It’s been seven months since I have thrown myself into being a part time freelance writer. As I have mentioned before, I have accepted compensation for my writing on and off for a few years, but it wasn’t until back in August that I decided to cut down on hours at my day job and replace it with freelance writing, having to partially rely on it for my living expenses. In that time, there are quite a few things I have learned.
1. It’s necessary to create boundaries. You have to know what kind of work you are willing to do and not willing to do. You don’t have to do anything that you aren’t comfortable with. You are the one calling the shots. Yes, your clients are pretty much like your bosses, but you get to choose your clients.
2. It is possible to make a living on freelance writing, but it might not be easy. You will probably need to start small by doing smaller projects for lower amounts of money until you can build a strong reputation. There’s a little more to it than waking up one day and deciding you will quit your day job and become a writer.
3. Self discipline is a must. This has been the hardest thing for me. I sit here at my laptop and think, “I have to get that article done today,” but there are so many distractions and no one around to really crack the whip to make me get started on something. You have to motivate yourself.
4. It’s competitive. There are a lot of writers out there that are competing for all the same jobs. It’s best to not only be a qualified and skilled writer, you should also be unique in some way and let your potential clients know that you can bring something special to the table.
5. You can always improve. No one is a perfect writer. There is always room for learning and improvement. It’s important to not let your success go to your head to the point where you think you can stop learning new things.
6. There are good clients, and bad clients. Many of them will be good and you will want to work with again. Some of them can be just as unprofessional as anyone else. Choose your clients wisely so it will be a positive and successful experience.
7. Communication is very important. It is essential for both you and your clients to communicate well and often about what needs to be done. As a writer, you should be asking them questions specific to what they need to have done. When you turn in your work, ask them to give you feedback or to let you know if it needs another edit. Be clear and concise on everything.
8. Be serious about it. To make any kind of living with freelance writing, it’s necessary to be serious. Treat it like you would any other job. Don’t think that you can slack on deadlines or turning in good work. It’s a commitment and it takes dedication. Your reputation depends on how seriously you are taking this job.
9. You have to know how to sell yourself. In your worker’s profile, you have to write up a strong advertisement about your work. Whatever knowledge and skills you have, put them down and make sure your potential clients know who you are and what you are about. The best way this is done is to put yourself in your client’s shoes and ask yourself what kind of person you would hire, and then be that person.
10. You have to know how to take criticism and rejection. Everyone will get rejected on proposals, even the best writers. Don’t worry about that and keep on going. Make sure you are always putting your best foot forward and you will have success. You will also receive criticism, but instead of feeling offended, use the information as a tool to become better. Anyone who gives you criticism is doing you a favor.
There are probably several more things I have learned about the last several months, but those are probably the most significant ones. I still wish I had gotten into freelance writing sooner. It would have saved me a few headaches, but at least this is where I am now.