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.

Read more

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:

Read more

How To Handle Criticism From A Client

Receiving negative feedback from a customer can be such a difficult aspect of freelance writing, it can make someone want to quit. I know because I’ve been there.

You finish a large assignment, thousands upon thousands of words, and you’re excited to pass your work off to your client and see what he or she thinks about it. You did your best and felt like you covered the full scope of what was required. You’re ready to take on more work and in the back of your mind, you may even be smugly impressed with your writing skills.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, you get a dreaded negative response to your article. I had just finished some work for a blog owner when I got this email from him (this happened just a couple of months ago):

I’m not very happy with your article, to be honest. This sounds childish. I don’t feel like you put any love into it. It needs a more personal touch and as well as a more professional tone overall.

I was livid. Didn’t put any love into it? WTF?!, I seethed to myself. I had just spent the better part of three days writing a pillar post for his blog, doing endless research about an obscure company almost nobody had ever heard about and had cross-referenced every single point I made.

Read more

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.

Read more

Persuasive Writing: 4 Copywriting Secrets That Will Help You Create a Rabid Customer Base

When I first started freelance writing, I devoured just about every blog, article and book I could find about copywriting. I wanted to know everything about the industry. How much could people make as independent writers? How could I personally improve my writing style? What were the secrets to building an audience that could hardly wait for my next piece to drop?

Among the many open doors and familiar stories, I found that almost everyone has their own unique way of doing things. People generally tend to find their rhythm when it comes to approaching the same task. I’ve probably discarded more advice and methods than I have kept over my life, and anyone with enough experience has almost certainly done the same. While the plethora of eye-opening tips and clarifications helped to take me to the next level of my craft, a few outstanding tips really gave me the boost I needed to make my career a full-time endeavor.

Even though I have found that the “best” writing tip differs from person to person and moment by moment, there are a few overall things writers need to apply in order to outshine their competitors. Particularly, I’ve found tips relating to writing convincingly to be the most useful for my day to day life.

Read more