each of the bullet points above, the most impactful ways to bring in long-term clients is simply by delivering amazing work. Remember, there is a whole world of competition out there, and if you can make the writing process that much easier for your client… there is no reason why they wouldn’t want to stick with you for the long haul.
Take Action Right Now and Improve Your Freelance Writing Business
As you likely already know, the world of freelance writing is quite competitive. If you follow through and implement each of these three methods into your business, you will quickly stand out from the competition and earn more business in the process. Clients want long term writers that provide high-quality work. Make this process as easy and seamless as possible, and the writing jobs will just continue to keep pouring in.
I was thinking about writing a long, detailed post about the Internet Content Syndication Council’s position on content mills and Mark Shields’ article at Adweek. I considered finally getting around to my “you can have your cake and eat it, too” post about leveraging otherwise crappy outlets that pay writers in residuals as article marketing resources. I even toyed with the idea of shoehorning a post that’s more about general social media concerns into something that would at least seem on-point to FWJ readers.
I decided to write about my hair.
This is My Mohawk
I’m sporting a Mohawk. It’s not a big, bright purple spiked thing, but it’s not one of those “faux-hawks” created with a bunch of gel-goop, either. It’s the real deal. Shaved sides. Three-inch strip of hair straight down the middle.
I’m thirty-nine years old. I wear not-so-cool glasses much of the time. I live in the suburbs. I take kids to fireworks shows and baseball games. I shop at the neighborhood Price Chopper and have extended conversations with the meat guys. While there are approximately 9,335,298,101 things that I’m willing to gripe about, I’m not engaged in all-out rebellion and I haven’t shoved anything through the piercing in my ear for more than a split-second since 1991 or so.
But here I am, with an outrageously silly Mohawk. And I sort of like it.
A little over a week ago, on my way to the shower, my oldest daughter asked me what I was doing. I told her I needed to clean up and to shave. She asked if I planned to shave my head. That wasn’t really a joke; I’ve been known to go intentionally bald from time to time. I told her I would emerge with a Mohawk. I was kidding. She knew I was kidding.
Then, somewhere between the Irish Spring and the girly-smelling shampoo, I decided that wasn’t the worst idea ever.
I emerged with a Mohawk. Hilarity ensued. The kid laughed. The baby wanted to rub my head as if it was a page in one of those texture books. My wife gave me the, “You’re a little weird but I’m not going to hold it against you” look.
Yesterday, I shaved down the sides again. It’s even more pronounced now. I don’t plan to keep it. It will be gone before our late July vacation. I’m enjoying it at the moment, though.
Why Am I Telling You about My Hair?
You’re probably wondering what in the hell I’m doing wasting your time with a long story about my stupid haircut. Well, here’s the payoff. I hope it makes the first ten paragraphs of this post at least somewhat worthwhile.
My neighbor works at a bank. He can’t have a Mohawk. I doubt he wants one (few do), but the fact of the matter is that he couldn’t pull it off he did. I have a friend who runs a jewelry store. Same story. My insurance agent couldn’t to Mo’. My buddy the financial planner couldn’t do it.
Me? I can chew up a few Gillettes and leave a Wednesday afternoon shower looking like a nut job.
No one is going to stop me.
And it’s not going to screw with my bottom line. I won’t lose business because I decided to follow through with a scalp joke. In fact, I’ve had a great week in terms of client acquisition while wearing the Mohawk. It might even be a good luck charm.
I can do something this obviously goofy because I have the best freaking job in the world. And so do you.
Now, I know that most of you don’t have even the slightest inclination toward Mohawkdom. You’re in this business, too, though. That means you could have one if you so desired. You could even dye it pink and then write “Sex Pistols Forever” in red Sharpie above your ears.
Or, you can decide that you don’t work on Wednesday afternoons because that’s when you go for a drive through the country with your stereo cranked up. You can wear your most comfortable clothes–even if they are, shall we say, less than professional. You can keep the TV tuned to the program of your choice or you can take your lunch at 10:58 sharp. You can pull an all-nighter and take a Tuesday off just because. Women can skip the makeup. Guys can grow the beard and/or mustache. You can scream profanity so twisted and depraved that it will peel paint if you get a rejection slip in the mail or you can parade around the house with a beach towel cape and a baseball bat scepter, honoring your freelance victories with a high-stepping parade through the laundry room.
You can do whatever you want.
Welcome to working for yourself. Welcome to freelance writing.
When you see cumbersome “how to” posts, long diatribes about the horrible state of the industry, fear-mongering about the future, gripes about the hustle and income levels, or an empty shoulder where your muse should be sitting, think about the fact that you can stand up, march to your bathroom and come out with a freaking Mohawk.
Enjoy the freedom. Take advantage of it. Enjoy yourself, express yourself and find your own, personal Mohawk.
Hey, while you’re luxuriating in your freedom, take a minute to share that Mohawk here. Tell us what you love about being your own boss.
Post-July 4 Fun Fact: The folks who dumped the English tea into Boston’s harbor boarded the ships disguised as Native Americans. They dressed like members of the Mohawk tribe. Coincidence or providence?