5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Freelance Writer

When I first started freelancing, I was a wide-eyed 25-year old with the world at my feet. Women wanted me, men wanted to be like me and every night ended with fish and chips down by the pier (no naan).

“Damn this is easy”, I thought as I cashed the cheque from my 8th assignment in as many weeks. “I can do this all day.”

Nearly a decade later, it turns out my dream career might have more than its fair share of pitfalls. In fact, I might even dare to say that I’m not even sure if it’s a dream job anymore (gasp!).

Freelancing can sometimes be a tough gig. You have to be your own boss, keep up with deadlines, and find good, consistent work. As a freelance writer, I get asked this question all the time: “What do you wish you knew before becoming a freelance writer?” The truth is that it’s hard to answer because we’re all at different stages in our careers. However, if I had known what to expect when I first became self-employed, I would have made a lot fewer mistakes. Here are some of the most important things I wish I knew when I started out.

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The Unofficial Freelance Writer’s Guide to Overcoming Procrastination

I used to have a blackbelt in procrastination when I first began my freelance writing career.

I’d often find myself having to write more than 1,000 words in the last few hours of a deadline. In fact, I strongly suspect that cramming all of our work into a few hours is the primary source of burnout in our field. Do you ever get that sick feeling when you remember you reaaaalllyy need to work on something due tomorrow? That’s what happens when I procrastinate, and once upon a time, it seemed inevitable.

I got together with my peers and we started sharing what we’ve learned about overcoming procrastination in order to help more freelancers in our field to overcome this problem once and for all! We’ve compiled tips throughout the years that we feel confident applying to any assignment (and life!) and I’m excited to share them with you. Here are my tips for overcoming procrastination that I personally used to create a healthy work/life balance once and for all:

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How To Become A Freelance Writer Today: Full Step By Step Guide

Have you ever dreamt of making a full-time income while traveling to exotic places all over the world? Have you ever dreamt of being your own boss, setting your own hours, setting your own pay, and living a life of freedom that few are privileged to experience? Do you enjoy writing as a medium of expression? Can you do it almost every day without getting tired? Great!

I started freelance writing while I was in my junior year of college. For some reason, the thought of spending a 35 year slog slaving away in a cubicle for an unappreciative boss and disinterested coworkers filled me with dread. I wanted to find a way to both enjoy my life and support my future family at the same time.

I had previously done internet marketing and had a fairly good handle on how to represent myself, but at the time, I didn’t have the guidance that was necessary to transform my life. Luckily, in this day and age, it is both much easier and much harder to become a freelance writer than it was in the past. Before, you’d have to rely on getting lucky with a connection or endlessly contacting webmasters for guest posts. Today, you can literally begin a lucrative career in as little as a month with the right preparation.

Truthfully, there are more opportunities to become a freelancer today than there ever were before; especially after the recent pandemic. The subtle art of becoming a successful, established writer isn’t realized by putting out endless streams of mindless, untargeted content that doesn’t help anyone. You MUST become the master of your niche and give your readers great content that they will flock to time and time again.

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How To Get Paid More Than $0.05 Per Word

When it comes to earning a dignified, living wage from freelance writing, a few common-sense rules need to be applied, especially if you want to do this long term.

Before we even begin, let tell you about a scenario, and please tell me if it sounds familiar:

You’re interested in making a little extra money, maybe even pay a few bills, maybe even rent if you can manage this month. You heard that freelancing can be a very lucrative way to make a quick buck, especially due to the low barrier of entry. You registered at several popular jobs boards like Freelancer.com, Upwork, etc… and perhaps you even wanted to take your chances on Fiverr. You notice the staggeringly low rates that people seem to be charging for volumes of content. Your heart sinks at the prospect of writing over 1000 words for somewhere between $30 and $50.

Welcome to the world of the content mill: a dystopian hell where writers are forced to use their creativity to compete against an underpaid, overworked global network of desperate workers. Gone are the days of landing clients that will pay you inordinate sums to spin out junk articles.

If this situation sounds like something you’re familiar with, don’t worry, there is much, much more to being a freelance writer than trying to grind out a meager living for substandard wages. If you want to make good money, the kind that can comfortably support a family while working a very reasonable number of hours, there are several things you need to keep in mind.

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