What Every New Freelancer Should Know - 5 Essential Tips
Tips here, tips there - Tips EVERYWHERE!
It can be overwhelming; the blogs, SEO do's and don'ts, Google AdSense, forums....the massive influx of freelancing information on the internet is amazing. When you're first starting out, it's really exciting because there's seemingly so much useful information to launch your freelance business. One Google search of the term "freelance writer" or "how to become a freelance writer" will bring the researcher a ton of information. So what do you do with it? You certainly can't read through all of it because, honestly, not everyone knows what they're talking about. It's important that you take some important steps in the earliest part of your journey. Not only will it help define your path, but it can make the journey that much more smoother.
A definite Freelance Writer's Tool.
Why are you here?
I think Billybuc has also posed the same question in the past - and for good reason. A lot of people jump into the freelance arena with no real vision or reason as to why. Is it because you're a writer? Is it because you want to write or just let off some steam? The first thing you should do is find out what your vision is going to be. Think about what got you to this point or what you're passionate about. What message would you like to share with the world?
This assessment should be made before you go hopping on the internet reading forums and analyzing articles in Writer's Digest. If not, your research will be that much more frustrating because there's no vision in place. If you have a general idea of what you want to do, the outlets you research will be much easier for you. If you have niche in mind, your search will be even more beneficial. What's a niche? There's so many definitions, but here is a pretty solid one in reference to this hub from the Oxford Dictionary: A comfortable or suitable position in life or employment. Think about this when choosing what to write about. Figure out what area you flow in; or what really ticks you off to the point where you're motivated to write about it.
In the beginning, there are not much listeners (ha, ha), but we'll get to that in a bit. For now, since you've thought about what vision you'd like to have, you must figure out who you want to listen. Who will your audience be? This step needs to be as specific as possible, especially in the beginning stages.You may have to get as specific as age, gender and demographic. When I first started surfing around different blogs, I came across all kinds of bloggers with all kinds of topics they would blab about. I found that the busiest, most successful blogs were those who had specific audiences. Some of the focuses included financial tips, women in their 30's living the single life, and health/inspirational blogs. They had so much interest because the vision was specific. Did it happen overnight? Probably not, but at some point the blogger obviously figured out who they should be talking to.
You may not figure this out in the beginning, but it's something that should always stay in your radar. See what interests are out there and use that route. Oe, you can start with a specified type of reader and expand as you go along. Either way, it's a must to be as specific as possible. You'll see this over and over as you read through the different types of blogs.
Check out my blogs.
I've got a lot more to say about freelancing. Come visit me at New3Creation!
Network, network, NETWORK!
There's no real way of making progress as a freelance writer if you're not networking. It's not some type of magic that takes place behind closed doors. You have to get up and get out; not just electronically, but physically too!
- Social Media: As we all know, social media has taken the world by storm, to say the least. All kinds of relationships are formed from the basis of social media, from dramatic to healthy ones. The land of freelance writing is no different. In fact, HubPages has a plethora of freelance writers who are willing to share useful information. As I mentioned earlier, Billybuc is one of the more popular freelance writers on HubPages who shares useful types on starting out as a freelance writer. You have to be realistic and be prepared for challenges for your growth and success as a writer. He along with other writers share real information. So websites that throw out "Quick tips to get rich" or "Fast and Easy Ways" in freelance writing aren't being real with you and will only set you up for disappointment. Freelance writing is not easy. It involves a lot of groundwork in the beginning stages. So when it comes to social media, some sources are a lot better than others. Need good writing resources? Visit CopyBlogger. Here are other suggestions:
- Linked In
- Good old-fashioned face-to-face networking. Hands down, this is the best and most powerful way to make helpful relationships in your freelance writing journey. This is one method that has never changed given the introduction of social media. Physical networking still works and opens up doors for you as a writer - especially if you're seeking to grow your business. Believe it it or not, there are folks out there who are interested in what you have to say. There are folks who will offer assistance and good advice to help you be well on your way to success. Some may charge you for it, others simply believe in paying it forward. From my personal experience, I've found that meeting other writers in person resulted in great advice that I probably would've paid for online from a Business or Freelance Coach. Also, face-to-face networking provided me the best leads for my writing business. So how do you take this step? There are plenty of networking groups to join that meeting in person throughout the month; maybe once a week or twice a month, depending on schedules. Freelancers Union is a good place to find fellow writers who meet on a regular basis.
This book was very helpful for me.
Design and organize your plan.
If you plan on making money from freelance writing, it's best to get organized for it. Don't lose track through constant research that you overlook making the important plans for your business. Here are some steps you can take in setting up your business:
- Keep your focus by writing down your mission and vision.
- Determine your outlet that will promote you and your products (articles, blogs, newsletters, etc.) This is where social media will come into play.
- Your ideal customer. Again, this is tied to defining your target audience. If you gain a faithful following, they may eventually become your actual customers. For example, if you're blogging about writing a book, those who follow your blog may be interested in reading the book once it comes out, so think of how those two elements should be tied. Build or plan your marketing strategy.
- Be prepared to spend. Not too much though. In addition to your basic writing supplies, you may have to come out of pocket for certain networking groups you may join and if you choose to get coaching services.
Enrich yourself with knowledge.
The hard part - patience.
I'll point out again, if you're jumping into freelance writing to make a quick buck, you're in the wrong business. Freelance writing involves a lot of cultivating and rejection in the beginning. Any real freelance writer will tell you just that. It will be slow at first; no one reading your blog, no one responding to your pitch letters, but eventually people will start to pay attention and respond. In the meantime, it's important to be consistent and patient. If you have a blog, do your best to keep it current. Visit useful forums and communities on social media. Your participation in network groups will also help to get you noticed and promote your business.
You just have to work the fields first. It definitely took me a while to get the ball rolling. But just the other day, I was literally stopped in the street by someone who recognized me from a community work meeting I attended a few weeks prior. They made sure they got my contact information because they wanted to keep in touch with me and what I was doing. So you never know when the ball will start rolling. Just rest assured that it will!
Improve, expand and increase the quality of your writing!
Additional info for starting out...
- Be aware and generally knowledgeable about SEO, but don't obsess over it. When will you have time to actually write when you're busy researching what to include in your writing? Just write!
- Never overlook quality. You're only hurting yourself if you focus on quantity over quality. Poor writing and grammar turns people away. You won't attract the audience you want and it will be more difficult to progress your writing and your business. Take the time to produce quality material.
- If you're not already, become a reader. Take time to read journals and books. I don't know how, but this this definitely helps you write better. you'll find yourself becoming more conscious of the quality of your writing and your expression on paper. It helps you develop in many ways.
Tell me more about yourself.
Where are you in this freelance writer journey?
Questions? Suggestions? Feel free to share!
Are you just starting out or have you mastered the art of freelance writing? What other tips do you think are important for writing success?