“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Alicia Rades

Last Updated on: June 20th, 2017

FITS Series Welcome Image

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.

This is a picture of 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?

1. It gives you a chance to learn from other people’s experiences. You’ll learn and grow so much better with other writers on your side.
2. It can lead to referrals. My highest paying clients have come from referrals from other writers.
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.
3. It leads to opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have. Along with referrals, my network of writers has led to interviews like this one, guest posts that help boost my portfolio, and even a moderator position on my favorite forum.

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.)

UPDATE:

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:

Some Life Updates and Info about Freelancing from #freelancewriter Lorraine Reguly

An Interview With “F.I.T.S.” Series #freelancewriter Elna Cain

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Candace Simonson

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter DD, an Addicted-to-Heroin #Freelancer

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Corinne Kerston

F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Ali Luke

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Joe Warnimont

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Brian Morris

F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Janine Ripper

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Harleena Singh

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Crystal Nay

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Christy Birmingham

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Tom Bentley

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter William Ballard

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Deevra Norling

Freelancing Tips From Kirsty Stuart #freelancingtips for #freelancers

7 Reasons for the FITS Series on Wording Well (with results!)

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.

This is a picture of Alicia Rades.

 

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.

 

12 thoughts on ““F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Alicia Rades

  1. Hello Alicia,

    I am happy to hear that you started at an early age and now you are a successful freelance writer. Although I started writing when I was in school (2002, I guess), back then I never really thought that writing could be a fulltime job. And it took me a decade or more to finally take up writing as a fulltime career. If only I had the taken the decission early in life and I would have been somewhere else. But then it’s never too late.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    • says

      Imran, thanks for your comment. I am not sure Alicia will see it, but it’s great to know you have pursued writing as a career! Congratulations!0

  2. Connor Rickett says

    Hey Alicia,

    It’s always good to see another freelancer doing well. This job is the sort that comes with a lot of ups and downs, and sometimes, “Well, other people seem to be doing okay,” is the right push to see you through the lean times.

    Connor

  3. Hi Lorraine and Alicia,

    Your journey is a bit similar to mine.

    I also used to write for content mills and clients that care only about keywords and very little about quality. My writing was pretty bad back then too, but it certainly was a good practice.

    I think that iron is sharpened with iron, so as you mentioned, as writers who want to get more work/clients we need to hangout around other writers and writers platforms.

    You’re right we need to do what works for us. What works best for me is not necessarily what will work best for you, and that goes for everything.

    Nice meeting you, Alicia at Lorraine’s blog!

  4. Elna says

    Alicia,
    Happy to see you here on Wording Well!

    I’m glad I met up with Lorraine and told her about your new blog to helping freelance writers! It was just coincidence since I’m also doing an interview with you!

    I think your advice on connecting with other writers does pay off. One of my writer friends has referred me twice and has even used my eBook design services!

    Once I build up my client list, I’m sure I’ll be able to refer them to my network of writers!

    I’m glad Lorraine, you’re still doing the F.I.T.S series. When I first learned about it, I was excited to learn about new freelance writers, since I’m still fairly new to freelance writing!

    Elna

    • says

      We’d love to have you join us! 🙂

      It’s kinda funny how we met, too. Elna had wanted a copy of 20 Blog Post Must-Haves, and when she got the email and saw that I lived in Thunder Bay, she contacted me, and I invited her for coffee (even though neither one of us drinks it!) and the rest, as they say, is history!

      We have a lot in common… except she has twin toddlers and my son is now a young man. 😉 But we’re both in the same field: freelancing. 🙂

  5. Thanks so much for featuring me, Lorraine!

    I just wanted to point out that when I said I was thinking about starting another blog, I did end up taking that opportunity. I’m now building a community of writers at FreelancerFAQs.com.

    Alicia

    • says

      Alicia, I actually heard about that from Elna when we had coffee at Starbucks last Thursday evening. That’s awesome!

      I’ll update this post now with a link to your new site… and then go check it out. 🙂

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