Freelance writers starting out a new career often find it bewildering - lack of visible support, job sites with low paying projects and fierce competition can often make even the strongest throw up their hands in dismay.
There are so many things that I now look back in retrospect and wish I had known about. The following are the top 5 list of things I had to learn the hard way.
Writing with direction:
When I developed my first blog and website, I had no real aim. I just knew I wanted to write. And so I spent hours and hours developing it, sourcing story ideas, free images (I had no spare change to spend at photo sites) and writing about the things I loved or felt strongly about. Was that a wrong thing to do? Not at all. But it would have been better if I had invested all that passion and energy into writing with a more focused aim. It would have allowed me to capture a larger audience and diversify into something more meaningful.
The importance of social networking:
It took me longer that it should have to get onto the social networking bandwagon. Why? Because I didn’t know the benefits that could be achieved by being on it. Once I did get on though , I began to see immediate results. A lot of my subscribers and clients come to me via sites like Twitter and I’ve gained a lot of followers and friends through blog chat forums.
Marketing on a daily basis:
Now I market myself on a daily basis. Nearly 30% of my online time is spend promoting myself and my work. And because I do so, I can afford to spend an equal amount of time on Facebook and other chat forums solely for the purpose of having fun and connecting with other excellent bloggers and friends.
Weeding out undesirable job sites:
As a freelance writer, you will spend a large proportion of your time job hunting. There are a number of job sites and potential clients with promises to make you a millionaire before 30 (or in my case, before 40)and it’s really quite difficult to weed out the good ones from the scams. Nowadays, I do a quick Google search before I sign up for anything. If there are a healthy number of poor reviews, I treat the site with scepticism. If the ads that pop up are mainly craigslist ads, I also avoid them. And remember, if you are a newcoming, it doesn't mean settling for low paying jobs. Persist and build up a good portfolio and you can ask for the money you feel you're worth.
Having a mentor:
A mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you’ve paid to learn from. While you will no doubt benefit tremendously from having a full time mentor, even for a short period of time, you can also learn from someone more experience than you by subscribing to their ezines or e-courses. If they have books and eBooks out, you may want to invest in a few of them.
Stick with these 5 rules and you’ll definitely enhance your freelance writing career in a short while!