If you’re a new writer focused on building your freelance writing income rapidly, it’s easy to get frustrated. You try different ways to get gigs, and they just don’t seem to work out.
Recently, I’ve been seeing a trio of basic blunders that newbie writers make. These can really put a damper on your chances of success in freelancing.
The wrong moves waste precious time, letting your savings run out before you can get any traction. Then, too often, writers end up having to take another hated day job, and their dreams of earning a fat freelance writing income go on the back burner.
How do new freelance writers mess up their chances? Let me count the ways…
Are you one of those freelance writers who can’t seem to win no matter how hard you try? All the freelance writing jobs you touch seem to turn to merde. Things may start out well, but then something often goes wrong.
You don’t get paid. Your client drops you. All your prospects just want to know how little you’d be willing to do a gig for. And you’re always struggling to book more freelance writing jobs.
If this is you, listen up.
I’m going to tell you exactly why that’s happening, and how to fix it.
How do I know what’s up? I recently added a free, 1-on-1 consulting perk for all Freelance Writers Den members who’ve been in the Den a year or more. That turned out to be…500 writers!
So I’ve been talking with many, many writers who’ve been working on their careers a long time, and learning what keeps them broke, and why it’s so hard for many to find and keep freelance writing jobs that pay well.
Turns out, it’s mostly themselves. Let me spotlight the major mindset problems that lead you to choose crummy clients — or screw up better gigs — over and over. See if you recognize yourself in any of these archetypes of the low-paid freelancer:
Every year, at the end of the year, I look back and discover the things freelance writers need to know most.
How can I tell? By looking at which posts here on the blog saw the most readers. Those are the topics freelance writers needed to learn about the most.
This year, there’s an interesting variety to the list. As always, this provides a road map for me to what kinds of posts I should bring you more of next year!
To qualify for this list, by the way, the post has to have been published or re-published in 2016. Oldies-but-goodies that keep getting traffic for ages don’t count! But you can check out the sidebar for those.
Here are the 10 things you wanted to know about the most in 2016:
Do you regularly scan job boards looking for online writing jobs, but only find low-paying gigs? If so, you might need to get a little choosier about where you look.
If your typical rates are above what the listings offer, it may be time to stop checking the job boards altogether. In general, you’ll do better with proactive prospecting to find your own clients, rather than applying to mass-online-job ads where you compete with hundreds of writers.
But if checking online job ads is still a part of your regular marketing routine, at least be an educated freelancer and target boards that are the best fit for you. We interviewed site owners and researched listings to bring you this inside look at what’s available on 17 top boards:
Fresh out of college, with no real world experience and no real job prospects, I dove into Textbroker in 2013, lured by the appeal of easy money.
Over the next three years, I slaved for 1.4 cents per word. Even though I was done with school, I was still living the life of a starving college student. Did you know it takes 7,143 words at that rate to make $100?
That’s hard to swallow now that I know it’s possible to make a lot more money from freelancing. If you’ve been writing for traditional-low-pay-race-to-the-bottom content mills, it’s time to rethink your approach to building a freelance business.
I couldn’t maintain such a grueling writing pace for bare bones rations. I wanted satisfying work. I wanted better clients. And I wanted to get paid well. I finally woke up and realized that low-pay work for content mills will never yield pro rates.
I put five key strategies in place to transform my freelancing business. The result: Bye-bye, content mills. Hello, better pay and better clients — including a major TV network within two months. Here’s how I did it: