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Confessions From A Successful Freelance Writer
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Prior to beginning, let me recap the main points highlighted from my previous post so that we're all on the same page:
Treat your freelancing as a business.
Read books pertaining to your freelance business and incorporate lessons learned.
Start part-time before determining if it's worthwhile to go full-time and base your decision on data and results.
Accept projects that'll help you build your client-base.
Find someone in your area that's successful as a freelancer in your niche to become your mentor.
Determine your target audience and market your freelance services using: websites; blogs; online portfolio(s); eBooks; gifts; partnerships; business cards; Internet and social media, such as LinkedIn, Fiverr, and Elance.
Continually work on finding new clients through marketing efforts. Also get referrals and recommendations from contacts, such as clients, family, friends, etc.
In addition to the items mentioned above, I would also like to point out that certain risks are involved when pursuing your freelance writing career similar to what every entrepreneur encounters. Risks, such as unsteady paychecks, clients not paying, and even frauds pertaining to check and credit card payments.
Please note that I'm not trying to deter you from freelancing. My goal is to educate you about some of the pitfalls about this career choice in an effort to prepare you for the road ahead. This way, you're not surprised when things do not go as planned, hence the importance of contingency planning.
So how do you minimize some of the risks mentioned above? Here are my top 3 recommendations:
Draft a contract for every job that includes payment terms, timelines for completing the project, fees, and any other obligations or commitments.
Ensure that clients agree to those terms and sign the contract prior to beginning any work.
Confirm that your bank and credit card company will reimburse you for any fraud concerns. Most financial institutions will because they're FDIC insured.
Speaking of risks, I would also like to highlight that people must also venture out of their typical realm when selecting projects. Reason being is that when freelancers take on new challenging projects, it typically opens up new doors for them. So before declining any job, it would behoove you to write down the pros and cons associated with the project. The goal is take on projects that'll help you grow and evolve as a freelancer.
A good example of this is when I took on a technical writing project over 15 years ago. Rather than decline the job because of a lack of technical experience, I decided to accept the challenge and learn as much as I could moving forward. Since then, I've done technical writing for some of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the world like Applied Materials, IBM, GE, etc. With this in mind, it's vital that you explore new freelancing opportunities when possible because you'll never know where it'll take you. Once you finalize on which projects you're working on, it's crucial that you commit to those projects wholeheartedly. This means being responsible and putting in the necessary time to complete high-quality work to ensure 100% customer satisfaction.
To me, one of the largest determinant of how successful you'll be as a freelancer depends on your sales abilities. Not only do you have to sell yourself to acquire new clients but also sell the story that you're writing about. Whether it be a book, article, or other advertisements, writers must use certain sentence structures, including keywords, that would entice target audiences to take action in an effort to sell a particular product or service for clients. Therefore, it's vital that you learn how to effectively sale to both businesses (B2B) and consumers (B2C). Failure to do so could hinder your freelancing business. So there you have it - my confessions for succeeding as a freelance writer. If you consistently adhere to the recommendations above and do your best to grow and evolve daily by taking on new challenges, I have no doubt that you'll be successful as a freelancer.
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