Four Secrets Every Freelance Writer Should Know

Finding the right balance between writing what you want and writing for a living can be a difficult challenge for freelance writers. There may not be a good target market for the style and subject you would prefer to write about, but there is an endless supply of work for social media, technology and business experts, online. Here are four ways you can increase your chances of finding the right balance and earning enough money.

1.     Finding the right publisher

You can choose to write material and seek a publisher to sell your work to, or you can agree to write what a publisher requires. The two sets of work are often miles apart in subject choice unless you are one of the lucky writers who happens to live in an online social networking and SEO world.

However good your own work is, if you cannot find a suitable publisher, you will not be paid for your work. Your research hours may have reduced your pay per hour too far. Also, you need to consider the constant flow of rejections and your underlying stress levels.

If you are given an assignment you must complete on time or preferably, sooner, so you can guarantee payment. Of course, it must meet the brief offered and be suitable work for the personality with the check book.

2.     Finding jobs that pay enough

The jobs are out there and you need to find out how to locate them if you want to earn enough to extend your standard of living, at the very least.

Often the work offered by organizations will be mind-numbingly boring, but there is enough of it to ensure you can pay your bills. There isn’t always sufficient work in the area of your expertise, so you will spend time online researching the subject so you can write as an authority, taking care not to copy work directly from another source.

3.    The competition is fierce

You are not the only writer out there who has found they can work from home to avoid long car chases and the endless office politics that prevented real work at the office.

You are in competition with many countries where English isn’t the first language, but they can write for figures you wouldn’t dream of taking for a job. Just because others will work for the price of an expensive coffee each day, it doesn’t mean you should try to compete. You need to fight with your skills to not only write to the brief, but to ensure you meet all deadlines and are easy to work with.

4.   The editor is not always right

Editors vary in how they wish to see a finished product. If you write for several editors you will need to remember and apply each individual’s choice of style and composition. Otherwise, you run the risk of your work being returned for a re-write.

Even when editors are wrong in their choices, you must still apply to their terms and not fight an editor over your preferred alternative to writing sentences, paragraphs or layout. If they prefer short sentences while you maintain that long sentences make for better English, you will lose out in the long term. You might win the battle, but you won’t win the war which means they won’t offer you further work if you become a nightmare to work with.

Author:

Tim Brookes is the Managing Director of Storage Concepts a UK-based mezzanine floor & suspended ceiling company @storageUK

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The Quickest Way to Become a Freelance Writer [Opinion]

Don’t let the title fool you even though it was intended to do just that, just to get you here. Alas, there is no speedy way to excel to lofty heights immediately in this coveted career, in fact, you better bring all of the patience you have. If you are fresh from a search engine having heard of an elusive, yet fabulously prestigious and adventurous new career that can be lovingly referred to by such titles as:

  • Freelance Creative Writing Artist
  • Independent Copywriter
  • Grammar Guru
  • Word Dynamo
  • Anything that includes the words “writing” and “consultant”

You are in luck! The first thing you should do if you are seeking knowledge on how to get started in freelance writing is to immediately have the illusion above destroyed. If you really want to become a freelance writer, you should probably get more attuned to titles such as:

  • SEO Junkie
  • Current Content Destroyer
  • Manuscript Manipulator
  • Erroneous Word/Phrase Creator
  • Deadline Breaker
  • Where the H*ll is My Money?

At least to begin with. Sorry to have been so brutal, but someone needed to tell you. Even freelance writers with a list of incredibly valid, high-quality and digitally impressive links have little choice in how and where to get started freelance writing. At the bottom. (Unless they have a super-fantastic teacher like me, of course)

Why Am I Saying This Now?

You’re right, I should have said this a long time ago. The problem is that I run into so many people, on a regular basis, who should be doing this job and I can’t help but point this out to them. (I’ve got my eye on you, Justin!) Some are struggling, some are not, some don’t realize they even have the talent or the ability. Some just have a fantastic way with words, the ability to drag a viewer in for a read, kicking and screaming and such.

