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Can anybody be a Freelance Writer?

I want to revisit this topic because it has been brought up to me via email a couple times this week. The question is: can anybody be a freelance writer? Some people say yes while others say no way. In my opinion, becoming a freelance writer is way more difficult than most people believe. There are some who think that being a freelance writer is nothing more than throwing together a blog, heading to the Digital Point forums, and landing some clients. Even though you can find low paying clients this way, it is not the path you want to take if you are truly interested in becoming a professional freelance writer.

There are three reasons why I feel not everybody can achieve success as a freelance writer:

1. Writing skills. Most people either have this skill or they don’t. Sure, you can learn how to become a better writer with a lot of practice. But through the years I have found that you are either good at writing or you are not. If you do not have writing skills you cannot become a successful freelance writer. Clients pay good money for quality content. Can you offer this?

2. Marketing. If you are going to become a top notch freelance writer you have to market your services. Again, there is more to landing clients than forums and bidding sites. You have to become skilled at marketing your services in a variety of ways including cold calls, cold emails, query letters, and more. Revisit my post on freelance writing marketing for more information on this. 

3. Courage. It is not easy to jump into the freelance writing game. If you quit your 9 – 5 to become a freelance writer you are giving up the security of a regular paycheck. While you are getting a lot in return, such as the potential to earn more money, you need the courage to take the leap.

If you want to become a freelance writer I strongly encourage you to research the industry before getting started. Courageous individuals with writing and marketing skills may be perfect for a career as a freelance writer. Those who do not meet these criteria should think long and hard before getting started. Freelance writing success does not always come easy.  

3 Comments »Freelance WritingMay 29th, 2009

Tips for Meeting a Client in Person

As a freelance writer you probably don’t have too many face-to-face meetings with clients or those who are thinking about working with you. But at some point in time you will have to meet a client in person to discuss a new project, an additional business venture, etc.

I do not meet clients in person very often. That being said, I am in the middle of setting up a meeting with a potential client for late next week. Since I have done so before I am not too worried about the meeting or what will go along with it. There are some freelance writers who don’t feel the same way. They are used to communicating strictly via email, and really stress when it comes time to meet somebody in person.

Here are three tips to follow when meeting a client face-to-face for the first time:

1. Dress to impress. You never know what the other person will be wearing, but you can make sure you look your best. Unless the client specifically tells you not to wear a suit you should. Yes, you may be overdressed but this is much better than being underdressed.

2. Take everything you will need. Only you know what materials you will need to have a successful meeting. This can include anything from your portfolio to references to resumes. You might as well take everything you may need just to be on the safe side.

3. Verify the time and place. The worst thing that could happen is showing up late or at the wrong place for your meeting. Be sure to double check this with the other party several days in advance.

Believe it or not, meeting people in person can be a lot of fun. Those who are nervous about this can benefit from the three tips above.

1 Comment »Freelance WritingMay 28th, 2009

What makes a Successful Freelance Writer?

Just like any career, it is difficult to pinpoint what exactly makes a successful freelance writer. There are some people who have loads of success without following the traditional path. There are others who never earn as much as they would like even though they are doing everything right in their mind. There is one thing you do not want to forget: the definition of the word success. Until you know what success means to you, it is difficult to determine whether or not you have reached your goals.

I judge success in many ways. Of course, the way I do this is not right or wrong; it is just my opinion. The most important thing to me is that I enjoy my job. When I worked as a sales manager everyday was full of disgust and boredom. Sure, there was an occasional good time, but for the most part I hated my job. Fortunately, the moment I began work as a freelance writer I realized that I was onto something good. If you do not enjoy being a freelance writer you are going to have a hard time achieving any sort of success.

What about money? Most people, including me, consider money to be an important factor in determining success. You should be proud of what you earn, but this is not something to obsess over. Not every freelance writer is going to earn the same amount of money. You may consider $1k/month a huge success. Others want to earn much more than this. As long as you set goals it is easy to chart your successes and failures.

As a freelance writer you decide what constitutes success. Just like every aspect of your career, you are in total control.

1 Comment »Freelance WritingMay 27th, 2009

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