By Allison VanNest of Grammarly.com
If you’re like many with dreams of becoming a writer, you’ve ventured into freelance writing because your 9-to-5 is unsatisfying and you’re looking for a career that is both prosperous and highly fulfilling. Freelance writing provides you with the opportunity to call the shots – and successful freelance writers are often able to spend more time with their family, eliminate some stress, and be as financially stable as they’d like. These are the greatest perks.
But, what is the best way to take the leap – and to ensure that you will be able to land as many jobs as you want, or need, to be successful?
Compile a freelance writing portfolio
When first venturing into freelance writing, some already have marketing and publishing experience under their belts. Or, you may have some related writing skills. However, you may feel like a beginner again if you begin your freelance career by applying for work in freelance job communities such as Elance.
Building an incredible portfolio is the first, and best, way to prove your writing chops to potential customers. Try including samples relevant to the types of jobs you’ll be applying for. If you want to apply for a position writing sales letters, include your best samples. If you have no sales letter samples, create some! On websites such as Clickbank, you can pick a product through the site’s marketplace and create your own sales letters and landing pages for that product. For many writers, this should take no longer than a day – and you can create some wonderful sales letter samples.
Work your way up in freelance writing jobs
The next step to finding lasting work in freelance writing may be lowering your pay standards a bit. This will feel awkward at first because you know your worth, but get over it! Not too many clients will take a chance on hiring a newbie writer with high pricing, even one packing an outstanding portfolio. Prove to potential clients that you’re actually the writer behind all the amazing pieces of content within your portfolio, and they’ll quickly learn your value.
Believe it or not, lowering of prices has worked extremely well for many newbies to freelance writing. You should expect to start landing one job after another while accumulating excellent feedback. The doors to building your online freelance writing reputation – and empire – will quickly start to open. After landing a few jobs and making your mark, you can set your prices back to the norm.
Request additional work and ask for referrals
Another major part of landing freelance writing jobs as a beginner is asking for additional work in an unobtrusive way. After completing a job and submitting the work, try adding a short message stating your availability and excitement to take on more assignments. In order for this to work, your submitted writing must be flawless. Check and double-check your content – including spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Also, think about asking for client referrals to friends or associates. It’s all about the networking.
Write to impress
Some writers have grown too comfortable in their “zone.” These are the writers whose writing is more about money and less about developing interesting content. Always make it a point to impress your clients regardless of the pay. Believe in giving your best, not just presenting something acceptable.
There will be times when clients might not be 100 percent satisfied with the first content draft. Rather than say, oh well just pay me, go back several times to present satisfactory work to a client. Some writers think that in offering rewrites, clients are somehow receiving extra work. Never think of it that way! A writer’s main focus in freelance writing should be to deliver impressive, quality work that accomplishes the client’s project goals.
As a writer, also think about what topics you are interested in writing about. If you can’t write about medical topics, don’t force yourself to. This will save lots of time making corrections and missing deadlines. Clients will respect your honesty and may offer assignments that better match your skills.
Last, but certainly not least: Be responsive if you want to land more freelance writing jobs. Although you’re working for yourself, the clients are your boss for any assignments that you’ve been hired to complete. Clients won’t recommend writers that are unresponsive or unprofessional. They want writers who communicate clearly with them through all steps of a project, and deliver.
Newspaper Columnist Robert Benchley said: “The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.”
As you embark on your new career, remember these words. And do what you can to make your freelance writing projects fruitful. Trust me, they will multiply!
About the Author: A self-proclaimed word nerd, Allison VanNest works with Grammarly to help perfect written English. Connect with Allie, the Grammarly team, and more than ONE MILLION Grammarly Facebook fans.
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