11 Things You Can Do to Achieve More Success as a Freelance Writer

Last Updated on: December 29th, 2016

image for blog post titled 11 Things You Can Do to Achieve More Success as a Freelance Writer11 Things You Can Do to Achieve More Success as a Freelance Writer

The life of a freelance writer is pretty amazing!

There are many benefits: you get to make your own schedule, choose which clients you prefer working for and even get to decide how much you’ll charge them. It’s all up to you.

The best of all? You get to choose your own location. If you want to sit around writing in your PJ’s all day, fine! Want to change scenery and go somewhere else to get the creative juices flowing? Just hop in the car and bring the laptop with you.

However, achieving (and sustaining) success as a freelancer isn’t always easy.

Like it or not, you are a business owner. There are many aspects to running a freelance writing business.

You’ll hit some bumps along the way. The success and the setbacks are all part of your unique journey. But you’re not going to a little setback allow you to sink your ship, are you?

Of course not!

You can’t be stopped. You’re unsinkable!

You know you can do this and you’re not alone. There’s plenty of guidance along the way.

Meet Jasper, a Freelance Writer

Jasper Oldersom headshot

That’s why I invited Jasper Oldersom (a freelance writer from Opportunity Building whom you can connect with on Twitter or on Google+) to be a guest on Wording Well, sharing 11 things that will help you to achieve more success as a freelance writer.

(I’m currently working on The Blind Writer – a new site that provides direction to writers of all types! Be sure to check it out when you get a chance… especially if you need additional guidance on your writing journey!)

So, are you ready for it?

Let’s dive in!

11 Things You Can Do to Achieve More Success as a Freelance Writer

1. Write Often

Mastery comes through practice. As a freelance writer, there’s no way around it. You’ll need to write daily.

The more you write, the better you get. The better and more established you get, the more you can charge.

Simple, right?

Don’t have enough client work? Write a blog post and a pitch to a couple of potential clients. (Yes, that counts too.)

Finished writing a blog post? Compose a strong email to send to your list.

A writer’s job is never done. It’s good to be excited about finishing something, but try to move on to the next thing quickly.

When I first started blogging, I was all excited once I finished a post. I felt accomplished. Now, I try to move on to something new as quickly as possible and find the sense of accomplishment in the act of writing itself.

You need to make writing a habit. After a while, you’ll start to notice that you feel a natural desire to sit down and you start trusting the process.

The hardest part is sitting down. Once you do, the words will come.

2. Study Headlines

Do you want to know a “shocking” fact?

The success of your writing largely depends on your ability to write headlines that pull people into your writing.

I know, this puts a lot of pressure on you.

Don’t start worrying just yet, though.

Why?

Well, you don’t have to create something out of thin air each time you sit down to write. Once you start studying headlines, you’ll start noticing that formulas are used everywhere you look.

I recognize them when I’m reading blogs or sales letters. I even notice them when I’m standing in line at the grocery store and glance at the attention demanding magazine covers.

An excellent way to kick-start your ability to write and recognize headlines is to download one of these resources:

3. Create a Swipe File

1315952A swipe file is a huge folder on the desktop of my computer with writing I can draw inspiration from.image 1 for blog post titled 11 Things You Can Do to Achieve More Success as a Freelance Writer

Power words, metaphors, fabulous sentences, grease slide copy, headline formulas, great advertisements, e-mails, captivating openings for blog posts…it’s all in there. It doesn’t matter what it is, it evokes an emotion or grabs my attention, I save it.

It took me a long time to gather all of it, but it’s become one of my secret weapons. However, you don’t even need a big swipe file to benefit from it.

Seriously, create a folder right now and save the two headline resources from above.

Then download this resource by Kevin from websitecopywritingservices.com: 502 grease slide phrases for bloggers. I use it so often that I tell fellow writers about it all the time.

Done? Nice! You’re off to a good start.

Now go ahead and keep your eyes open for writing you can potentially swipe.

4. Network With Other Bloggers

I admit it. I used to have bad associations with the word “networking”…image 2 for blog post titled 11 Things You Can Do to Achieve More Success as a Freelance Writer

As an introvert, I disliked the idea of forcing myself to connect with others just to expand my network.

Luckily, it’s 2016 and going to networking events is not essential.

The digital route is certainly less uncomfortable.

I started small. I just left a comment here and there. But then I noticed how powerful it was and kicked my networking into a higher gear. Comments turned into e-mails back and forth and those turned into friendships.