At one point, I thought perhaps hoarding my knowledge to myself to be an option worth considering. Well, that lasted about five minutes before I tossed up a content writing company website, hired 50 writers, and began to train others to do just as I had done for myself so many years ago. Back in those days, content writing was a bit more like an old game of whack-a-mole. You jumped on a topic and literally beat it into search engine submission until your beater broke or the time ran out. These days, it’s a bit more intricate than that.

What Did I Do?

I worked hard. I worked myself into a frenzy of carpal tunnel syndrome. I built my portfolio. I’ve shown this here before, so if you do not have one, even better, if you feel like you don’t need one, it might be in your best interest to just stop the delusion train right this instant and step right off. Although you should begin on sites like:

You should also plan to get away from them as fast as possible. Use them to build a steady base of clients. Use the resources available at sites like Odesk or Elance to educate yourself on the many elements of freelance copywriting. (Also, expect to pay for those services with percentages of yours and your clients money going to their system to keep them running.)

I studied. (Still do, every day, get used to it)

Once you step into independent mode and begin to create your own content, you should immediately get familiar with how social media is used to aggregate your work and bring your client’s, and your own, content right out into the dazzling sunlight of social sharing. When  I try to explain to prospective writers the two most important things to do first, to get on the road to the most fantastic job you will ever do in your pajamas, I always tell them to:

  1. Get Familiar with SEO (And be prepared for what you learned today to mean zilch tomorrow. It is your responsibility as a content writer to examine all trending information when it comes to content creation. Google Algorithm Change Log is now your best friend and worst enemy.)
  2. Understand How Social Media Works for Content

I was patient.

Plan to spend anywhere from four to six months (most people who aren’t still living the illusion by this point will realize they probably shouldn’t go ahead and tell the boss where to put the old day job just yet) getting attuned to what it takes to be a:

  • Website Copywriter
  • Article Writer/Rewriter
  • Freelance Writer
  • Independent Writer
  • Other Reasonably Sounding Titles without Divatude

By now, you have probably learned very little about the mass range of intricate details that it takes to be a professional freelance writer. However, I get the sense you may still be curious about the phrase that indicated the loss of money. It’s true. Most especially when you make the final conversion from aspiring writer on outsourcing websites to managing your own rowdy pack of roving clients. For that reason I leave you with a list of things a budding freelance writer should keep in mind.

Freelance Writer Resources

c/o cupcakebusinesscards.com/

Author:

Joy Lynskey is the Content Manager for DBMEI and the owner of JRL Solutions, a copywriting and content management company based in Bedford, Virginia. JRL Solutions hosts a Freelance Writers Education Blog that is managed by direct and guest posting. Joy is the Content Manager and Editor for Puglisi Consulting Group at Digital Brand Marketing Education. Joy regularly works in SMM via freelance consulting  private clients with their social media campaigns. @joylynskey

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Funding Your Freelance Writing Business

The greatest aspect of funding your freelance writing business is that you are only as limited as your ambitions, creative talents and the time it takes you to complete writing projects. As a freelance writer you likely have already gained some knowledge on what it takes to win larger projects as well as specific knowledge different clients seek.

It is imperative to create a business plan and set aside some of your income from freelance writing projects. Once you begin building it, funding a small online business will be as easy as paying writers as they complete projects.  When considering funding your freelance writing business, realize that it is a distinct possibility that others may not have the ethical practices you have. Clients have been known to run off without pay, so be prepared emotionally and financially for that possibility as well.

The Basic Requirements

Before you delve into creating a small online business of your own in the writing niche, you need a reliable internet connection, an up-to-date computer and the willingness to work longer hours than you would as a part-time or even a full-time freelance writer. You will likely need at least two to four hours per day to have enough success to ensure your failures are not ‘end-alls’ for your company.

