How To Succeed As A Freelance Writer

So you’ve decided to join the exciting world of freelance writing. Sleep until noon, set your own hours, work in your pajamas. It truly is the ultimate career…right? Well, it definitely has its perks, but if you’re thinking of quitting your day job to pursue the writer’s life, it’s important that you have a balanced and realistic understanding of what the lifestyle actually entails. Here are a few simple but crucial tips to get you started.

Market Yourself…Constantly

One of the biggest mistakes that freelance writers make is to become complacent when the work is steadily flowing. You network, apply and schmooze your way to a variety of gigs, and once you have a full schedule, you immediately stop applying for additional work. Here’s the problem: freelance writing clients are notoriously fickle. It’s not uncommon to lose two or three of them in a very short amount of time, and that can have a dramatic impact on your income. Continue reaching out for new opportunities each day, even if that means you’ll occasionally be working 55 hours a week (hey, nobody said it was easy).

Save Money

As a follow-up to the last point, it’s important to understand that in the freelancing world, there are no salaries. Your income is going to go on quite the roller coaster ride, and you must be prepared to navigate the peaks and valleys. In addition, you’re responsible for your own taxes, so it’s important to stay on top of your finances. For instance, if you live in the U.S., your self-employment tax will add dramatically to your income tax burden, and that catches a lot of independent contractors off guard. So save, save, save.

Take Nothing Personally

We all know that your writing is brilliant, and that every word in your article is pure gold, but nevertheless, you’re going to get a lot of notes and revision requests that seem downright absurd. Don’t take it personally, and don’t get defensive. Your ego isn’t worth compromising your relationship with clients, and ultimately, they pay the bills.

Be Self-Motivated

Full-time writing is an enormous challenge, even for the most passionate writers. And to do it without the structure of a 9-to-5 work environment requires incredible self-discipline. Make a home working schedule for yourself, and stick to it. Otherwise, you will often find yourself toiling away until 4 a.m. just to meet those critical deadlines.

Finally, Don’t Settle

Do you know your market value? When seeking out writing jobs, you’re going to find a lot of listings and inquiries that seem downright insulting. “Give us a 500-word article with images and works cited, and we’ll pay you $5.00.” If you’re struggling to maintain a full workload at any given time, you may even be tempted to respond to these slave-wage offers. My advice is to stay strong, know your worth, and don’t sell yourself short. Your time has value, and with a bit of patience and diligence, you will find better opportunities.

Guest Writer Bio

Chris Scalise is a professional freelance writer and the content manager for Home Security Store. He holds a Bachelor of English degree from University of California Riverside, and in his spare time he enjoys recording music and catching all the latest films.

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