This month marks an entire five months of full-time freelance writing. The first three months of full-time freelance writing provided me with many pivotal learning experiences. These first five months of running my own business have taught me so much, and I know that moving forward I will continue to take in.
As I continue to learn the ropes, I plan on sharing tips that I’ve learned along the way. Here are four tips that I have to share for new freelance writers:
1. Network With Industry Peers
Regardless of your industry, if you’re trying to be a freelancer, you need to network. Many of my writing gigs have come out of chatting with others online and making connections. Without these connections, I do not think I would be a freelancer today.
By networking, I’ve been able to partner with people to develop new services. Recently, a previous colleague of mine contacted me about working together. He has his own web design and hosting company, and asked me if I would like to join to write content for customers. Connecting with others has played an essential role in helping me develop my career.
As a writer, networking also helps me take a break from my work. Just the other week I decided to go on a well-needed vacation. Although I was on my email every day, I wanted to make sure that my clients were satisfied. When a client reached out to me with a work opportunity that I wasn’t able to take, I was able to provide her with a contact of an experienced writer friend of mine.
2. Market Your Work
When I first started full-time freelance writing, I was constantly marketing myself and applying for new gigs. Once I had a list of clients, I took a step back from marketing to focus on my work. Even though it was necessary to focus on those projects, I did neglect to promote myself online.
These past few months have taught me that, like all things in life, I need to have a balance. Moving forward, I plan to balance my time more wisely and set aside a specific time each week to focus on marketing my work. Posting on social media has been a wonderful way for me to network and meet potential clients.
I’ve found Canva to be a great site to create graphics. Whether I need a blog post banner or Instagram graphic, Canva has been a great tool. Using Canva has simplified the process of making a professional looking graphic, and has allowed me to market my work without spending an excessive amount of time developing visual content.
Here are some example graphics that I created for Instagram:
3. Plan Ahead
As a freelance writer, I recommend planning ahead in all aspects of the job. This means, creating a schedule for the month and trying to stick to it the best that you can. I use Notion to plan ahead for the month and calculate how much time it will take to complete a specific project.
Aside from planning ahead when it comes to work, I also recommend planning ahead when it comes down to finances. In my last blog post, I recommended that you stay ahead of your finances by at least a month as it can take longer for some clients to pay you. Although this finance tip still stands, if you’re like me, you may want to plan ahead even more. For me, this has meant staying a month in advance with my pay and also having an established emergency fund.
4. Use a Dependable Writing Tool
Last month one of my worst fears as a writer was realized: my document was deleted. The project that I had worked on was very time consuming and had taken several days of research. On the project’s due date, I opened my computer to add a few finishing touches. When I left my computer to take a quick break, something strange happened.
Even though I had saved the document on my computer multiple times and had it saved on the cloud, the file reverted. After finishing the research project, I was left with just the bibliography. It turned out that Microsoft Office 365 was down and that it had impacted my project.
It was truly humbling to have to contact the client and inform her that I was unable to meet her deadline. Luckily, she was understanding and I was able to give her a finished copy the next day. However, this experience taught me to stick with my preferred writing tool: Google Docs. In the future, if a client requests a Word document, I will start with a Google Doc and then download it as a Word document.
As a freelance writer, you must be willing to learn every day. Even when I think I have a great grasp of the business, another curve ball is thrown my way and I’m pushed to adapt. I’m excited to see what lessons the next five months bring.