How to be a successful Freelance Writer

Sharing some of the tips and tricks for becoming a successful freelance writer. Learn how to stay ahead of the rat race!

2 years ago if someone told me that you could make a living writing articles online, I would have laughed off the prospect thinking it too good to be true. Now that I am actually writing articles as a freelancer I want to share some of my experience that will help you become a successful freelancer and solve most of doubts regarding this trendy career.

Why you will fail?

Before I start talking about some of the ways with which you can become successful, it’s important to understand why most aspiring writers fail online. You see, the internet is a tricky place where every user is looking for an opportunity or a deal that’s not available anywhere on the so called offline planet. Although I don’t have an official number but there are hundreds of thousands of people competing to grab a slice of the internet economy. In such a scenario most of them (rather 90% of them) have no clue how to achieve their objectives and be successful. You may be the next Charles Dickens of the 21st century but unless you are doing something to showcase your talent, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack without the intention of finding something in there.

1. You are not hanging out with the highrollers

Don’t get me wrong because there is plenty of opportunities out there even for a fresher like you. One of the first things that I would like you to do is shift your focus from the so called “Freelance Bidding sites”. Unless you are one of the luckiest humans on the planet you will never ever find a reliable high paying long term client on those sites. This is one of the first mistake that I made when I was working relentlessly for getting 10-12 dollars on an article. The real players are interested in personalized websites or blogs rather than posting a job on the freelance market.

2. You are not marketing yourself properly

Another common reason why most aspirants fail to be a successful freelance writer is because they never learn the art of turning the spotlight on them. The internet is huge, so huge that it’s easy to get lost without showcasing your talents to the right people. One can write a big fat book on Internet Marketing but I am going to explain you the basic concept in short so that you can understand and implement the necessary steps to jumpstart your career.

The first place where you should concentrate on finding clients is your own social networks. Social Media is revolutionizing the way we market ourselves and these networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ can me more productive than just sharing your personal pictures or a funny status update. Jin relevant groups, communities etc. where other freelancers are hanging out on a regular basis. Start interacting with these people, share and acquire knowledge about this industry and soon you will discover solid prospects for your freelance writing career.

It’s important to have a website where others can see your work and contact you with ease. Make your your new site is well optimized for the search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. Marketing yourself is a gradual process that you need to learn over time. It’s the single most important reason why 90 percent of people fail online doing just about anything.

3. You are not build credibility

Let’s say you want to cover the technology niche like me. Now ask yourself this question “Why would someone hire me and not Rahul Ghosh for writing their articles ?”. I am not bragging but it’s important that you build a solid portfolio that attracts clients from your niche industry. Start by writing some quality posts on your blog. Once your blog is getting some visitors move to other websites in the niche and start contributing high quality articles on them. Over time the high rollers will identity you. Just remember one thing ; people who are paying thousands of dollars for a particular writing project are not sitting with a blindfold. These guys mean business and they are constantly scouting for the best possible writer on the topic. Hence, entering the industry without a solid portfolio to prove your grounds is like going for a job interview without a resume.

So, what’s the best way to be successful?

Now that I have talked about some of the most common ways why people fail to be a successful freelance writer lets begin by sharing some of my expertise for taking the right path and approach towards this career. The first thing you should do is setup your very own website and just start writing. As a matter of fact you can even start posting your own content on Medium which is a great platform to grab the right kind of attention in just about any topic.

Once you have posted quite a few high quality articles you should be getting some initial leads from prospective clients. Oh! I almost forgot that it’s important to pitch your freelance services on your site. This means that when visitors are visiting your website for the first time,apart from your information they should also see a section that pitches your article writing services. This step is very important because many people won’t contact you first hand just because you wrote a killer blog post. I mean, it’s important to let them know that you are actually available for more work from different clients.

Your goal should be to focus on fewer high end clients rather than going to innumerable low quality penny paying ones. Another advantage behind targeting high quality clients is that they will return to you with more work. Here is a short to-do list that I would like you to follow if you are serious about freelance writing.

Step by Step: How to start as a Freelance Writer

  1. Register a domain and start your own blog/website
  2. Pick a topic that suites you and start writing high quality articles surrounding the topic.
  3. Brush up your English grammar skills. If possible buy a book or read some articles online. Just google “English Grammer Tutorials” or “How to improve my writing”.
  4. Slowly and steadily try writing feature articles or posts that are longer than 1000 words. Most of you probably won’t be able to write a feature post on your first attempt. It’s important that you keep the entire article interesting or else most readers will leave after reading the first few lines.
  5. Learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Yes, all of us had to learn SEO and I am sure you will do the same. Understanding how search works is important. However there is a popular saying that goes “Write for humans and not the search bots”. You should avoid things like keyword stuffing, irrelevant linking etc. on your posts. Just find your own writing style and go for it.
  6. Be prepared to wait and combat several failures. We all had to wait for days and even months before we got the first break. Freelance writing is not something that will make you rich overnight. You need to stay at it.
  7. Start joining relevant communities in LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and other offbeat B2B social networks. I highly suggest that you take your LinkedIn profile seriously. Some of my own clients discovered my writing services via LinkedIn.
  8. Utilize YouTube to pitch your services. You might just be surprised with the results.
  9. Be prepared to say no to someone if they don’t agree to the price. As a newbie I suggest you should not take anything less than 35-40 USD per article for your first project. If you keep at it the rate could go as high at 500-700 USD per post. Yes! some clients did payme that much.
  10. Never loose the love and passion for writing.

These are just some of the steps that should help you with a proper path for your freelance writing career.

Special Note: This is my first post at Medium and I love this platform where I can share my voice and opinion with a large audience. If you found my article useful then please recommend it. Last but not the least feel free to ask any question that you have regarding freelance writing and I would be happy to help all of you. As a matter of fact I will feature some of the questions on my upcoming posts.