Ready to boot (or reboot) your freelance writing career?
Your successful business depends on your mindset: a business mindset.
Freelance writing: make it a business, rather than a hobby
More than anything else, successful freelancing is a mindset. It’s understanding that the wonderful clients who NEED you are waiting for you now. And deciding that you will serve them to the best of your ability.
Additionally, you’ll make a decision now to charge appropriate freelance rates for your skills.
Here are some tips to help you to build a six-figure freelance writing business in 2021.
1. Track everything, so you can follow up (VITAL…)
Follow up! Be sure that you follow up with past clients, current clients, and prospective clients. Clients will appreciate your thoughtfulness—and they’ll hire you again.
In all my years as a writing teacher and mentor, I’ve never found a freelancer who made full use of his client list. 99% of freelancers ignore their clients once a project’s done.
This is a horrid, painful mistake… I’ve mentored writers who have tripled their income, overnight, by paying attention to their client list.
2. Focus on your writing strengths (enjoyment is a clue)
What do you enjoy writing? Enjoyment is usually a signal that you can be successful once you’ve taken clients’ needs into account.
For example, projects involving web content creation won’t get me out of bed in the morning with a smile on my face. Advertising writing (copywriting) will; so will freelancing fiction as a ghostwriter.
3. Write a description of your ideal freelance writing client
Who’s your ideal freelance client?
Perhaps it’s an agency which hires you as a subcontractor. Maybe you enjoy helping small businesses create social media content. On the other hand, perhaps your dream gig is a six-month technical writing contract with a global company.
Dream. Write a short, 200-word description of your ideal client. You deserve the BEST clients for your freelance writing business, and only you know who those clients are.
4. Get more done: batch your writing
Batching lets you work more efficiently. It’s doing one thing at a time: grouping similar tasks together.
For example, if you’re blogging, create an editorial calendar, so that you know what you’re writing about each week and month.
Then batch-create: outline five blog posts in one batching session. Draft three posts in another session, and upload them.
5 . Use a timer every day, on every task
Tasks always expand to consume the time you allot to them—so limit the time you spend on a task. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done.
Hugely popular, Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro Technique works. Read the page; the process only has six steps.
A timer prevents procrastination. If you know you’ve only got 25 minutes on a task, you’ll work quickly, because you don’t have time to dither.
6. Remember the D word (discipline)
Sadly, the word discipline is out of fashion. Without it however, we can’t get anything done.
Disciple isn’t scary. Here’s all you need to do: discipline yourself sit at your desk every day and open your computer.
When you sit at your computer, you’ve taken a small action which breaks inertia. Although it doesn’t sound like much, it’s a powerful step.
My favorite “discipline” tip: tell yourself you enjoy your business. After all, what’s not to enjoy? You have a wonderful business: you’re in charge and you work the hours you please…
This attitude is your mindset. Clients respond to your enthusiasm and positive outlook. When you have confidence, so do they.
7. Remember the O word (organization)
Only you know how much organization you need.
My office may appear chaotic, but I can access everything I need in ten seconds or less.
Freelancers need to know:
- How many current projects you have; each project’s deadline; how many hours (roughly) a project will take;
- Cash flow details. What expenses do you have this quarter? Accounts receivable?
- Marketing goals for the quarter. Number of enquiries this week? Number of project proposals sent this week?
8. Remember to DO! (D word and O word)
When you combine discipline and organization (D+O) it’s much easier to DO—to take action.
Act. As the saying goes, the harder you work, the luckier you get.
9. Scare yourself every single day
Your comfort zone is a trap. It’s seductive. However, if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind. Do ONE thing which scares you each day.
Keep a tally of the brave things you’ve done. Before too long, your comfort zone expands. The benefit? Your confidence goes up and so does your income.
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The challenge for writers today is that we’re competing in a global marketplace. So, when you rely on job websites like the freelance marketplaces to get gigs, the race is to the bottom. The buyers want cheap writers, and the cheapest bid wins.
You can avoid becoming a commodity: learn to pitch. Get wonderful clients and charge top fees.More info →
You CAN write. It doesn’t matter why you think you can’t. You can write, and writing will become easy for you.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.