Freelance writing is no piece of cake. And, if you have been in it for a while, you would agree. It takes a lot of patience, persistence, and hard work to establish oneself as a freelance writer.
In my last post Freelance Writing Turns Super-Easy With These Add-on Skills- Part 1, I talked about some out-of-the-box skills that help freelance writers on day to day basis. I’m sure you agree that freelance writing is not just about writing, but demands a complete set of skills including time management, marketing, sales, and so on.
So, if you’ve been considering freelance writing as a job, level up your perspective as it is no less than entrepreneurship.
Today, in no particular order, on no particular aspect of freelance writing, we will discuss some hacks that I have discovered in my career as a freelance writer. These lessons have made me a better freelance writer, and I have learned them through experience.
Let’s dive right in!
Work First, Brand Later
So many freelance writers out there are working hard to brand themselves as the best in the bunch when they have only a few consistent clients. There’s one thing I have learned- work first, and then brand yourself. This way, your branding takes less energy. Because your work is also out there speaking for you.
If you have just begun freelance writing, and you have only a couple of consistent clients, don’t brag yourself as an established freelance writer. This will do more harm than good. When your prospects see your portfolio, they will know your experience and expertise.
Let your work speak for you. Get a good amount of clients and deliver quality. Your clients will then vouch for you, too!
Communicate With Clarity and Precision
Often, freelance writers face the wrath for the loopholes in their communication. Either, they are exploited by their clients when they do not establish ground rules for their work, or writers miscommunicate their charges for writing projects, or fail to communicate their worth and commitment to their clients.
For example, if you provide one round of revision to all your freelance writing clients, define what one round means. For me, one single email or phone call qualifies as one round. If my clients want changes to be made, they let me know all of the changes in one go.
This clarity in setting the rules of the agreement will make your task easier, and your clients will love you for your commitment towards your work. Taking time in setting ground rules only shows you are dead serious about your work.
Writing and Editing Are Two Different Tasks
I had a rough experience recently. A client of mine had an editing job for a dissertation that he wanted me to take up. I agreed, because, duh, if I can write, I sure as hell can edit!
I went on without establishing any rules of the agreement because, in my view, it was a one-shot job. But, the client thought I knew that the dissertation would be modified a few times and that I would edit and rectify it no matter how many times it changes!
I was in for an ugly surprise. Moreover, I realized that writing from scratch was a lot less work than putting straight a document that was written in a poor language. There were sentences that I just could not fathom, let alone correct.
Know what you are getting into when taking up editing and/or proofreading tasks. Putting a price on editing services is a lot more challenging, and yet more challenging is trying to justify the cost, because you don’t know what the document holds.
Chalk out clear guidelines about what “editing” means- fixing punctuations and grammatical errors, improving language style, enhancing the coherency in the content, etc.
Treat Each Client Differently
Not every client is the same. Some of my clients appreciate me taking the time out for a telephone conversation, while some of them are happy to communicate over email only.
Some of my clients have established friendly relations with me, while some are only concerned with the work. People are different, and there is no need of measuring all of them against a single stick.
While client relationships are essential, they must not be forced. Understand that your clients are different and their expectations differ too. For example, one of my clients is a relatively straightforward person with a no-nonsense attitude.
Whenever I draft a wordy email explaining something to him, he would just ask me to cut it out and come to the point. While some email courtesies are essential, I quit making my emails to him very long and I drop the optional greetings and wishes.
And, I really think he is more satisfied with my work now, because I acted according to his preferences. Had I been adamant about my email ethics, we would have parted ways!
Work to Secure Different Payment Terms
It is important to have all kinds of associations when you are in freelance writing. For example, you should have clients who give you a fixed monthly payment for consistent writing services. You should have clients who pay you per word. You should have clients who pay you for the number of articles.
Also, if some of your clients pay you twice a month, or weekly, and some pay monthly, there will be a constant flow of finances in your business.
I believe it is important to not rely on any one type of association as the variety of clients is what adds up to bring consistency and security in a freelance writing career.
What have you learned as a freelance writer that has stuck with you?
Tell me in the comments below!
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Happy writing! 🙂