Build on Your Good Name

Outsourcing clients who are happy with you and your team may need larger projects completed. They could also have other affiliates that do. As your own writing career becomes more lucrative, improve upon the portfolios and profiles of your writer-base. Once you have a steady amount of work on your own, strike out from the freelance employee niche and become a freelance employer. Make sure that prospective employers understand you may be a part of a writing group or small online business that caters to clients with larger content needs.

Outsourcing Ethically

Never mislead a client if you are outsourcing jobs they give you. This is not only unethical but can end up costing you your reputation. If a client has agreed that your work is up to their standards and you turn in work from another writer who did not meet those standards, the client will assume you lack consistency and may decide to terminate your contract. Fair assumption, you didn’t supply consistent content, regardless of who created it. On many freelance work sites, the client would win that disagreement in a moderation process.

However, once you have clients with whom you have made clear you will have a group of writers on their project, make sure that each writers work lives up to the standards that you originally provided. This may require that you spend less time writing and a bit more proofreading the work of others. Be financially prepared with a bit of overhead from your own completed assignments in case the proofing or approval process takes a bit longer with larger orders. It will. Expect to spend at least a couple hours per day doing not much else for even the smallest projects.

Don’t Multitask Too Much

The freelance writing world is full of competent writers and websites that clients can be fully satisfied with. For this reason it will become your personal responsibility to see that your freelance writing business stands out among others. Before you go from employee to employer, you may also want to consider building up some funds to invest in marketing. Without a bit of help, the time you spent hunting, managing, and completing projects, will go from around two hours per day to ten. You can not add the much needed element of marketing on top of your many other responsibilities and expect any of them to be highly-effective. You can also expect to find yourself failing at both ends if you do. Certainly be hands-on when it comes to learning how the marketing process works. You will eventually have the time to give that area of your business far more consideration.

Funding your freelance writing business will become much easier if you demand high standards from your employees and perhaps even set up a series of rewards for consistently meeting those high standards. This will return your own private working time back to you, which you can turn over to completing the projects that will be funding your freelance writing business.

Get Started Here @DBMEi

There may be no other place better to start than right here on DBMEi if you are searching for some free freelance writer education as well as practices that you should inject into your own Freelance Writing Business.  Currently we have Megan Campbell, Vanessa Canner,  Leigh Egan, & Megan Harriswho, along with me, all write on Freelance writing  topics here @DBMEi.
Sources:

Author:
Joy Lynskey is the owner of JRL Solutions, a copywriting and content management company based in Bedford, Virginia. JRL Solutions hosts a Freelance Writers Education Blog that is managed by direct and guest posting. Joy is the Content Manager and Editor for Puglisi Consulting Group at Digital Brand Marketing Education. Joy regularly works in SMM via freelance consulting  private clients with their social media campaigns. @JoyLynskey

Why Twitter is Better Than Facebook for Marketing Yourself as a Freelancer

Working as a freelance writer means a lot of self-promotion. Really, working as a freelance anything means a lot of self-promotion. It is up to yourself to get your name and work out there for the world to see. You are, in a sense, a business. Fortunately, in this day, social media gives you the perfect platform for all the free self-promoting you could ask for. I can’t imagine how hard it was to begin a freelance career before the Internet existed.

As a rule, I would say that I use Facebook more than Twitter for entertainment. When it comes to marketing myself, however, I find that Twitter is a far more valuable asset than Facebook. While it certainly is a matter of opinion, there are a few reasons why I believe this and stand firm in this belief.

One: Facebook is focused around friends and relationships with friends. Twitter is more focused around businesses, magazines, and marketing. I find it is now used more often and successfully as a marketing tool than a social tool. The group of people that you communicate with on Twitter is normally very different than the group of people on Facebook. Sure, there might be some common friends and relatives, but they are the outliers. People and businesses that you do not know can follow your tweets without asking permission, which makes you more accessible to the public; much more so than on Facebook.

