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Facebook recently informed me that it has been six years since I started my freelance writing journey. Whoa, now that is a long time and never in a million years would I have thought that I would have made a career out of this, especially since I went to school for Massage Therapy and Criminal Justice.
I started reflecting about all the struggling and obstacles I had to face alone and figured today would be a great day to discuss some of the things that I wish someone would have told me when I began freelance writing to help the beginner freelance writers out there.
#1 You Don’t Have to Start a Blog to Obtain Clients (In Fact You May Want to Avoid It)
When I first began my freelance writing journey, work at home mom forums was always having conversations about how it’s best to start a blog in the niche to obtain clients to avoid writing for free. However, being the beginner I was with no marketing skills, it was pointless. Not only do you have to market your writing services, but you must market your blog and try to grow a social media following all at once. Not to mention that you have to keep said blog fresh with content while writing clients content on top of that. It’s a lot of work and can be very stressful for someone breaking into the field.
Instead, I suggest guest posting. Reach out to sites in the niche you want to write in and write to their already established audiences. This will help you have writing samples to show potential clients, will help you build your brand for your writing business, and it can even lead to you growing your social media accounts and obtaining direct clients from the posts. I must admit, I have received numerous clients over the years because they saw my work featured on sites that I guest posted for.
Essential point – Save yourself a headache and don’t make starting a blog your number one priority before you even get your foot into the industry.
#2 Your Writing Isn’t as Good as You Think It Is
Being a college student with a 3.8 GPA and passing all my writing classes effortlessly, I felt as though my writing was perfect. Looking back now at some of the content I wrote years ago, I think wow someone read that and furthermore, someone paid me to write that?
My biggest mistake was just writing the content and depending on Word to catch all the errors and sending it off. BIG MISTAKE. Word or any other grammar checker for that manner isn’t going to catch all of your mistakes. Instead, after you finish writing the content, take a breather and then come back to the document and read it aloud at least once to catch errors that tools aren’t going to catch. Additionally, don’t just use Word. Instead, use a tool such as Grammarly, because it will catch things that even Word misses.
#3 Don’t Buy the Course and eBooks Aimed at Freelance Writers Before Doing Research
Once I started making a couple hundred a month from my writing efforts, I was ready to take it up a notch and land better clients and cut the content mills out of my life completely. So, falling into the hype of courses and eBooks, I purchased a couple of eBooks and courses that I really shouldn’t have just because the author had all good testimonials, a large following on social media, and claimed to make a huge amount of money each year.
NOPE, not enough to buy that course or eBook, TRUST ME!
While these all seem like positive reasons to buy the course or eBook don’t.
What you will find is that the information in the eBooks and courses is information you have already come across on forums and Google. The reasons others are happy with the course or book is because they didn’t do the research themselves. So, they think they have something of value when they don’t.
If you’re serious about making big bucks as a freelance writer, you’re probably doing a ton of research already, like I was back then, and know everything they are going to say. Furthermore, when it comes to the income claims they make, remember they are counting their course and eBook sales as part of this income. Therefore, if they are selling a course for $500 and they claim to make $5,000 a month from their business, do the math. That’s only 10 sales that they must make off their course and their 5k a month has been made. Even only a couple sales made mean they will be doing less writing than you will, to reach that goal.
#4 Get Paid Upfront
Now, this is a big one. During my first-year freelance writing, I was scammed not once, but four times by clients. I worked hard on their work and when it came time for them to pay, they had excuses as to why they needed to delay payment and eventually just fell off the face of the earth. Up until this day, I still haven’t seen that money. While you can claim it when filing taxes, that doesn’t help when you were expecting a payment to be able to pay your bills.
Always get paid at least 50% of the amount upfront to ensure that you don’t work for free. Being a beginning, some clients may be wary, but have them pay through PayPal. That way, they will feel a little better about paying a deposit up front to a beginner since if you don’t follow through on the deal they will be able to file a dispute against you and will obviously win since you won’t have any work to show that you completed the job.
#5 Invest in Virus Protection
This is another big one.
As a beginner, freelance writer, trying to find your niche, you will most likely write on a variety of different topics and must visit some pretty sketchy sites. Learn from my mistake and put a reliable virus protection on your computer such as Norton before you even start calling yourself a freelance writer or you WILL regret it.
I remember my first virus like it was yesterday. I was doing website content for a site that had a virus. It infected my computer and I had to get a new computer because the Geek Squad at Best Buy needed a couple of days to remove the virus from my current one and I had deadlines to meet.
The first thing I did on the new laptop was install Norton.
The reason I went with them was because my mom recommended it. However, after doing further research I found out that Norton is great when it comes to protecting your device against viruses, spyware, malware, and online threats. They also safeguard your identity and online transactions. Not to mention that their security protection has been proven to be better and faster than other software’s, especially since they block infected and dangerous downloads, keep you safe while you surf, search, and bank online, and clean up your hard drive to fee up space. Overall, you have a peace of mind knowing that regardless of whatever site you may have to visit for work that you won’t get a virus on your computer as you deadlines near AND you can have a peace of mind knowing that your online transactions are more secure and your identity is better protected.I wish someone would have told me about @NortonOnline before I began my #freelancewriting… Click To Tweet
Closing Thoughts on Freelance Writing
These are just five of the things that I wish someone would have told me when I first began my freelance writing journey. However, I have a long list of things that can be beneficial for new freelance writers to help them avoid all the setbacks that I had to endure. If you want to know what they are feel free to ask me about my one on one consulting services. They are priced affordably and I even offer additional support for 14 days after our session, which allows you to ask for advice when you need it around the clock.
What is a question that you have always wanted to ask about beginning a career as a freelance writer?