Many would-be freelance writers ask me what the first step should be in their journey. Many struggling mid-career writers also wonder what they may be doing wrong. If you’ve wondered how to be a freelance writer who earns well at it, my answer is: It all begins with what’s between your ears.
The mindset of an independent, self-employed, home-based business owner — yes, that’s what you are! — is worlds apart from the mentality you need to survive a corporate job.
Freelance writing is a head game, no doubt. If you can’t psych yourself up to market your services, or if one rejection crushes you, you’re unlikely to have enough good-paying clients to sustain a nice freelance lifestyle.
What are the important attitudes to adopt, as a freelance writer? Here’s my 10-point mindset manifesto (check out the infographic version at the end of the post that you can download and save):
Ever feeling like one failure after the next keeps you from finding good freelance writing jobs?
I know I did. When I first started looking for freelance writing jobs, I felt like a total failure. I even thought about quitting. It sucks when…
- You’re not getting any bites from query letters or letters of introduction
- All the freelance writing jobs you find on bid sites, job boards, and content mills pay pitiful rates, or
- Even after consuming countless podcasts, courses, and blog posts about freelance writing, you still doubt your skills.
Instead of giving up, I decided to take a step back and look at what I was doing wrong. I really wanted to find a way to turn things around and get back on track.
And I’m glad I did. It took me about five months to break down all the false ideas I had about freelancing writing and start landing better-paying gigs. It wasn’t easy, but I learned a lot from those failures.
Want to avoid making the same mistakes? Check out these five fast-track fixes to find more freelance writing jobs:
“You don’t know what you don’t know.” Not exactly the most mind-blowing piece of advice when you’re trying to go from broke to well-paid professional writer.
This quote frustrates me every time I hear it—of course you don’t know what you don’t know.
As a newbie writer, I spent way too much time making mistakes, working for low rates, and racking my brain trying to figure out how to find well-paying clients. I didn’t know.
Fortunately, I’ve learned a lot from the school of hard knocks and other professional writers. And I thought it was about time to give that tired quote a makeover for up-and-coming freelancers:
“Here’s what you don’t know, that I do. Learn from me, and you’ll be ahead of the game.”
Ready for some mind-blowing epiphanies about being a professional writer? Here are 11 things you need to know:
When you’re trying to navigate a path to freelance success, you’re bound to encounter obstacles that can get in the way. Do you give up at the first sign of struggle? Or do you keep going with a warrior mindset until you find the way?
When I was a newbie freelance writer, I spent a lot of time going nowhere. I read hundreds of how-to articles. I studied everything the so-called gurus published. Even the “ninja hacks” seemed to fall short. But I wasn’t making progress.
Ever felt like the path to freelance success is a treacherous one?
You write queries and LOIs, and all you get is crickets or rejection. You get close to landing a client, and the deal falls apart. Your niche skills are a perfect fit for a writing job, but you don’t land the gig. Productivity suffers. Creativity dwindles.
The path to freelance success isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the struggle. When you have a warrior mindset, you’ll find a way. On my own journey, I discovered 3 ancient principles every freelancer needs to know:
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: