Without doubt, a highly popular image of a successful freelance blogger has been haunting many writers, causing a lot of distress and urging to follow that path. You wake up in a charming bungalow near the ocean. It's midday. You are not in a hurry. You put on shorts and a tank-top and have a delicious breakfast on a patio. After a short swim in a warm ocean you take a laptop and sprawl out on a sofa. You work a little bit. There is no boss in your life, no rat race, no commuting, no early wake-ups. Tomorrow you are leaving to Italy for a week and after that maybe to Florida. Who wouldn't want that?
In fact, more and more writers, professional and not really, tend to leave their jobs and start a new page in their lives. In a world where everyone is always online, freelance blogging has become a trendy and well-payed job. Content marketing is a powerful tool that brings a lot of traffic to websites. Some may say that it means new opportunities for writers, offering more work and, consequently, increasing chances of making good money. The truth is that it has made both audiences and publishers demanding and spoiled, opening the doors for the best only. So if you want to compete with the most accomplished writers out there, you yourself must become unsurpassed. Here are some tips from us that might come in handy.
1. Don't burn your boats
It is not a good idea to plunge headlong into freelancing, leaving your past behind. Don't be in a hurry saying 'goodbye' to your old job, as freelance blogging won't start bringing good money unless you've made your name as a skilled writer. Therefore, it is wise to have a stable source of income while you are preparing yourself for a new career path. Start your own blog, devoting 2-3 hours a day, gaining experience, improving your skills and slowly building up your audience. Polish your style and create quality content in order for your future clients to know what kind of writer they are dealing with.
Talking to other bloggers and learning from them will help you build relationships, increase your author visibility and, maybe, even find your first clients. Create professional accounts on Facebook and Linkedin, talk to people, come out of your shell. This is where you may demonstrate your marketing and copywriting skills also, as publishers want you to be able to promote yourself.
2. Become an expert in at least one field
It is important to realize that being simply a good writer is not enough for successful blogging. You must be a truly great one to stand out. Excellent writing skills will provide you with the entry ticket only. Bloggers must not simply be able to write, they should also be knowledgeable about the subject. Customers pay bloggers for presenting a solution to their problem, not discussing the problem itself. There are many writers who can write about everything and nothing at the same time. Don't be one of them. You must find something you are extremely passionate about and become an expert in field. It will help you gain a good reputation and make the best-quality online resources choose you among many others. Moreover, if you attract readers with your style and give them unique information nobody else can provide them with, you'll stop looking for a job. Publishers will want you to write for them and your value as a writer will increase, which translates into better pay. You can get inspired by Carol Tice, who used to write 70 blog posts a month to make a decent living, and now is only working on high-quality and expensive projects for Forbes.
3. Always be professional
Your clients receive hundreds of resumes each day. Why should they opt for you instead of choosing Jonny? Be professional, starting from a great cover letter that would stand out and ending with timely deliveries. It is a primary responsibility of a writer to proofread his/her text. No typos or grammar mistakes are allowed. When customers hire bloggers they expect high quality and do not want to worry much about writing. In addition, a great blogger is always responsible, which implies delivering them exactly what you promised. Professionalism will help to develop customer's loyalty and it is a well known fact that loyal customers are willing to pay premium price for a good quality. Perfection is unattainable, however, every writer must strive for it. Apart from that, maintaining good relationships with a customer will allow you stop looking for a job, allowing to work on a regular basis for your best clients.
4. Adapt to the risks of working from home
Being a freelancer is not as easy as it looks like. Reality is that working from home (or a bungalow on a beach) requires a lot of self-discipline. Yes, you don't need to be in office at 9 in the morning, listen to endless complaints of your boss and colleagues or wear odious uniform. In fact you turn out to be your own boss, controlling your schedule and even salary. Just imagine: you don't work – you don't get paid. You finance your own vacation and health insurance. For many people it is extremely hard to differentiate between working and leisure time. It is easy to distract during 'working hours' and end up spending evenings and weekends catching up. Let's learn from the best freelance bloggers and note several tips and tricks concerning this matter.
- Piece of advice from Kerry Hannon, an expert in career and finance management and a successful blogger: define your working hours and stick to them strictly. By the way, it's one of the first tips that any successful freelancer will give you. Just because you sit on a sofa with a cup of tea and stare at your laptop doesn't mean you're not working. Many newcomers in freelance business end up working way too many hours a day, distracting to a washing machine or a new episode of favorite TV series, savouring a liberty of choosing when to work and when not. It leads to decrease in quality, not meeting deadlines and health problems because of the lack of sleep. Therefore, plan your day, identify an amount of work that needs to be done and focus on that.
- Chris Moss, a writer for The Telegraph, states that socializing and meeting friends is extremely important for a freelancer. Being stuck inside your room, not being able to gossip with a colleague and go shopping with a friend after work affects greatly freelancer's mindset and sometimes can even lead to a depression. Do not lock yourself away, go to the gym and meet friends regularly. Socializing and getting inspiration from outside world is extremely important for writers, so do not disregard going out and about.
- Create a separate 'office-like' space in your house, where you will not be disturbed and use it only during your working hours. If you have kids, who are always eager to show you their new painting or tell how cutely your cat is sleeping on a couch, don't shy away from getting help from relatives or hiring a babysitter. Anyways, your working space should be sacrosanct. Do not work in your pajamas and treat your own little office as a real one.
Being a successful freelance writer is not easy, however, it is possible. The lifestyle itself and a nature of work is definitely not for everybody, but if you have a truly great personality and wish to share your knowledge and creativity with a world, just do it. The best advice is simply to start writing, not thinking of obstacles and not making excuses. If you have something worthy to say, people will listen. Remember that “the worst thing you write is better than the best thing you did not write”, and good luck!