The #1 Thing Needed to Succeed as a Freelance Writer: A Plan
In short, it’s a plan.
At the end of every year, I take some time to look back and assess the progress I have/haven’t made in my freelance writing business (since 2008, I’ve operated a full-service SEO writing company). While things don’t always go exactly the way I've planned them, the fact that I have a plan allows me to easily track my progress – in days, weeks, months – hours!
I’ve been freelancing since 1993. For the first half a dozen years or so, I just kind of flew by the seat of my pants. I had no real business plan; my goal was to simply earn enough to pay rent and hang out with my friends. I was a 20-something-
Fast forward 10 years.
Life happened – marriage, divorce, relocation, business closing, business opening, etc. All of these events made me realize that I needed to take life a little more seriously. Things like retirement and the mortgage were real issues I had to deal with – not something that was gonna happen “in the future.”
I relay all of this to emphasize how life moves at amazing speed and that if you keep putting off something you want to do, you’ll be looking back wondering why you never got around to it because the years will slip by before you know it.
So, if you want to become a freelance writer, now’s the time to go for it (even if it’s part time). You will make mistakes along the way; you will wonder what the hell you’ve gotten yourself into at times; and there will be dry spells. But keep in mind -- this is all a part of paying your dues to achieve the dream.
5 Steps to Take to Become a Freelance Writer in 2013
With all of the above in mind, following are five things you should do if you're serious about becoming a freelance writer in 2013.
1. Get a Website: If you don’t know how to do a simple site yourself (which is all that’s needed), then hire someone to do it from you. FYI, there are plenty of affordable web designers on sites like Craigslist who can have you up and going in just a few days (or less).
2. Decide on a Niche: You can be a general freelance writer, or one who specializes in a niche. In my opinion, nicheing it makes more sense because it makes it easier to compose a marketing message, find targeted prospects and research things like what to charge.
3. Create Writing Samples: While your web designer is doing your website (or after you complete the basic design yourself), create a few writing samples if you don’t already have them. These don’t have to be samples that someone paid for; just create them “as if” they were for a client.
For example, of you want to specialize in healthcare, then compose 3-6 healthcare writing samples to post on your website once it’s done.
4. Decide on Your Service Listings: Which services do you want to provide, eg, is it web content, social media account management, case studies, white papers, etc.
Whatever they are, decide – and list them on your website.
5. Price Your Services: This confuses a lot of new freelance writers. A good way to determine what to charge as a freelance writer is to visit the sites of other freelancers and see what they’re charging for the type of services you want to offer.
After visiting 10 or 15 sites, you’ll have some parameters within which to price your services.
Advice for Aspiring Freelance Writers
I receive many emails from those who want to become freelance writers, but they’re afraid to make the leap and/or panic when things aren’t going smoothly when they first start out.
And, many more shy away from freelancing in search of job stability. I quite frankly don’t believe in the concept of job stability anymore. Why? Because jobs that many count on for stability are disappearing -- either being outsourced offshore to foreign companies and/or are being done by robots.
In my opinion, freelancing IS the new form of job stability.
To conquear the "fear of freelancing,"
I know which one I'd prefer.
About the Author: Yuwanda Black has been a freelance writer since 1993. She owns New Media Words (NewMediaWords.biz)