Tuesday, December 9, 2008

5 top things a freelance writer must do

If you've decided on embarking on a new career as a freelance writer, but are stuck as to what you should really do, then the following points should give you some idea. These are what the serious writers recommend.

Get Serious: If you really want to start your own business, and this applies to any field, then you need to get serious about it. Freelance writing can be a very lucrative business, if you set your mind to it. If you’re dreaming of a career where you can get up at 10am, and yet put big monies into your pocket, then it’s time to wake up. The only way to run a successful business is by working hard. If money is not an issue, then you can write just about anything you want to. But if like the most of us, you are in it to make some grand cash; then think twice before accepting low paying jobs that take the entire week to complete, and instead, set yourself up to finding some good paying jobs.

Have realistic goals: Create for yourself daily, weekly and monthly goals and stick to them. If you plan to make $200 a day, then you will need to apply yourself to finding jobs that will pay you a decent sum. You can do 2 articles and earn that money, or 10 blogs. It’s all achievable; depending on what you enjoy writing and where your skills lie. As you get better at what you do, increase your goals and your charges too.

Put a value to your time: Most of us pick a figure we feel comfortable with – say, $30 or $ 50 an hour, and we stick with it; irrespective of how long we’ve been writing. In fact, novice writers often forget their hourly value and charge low fees per project. Say you charge $ 50 per article for a magazine, and it takes you 3 hours to research, write and revise it. You’re per hour rate has already fallen to 1/3 your value. Time is money and you need to invest in it wisely.

Don’t undersell yourself
: This connects with the earlier point. Don’t reduce your worth or value, just to get a job. It’s always harder in the beginning to build a client base, but stick with it and you’ll see results. It’s never easy to command a higher amount from a client, once you’ve valued yourself at a very low figure. I’ve done this once, and luckily, my client was very understanding when I said I needed to increase my rates. I did lose him as a client, but because I was honest about it, he gave me an excellent recommendation and we parted in a nice manner. You may not have such luck with all your clients and trying to increase rates half-way through a working relationship may backfire badly for you. So place a value on work and don’t go below it.

Keep busy:
If you are to make a decent living as a freelance writer, you need to be busy, constantly. One way to do this is to take on a variety of jobs – newsletters can provide a steady stream of income. Web page writing can be lucrative as can writing for larger publications such as magazines and newspapers. Another way to do this is to specialize. Become really good at one or two things and you’ll always be in demand.

And finally, as a BONUS point- always invest in excellent customer service. Say thank you to clients who’ve hired you, as well as those who’ve decided to give you a miss. I’ve got a lot of clients who initially declined my bids, but then came back to me, just because I took the time to thank them for viewing my work. Go the extra mile- that’s what will put you way ahead of the competition.

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