Last Updated on: December 29th, 2016
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Networking with other bloggers is a great way to gain promotion for your #freelance #writing #businessClick to tweet
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.
Tip #5: Get involved in round-up posts. Check out the other tips here! #blogging #writingClick to tweet
6. Develop Your Unique Voice
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!