Because today is the first Monday of the month, here is another entry in the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well. 🙂
The “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is Alicia Rades.
Take it away, Alicia!
How did I get into freelance writing?
I started freelancing when I was 17. I’d never had a job before, and I couldn’t exactly get one around all the extracurricular activities I was in, not to mention that I lived in a house with three other teenagers and we only had one vehicle available to share between all of us.
So when my sister told me about this opportunity where I could work online and create my own schedule, I jumped on it. I was working for a content mill writing crappy 300-word blog posts for $3 per piece. In today’s market, I don’t think anyone would have hired me at the level of writing I was doing. It was bad. At the time, though, I thought, “At least it’s money.”
I used that money to save up for college, and when college came around, I was working for several other content mills, and the rates were starting to get a little better. I loved the flexibility of it, so I stuck with it.
And then this amazing thing happened. I didn’t realize how great of a shift it would be at the time, but it’s made my entire career evolve. Google changed their algorithms. That meant that content mills had to step it up a notch, and so did I. One of the places I was working for started training us in writing higher quality content. Their training guides intrigued me so much that I started searching for information on my own. I ran across all these amazing blogs like Be a Freelance Blogger and Make a Living Writing, and I realized that I wasn’t really doing the freelancing thing right.
I took the first few months there to practice my blog writing skills and learn all I could about how to write quality content. Can you believe that I almost didn’t want to do it and was just going to stick with writing product descriptions, yet I went on to write a bookabout how to write quality blog posts?
After I started to get the hang of it and even took to creating my own blogs (most of which don’t exist anymore because I’m focused on writing for clients’ blogs), I realized how much I really loved writing blog posts.
This started happening right around the time my husband graduated from college. I wanted to follow him wherever he went, so I said screw it to my major and my previous career choice and said, “I’m going to be a freelance writer forever!”
That really made me get my butt in gear. At that point, I finally launched my freelance writing website, I paid for some training resources, and I started attracting private clients.
But I didn’t give up on my dream about graduating college. Today, I’m taking online courses to get my B.A. in communications with an emphasis in professional writing and a minor in social media marketing, but that has opened me up to even more flexibility, which allows me to work quite a bit with my freelance writing.
Alicia Rades’s Top 3 Freelancing Tips
1: Join a community of writers.
For a while there, I thought that if I was going to land high paying clients, I had to hang out where my clients were. I was so confused and disoriented that trying that tactic did absolutely nothing for me. I’m not saying it won’t be good for other people. It’s just not my cup of tea. Instead, I focus my energy on creating relationships with other writers. I know a lot of people will say, “It’s the clients you want to create relationships with!” but I think other writers have done a lot more for me than any client has (no offense to any previous clients).
What exactly does it do for you?
It gives you a chance to help others learn and grow. I don’t know, but this seems to be one of my favorite parts of the job. And I do it for free. I recently spent several weeks helping another writer get her foot in the door with one of my clients–whom I thought she was a better fit for–and it makes me so happy to see how excited she is about the opportunity.
2: Read freelance writing blogs
Okay, so since you’re here, you probably already have this one down, but something that I think is really important is staying up-to-date on news related to freelance writing. I still see people working desperately to incorporate keywords and do all the SEO crap that frankly doesn’t matter much anymore. If you read blogs related to freelance writing–and this can include content marketing, blogging, marketing, Internet, or plain old writing blogs–then you would know that quality content and engagement is what drives websites nowadays.
Do yourself and your clients a favor by keeping “in the know” when it comes to these types of things.
3: Do what works for you
One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with is whether or not I should run my own blog or not. I did have a blog a while back that focused on the writing craft, and it was starting to gain traction. But between my clients, I just didn’t feel like I had the time to write kick-ass posts for my readers, so I felt like I was letting them down.
I’ve thought about starting a writing blog again, but maybe with some other admins and contributors, but I’m just not sure it’s worth the effort when I could be writing for my clients, which is something I really enjoy, especially because there’s more variety in topic choice.
So when everyone is saying that I need a big blog that I update at least three times per week, I’m kind of like, “No thank you. That just doesn’t work for me.” Instead, I devote my time to contributing to other blogs, and not once has I heard that it’s affected someone’s decision to hire me.
The point is, you don’t have to listen to all the expert advice if that’s not what works for you.
Don’t like my ideas above? Then at the very least follow this tip: Throw out any advice that doesn’t build you up as a writer and/or a business person.
(Note: I do maintain a blog on my writer website that I update twice per month as well as a place on my author website where I share book reviews and book spotlights.)
Alicia created a new site (now managed and owned by Elna Cain): Freelancer FAQs. Check it out!
Please thank Alicia for sharing her story and tips with us!
Check out the other freelancers in this series:
If you want to raise your freelancing rates, read How to Ask for a Raise (and Get One!) from your #Freelancing Client.
If you want to know why you should be gathering testimonials you can use on your website, read about The Power of Client Testimonials.
Alicia Rades (@aliciarades) is a freelance blogger, writer, and editor with a passion for giving tips to help others succeed. You can learn more about her and her freelance writing at aliciaradeswriter.com. When inspiration strikes, she’s also an author. Please support her and her upcoming debut fiction novel at aliciaradesauthor.com.