Last Updated on: October 9th, 2017
Today’s post marks the beginning of the F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) Series on Wording Well, and the “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is William Ballard.
Now please welcome William to center stage. 😉
Take it away, William!
My Story – The Birth of My Freelance Writing and Author Life
My name is William Ballard, some of you may have heard of me, but many of you, I’m sure, have not. And rightfully so, because I have just recently began to have a breakthrough in this industry.
I am a freelance writer, copywriter, blogger, and author currently based out of Ontario Canada (originally from Dallas Texas). As long as I can remember, I have dreamed of being a self-employed writer and living the writer’s life, but just as for any dream or goal, knowing where to begin is one of the most difficult areas to deal with.
From as far back as I can remember I wanted to be a writer, however, what kind of writer was still left up in the air. I considered becoming a poet, and from time to time still write poetry. Then I considered being a fiction author and began going to work on my first fiction novel, but then another problem arose. I had no idea how to even develop a novel or fiction book. So, then I began searching for writers and authors that would mentor me. That was when I came across K.M. Weiland, who is the founder of Helping Writers Become Authors.
I joined her mailing list and begin absorbing as much information about crafting a novel from her as I could, and I am still learning from her to this day.
Moreover, it was during this season of learning, training, and being mentored that I came across the term freelance writer. So, I began doing research as to, what a freelance writer was. In other words, what stuff does a freelance writer write? Well…needless to say, that was when I came across Carol Tice and the Freelance Writer’s Den, which I am sure many of you are familiar with.
I spent three valuable months as a member of the Den and absorbed extreme amounts of wisdom and insight from Carol. I remain a faithful subscriber to Carol’s newsletter and I am still absorbing invaluable wisdom from her.
The Greatest Freelance Writing Advice I’ve Ever Got
The greatest advice that was ever given to me in regards to freelance writing came to me on my first day in the Freelance Writer’s Den with Carol Tice. She asked me, “Since you have opened yourself up for business, so to speak, how many articles ideas have you pitched to different pubs?” Wow! What a question. Carol never beats around the bush with her Den members. She always tells it like it is.
Therefore, in a nutshell, you can’t have a freelance writing business if you aren’t pitching article ideas to pubs. Speaking of pubs, the lingo of freelancers baffled me at the beginning. So, in addition to what I was learning during my time in the Den, I went to my local book store and began searching for as many books as I could get my hands on about the subjects of writing, business, and the business of freelance writing.
That was when I came across a book entitled, “Get a Freelance Life: mediabistro.com’s Insider Guide to Freelance Writing”, as well as several other books such as, “The Wealthy Freelancer” and “The Well Fed Writer”. These books educated in the language of freelancers. However, now my personal library has grown to an incredible amount as of today.
I’m a firm believer that books are a wise investment because they are resources of investment in yourself.
“A formal education can help you to make a living, but an informal or self-education will help you to make a fortune.” ~Jim Rohn
To me, those are some of the most wisest words I have ever heard and I would encourage everyone reading this to start investing in yourself. Get your hands on as many books, CDs, and DVDs that you can get your hands on that will help you to be more positive, motivated, and inspired.
There is a Time to Learn and a Time to Put to Practice What is Learned
Just about everything in life goes through seasons. During my season of learning I made it a priority of mine to absorb as much information about the writers life that I wanted. But after that season of my life was over, it was time to put to practice what I learned. So, I took all the advice, tips, suggestions that I got from Carol and all the other guest mentors that you partners with in the Den as well as the information I learned from the books I invested in and began to start pitching article ides to different pubs.
Now, doing this is more easier said than done. Especially for those that fear rejection. For me it was a bit different though. I didn’t so much fear rejection as I feared acceptance. In other words, if a pub was to accept my idea what frightened me was that I would have to deliver on what I promised to deliver and if I didn’t the consequences of that is what scared me to death. However, the only way to overcome fear is to face it head on.
The Article that Started it All
When I graduated high school I went straight into the military, and more specifically the Marine Corps, where I learned several principles that I believe many business owners and entrepreneurs need to be aware of and practice.
That was when I had the bright idea to pitch an article idea to Entrepreneur: Semper Fi! How the Marine Corps Prepared Me for Entrepreneurship.
The month was just before the month of Labor Day so it was a perfect piece to be pitched just in time for Labor Day weekend. What I did in this article was take some basic Marine Corps principles and related them to business and pitched the idea to Entrepreneur and low and behold they accepted, but then I had another idea to pitch a similar concept to Writer’s Digest.
The difference was I took the same principles from the Marine Corps and related them to writing rather than business. Low and behold, they accepted the idea as well (you can find the article here).
These open doors gave me a revelation of myself.
Another obstacle that most newbies encounter when they are trying to break into this industry is believing that they have nothing to offer and that the stuff they do know like the back of their hand is not something that others would be interested in. However, this mindset is negative and completely not true.
Aspiring freelance writers need to know that their background was and is not waste. Everyone who is reading this needs to know that you possess value. You have expertise that nobody else does. Once you accept this truth, and once you know the value you bring to the table and not just understand but believe your true worth with everything within you it becomes extremely difficult for pubs and clients to not recognize it either.
In fact, I wrote an article for Be a Freelance Writer entitled, “2 Keys to Unlocking the Door to Your Perfect Client” that talks about this very subject. That is where Lorraine found me and asked me to share my story with you.
I hope this article has helped and added value to your readers Lorraine. Thank you so much for this opportunity and I looked forward to continuing our relationship from here on out.
Have you read any of the books suggested herein?
What is the biggest thing you are struggling with, as a freelance writer?
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.
And don’t forget to thank William on Twitter for sharing his experiences!
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.
William Ballard, a freelance writer, blogger, and author, is chief executive of Freelance Writer and Author William Ballard (currently located in Barrie Ontario, Canada). He blogs about freelance writing, blogging, and business at his Freelance Writing and Business Blog. Follow him on Twitter @ApostolicAuthor.