If you’ve just started out with freelance writing, you must be aware of the scenario in the industry- the meagre pays and the supposedly ‘bulk’ work. And, if you are aware of it, you surely are disturbed by it.
People working as content writers for rates as low as 15 ppw(paise per word)?
Any person who steps into the realm of freelance writing at first is scared, or even intimidated by these offers that promise bulk, long-term work, or future growth.
I could ramble on for eighteen pages, front and back, about how useless and timid these offers are! (Cheers to those who saw what I did there).
I was once in a frantic condition myself as I had quit my well-paying IT job as a software engineer to pursue freelance writing when I had no leads.
Please don’t do what I did next, I became a member of almost ‘all’ content writing groups on Facebook!
I have not yet recovered completely from what I experienced while I was a part of these groups. There were people all over the place, posting- “I have bulk work for 10,000 words but the pay is 20 ppw.”
And, before self-doubt or mediocrity could creep into my mind, I ran as hard as I could out of the doors of all those groups and forums.
So here goes my first advice-
Distance yourself from the penny-givers. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. If you followed my tips stated in 5 Things To Steer Clear Of When Starting Off As A Freelance Writer, you have surely decided on a niche of your interest. If not, go on, hit that link first and come back after you’ve decided.
It is important to narrow down your niche because that immensely adds to your profile as a freelance writer. If people know that you cover a particular niche, they will know when to talk to you.
The key to a good pay is really knowing your stuff. And, this happens when you belong to a field. The jack of all and master of none won’t work here!
I belong to the IT field and so I chose that as my niche. When you know a lot, or are passionate about something, you tend to put in the efforts to better yourself each day.
For now, completely ignore all the prospects that seem to be paying way below the acceptable wages. Some self-respect, right?
Next, in my early days trying to find some work, I signed up on indeed.com and naukri.com, that is, job-search portals.
You’ll realise for yourself how misleading these portals are. Companies who are looking for real talent are not in anyway using these platforms for searching their candidates. Moreover, we tend to give in to the mindset that there is no other way of getting leads. Don’t be limited by job-search portals, please!
My second advice to you is this-
Don’t sign up for job-search portals. They are not made for freelancers!
Now, I won’t tell you what not to do, but exactly what to do.
Embrace LinkedIn. Period.
You read it right! LinkedIn is a platform that is growing and overflowing with professionals and that is where, through the right searching and networking, you can land into great deals. Develop your LinkedIn profile as your resume, and you will see how efficiently it portrays you as a professional freelance writer.
My hack for searching for leads on LinkedIn-
- In the top search bar on LinkedIn, search for keywords like- Freelance writing, Freelance writer, Content writing, Content writer, or blogging-related keywords, if that’s what you want to do.
- Click on the search icon.
- Move to the “content” tab mentioned at the top.
This is where you’ll see recruiters’ posts for content writers.
Don’t comment on the post with a “hello” or an “interested”.
Shoot a follow and a personalized invite to the person stating that you are interested in the position they posted about and want to learn more about it. Through the other tabs aside from ‘Content’, such as ‘Jobs’, or ‘People’, you can grow your community.
I also highly recommend revamping your LinkedIn profile to show what you are looking for on the platform and what you are trying to achieve through it. You can take a peek at my LinkedIn profile to get an idea. Shoot me a connection request and I would be happy to help you with your profile!
So, advice no. 3 is-
Get active, up and running on LinkedIn. I have got a majority of my clients from LinkedIn. Actually, the second majority.
Well, my most fruitful clients till today are majorly the ones who were recommended to me, or to whom I was recommended by a mutual connection.
This happens when you have built strong personal relationships with the people around you. And, most of us do this. What most of us don’t do is tapping into this network when required.
Talk, talk, talk!
I recommend telling everyone in your circle that you have begun your journey as a freelance writer and that you are looking for prospects. Believe me, most of your connections would be happy to help you. Moreover, half of them would be in a position to directly recommend you to someone.
The first thing that I did after starting freelancing was to communicate to my previous employers, professional connections, managers, colleagues, friends, and family about my career change.
My first client came from the HR person of a company that had appointed me as a part-time social media content writer when I was finishing college. The HR manager thought highly of my writing and my skills as a professional and recommended my name to tens of HR managers in my hometown.
Since he recommended me to his peers, I could charge them a rate that was well above the average rates. That’s what recommendation does, it improves your credibility in the industry.
And that’s advice no. 4-
Tap into your network of acquaintances. Run a check in your mind and think of all the people you’ve been on good terms with. Do you think they can help you? Ask them! Help and grace come from the most unexpected places!
Next, a good portfolio!
A portfolio does not have to be a website in particular. It can very well be some links to your published content. However, if you’ve just started out, you can begin to blog about something that falls into your selected niche and use your blog posts to vouch for you.
There is no need of writing free samples for prospects when you already have content that shows your writing style, choice of words, and everything else they need to know.
You can only charge better than the rest when you can prove to be better than the rest. A good portfolio that highlights your creativity and writing will go a long way in setting up your career in freelance writing.
That’s advice no. 5-
Build a comprehensive portfolio that works as a one-stop shop for all your potential clients, and helps you seal the deal.
These are some unconventional ways that can help you land high paying jobs.
Remember, if you have the skills, you need to showcase them and use them to your benefit. Don’t lag behind the rest thinking there are no worthy prospects in freelance writing because that is so not true!
Work consistently towards improving yourself as a professional writer, and you will be paid what you deserve.
I will be pleased to hear about any other hack that you employed to up your freelance writing game.