Becoming a freelance writer is an exciting career step! You’re ready to be your own boss and take on the responsibility that goes with it. From crafting killer written content to reviewing your writer and author insurance options, it’s time to take charge of the day-to-day tasks of running your small business.
But simply managing a business is different from making it a true success. Finding work as a freelance writer and keeping your clients happy can be a challenge. Luckily, we’ve got 11 tips to help you get started as a freelancer and write a real success story!
Drafting written content is what working as a freelance writer is mostly about. Though the projects you work on may vary, delivery quality is always important.
1. Choose a niche
Many freelance writers have a specialty. They may primarily write about certain topics, for particular clients, or within a specific industry. This may seem limiting, but it can open many doors for your business.
By choosing a niche, you can sell yourself as an expert. You’re the authority when it comes to writing about that subject. Clients looking for content in your niche may be more likely to hire you instead someone selling themselves as a “jack of all trades”.
2. Turn in clean copy
Proofreading and editing are essential skills for freelance writers. Clients want perfection, and the tiniest typo could make your work appear sloppy or rushed—even if it’s not!
Before you deliver work to a client, check for typos, misspellings and grammar. If possible, ask at least one other person to read through your work. They may be able to spot mistakes that you’ve missed.
3. Hone your SEO skills
The internet has transformed how we do business. Your clients may be looking for content that helps customers find their products and services. That’s why having solid search engine optimization (SEO) skills is a must for many freelance writers.
Consider taking a short course in SEO writing to hone your skills. You’ll learn how to strategically use keywords to help drive traffic to your clients’ websites and help them rank higher in search results.
4. Get to know common style guides
Some clients may ask you to follow a particular style guide when crafting their content. The two most common are the Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style. You may want to keep a copy of each on hand to reference as needed.
In some cases, clients may have an in-house style guide that you’ll need to use. It’s important to review their guide before beginning work and get clarification if you have questions about it.
Running your small business
There’s more to being a freelancer than just writing! You’ll also be running a small business and addressing the challenges that come with it.
5. Keep looking for clients
Lining up jobs is crucial for any freelancer. Downtime between projects means you aren’t getting paid. Creating a steady stream of work keeps money coming in, making it easier to pay your bills and budget for business expenses.
Freelance writing clients can really come from anywhere: referrals from past clients, professional and personal networking, job sites and freelancer apps, and cold or warm pitching, just to name a few. Consider setting aside time each day or week to look for new clients, so it becomes a habit.
6. Have your marketing materials ready
It’s important to be ready when potential clients contact you! A marketing kit shows that you’re prepared to work and a professional who values their time. This could give you a huge leg up on the competition.
Your marketing kit should, at minimum, include writing samples and your hourly or per-project rates. If you have some, including client testimonials can be a nice touch.
7. Pitch your own stories
Have ideas for content you’d like to write? Consider pitching them to relevant blogs, magazines, and other publications. Editors are often looking for stories to fill quotas and may be receptive to your ideas.
Pitching content can be a great way to refresh your writing samples. Bylines in popular publications can also make it easier to get more articles published and find new clients.
8. Strengthen your time management skills
As a freelance writer, you may be working with several clients at the same time. That means planning your work hours to ensure you hit draft milestones and deliver on time.
Budgeting your time is also vital to running your small business. You’ll need to devote time to non-writing tasks, like chasing invoices and finding new clients.
9. Consider business insurance
Insurance for freelance writers may be an essential part of your success. Instead of paying many unexpected bills from your own pocket, your insurance policies would cover them for you. That way, you can continue managing your cash flow and keep working with less worry.
Writer and author insurance often includes policies like Professional Liability and General Liability. These and other types of coverage help protect you against financial losses suffered by clients or other members of the public that result from your work activities.
Dealing with clients
Happy clients can help you build a successful freelance writing business. But unhappy ones could write a different story.
10. Take customer service seriously
Good customer service is understanding what your clients want and making them feel heard. This starts the first time you talk to or correspond with a potential client. Take the time to understand their project and the work they want you to do. Ask questions and get clarification if necessary.
During a project, try to keep the client in the loop. Provide updates on drafts as you hit crucial milestones. Alert them to possible issues or delays as soon as possible. They may be willing to push the delivery date or help you come up with a solution if you’re transparent.
11. Develop a thick skin
Receiving feedback is part of your work as a freelance writer. Most clients will have thoughts on the content you’ve written for them, and some of it may be negative. Treat these as learning moments and use their feedback to improve your writing.
Occasionally you may have clients who offer less than constructive feedback. Learn to take these comments in stride—you might not get along with every client. Try to remain calm, even if the client is being rude or pushy. Remaining professional may help you turn the project around and avoid negative fallout.
How BizInsure helps writers and publishers find insurance
Whether you’re becoming a freelancer with no experience or working by yourself for the first time, BizInsure is here to help you protect your small business.
Insurance for freelance writers helps you build on your success by keeping money in your business. Don’t spend your hard-earned cash on compensation claims and lawsuits. The coverage provided by writer and author insurance can pay these and other unexpected expenses for you.
Compare insurance for freelance writers today and start saving!
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