Sometimes we even hope those who are already successful will let us in on their secrets – or what appear to be secrets.
As near as I can tell in the freelance writing game there are no real secrets. Oh sure, when you’re just getting started there are some things you need to know, but that information is easily available here and on a multitude of other websites and in hundreds, if not thousands, of books.
I write about getting started in freelance writing, and becoming successful at it often. Here is one way to work at freelance writing that, if you have even the ability to do reasonably good writing, will work over time.
Look for a writing job
You could also write a book proposal, do some telemarketing of yourself, send a carefully cultivated, short letter offering your writing services to a list of companies that interest you. You could send query letters to either consumer magazines or trade magazines or both. You can even go knocking on doors of companies or light industry or retail shops to offer your writing services.
If you do even one of these things consistently, over weeks, and months, something will most likely break through and you’ll be offered a writing job.
Apply for a job
Actually, book proposals and queries and cold calling, etc. are all sort of applying for a writing job. When you looking at job boards, and you find a job that interests you, follow the instructions, compose a brief cover letter, and send it off. Keep looking and applying.
Don’t expect responses unless they think you can do the job – the competition is fierce, but not impossible.
Understand the terms offered and sign a contract
When someone offers you writing work, be sure you understand what they want, when they want it, what they are paying and when to expect payment. Make sure you’ve got a contract, even if it’s just an email, that covers the basics. If it’s a new client, get a deposit. Heck, get a deposit even if you’ve worked with the client before.
Do the writing
That’s right, you’ve got to do the writing you agreed to do. That means getting it done as best you can without obsessing, and getting it to the people who are paying you.
Do any revisions
Clients will often ask for revisions about what you submit. You can set a limit on the number of revisions – say three or four for articles and blog posts – and you should because some clients are impossible.
Although you’ll hear many horror stories about writers getting stiffed or having to go to great lengths to get paid, that’s not the norm. Most clients pay when they say they will or with a single reminder. Expect to be paid, be professional, and you won’t run into many, if any, non-paying clients.
Ask for referrals
When the client has paid or even before, ask them if they’ve got any more work coming up – it’s always okay to ask. You may be pleasantly surprised.
When you know they are happy with your work, ask for referrals – which can be as simple as “who do you know that might need my services?”
Now repeat this over and over again – and that’s the most likely way to build a freelance writing business.
What’s your take on this? Do you follow this scheme? What do you do differently? Etc. Let’s talk about it in comments.
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