Note: Think you’re missing the credentials or qualifications to be a successful freelance writer? I wrote this post five years ago, and I still see a lot of writers struggle with this. The credentials that really matter have nothing to do with writing, and everything to do with mindset. Enjoy! –Carol.
If I’ve learned one thing mentoring freelance writers, it’s this: Writers are hung up on qualifications.
I wish I had a dime for every time a freelance writer told me:
“I’ve always wanted to pursue a career as a freelance writer, but given that I lack a journalism degree, I felt unqualified.”
To which I can only say: Hey. Me too. Both on the no-degree front (I’m a college dropout with a degree in nothing), and the feeling inadequate thing, too.
Except I just plunged in and started writing anyway.
Do you think lack of qualifications or credentials are holding your back from being a successful freelance writer? Are you thinking about going back to school, taking another course, or talking yourself out of pitching higher-paying clients because you don’t have an impressive resume?
Everyone should be a life-long learner. But you don’t need a degree or credentials to be a successful freelance writer. Here’s what you really need:
Freelance writers often ask, “Should I get a writing degree?”
The answer is different for everyone. I hold a master’s degree in professional writing, but plenty of highly successful freelance writers don’t have a degree.
If you’ve got the time and money, there can be a lot of benefits to getting a writing degree — but you can also get some of them through experience.
My degree didn’t guarantee that I would have my pick of high-paying clients or even that my pitches would get accepted. But it did help me become a better writer.
The good news? You can get these benefits without a degree. Here are five benefits I got from my degree that you can get for free:
If you’ve been working full-time jobs, the idea of becoming a freelance writer can be both exciting and terrifying.
It’s like stepping off the ground to walk a tightrope where one false move will send you plummeting to your death. There’s more glory, a higher degree of difficulty — but also what feels like a huge amount of risk.
The good news is, freelancing doesn’t have to be so scary.
The fact is, the independent-contractor economy is booming. About 10 percent of Americans currently freelance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and all expectations are that the figures will only grow in the future. The Intuit 2020 report envisions that by that year, more than half of us will be freelancers, with more than 80 percent of major corporations stating they plan to increase their use of freelance help.
There’s plenty of opportunity. So what’s the trouble?
A lot of the anxiety about being self-employed comes from inside you. From fears you have about how hard this is that are unfounded.
If you’re full of doubts about whether you can ‘make it’ as a freelance writer, here are seven key ideas that helped me get over the fear hump and launch my freelance writing career: