To put it simply, freelance/independent writers are people who have chosen a very precarious but emotionally and intellectually rewarding profession: we create great content on a daily basis to put food on our tables. However, unlike writers and editors with permanent positions in companies or organizations, a freelance writer works for numerous clients that he/she acquires through various networking activities.
Sounds simple, huh? No, it really isn’t. While we can dictate our hours, workload, how many bathroom breaks we take, whether or not to indulge in any psychoactive substances while we work, and other perks, we still have the enormous burden of being business owners. That means that even though nobody is breathing down our necks to perform (unless we are dealing with an especially colorful client), it’s entirely up to us to find the motivation needed to pursue this career. Additionally, we also have the challenge of maintaining a steady flow of work. It’s not as glamorous as the movies portray it to be (are there actually any movies about freelance writers out there?) but it’s honest work that can truly result in personally fulfilling occupation.
Independence Creates Flexibility
Copywriting work can vary greatly from project to project. Our assignments range from writing books to providing text contributions for printed and online media. It may involve making journalistic reports or taking care of all kinds of PR and communication activities.
Compared to employed writers, freelance authors enjoy much more freedom in their work. As mentioned above, of course, a freelancer has to deal with less job security. Surprisingly, despite the potential drawbacks
in a world that has to deal with spontaneous global plagues and economic uncertainty, a large number of editors, journalists and commercial writers choose to write as freelancers. We tend to be more selective in accepting and rejecting assignments and also decide the timetable for delivering work.
Where Do Freelancers Fit In?
As an industry, there is an ongoing trend of more and more companies, publishers and media companies consciously choose to use freelance writers; often as a reaction to the continuous changes within the distribution of content. Sometimes a temporary worker is added to a permanent writers team for certain assignments or projects, but it is also possible that an entire organization would work exclusively with independent professionals.
What Kind Of Freelance Writers Are There?
Working as a freelance writer, copywriter, editor or journalist requires different areas of expertise. This is highly dependent on the sector you work in and the specific niche you specialize in. Sometimes writers are real generalists who are able to write a recruiting text on any subject. Usually, you can find them grinding away at content mills for two to three cents per word. This has its time and place; sometimes filler material is needed rather than researched, well written works.
Others writers, like me, specialize in certain niches and enjoy doing research and know how to go into depth. I have always had a fascination with investing, finance, internet marketing, self-employment and anything related to small businesses. I could quite literally spend my entire day reading about it. While my content is billed at a higher rate than a generic content spinning word factory, it’s also well researched and thoroughly examined for any logical, grammatical and spelling errors. My rates are a no brainer: would you rather spend hours upon hours reviewing and rewriting garbage content that doesn’t hold the attention of any reader or would you rather get it right the first time?
There are also many creative freelance copywriters who write catchy and concise product descriptions, technical manuals, and outlines for almost any conceivable niche in existence. The type of content you purchase should reflect the business model you want to work towards.
How Do I Become A Freelance Writer?
It’s simple: sit down and start writing. Start practicing your specific writing style and pick a niche that you’re both passionate about and have more knowledge on than the average person. It helps to have a college/university education, but it’s not a requirement. As long as you have the patience and determination to perfect your craft, you’ll get better.
New clients quickly get an impression about the style and quality of your work from the first few articles you have on your website, therefore make SURE to have great content samples. If you’re confident in your portfolio, start emailing anyone and everyone you can think of. Old colleagues, business owners, entrepreneurs, your mother’s dog groomer, everyone! You never know where you’ll find a great client that will work with you for months or years at a time. Don’t lose hope if you don’t see results in the first few weeks of reaching out. It takes time to build up a reliable client list. Sites like LinkedIn are a literal goldmine of potential clients.
After doing good work, make sure to ask for referrals. The most powerful form of advertising is a positive word-of-mouth recommendation.
NOTE: Avoid working for unpaid internships/for “exposure”. NOBODY has time for that.
Structuring Online Content As A Freelance Writer
In addition to having good language and writing skills, copywriters are often very experienced in publishing for online media. Many writers, myself included, can compose effective online content, including the necessary SEO. Most of them also master the basics of HTML and image editing packages, and work with various content management systems on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, I created this website entirely by myself. The fact that you’re reading this paragraph right now is a testament to my SEO and traffic generating abilities.
As a freelance writer, familiarize yourself with how to make content search engine friendly – if you don’t already know how.
Freelance Writer Rates
Writers working for print and online media are generally paid per word. We also often work with hourly rates, or the freelancer calculates a total amount per assignment. If more work is added, for example for photography and image editing, this will also be charged. Each freelancer determines his or her own rate. As a general rule of thumb, I try to evaluate what skills I’m bringing to the table that are absolutely needed in the project, how much effort it will take to deliver top notch work, and my specific relationship with the client I’m working with.
Follow the golden rule; treat others how you’d like to be treated and you will be rewarded for recognizing the humanity in them.
Hope That Helps
Now you know quite a bit about freelancing! Do you have any questions/comments? Interested in hiring me for a specific job? Feel free to CONTACT ME today!