As most people know, I left my 9-5 job in April of 2013 to work as a web-based writer. I was already writing quite a bit up to that point, but it was always a “side hustle” or a regular ol’ part-time job. It was only last year when my part-time income finally surpassed what I was making at my full-time job. Once that happened, I was finally able to break free from the chains of regular employment. #SeeYouBye
Since then I’ve always met or exceeded my monthly income goal of $4,000, with most months earnings coming in somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000. As someone who never dreamed I could work out of the comfort of my own home, I’m pretty happy with the way things have gone. Being self-employed isn’t perfect, but it sure beats wearing a monkey suit and staring at the clock all day. No thank you.
Anyway, I recently got a reader email about freelancing and thought it would be fun to write a post about it.
Hi Holly, I currently am a student working toward a communications degree and want to start getting my stuff published in some real publications. I have only had articles printed in the school paper. High School and College. I am curious how one goes about getting that done, what price to ask for each piece, and just the basics of freelance journalism. I would greatly appreciate your advice.
Tips for Freelancers
First of all, when it comes to web-based writing, networking is your best friend. So kudos to Patrick for bothering to email someone for advice. Reaching out to people is sometimes the best way to learn about jobs that might be available or opportunities that may not be advertised. (Related: How to Get Freelance Writing Jobs) In addition to making an effort to meet new people who have been successful, these tips can also help:
Answer Emails Faster Than Everyone Else
I’m pretty sure I get some of my writing jobs simply because I answer emails promptly. If you’ve ever emailed me before, you probably know just what I’m talking about. Woah! I’m all over it. But it isn’t just the impressive email speed that seals the deal; it’s the fact that I’m easy to get ahold of. Think about it. Would you rather work with a freelancer who gets back to you within an hour or someone who might reply to you by Friday?
When dealing with a potential client through email, be polite! That may mean going out of your way to say “please” and “thank you” or adding smiley faces to your responses. Do your own thing. In fact, do whatever it takes so that your emails come across as pleasant. Nobody wants to work with a Negative Nancy.
Ask For a Job
Web-based writing is an extremely competitive field. That’s why it’s important to learn how to ask for jobs instead of waiting for them to magically appear. Whenever you’re dealing with a client or someone who might need your services, take an extra minute to remind them that you’re available for work. I get jobs this way all the time!
Start a Blog
I wrote a whole post about how to start a blog, so I wont go into the details here. What I will say is having a blog is a great way to attract clients. They can come to your blog any time, see your body of work, and get a sense of what you have to offer. They can also find you by clicking on your contact page or “Hire Me” button.
Write For Free
People always ask me how I got hired to write at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, U.S. News and World Report, and other big sites I write for. Newsflash: I got all those jobs by writing for free. It’s amazing how far a great guest post can go, especially when you’ve followed the other tips I mentioned here such as being polite and answering emails promptly.
Being a web-based writer isn’t always easy. You’ll experience your fair share of rejection and fail from time to time, and the comments you get from readers can be brutal. On the other hand, the perks of this lifestyle are outrageous. I can literally work anywhere in the world with an internet connection, and I often do. And I answer to no one other than my clients.
You simply can’t put a price tag on that.
Make sure to check out a few of my recent posts around the web:
Why A Six-Figure Salary No Longer Means You’re Rich– Personal Capital
Points and Miles: The Best Transferable Options– Richmond Savers
Any other tips to add to the list? Would you want to work as a freelancer?
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