If you are a novice writer looking to make a name and a living in the freelance writing industry, you are probably wondering where to start and what it’s like to be one. The freelance life is a unique but fulfilling profession and has its share of pros and cons that are much more different compared to the usual tasks and challenges of a full-time job.
Being a freelance writer has a lot of benefits and other positive effects on your life.
Here are some:
- Freelance writers career has a low startup cost compared to other businesses or typical jobs. All you need is a computer (a desktop is good, but a laptop is ideal) and a good internet connection.
- You can save a significant amount of your paycheck since you don’t have to travel to go to work. Traditional full-time jobs have people spending either on public transportation or gas money, which can pull a huge chunk from their monthly spending.
- Freelance writing allows you to become your boss in many ways. If you are the type who prefers not to be supervised, has self-discipline, and can manage on your own, then the freelance life is for you. You can also choose your projects based on your capabilities.
- Being your boss also forces you to learn various desirable traits such as time management, task management, social skills, and writing skills as they are much more crucial when it comes to freelance work.
- Since you are in control of your time as a freelance writer, you get to decide where and when to work as long as you meet your deadlines. You can be as flexible as you want with your life in and out of work.
However, there are also a few cons that you have to consider, such as the following:
- Starting as a freelance writer can be a slow process. You may find yourself struggling to find work during the first few months. Since you are starting from scratch, only a few clients would be willing to employ someone with a thin resume.
- You’re going to need to hone your social skills if you want to attract and keep clients. Being an exceptional writer isn’t usually enough to keep clients most of the time. Maintaining relationships is crucial if you’re going to make a name for yourself as a freelance writer.
Starting a career as a freelance writer is challenging but far from impossible. You have to expect and prepare for a lot of situations.
In this article, you will find several concepts and information that you have to keep in mind if you want to make it as freelance writers.
The State of Freelance Writing Today
Content writing is an essential aspect of the digital marketing landscape today. Most websites out there consider 2013 as the year that content writing peaked. However, since it is easy to become a content writer or submit work nowadays, most works online are not of the highest quality. The internet is filled with written content that is not necessarily informative but is instead focused more on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and flooded with keywords to garner clicks and views.
To combat this influx of subpar quality of content and keyword-stuffed works, Google released a special algorithm named Panda, a smart algorithm that was made to push down websites that utilized keywords and published stolen or poor-quality content only for the sake of reaching high rankings (i.e., Black Hat SEO). This overhaul is part of Google’s efforts to refine its search algorithm to improve the value of search query results.
Aspiring content writers of today must be aware that mediocre writing and keyword-focused content are now obsolete and frowned upon due to Google’s Panda algorithm. This algorithm means a movement towards more informative and concisely-written content. The algorithm now encourages writers to avoid producing content for the sake of keywords and visibility, and instead write articles that are substantial, well-researched, and provide value to your readers.
Creating high-quality content that has the balance of keywords and relevant information will increase the chances of your content being seen by Google’s algorithm and be ranked higher in search engine results.
What Makes a Good Freelance Writer
Freelance writers in a content-driven market should have the following traits to grow and acquire more projects:
- Excellent Communication Skills. First and foremost, you must have a firm grasp of the English language (or the language you are required to use for work) and have a mastery over the most straightforward concepts like grammar, spelling, and sentence construction.
- Dedication. A writer who dedicates most of his time and effort into becoming a good writer as well as maintaining a good work ethic (e.g., meeting deadlines on time consistently, takes criticisms well, etc.) can thrive in the freelance world
- Personality. In some cases, having excellent language proficiency isn’t enough to create good content. Writing with a personality or a unique voice is one of the things that can push your content over the top.
- Research Proficiency. Quality content means the information always has to be helpful and supported or verifiable by facts. This also means avoiding copying and plagiarizing content.
- Adaptability. A good writer has to be versatile with his or her writing technique. One should be able to write various styles and do so seamlessly, from writing technical to editorial pieces, or changing tones, and so on..
- Time-management skills. Knowing how to manage your time effectively can spell the difference between just getting by and making profits and good relationships.
How to Build a Network
Taking care of your reputation as freelance writers is a must if you want to keep clients and have more projects roll in. But what exactly do you have to do to build a stable network to get your projects from?
Here are a few tips:
- Look for clients, not money. As you start your career, your initial goal should be to take as many projects as your schedule can handle so that you can build a quality portfolio. Indeed, the first few months or years of freelance work will not bring in as much money one would expect.
- Seek opportunities. Never rely upon chance if you are a freelance writer. The freelance world is competitive and filled with writers with the same skill level and qualifications as you, if not better. If you want to stand out to get those projects, you have to put yourself out there.
- Join freelance forums & groups. There are thousands of jobs out there that you can get into; you just have to know where to look. Online forums and Facebook groups, among others, are great avenues to find job postings and projects in need of your services.
- Start small. The dream is always to write for more notable clients – ones that you would enjoy writing for. Until then, you have to set smaller goals and grow as you acquire more experience.
Tools You Need As a Freelance Writer
As freelance writers, you have to find ways to make your work more efficient continuously. To do this, you are going to need the best tools to aid in your writing.
Here are a few to set your sights on if you’re just starting:
- A word processor. Naturally, this is one of the first things you would need. If you don’t have the money to purchase software like Microsoft Word, you can expect the same features from Google Docs – all for free.
- Online classes. The internet is filled with thousands of hours of tutorials and online courses that can help you grow further and learn about new concepts like SEO writing, adding personality to your copies, and so on. You can check out online tutorial hubs like Udemy, Hubspot, Skillshare, and the like to improve yourself as a freelance writer.
- Grammarly. Even the best writers make mistakes, especially when it comes to simple things like grammar and spelling. Grammarly makes sure you don’t miss out on the tiny details and minor errors by scanning your work for you and detecting mistakes for you to edit.
- An SEO assistant. Writing articles should both be informative as well as optimized to garner the best results in various search engines. SEO assistants like SEMrush will suggest recommendations for keywords, word count, and the like so you can improve the visibility of your work.
Making a Living Out of Writing
Making ends meet as a freelance writer is no easy feat. It is a career path that is not always lucrative but requires a lot of discipline for it to work. It is certainly not for everyone. But with enough dedication and adequate preparation, you too can grow and have a successful freelance writing career.