Freelance writing is an incredibly rich and fulfilling career, especially if you’re passionate about writing on a particular subject or niche. It’s entirely possible to make money if you decide to become a freelance writer; in fact, it can easily become a full-time job. The only trick is that you have to treat it like one: honing your skills, dedicating set times to do your job, and promoting it.
Create a Blog/Digital Portfolio
Most clients will want to see some sort of work that you’ve done in the past. This will help assure them that you are highly capable of completing projects and that you have the skillset you are promoting. You will want to upload your works from the most recent first to least recent. When creating a blog or digital portfolio it is imperative that you also create an SEO value for yourself so that your work is searchable in general search engines. You can do this by creating keywords that are relevant to your work and adding them within the individual posts or pieces as anchor texts.
Be sure that the keywords are, indeed, relevant to avoid any kind of penalty. If you’re simply hyperlinking for the sake of hyperlinking, you may come off as lacking in professionalism. Having a blog/digital portfolio is just as important as having a resume. It makes it easy for potential clients to access your skills and reduces the need for the extra step of uploading your current resume and trying to email it out. Your blog/portfolio should have a URL that it is linked to. This will give you the ability to attach it to forums, job boards, and other various modes of digital transportation.
Create a Writing Contract for Your Work
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Experts strongly advise all freelance writers to put together a contract as soon as they begin working. Make it binding and send it out to every client with whom you work. Doing this can help promote your work and protect you in several ways:
- It can add legitimacy to your product (your writing)
- It can showcase your work as a writer
- It can give an in-depth description of the types of services you offer
- It outlines what’s expected of you and the client
- It lists your rights as an author or as a ghostwriter
- It promises timely payment, publication, and/or a byline
In short, a worthwhile contract can keep you from wasting your time. You will know exactly which skills to offer as a writer based on the contract you’ve created. This can help you keep yourself grounded and on pace with your scheduled projects. If you set your boundaries and guidelines from the start, you also reduce the risk of any type of misunderstandings and garner yourself as a professional which will follow you through your freelance career.
Do Research on Your Clients
Just as most of your clients will look at your resume, you will want to do a little research on them before you begin working with them. By investigating potential clients you can see exactly what it is they are looking for in your writing based on previous pieces of content created for them, making it easier for you to curtail your work to their benefit. This is an excellent way to gain the “word of mouth” that many freelancers and companies alike are after. Tailoring your skills more to your client adds a unique value that many others may not be so ready and willing to demonstrate, which gives you a leg up in the competition category. Before applying for or accepting contracting jobs, do a quick Google search and pay attention to the company’s blog and other blogs about the company, specifically, their content. This will help you get a firm grasp in what it is they’re looking for and help you come out on top at the end of the project.
Become an Expert Writer
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Companies and businesses of every imaginable type have blogs, article bases, websites, and social media profiles. The only catch is that if the content available in these places isn’t knowledgeable and relevant, people won’t read it. As a freelancer, that works in your favor.
Once upon a time, the successful freelancer was a jack of all trades and a master of none. While that’s still helpful, especially if you’re working with several different clients, you should do all you can to become an expert in a specific areas. If you clearly know what you’re talking about and present that information in an interesting and attention-grabbing way, you’ll get more jobs. This isn’t to say that you don’t need to know a lot or that you should abandon the ability to do concise and comprehensive research. But every business has its specialty, and you should too.
Protect the Work You Do
Protecting your work shows that you are thoroughly invested in it and that you aren’t doing it halfheartedly which is incredibly beneficial when a potential client looks into your professionalism. Some freelancers will write for free, as long as they get published. Others write for pay but expect their own byline. Still, others are comfortable to work as ghostwriters as long as they get paid. With the former two choices, you need to make sure you look into copyright so you can keep your rights as an author. This is especially important if you spot someone copying or plagiarizing your work.
Most freelancers work from home, so your home essentially becomes your office. To that end, it’s important that you protect your home with more than just insurance. To keep your expensive equipment – computers, laptops, cell phones, printers – safe and to protect even your intellectual property, you should look into Security Choice. It’ll give you peace of mind to know that your office, with all its valuable tools and files, is in the right hands. After all, you cannot promote yourself if all of your equipment is missing or has been destroyed.
Never Sell Yourself Short
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You need to get paid what you’re worth. You work hard; you spend time crafting thought-provoking and relevant content; and you’re supporting yourself through freelancing. Do some research to discover what freelancers in your niche receive. Don’t sell yourself short by accepting awful jobs for a few dollars an article. You’ll go broke that way, and the contacts aren’t really worthwhile. It’s sometimes better to set your rates from the start, leaving yourself room for negotiating. When promoting yourself on your blog or digital resume, also make sure to explain each and every skill that you have. Don’t bolster them with false statements, but do make sure that you give yourself enough credit to make you desirable by clients.
If you’ve thought about freelancing, it’s time to take the leap. The benefits of being your own boss and doing something you love are well worth it, as long as you take care of yourself.