“I write well, I think I am gifted. But, is that all there is to a freelance writing career?”
“What skills do I need to be equipped with for doing better as a freelance writer?”
We are going to answer these more-important-than-they-seem questions today!
But, before we do that, if you have not followed these, I suggest you click on the following posts.
Freelance writers who are my friends and acquaintances consider these were the most beneficial pieces for them.
Freelance writing is, sorry to burst your bubble, not just about writing. My first tip to you, straight from my experiences, is to consider yourself as a “Solopreneur” or an “Entrepreneur”, or even a “One-person company”, even if you are not registered with a company name yet.
This realization will lead you to believe that there are many aspects of a business that you need to handle all by yourself- at least at first- as a freelance writer. I was once of the opinion that since I write well, I will make a fortune with freelance writing.
Sorry, but, not sorry to tell you that that wasn’t the case at all. First, a major part of your time goes into marketing and searching for leads and clients who will pay you. Second, your time is spent in finding the clients who will pay you better than the ones you have right now.
I realized in my own time that freelance writing isn’t just about writing. So, apart from boasting of super creative writing skills, a writer needs some other proficiencies that add to their flair as a freelance writer.
Let’s dive right into it now!
Interpersonal / Relationship-Building Skills
If you are an absolute beginner and you think this advice is not for you just yet, you’re wrong. Not just for sustaining clients, but for leaving a good first impression too, you need people skills.
Nope, no people-pleasing skills, please! A thin line of demarcation, there.
You need to want to provide value to your clients and you need to want to care for them. If you do that, they reciprocate. Your clients will sustain for long when you have built lasting and meaningful relationships with them.
But, if your encounters with your clients are just “We need this content with these keywords” and “Here’s your content with the required keywords”, then you are lagging behind.
Level up your client relationships by following these quick tips-
- Connect with your clients over the social media. Now, it is you who decide which platform would work best. I prefer LinkedIn for most, and Facebook for some.
- Pay visits to your clients. Let them know you exist out of the virtual world too. As a freelance writer, you are your brand, and your relationships with your clients will bloom when you meet them one-on-one over coffee and have casual conversations outside of work.
- Ask for feedback. And, in a genuine way. This way, they know their opinion matters, and if you are short of something, you will know before you are replaced! When I send out a piece of content to my clients, I make sure to end the email with “Waiting to hear your thoughts about it”.
- Wish them their special days. The person you are in contact with is a human. Now that you know that, you know how special birthdays are. Take the time to wish your clients on their special day. This will help you connect with them on a different level.
Freelance writers need to learn to say “No”. Your clients need you as much as you need them. Assertive communication is simply the art of saying no. Once, I had a client who signed me up for writing tech-related blogs- one each day. Then, one fine day, he asked me to revamp his friend’s LinkedIn profile. Predictably, I denied, stating that was not something I signed up for.
You need to draw a line where your job ends and you need to mark your territory. Don’t do anything and everything that pays. You have chosen your niche and your work. Stick to it.
Some clients will want to walk all over you, and you just need to remind yourself that you are not working for them but with them. Because, tip one- you are an entrepreneur, remember?
Here are some quick tips to learn and practice assertive communication-
- Recognize your choices, make them, and then stick to them. Don’t be a pleaser but a strong assertive writer who knows what she does and does not want.
- Learn to say no. I know this is easier said than done for some people. For them, I have the next tip.
- Love yourself above all. When you have established that the first person you care about is you, you will do nothing that goes against you. Your self-love will give you the power of denial and the power of standing up for yourself.
- Don’t feel guilty. At times, we feel guilty for doing something for ourselves. Shun your emotions where they are not needed. When it’s work, it’s work. Put your emotions into building meaningful relationships, but not in compromising your worth.
Not that this one needs explaining, but be creative. I know it works to follow the footsteps of someone who has been there and done that. But, don’t limit yourself to it.
You have been given equal creativity and skills to carve your own decisions and ways. As a freelance writer, it is important if not necessary to break the box. Think for yourself, because no one else has been in your exact same frame of situations, and so, how it should be done might differ a bit for you.
Creativity will help you build a path for yourself according to your needs and wants. I shared some of my creative tips for lead generation in my post- Freelance Writing- Some Crazy Ways To Generate Leads And Clients. I don’t claim the ideas were completely my own imagination, but I had added something of my own into all of them. And, guess what, they worked!
This is how can make your freelance writing career appear unique-
- Experiment in all conditions. If you’re missing out on marketing, think of the ways you can do it better and faster with lesser efforts.
- Tweak the freelance tips and tricks you know, to fit your own circumstances. No one ever was in an exact same situation as you, and no one ever will be. Think of the solution that would suit you.
- The foundation of the leaders, the construction of your own. I believe in learning from all, but implementing the ideas by customization- to meet my unique needs.
- Even if it is an invoice sample, an email format, a feedback form- add your unique touch to it. More often than not, you’ll be creating your personal voice and brand out of doing this.
It is important to learn and master these skills that reside way out of writing but fit well into freelance writing.
Trust me, these skills are more important than you can imagine. After a while into your freelance writing career, these add-ons will prove to be equally significant to writing itself.
Do you have freelance writing experiences when you put these skills to use and recognized they were so important, or when you didn’t put them into practice and recognized they were so important?
Share in the comments below!
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Happy freelancing! 🙂