Top 5 tips to earn work as a freelancer

So you want to work as a freelance writer? Imagine setting your own hours while creating a seemingly endless stream of income. That’s right, you can make a lucrative living without leaving the comfort of your home office. You’ll get to take those exotic vacations that you and your partner have been talking about for weeks. In all honesty, earning work as a freelance writer is difficult, and can take years to earn that lucrative lifestyle. Here are five tips that can serve as the foundation for freelances to earn work:

1. Work on your craft

Freelance writing is a field saturated with authors just like you who are competing to earn projects. Writing constantly keeps your vocabulary sharp, and it helps you to stay focused on your message to your niche audience. It’s also important to remain informed regarding current events, as this will help efficient freelancers in their efforts to produce unique content. That could set you apart from other writers, and possibly increase your chances of earning more projects. Build your literary foundation that asks, “what you can do for them?”


2.       Diversify your portfolio

Many writers look for work focused on a particular niche that they enjoy. I’ve been a fan of the NFL’s Washington Redskins for over 30 years, and I’ve written articles focusing on the team for five years. In reference to my first point, I realized that I couldn’t rely solely on writing for the sports market. I embarked on a copywriting course and eventually earned work writing landing pages focusing on pilot certification and chartering balloon rides. I was willing to do the necessary research to provide accurate and quality content while learning about two niche markets. Freelancers expressing a desire to learn about unfamiliar niche markets will endear themselves to potential clients and earn more work in the process.

3.       Never sell yourself short

Many beginning freelancers are willing to lower their fees substantially (or produce free content) in an effort to build a portfolio. This practice isn’t recommended, as there are clients that will expect others freelancers to provide gratis content. Find an established fee guideline based on your experience and freelancing market value. Stay firm on what those specific fees are, and never waver from them. You’ll be doing yourself (and the industry) a big favor.

4.       Invest in yourself

The biggest issue for beginning freelancers is that the literary world doesn’t know you’re out there. While you have a lot of content that you wish to share, how can you share it if no one has given you the opportunity to do so? You have to promote yourself as a freelancer. That might mean printing your own business cards and passing them out at a literary function for which you may have to pay a registration fee. I pay an annual fee for a literary job site membership that’s helped me to earn some freelancing work. Many of these projects aren’t listed on some of the free online job sites. Simply put, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. But it’ll reap rewards in the long run.

5.       Remain patient

Freelance writing can be a feast or famine industry. Some weeks you might have an abundance of projects; other weeks you may have nothing lined up. The up and down nature of freelancing can discourage many writers that want to carve out a literary career, causing some writers to give up on their dreams. Remaining patient is critical to earning work as a writer. It encompasses many of the previous points while forming a solid foundation of producing quality content. Building relationships that lead to freelance work take time to develop. Once you’ve proven to be a reliable and efficient freelancer, those relationships could lead to referrals that can earn you more work. That’s why it’s important to exhibit the same patience used for creating quality content to sustain your writing career.

This article was produced by Greg Bradshaw.

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