Being a freelancer is often seen as an easy job, where you can pick and choose when and where you do your work. This is almost always not the case, and the job itself can be very stressful and intense. Living as a freelancer opens the door for a number of issues to arise, including lack of work and lack of exposure and lack of a decent income.
As a freelancer your goal should be looking to constantly improve on what you provide. The aim of a freelance writer is to be a specialist but also versatile enough to be able to take on non-specialist work when you need to.
Here are 6 ways in which you can become a better freelance writer.
Identify your strengths and address your weaknesses
The most important thing that a freelancer can do is to take a minute to look in the proverbial mirror. Being able to understand where you have strength is critically important, but being understand where you are lacking is also key when identifying how to improve yourself as a writer.
People presume that the only real skill a freelance writer needs to possess is the ability to write and while being able to write is obviously important there are other skills that can make freelancing a whole lot easier.
Being able to appropriately plan and organise yourselfis critical as a freelancer. If you struggle to organise yourself then you are likely to be inviting unnecessary stress on to yourself, in this technological age there are hundreds of programs or apps that can help you keep track of your work schedule.
A thing that new freelancers often fail to consider is the ability to touch type, being able to type as fast as possible makes a massive difference in how much work you can or can’t do.
Learn new skills
Investing in yourself as a writer is very important for potential growth. You should always set yourself new goals, whether they are about learning new areas in which to write or developing skills surrounding self-promotion. Any forward movement is a good movement and realizing how and where you could improve is a key skill in freelancing. Be ambitious.
If you have identified a new avenue which could potentially help you progress then be sure to follow it. Sometimes an online course or new software will arise that would make your life a lot easier, save up and spend a bit of money on yourself. If it helps you progress then it will pay for itself.
Identify the right price
When starting out as a freelancer most people try to take on as much work as they can, often regardless of the price. However, once you have had experience in the field you should make sure you’re being fair on yourself with regards to how much you sell your time for.
Being able to identify a fair price for your work is a skill that sometimes takes a little bit of time to get right. The likelihood is that any adjustment to your pricing scale will need a period to gauge as to whether or not the changes have been successful.
If you increase your prices and continue to get a good flow of work then you should look into increasing again. However, there is a lot to be said about being able to identify how much is enough for you to live ok, continually increasing your prices can often be seen as a betrayal by loyal customers.
Identify a niche
A good way of becoming a more successful freelance writer is to identify a specific area of freelance writing where you can specialize. Specialization in a specific area not only gives you the potential opportunity to become a well-known writer in your specific sphere, but it also allows you to tailor your prices according to your status in the field.
Identifying a niche is important, but that is not to say that you should be aiming to focus all of your attention on one area. You will need to remain sharp and versatile in other popular areas of writing in case the work in your field dries up. Not every area you identify as a potential niche will be successful so it is important you have the good sense to cut your losses should you need to.
Being visible can be the difference between success and failure as a freelancer. You could well be a phenomenal writer, but if nobody knows about you then you’re not going to get any work. You need to make self-promotion a priority too. There are plenty of places that will go into some detail about how you can raise your personal online presence, with one of the key examples of this being where and how to post any reviews you have.
There are people who specialize in improving visibility for their clients, so if you don’t think you have the skills to improve your online visibility on your own there are always people who are available to help. Having said that, it is always important to do your own research into anyone who you are thinking of hiring as help, working from a distance it can sometimes be difficult to gauge how legitimate other freelancers are.
Networking is fundamentally important when working as a freelancer, being able to successfully gain clients or potential partnerships is the key to becoming successful. The more often a freelancer is able to network the greater the quality and quantity of their clientele will be. Ineffective networking can be a root cause for poor flow of work, so getting help or advice in how to properly network (should you need it) could completely revolutionise your success as a writer. By becoming familiar with good networking habits, you are giving yourself a chance to identify and target specific areas or people.
Freelance writing is not easy but it can be extremely rewarding for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to improve themselves. There are a great number of things that can be done to increase success as a freelancer, and those who understand that is always something that they can be doing to improve are most likely to be the people who are finding the most success.
Anna Clarke is the owner of online writing company 15 Writers. She is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in freelancing, academic dissertation writing consulting, specialising in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Management.