Most freelance writers earn $10,000 or less per year, according to freelancewriting.com, which probably isn’t going to be enough to pay the mortgage on the new home you bought among Toronto real estate, or even the rent on a tiny apartment pretty much anywhere.
These tips, coupled with lots of hard work and talent, can help you earn a decent living as a freelance writer.
Continuously Marketing Yourself is a Must
While you may not think sales is part of being a writer, the reality is, for success you have to be able to sell yourself. The most successful freelance writers never stop marketing themselves. Be sure to keep an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and have a website that sells your services. It should have high quality copy that convinces readers who clicked onto your site why you need to help them. It should also include a blog that is continually updated. When you provide original engaging content on a regular basis, your site will rank on Google so that potential clients can find you. Stay up-to-date on social media too, using every avenue to promote yourself.
While it may be tempting, you can’t work 24/7. If you don’t set boundaries for work hours, it won’t be long before you burn out. In the beginning of your freelance career, you will probably have to work longer hours, but as things start to stabilize, sticking to a set schedule the majority of the time and giving yourself at least one day off a week along with the occasional vacation is a must. Talk to your clients and let them know you’re going to be taking time off and then organize your schedule so that you can finish everything before you go.
Double and Even Triple Check Yourself
As you are your own boss, without someone looking over your shoulder, you’re going to have to be your own editor, double or even triple checking yourself every time. When you’ve read your own work multiple times, it can make it hard to notice typos and other mistakes, so be very diligent. You may want to try reading pieces in reverse. If you don’t catch errors, eventually your reputation is going to suffer and so will your workload.
Writers earn more when they specialize in one or more niches, ideally something you’re already very familiar with so you won’t have to spend so much time on research. Becoming an expert in your specialty helps to develop your reputation and give you a leg up on the competition for those types of projects. Editors will pay you more because they know you have a proven track record of delivering high quality work on time. Business owners, editors and other potential clients are usually wary of using a freelancer who doesn’t have a high level of expertise on a subject. When they do hire a generalist freelancer, they typically don’t pay as much.
Your specialty can be something you did in a previous career, a long-time hobby, or whatever you’re highly knowledgeable about.
Ask for Testimonials
If you don’t ask, you’ll probably never get testimonials simply because few people will even think about doing so until you do. It’s all part of marketing and promoting yourself. Ask your clients for testimonials that can be used on your website as well as directing them to your LinkedIn page to do so.