Getting active in the community was one of the best choices I made. It has resulted in many wonderful connections with people that inspire me, support me and provided me with new opportunities. The sense of community is also really awesome.

5. Get Involved in Guest Blogging and Roundup Posts

I have a rule for myself: if someone reaches out to me if I want to contribute to a roundup post in my niche, I always say yes. (Lorraine generally does, too. Look at how many expert round-ups she’s contributed to!!!)

How can I say no to getting in front of a new audience?

The people who reach out to me are usually people I’ve connected with or people who found me on their sites. You’ll get noticed in ways you don’t even realize if you just put yourself out there. As an example: just a week ago, I was asked to contribute to a roundup post on the Huffington Post and MatthewWoodward.com.

When I started guest blogging, I didn’t have to send cold pitches. I was amazed by this. The opportunities simply came to me because I created strong connections with many bloggers. They already visited my site and were aware that I publish quality content.

A single guest post will often result in an opportunity for a second guest post or even a paid gig, so don’t miss out on leveraging other people’s audiences to boost your online presence.

6. Develop Your Unique Voice

You may not want to offend any potential clients by using words that you’d like to use, writing in a particular style or sharing vulnerable details about your personal life.image 3 for blog post titled 11 Things You Can Do to Achieve More Success as a Freelance Writer

The truth is, all of this makes you who you are as a writer. It’s the complete package.

Some potential clients will fall in love with your distinctive voice and choose you to work with them for that reason alone. Write like you talk. Don’t be afraid to put your own personality in your writing!

It’s okay to borrow your style from other writers. I’ve developed my own voice by studying authors and bloggers that I admire myself.

In the beginning, you may sound a little like the authors that inspire you. But don’t worry, you will find your own voice. And when this happens, you’ll be recognized and loved for it.

7. Don’t Let Criticism Hold You Back

I’ve been lucky enough to receive helpful feedback along my journey. I cherish it and you should too. You make mistakes, sometimes without realizing it. That’s your blind spot as a writer. Receiving honest feedback gives you the opportunity to work on it.

Criticism is different. It’s often nothing more than destructive. I’m blessed to be able to say that I haven’t received a lot of criticism, but trust me when I say that, just like offline, not everyone you meet online is going to be friendly.

Don’t conform to the critics out there. Don’t go out on a limb to please everyone on this earth. Not everyone enjoys your writing style and that’s perfectly fine.

There are plenty of people who will enjoy and embrace the unique way you write, so get out there and let your voice be known!

8. Make Self-Education a Priority

Never stop learning. Your knowledge and expertise are secret weapons that will pay off again and again.

I regularly read books on copy writing, business, social media, and other topics that interest me. When I don’t feed my brain with interesting information regularly, my brain just doesn’t feel as sharp and it shows in my writing. That’s why I’ve made it a habit of reading a book every 1-2 weeks.

Another added advantage of stacking knowledge is that you can provide clients with tips that they’d never expect from you. When you start making a conscious effort to do this, you create a *wow* experience that puts you ahead of the competition.

9. Write About Topics You Love

Outsiders often think that a writer is someone that writes more easily and naturally than someone that isn’t a writer. To be honest, this is simply not the truth.

Personally, I know I have a hard time to sit down and write sometimes. When this happens, my brain is constantly looking for an escape. Anything to distract me from the task at hand. But if I look more closely at the situation, I find that I’m just not as passionate about the particular topic.

If you work for clients in industries that just don’t resonate you, don’t be surprised if you’re overwhelmed by resistance. So write about topics you love. Make sure your clients know what topics you specialize in.

Don’t worry, there is most likely plenty of work in your niche. If not, find something that hits the intersection of what you like and where the money is.

10. Sign Up To Freelance Market Places and Check The Job Boards

Don’t sit around and wait for the work to come to you… go out and get it!

There are many opportunities freelance marketplaces you can sign up which is a great way to get more experience. All these people are looking for freelance writers. It’s an open invitation to pitch.

Some of the most popular marketplaces are Freelancer and UpWork. I recommend starting there.

Problogger has a very active job board where business can post potential jobs.

Freelancewritinggigs is another great one you should keep your eyes on.

Of course, these jobs are high competition, but if you don’t try, you can’t succeed. Remember: people secure gigs from job boards daily and you can do it too!

Related reading: 10 Ways to Find a High-Paying Freelancing Job

11. Pitch Regularly

If you only pitch when you’re in need of work… well, you’re too late.

To have a flourishing freelance writing business, you need to get serious about pitching. Even if you have enough client work to satisfy your current needs. Clients do not stay forever and it’s better to be prepared.

