So, you are a freelance writer. And got a few clients your way. Great!
But… are you still feeling insecure about your position as a writer?
Do you feel one day may come you would not have work? That you would starve to death?
Okay okay…that is too extreme… but the point is… how can you sustain your freelance writing career?
By definition, freelance writing allows for a successful career while working from anywhere around the world. And these benefits are attracting many people to opt for it.
In fact, a 2018 research reveals that 56.7 million Americans are freelancing with an increase in a whopping 2.7 million since 2014. Unsurprisingly, the market is becoming competitive day by day- and freelance writing is no exception to that.
And with this rise in freelancer population and fluctuating market, you may wonder where you stand as a freelance writer. Because this is what you are planning to do for the rest of your life!
It is never easy to predict the future. Lesser so, when your full-time job is freelance writing.
But when you master the ways to thrive as a freelance writer, you are halfway there to building a strong business for yourself.
First of all… Remember…
Freelance Writing is A Business and You are the Businessperson. You are in charge of your destiny and your future (I know it sounds cheesy). But that is my friend, the way for success in any business.
You are a solopreneur. And you have to take care of research, writing, invoices, business growth… and oh not to forget… the taxes- all by yourself- It can be a little taxing! No pun intended though!
You see, freelance writing is not everybody’s game. You have to always be ready for that extra juggling and hustling that comes your way. But loving your job is half battle won, right?
So, let’s get started. Here are 6 ways to sustain your freelance writing business.
Set Specific Business Goals
Just like any business, you have to be very specific about your goals and the trajectory of your career growth.
It is the rudimentary step taught in all management and business schools. Why? Because it is important for any business to succeed.
For example, you can set a goal like this:
By 3 months (June 2019- Aug 2019), I will increase my freelance writing income by 10% by attracting more clients through LinkedIn.
This is a perfect example of a SMART goal.
If you have already decided on your freelance writing goals (which are specific), hooray! If not, what are you waiting for? Do it now!
If you are just starting out and confused about how to set up goals, this below checklist is for you.
– Decide to work as a full-time or part-time writer
– Choose your niche where your passion meets profitability
– Find the right pitching channel(s)
– Mode of Payment (I prefer PayPal)
– Work ethics (eg- choosing work-days, time spent on researching, drafting, and editing,
– Build a strong metric around your business to measure the freelance writing success
(E.g. number of clients, money earned or quality of work)
FYI, I was messed up when I started out and it took me almost 2 months to organize my business.
It’s okay to take your time. But your goals must be well defined and specific.
Once the business goals are established, the next crucial step is commitment. Many freelance writers flunk after they face the inevitable struggle curve (as I like to call it). And give up.
You must possess the hustling power to survive the initial days of rejection and low-quality work. And stick to the plan no matter what.
And if you are just starting out, it can be an overwhelming experience. Don’t worry– believe me, it will be alright after some time.
Creating a strong base
Assuming your goals are already set, it is a necessity to create a strong business foundation.
The best ways are listed below.
– Create an online website (blog preferably) where you can continue to display your body of work and be relevant in your industry. And share them in your community regularly (Be it daily, weekly or monthly- your choice). See, people forget when you are out of sight. So, your blog (with some juicy share-worthy content) can help you stay fresh in their mind.
– Network with your peers. Following on social media, emailing or blog commenting are great networking techniques- Another way to help them remember you. I am going to discuss in detail in the later section.
– Be proactive on social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Create business accounts (which are separate from your personal accounts) for building your professional credibility. Well, apart from sharing blogs, you can also share your insights and learnings (or just your work-life updates- again your choice).
– Pitch in a friendly tone. Because a rude tone is not going to take you far in life. When you start a business, you are also adding a character to it. Casual, chirpy or sincere? Or a mix of them? Decide and stick to it. Note that some blog websites flaunt cheekiness. However, for a vibrant market like ours, it is essential to have a friendly and warm vibe towards your clients, peers, and readers.
These will help to attract projects worth working for- eventually you become an expert writer in your field.
Finding the Right Clients
If you are in the freelance market for long enough, you may have noticed that the clients are of different business sizes, interests, and budgets. This comes as no surprise- choose your client wisely. It will determine your business sustenance over time.
I always make it a point to work with clients who have several projects under his sleeve, are always in search of writers and pay well.
Also checking their websites and LinkedIn profiles help in understanding their business footing and project requirements.
Still, if you are in doubt (about their requirements and projects) you must ask them upfront. Nothing is more befitting than asking them directly and getting uncertainty out of the way. And most of the time, clients will be happy to answer your doubts.
Bottom line: Never accept a project with hesitation.
Also, keep your clients happy with your work. Because they are the harbinger of more work.
They want a draft. You outperform it.
They want edits. You outshine it.
They set a deadline. You outdo it.
Finding an alternative career
One of the best things I like about freelancing is the flexibility of time and work.
And the ability to venture into a side-career.
Keeping all eggs in the same basket is a risky matter. So you need to diversify your work to create a stable income flow.
There are many options you can choose from-
– A YouTube Channel
– Blog website
– Affiliate marketing
– Digital marketing
– Offline part-time jobs etc.
Choose your alternative (preferably related to your niche) that you can enjoy working. But not burn you out.
Once your primary freelance writing business is set, you can start building other side-businesses gradually. It can be time-consuming at first but the rewards are fruitful.
In my case, I chose content marketing and blogging.
You might have a knack for creating videos or recording audios. Why not experiment with them?
Strengthen your network and credibility
I am not adding anything extra here. Just a recap of the most important factor to help you sustain in the long run.
Somewhere above, I mentioned to network. But do you know, it is the most crucial yet the easiest way to stay relevant?
Sharing and blogging posts are great tactics. Also attending networking events can expose you to many clients and inspiring writers.
But being on the client’s top list of writers is what you need. Emailing them and asking for work/ referrals is an excellent way to start. I have shared a sample email which you can use.
Set an hour aside for networking (bi-weekly or weekly according to your convenience) with your clients and peers through social media and email.
Another way to be relevant is by increasing your business credibility.
Do you know what makes Google and Facebook so valued businesses across the world?
It is not merely because of their services.
It is because of millions of consumers who are vouching for their services. Without them, these businesses would have been a flop.
Same applies to your freelance writing. Value your clients and readers. Become an authority in your niche (by creating helpful content). Be consistent with your rates. Ask your clients for reviews and keep on writing for the love of it.
There you go- Ways to sustain your freelance writing career.
Sustaining in the freelance market is not difficult if you are ready to walk that extra mile, keep your clients happy and satisfied, learn from your mistakes and master your writing skills.
Rinse and repeat.
Finally, if you require any help in copywriting or just want to chat, you can always contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.