Two: Hashtags. Using the most popular hashtags makes you very accessible. When any Twitter user searches for a certain #hashtag, your tweet can show up and gain you another #follower. Therefore, you are in control of how viewable you are by which hashtags you use. Facebook has no such function. You are mainly viewed only by your friends, which tend to be acquaintances and not owners of businesses that could use your freelance abilities.

Three: Twitter keeps you relevant. Rather than seeing a lot of updates about what was eaten for breakfast or how annoying The Bachelor was last night, the updates that are viewed on Twitter tend to be more relevant to professional life. For one, because you are following more businesses, magazines, and blogs that pertain to your field (most likely), you are keeping up-to-date on the news, which makes you more valuable. Second, when you tweet back to certain posts, it helps to build relationships with said tweeter. All in all, you are networking virtually; hence the term “Social Network”.

While I believe that both platforms (as well as many other social media platforms) should be utilized to market yourself, I think Twitter has the leg up in this domain. It makes you more accessible to potential employers, and it is easier to network with said potential employers. When it comes to freelancing, getting your name and work out there is what is important. Once it is out there, opportunities will roll in. Life really is all about connections.

Author:

Megan Campbell has a degree from Clemson University in Graphic Communications, and is currently living in Germany during a Gap Year abroad, working as an au pair and freelance writer. Her degree set her up for a great interest and knowledge of social media. You can find her on her blog, balancewithadashofcrazy, or contact her via email at meganecamp at gmail dot com. You can also find Megan on Twitter @abalancedcrazy

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Is Social Media the Cure for Writer’s Block?

The growing world of social media means that everyone is now a writer. There are status updates on Facebook that could rival a short story, and the creativity required in order to twist that status update into 140 characters on Twitter can rival that of a poet, indeed inventing a new phrase, “twaiku”. These new ways of communicating have not only made everyone a writer, but they’ve opened up new doors of inspiration for working writers.

As a freelance writer, I spend a lot of time writing for various websites and blogs. There are times when the subject is dealt to me, but most of the time it is my job to think of a new and original idea. Aside from my freelance writing, I also write two blogs. And as any writer knows, it takes a lot of creativity, imagination, and determination to spend your days constantly writing about fresh, original subjects.

In Steps Social Media…

Just like so many other procrastinators, Facebook, Twitter, or some other form of social media often distracts me while I am trying to do my work (writing). Rather than hindering me, though, the updates and information I read on social media often inspires ideas for later.

Facebook as a Resource

One of my jobs as a freelance writer is to complete articles on various subjects. These subjects are usually out of my general-knowledge-range and require some research to complete. In some of these instances, I’ve begun using Facebook as a source. I recently was called upon to write an article on Global Warming, including facts. One of my Facebook friends is constantly posting news articles and videos dealing with global warming, so I utilized these posts to my advantage when writing the article.

Facebook, Twitter, and StumbleUpon as Inspiration

Writing for your own blog can be very rewarding, but it can also be stressful if you want the blog to be successful. A successful blog is one that is always fresh and has something different than other blogs. They require a lot of work and new ideas for posts daily. I keep a list of ideas that I’ve come up with, but when I get stuck, I regularly flip through Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, or any other social media site to get some sort of inspiration. I recently wrote about an article that a friend posted on Facebook, was inspired by a photo from StumbleUpon, and am continuously adding ideas to my lists from information I see through social media.

While the Internet evolves, it’s important for an internet-focused writer to evolve, too. Finding new areas of inspiration and information is one of the most helpful and rewarding ways that a writer can become and stay successful. Luckily, with the way that social media is constantly moving, there are no shortages of subjects.

Author:

Megan Campbell has a degree from Clemson University in Graphic Communications, and is currently living in Germany during a Gap Year abroad, working as an au pair and freelance writer. Her degree set her up for a great interest and knowledge of social media. You can find her on her blog, balancewithadashofcrazy, or contact her via email at meganecamp at gmail dot com.

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