Confessions From A Successful Freelance Writer

Before we begin, let me review the main points I emphasized in my last post so we’re all on the same page:

  • Treat your freelancing like a business.
  • Read books and take lessons learned related to your freelancing.
  • Start part-time before deciding whether it’s worth working full-time and base your decision on data and results.
  • Accept projects that can help you build a customer base.
  • Find someone in your area who has had success in your field as a freelancer to be your mentor.
  • Identify your target audience and market your freelance services using: websites; blog; online portfolios; eBooks; gifts; partnerships; business cards; internet and social media such as LinkedIn, Fiverr and Elance.
  • Constantly find new customers through marketing efforts. Also get testimonials and testimonials from contacts like clients, family, friends and more.
  • In addition to the projects mentioned above, I would also like to point out that there are certain risks associated with starting a freelance writing career, like any entrepreneur. Risks such as unstable paychecks, non-payment by customers, and even check and credit card fraud.

Note that I’m not trying to discourage you from freelancing. My goal is to make you aware of some of the pitfalls of this career choice so you can prepare for the path ahead. That way you won’t get any surprises if things don’t go as planned, so contingency planning is important.

So, how can you minimize some of the risks mentioned above? Here are my top 3 suggestions:

Set up a contract for each task that includes payment terms, timelines for completing the project, fees, and other obligations or commitments.
Make sure the customer agrees to the terms and signs the contract before starting work.
Confirm that your bank and credit card company will reimburse you for any fraudulent issues. Most financial institutions do this because they are FDIC insured.
Speaking of risk, I also want to emphasize that people should also step outside their typical domain when choosing projects. The reason is that when freelancers take on new and challenging projects, it often opens new doors for them. Therefore, before turning down an assignment, it is imperative that you write down the pros and cons of the project. Our goal is to work on projects that help you grow and develop as a freelancer.

A good example is a technical writing project I took on over 15 years ago. Rather than turning down the job for lack of technical experience, I decided to take on the challenge and learn as much as I could to progress. Since then I have written technical articles for some of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the world, such as Applied Materials, IBM, GE and more. With this in mind, it’s critical to explore new freelance opportunities whenever you can because you never know where it will take you. Once you’ve identified the projects you’re working on, you need to put your heart and soul into those projects. This means taking responsibility and spending the necessary time to deliver high quality work to ensure 100% customer satisfaction.

To me, one of the biggest determinants of success as a freelancer is your ability to sell. Not only do you have to sell yourself to get new customers, but also the story you write. Whether it’s a book, article, or other advertisement, the writer must use a specific sentence structure (including keywords) to take action with the target audience in an effort to sell the customer a specific product or service. That’s why it’s critical to understand how to effectively sell to businesses (B2B) and consumers (B2C). Failure to do so could hinder your freelancing business. So there you have it – my confession of success as a freelance writer. If you consistently follow the above advice and do your best every day to grow and improve by taking on new challenges, I am sure you will become a successful freelancer.


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