Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What a year of Freelance Writing has taught me

Image courtesy of MorgueFile.com
After one year of professional freelance writing, I've learned some things about how to start a freelance writing business and how to keep one going. Freelance writing to the uninformed can seem like a professional no-man's land, filled with non-stop promotion, marketing, job-applying and sporadic payoff.

Figure out what you want to write- Are you an article writer, business writer, or both? A great thing to do is to diversify yourself in your writing. Don't limit yourself to what you can write. I started out as an article writer and resume editor. Now I've added blogger, editor, social media marketer and copywriter to the mix. It definitely helps you get more work and more pay. And what writer wouldn't want that?

Get a website- If there's one thing a budding freelance writer needs, it's a place to show off their work. Look around at website providers first. Some services charge monthly payments, other charge a low yearly payment. Domain names are incredibly cheap these days; don't pay for something you can get at a tenth of the price somewhere else.

Diversify your resume- Don't limit yourself to one standard resume. Get used to playing around with it. Resume writing and revision is a lucrative market in itself, so practice retooling your own.

Learn Your Social Media- No writer is anyone without a Twitter handle and a Facebook fan page. And those are merely great places to start. Get yourself knowledgeable about hash tags and retweets. These platforms are a fantastic way to promote your work.

Make some writing friends- Getting in this field doesn't have to be isolating. There are networks of fellow writers who love to give advice and help steer you where you need to be. One group to check out is the WM Freelance Writer's Connection, where they offer daily advice on all-things writing. Subscribe to their daily newsletter, and get yourself a writing buddy.

Work it like a business- And never forget that what you're doing is in fact starting and running a business. Order some business cards, get a professional sounding email address and market yourself. Make sure your voicemail sounds professional, with a message that you wouldn't be embarrassed for a potential client to hear. Remember that voicemail you used when you were waiting for call backs from interviews? Exactly like that.

Don't take work merely because they offer pay- Look into the work you're offered. Do they want you to perform what would turn into several hours of work, for far less pay than you'd take at a job away from home? Don't work for pennies. I've had plenty of offers for $1/an article. For the asked 700 words, that would amount to $0.001 a word. For $ 0.1 a word, you would earn $70 for 700 words. Talk about a HUGE difference.

Don't sacrifice your life for your work- You certainly wouldn't do that for a 9-5 job, right? Remember to work hard but to live your life as well. Take breaks, days off and holidays. Remember that your career is supposed to enrich your life, not be your life.


Angie said...

This is great. I love it! And congratulations on hitting a year. :)

The hardest part - taking time off. And very good point about the HUGE difference in the amount of money people offer.

About said...

Thanks Angie! I'm definitely getting somewhere!