You may have heard this quote before: “Sales is a numbers game.”

It’s true, for the most part.

Your pitch does matter. Your chances will dramatically increase when you write a personalized, compelling and concise email.

However, don’t expect everyone to say yes and don’t sit around refreshing your inbox waiting for an answer. Pitch multiple clients regularly.

Brent Jones recently wrote a quick start on freelance writing, in which he mentions you should “make it a point to pitch 5-10 new prospective clients every day.”

So take massive action. It’s the only way you can ensure your well will never run dry.

Over To You

Are you ready to go out there and achieve more success as a freelance writer?

I’d love to know if this post has been helpful for you.

Which tips are most relevant for you right now?

Perhaps you have some other great freelance writing tips you’d love to share.

I’d love to connect with you in the comment section!

32 thoughts on “11 Things You Can Do to Achieve More Success as a Freelance Writer

  1. says

    Hi Jasper

    thanks for this good post.

    The points mentioned in this are really good.

    The contents that you shared on study headlines, network with other bloggers, guest blogging, unique voice, pitch regularly are excellent.

    Am becoming a follower of you.

    Thanks again.

  2. says

    Hey Lorraine,
    This is a wow article, very detailed and I’m sure every freelancer writer will want to come across this,
    Thanks for sharing and do have a wonderful day ahead.

  3. harsh says

    Nice post!! A real hardwork can be seen in this post. It was so good to read it. Thank you so much for sharing this post.

    Regards
    Harsh

  4. Hi Jasper,

    Thank you for sharing these awesome tips. One tip that I loved is “Study Headlines”. I don’t know why but I never gave much thought to headlines, and I always struggle to write the best headlines. But now I am looking closely and studying different headlines that bring more traffic.

    Thank you.

    • says

      Imran, the headline is the most important part of a blog post!!!

      Take notes from the links Jasper provided. You can use headline generators, too, to help you.

  5. Becoming a superior writer is simply as vital as learning to get future clients or discuss rates professionally. It is maybe the strongest factor in terms of influencing each area of your budding freelance writing business. If you are an excellent writer, everything gets to be less complicated.

  6. Hey, Jasper,

    So nice seeing you on Lorraine’s place! Really I so admire your skill which is writing and writing! 🙂

    To add my two cents, I have so much to talk about ..

    What I mostly see that people start with WHAT PEOPLE ARE AFTER and NOT WHAT THEY LOVE.

    It is due to they are inclined towards the professionals working in the field already and as they are talking all about their field of interest, the new comers feel like this is the topic to follow.

    And boom! They set their first foot on the wrong path.

    Now, it comes the consistency that hardly few follows it (I am a victim there.) It is again something that sets your success. The more often you publish the content, the higher the chances you will get noticed in your field and often.

    So, consistency is the key.

    Then it comes the networking.

    What I am now is all due to the networking. Only writing your stuff and not making relationship with the people working in your industry will not even help a bit. Your stuff will lie there and no one will care to read and share.

    Guest posting is something good but I never got involved into it, hope to do soon! 🙂

    Best of the 11 advises you shared with us, Jasper! So happy to share on my social life! 🙂

    ~ Adeel
    Adeel Sami recently posted…Are You an All Niche Blogger? Really?My Profile

    • Hey Adeel!

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a valuable comment.

      You make some great points. Some people see others having success in a particular field and think that’s the thing they need to focus on as well. Nope, it rarely ever happens that way!

      Going for what you love is the way to go. Then you can look for people to model, not the other way around.

      Consistency is essential. You don’t necessarily need to have a fast pace, as long as you’re consistent. Simply show up every day to do things that move you forward.

      Networking is very important and something that resulted into many wonderful connections (and me getting noticed!).

      Guest posting is wonderful. If you feel ready, just send an email to a blogger you have connected with and they might give you a shot!

      Thanks again for stopping by, Adeel.

      Enjoy the rest of your week!

      – Jasper
      Jasper Oldersom recently posted…13 Things Expert Copywriters Taught Me About Writing Persuasive CopyMy Profile

  7. Hey Brent!

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate you for stopping by 🙂

    Glad you like these tips. I didn’t want to ignore the fundamentals, but I also wanted to provide some smart tips like the swipe file (glad you like that one, Lorraine!). These resources have truly helped me a lot.

    Your post was magnificent, Brent. You are most welcome for the mention!

    Have a great week.

    – Jasper
    Jasper Oldersom recently posted…13 Things Expert Copywriters Taught Me About Writing Persuasive CopyMy Profile

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