My Top Tips for Freelance Writers

It’s been officially one year since I’ve began freelancing. So here are the things I’ve learned from this past year. Hopefully this blog post acts as the helpful friend I wish I had when I began freelancing.

Enjoy while you sip on your morning iced coffee!

Expand your entrepreneurial sights beyond “just writing.”

The more you know about content marketing, full-funnel strategies, call-to-actions (CTAs), and marketing best practices, the more you can charge for your time. Plus, if you expand your skills and learn beyond “just writing,” you can provide:

  • Content audits
  • Ad strategies
  • Email campaigns
  • Social media management
  • Graphic design
  • Content calendars

You can expand beyond just writing. It all depends on how you market yourself. If you want to expand what you offer, tell your existing clients. Update your website. Post on LinkedIn. Scream it from the rooftops. Just tell people. Just start doing.

Get away from time-based billing.

As you get more and more efficient at your job, the less time-based billing makes sense. I’m not going to sit here and say that some of my clients aren’t paying me by the hour. But for example, I recently created a LinkedIn ad strategy. Next time I do another one, a lot of it will be repeat information. Yet I can leverage the time I already spent by charing more for the project, rather than by how long I think it’ll take.

You want to get towards value-based billing. That means retainer billing or project-based billing.

Don’t be afraid to charge a pretty penny. Your work is more valuable than you believe.

The best writers keep it simple.

Keep your content as simple and straightforward as possible. Write in a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand style. Break down complicated topics into shorter paragraphs, using bullet points. Bold key terms and phrases if they are important.

Overall, you want to make it as easy as possible to read your article. Like you’re sharing information with a friend.

Create an online portfolio.

It might seem like a lot of work and a potential waste of money. But I swear, starting a blog was the smartest thing I ever did. I bought a domain and blog through WordPress. Soon after I uploaded all my published content, I landed my first job as a Content Writer. Having a website makes you appear credible and legit.

Investing in a website and domain will allow you to showcase your writing examples and detail your services, so that you can easily show clients what you’re capable of.

When potential clients come across your portfolio, they can see what you’ve done in the past and get an idea of what kind of writing style you have. This will help them decide whether or not they want to hire you for their project. You’ll find that a lot of content managers will hire you with little to no questions asked if you have a great website.

Plus, if you work on search engine optimizing your site, you can draw in potential clients with your website.

Don’t forget the human aspect of freelancing.

When working with a client, be sure you are clear from the start on their end goal. The best way to do help your client meet their goal is to ask them key questions at the start of working with them. Find out what makes them tick, what kind of content marketing the like, and what a successful project looks like to them.

I suggest creating a document with a list of questions you have about your prospective client. You can reuse this for every client. But don’t forget to truly enjoy conversations with your clients. It can make all the difference if you’re pleasant and polite to work with.

Give yourself realistic deadlines.

It’s great to be ambitious, but when you’re working alone, it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you have on your plate. I’ve been there! It’s important to keep in mind that you’re not just a writer—you’re also a business owner, so make sure you set realistic deadlines for yourself. Be honest with your clients about how much time you need…and add a few days onto the deadline for extra caution.

Not everything needs to be finished in a rush. Sometimes a slower pace leads to a better result.

Keep learning and stay inspired.

You are never too good to learn more about your craft. You can always find new ways to improve your writing, whatever level you’re at. And even once you’ve reached a certain level of expertise, there will always be opportunities for growth—you’ll just have to look harder for them.

Also, you should put yourself out of your comfort zone. If you’re not feeling like writing today, maybe it’s time to try something different. The point is: don’t get stuck in a rut. Keep pushing yourself to do new things, so that every day feels like an adventure!

Always be marketing, even when you’re busy.

When you’re a freelancer, it’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day tasks of writing and editing that you forget to actually make yourself visible to potential clients. The solution? Set aside a few minutes every day—even if it’s just five—to send out a quick email or post on social media about what you’re working on or what new projects are coming up.

Letting people know where they can find your work will help build trust with them and make them more likely to hire you down the road!

Give yourself breaks.

You’re a freelancer writer, and you know that means you’ve got to be on top of your game all the time. But have you ever thought about how much more productive you’d be if you gave yourself some breaks?

I know it sounds counterintuitive—rest is great for making us better when we come back. But when you’re constantly pushing your brain to its limits, it’s easy to burn out. So try to take at least one day off every week so that when you come back, you can be even more productive than before.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck on a project, take a little break. You’ll be glad you did!

Get yourself an animal.

Just do it! Who doesn’t love an office buddy?

Recently, I listened to Kaleigh Moore and Emma Siemasko’s podcast, “Freelance Writing Coach.” They we’re talking about their desk setups, and what helps them most. 

By far, my best work from home “accessory” is both my cats. They always seem to know when I’m most stressed—that’s right when they walk across my keyboard, delete everything I was working on (thank you to the “undo” button), and demand attention and treats. 

They remind me to laugh at myself throughout my busiest days. They get me out of high-stress moods, where my work goes before anything else. They remind me to play, have fun, and enjoy my time on this Earth. And I swear you sleep best when a cat is purring on your chest. 🐈

Be yourself.

There are so many other freelancers out there, but no one else is YOU. You are your superpower.

You got this!

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