To be a freelance writer, you need to have good writing skills. That’s a given. You also need to be able to follow instructions carefully so that you clients get what they want. Having good communication skills helps you to develop good working relationships. All of these are skills that you can develop and improve on over time, but there is still a piece to the puzzle that is missing….we talk a lot about being “cool” like it’s something we should be striving for, but I wonder why we don’t value being passionate about what we do.
by Ellen Goldstein In Lisa Sonora Beam’s book The Creative Entrepreneur (Quarry Books, 2008), she presents the following journal prompt “Who is in my business advisory circle?” For the beginner freelance writer or editor, this can be a potentially traumatizing question. However, it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need an army of smart-phone-using, business-suited colleagues to have a business advisory circle (although for a few hours it might be nice); just a few people, some of whom you may already know, to give you advice about running a business. Mine your friends and family. Just as you have certain [Read more…]
I’ve been following a discussion on a message board where freelancers are talking about their plans for the summer and cutting back on their work load. I do think it’s important to take some time so that you can rest and regroup, I don’t think that you should take the summer off as far as looking for freelance writing work is concerned.
I’ve been doing some reading about whether all clients are created equal, and most of what I have found suggests that they should be divided into categories depending on whether they are likely to give you more work and/or referrals. The idea is that you give better service to the clients that you have decided are most worth your while.
Marketing should be a regular part of your schedule when you’re a freelance writer, but are there times when you should just focus on what you have in front of you? It’s a judgment call, and most people who work freelance know only too well that there can be times when you are so busy that you don’t know how you will ever get everything done and times when you are scrounging around for work. Ideally, you get to a point where you have steady work and you have a certain level of income every month, but that can change [Read more…]
Freelance writer Ellen Goldstein wrote today’s post. Enjoy! Some freelancers derive organizational joy from spread sheets, writing down numbers, and following up on unpaid invoices. Others of us would like to just keep writing/editing/designing, thanks, and let the business take care of itself. The problem is, of course, that business never takes care of itself. As a clear member of the second group, I knew I had to change my ways when I went freelance. Embrace the business side of freelancing You don’t have to love it, but business is like your Great Aunt Matilda, who helped pay for your [Read more…]
Have you ever heard the expression that if you put enough pieces of straw together, eventually you will have a broom? That expression has been floating around in my mind recently, and it led me to think about building a successful freelance writing business. It is possible to build a business by starting off with small jobs first. When you first start working with a new client, they may start off by giving you a single article or a small assignment. This is a chance for both of you to get to know each other. You can turn it in [Read more…]
In a previous post, I talked about the value of creating an elevator speech that you can have ready to use when someone asks you about what you do. One of our readers asked for tips on writing one, and here are some suggestions to help you prepare one that will make potential clients want to learn more about you and what you can do for them: 1. Keep it short and to the point. Ideally, your elevator speech should be deliverable in 15-30 seconds. Any more time than that, and the person you are talking to will lose interest [Read more…]
Some blog posts just beg to be written, and this one has been rolling around in my head all day. I was talking to a client on Skype recently and he was asking about how I balance my work and having a family and stuff. (He has recently taken the plunge and quit working for someone else to work full time for himself.) It made me start thinking about the idea of balance, since it is something that we are told we should be striving for in our lives. Here’s the thing: I don’t think that it’s possible to have [Read more…]
I know it sounds like a contradiction: give more to get more business. Really, it’s not. If you want to build a successful business, as a freelance writer or in any other capacity, you need to take the time to build relationships with other people. These include your current and former clients, potential clients, and colleagues. You won’t always know who you are communicating with will become a client or be able to refer you to a new one. Some of the best job leads are the ones that come from word of mouth, and if you ignore this way [Read more…]
I was struck by a comment made yesterday where one of our readers said that they were “insulted” when a prospective client offered a rate that was lower than they were prepared to accept. While I understand that is how the offer may have come across, I’m pretty sure that the people who are trying to hire freelance writers are not deliberately trying to be offensive.
Note from Jodee: Freelance writer Spencer Spellman shares his thoughts about freelance writing and the importance of perseverance and marketing your services. Enjoy! by Spencer Spellman It was about 18 months ago when I decided I would dabble into writing. I had recently been laid off from a job and had moved in hopes of finding better work, but instead found myself finding something worse. After months of putting writing off, I was going to write one article, just to get some feedback on it. That one article began a snowball effect that is still building. I never did get [Read more…]
I’ve been asked more than once how I deal with the lack of security that goes along with working as a freelance writer. Since I’ve started freelancing, I’ve come to understand why actors and other creative types are said to be insecure. You are only as good as your last performance (gig), and there are no guarantees that you will get another assignment. Talk about working without a net! At the same time, I feel more secure as a self-employed freelancer than I did when I was working for someone else. Why? It’s quite simple, really. When I work for [Read more…]
Note from Jodee: Freelance Writer Meaghan Campbell has contributed today’s post. I know you will enjoy reading it. by Meaghan Campbell After two years of technical writing I was itching for more creative work. To escape creative annihilation, I started The Word Boutique, my very own freelance business. These best-practice tips I’ve learned will help any freelancer along the way. 1. Build your network, whenever you can. No writer stands alone. I didn’t have a leg to stand on when I started freelancing, but I built my network wherever I could. I asked former classmates to critique my samples. I [Read more…]
“Cos we all just wanna be big rock stars….” (Rock Star, Nickelback) The term “rock star” is thrown around a lot more lately than it ever used to be. I’ve even seen ads in my online travels for job leads where a client actually mentions in the ad that they want to hire a rock star when they are looking for a writer. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to hire (or be) a person who rocks whatever it is they are working on. Taking pride in your work and doing your best never go out of style. [Read more…]
Most of the time when we apply for freelance writing jobs, we don’t hear back from the person hiring if they didn’t think we were a good fit. Sometimes, though, the potential client actually does get in touch to let us know that we won’t be working together on the project. I used to think that it would be better if they didn’t get in touch at all. After a certain amount of time has passed, my attention has move on to other things and I’ve forgotten all about the job in question. There have been a few jobs that [Read more…]
Note from Jodee: Nacie Carson begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting, one of our readers, wrote today’s post about her transition from the corporate 9-5 to going freelance. If anyone else would like to contribute a guest post, please e-mail me. I look forward to hearing from you. by Nacie Carson In June I wrote a hope-filled blog post for FWJ called, “Don’t Quit Your Day Job,” where I agonized over the financial and lifestyle issues that were keeping me from leaving my corporate 9-5 in favor of writing full time. Well friends, I have some pretty exciting news: I finally did it. That’s right [Read more…]