Three Tips for Beginning Freelance Writers

Using networking, volunteerism, and connections can help build your successful, organized, and long-lasting freelance writing career.

Many people are interested in freelance writing as a ‘side business’ or as a way to make extra income. However, to be a successful freelance writer, the person needs to be determined, dedicated, and driven to succeed in this competitive business. The following tips detail several of the ways many freelance writers get started and are able to build a successful business.
Network, Network, Network

As a freelance article writer, you will need to expand your list of contacts and have the ability to draw upon those contacts when needed. Make a list of any and all networking activities in your community. Next, decide which opportunities fit best with your target market and which events would provide you with the most diverse group of people. It is impossible to attend all networking opportunities. During one month, you may join the local chamber of commerce business after hours group as a guest; the next month you may attend a local civic meeting. Decide which organization and which events bring you the best results and attend those in the future to add to your list of contacts.

Volunteer your Writing Talents

Most writers want to make money immediately upon deciding they want to have a freelance writing business. However, there are many freelance writers trying to do the same thing. Now is the time to build your portfolio of work and gain experience. Volunteer your writing talents with a local non-profit organization. Most of these organizations need writing completed and are short-staffed. They are more than happy to offer a new writer a byline if that means their writing tasks are accomplished. After you have cultivated a relationship with a non-profit organization, word will spread quickly of your writing talents and dedication to your clients. This is the first step toward building your freelance writing reputation.
Join a Non-Profit Organization

While many budding freelance writers may feel as if they are already stretched for time, joining a non-profit organization is a wonderful way to network and utilize your writing talents. Not only will you meet local influential people, but you will be a popular presence in the community based upon your volunteerism. While the non-profit organization itself may need writing, you will also find local entrepreneurs, marketing professionals, and other businesspeople that need writing talent added to their organizations.

Becoming a successful freelance writer takes hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Networking, volunteering, and joining organizations are all ways for people to get to know you and to discover your true writing talents.

Freelance Writers – Market Yourself Effectively

Not all of us are born marketers and many professionals find it difficult to let the wider world out there know about the extent of their goods and services. We have been taught in elementary school not to brag or appear as being boastful, but to make it in the world of freelance writing you have to prove to people why you are better than your competitors.

When it comes to self-promotion and self-marketing, you have to consider yourself as a brand, in a fashion similar to MacDonald’s, Nike, or Kentucky Fried Chicken. These brands are instantly recognizable and there is a certain quality and consistent value linked to them. Just imagine yourself as being known as the Coke of the freelance writing world.

On order for you to operate in a similar league, you have to think of yourself as being a winner. The one common attribute of winners, is that they usually focus first on their accomplishments and by not giving up easily. As a writer, you need to have something specific and noticeable to say about yourself, which clearly differentiates you from the rest. This is what will make prospective employers take a closer look at you and your quality of work.

Another route to follow is to become well-known within a certain writing niche, and thus establish your reputation as an expert. In this respect, you can focus on article writing, eBook writing or even copy-editing. To be a specialist in a certain niche is frequently much better than trying to be a jack of all trades. This will also present you with an opportunity to market yourself much better, especially if you have managed to complete writing work for reputable people or well-known organisations.

It is essential that you also have a means of getting the word out about yourself and your freelance writing business. This can involve something as simple as having some high quality business cards printed, right up to getting your own website. In this modern day of Internet marketing, it is almost impossible for freelance writers not to have a website from where they can showcase their portfolio.

There is a great deal of importance linked to building relationships with your clients irrespective of whether you have only a few, or hundreds on your books. All of the big branding names like Nike have gone to extremes to build relationships with their millions of clients merely through their high-quality products.

Your products have the capacity to build your relationships and therefore ensure that you always provide high-quality writing and people will not only come back automatically, but also refer other potential clients.


Practical Hyper-Productivity Tips for Professional Freelance Writers

A commitment to productive work habits makes all the difference in the world for any freelance writer, whether scratching out articles for extra income, running a business from a spare bedroom, or penning a path across the world. Too many freelancers get online, planning to knock out some work, and spend the whole day jumping around from place to place rather than getting anything substantial done.

In this way, most work twelve unproductive hours a day when they could be working a mere four or five.

If serious about making money online, make hyper-productivity one of your biggest goals this year. Start off your business on the right foot so you don’t have to relearn a whole new set of habits later on.

You can start building the foundation of your hyper-productivity plan today with these 3 life-changing tips.

1. Work in Focused Blocks

Most writers think more hours in front of the computer equals more work done – not so. At one time, I made the same mistake. Every morning upon waking up, I jumped directly to my laptop, often staying there until the early hours of the morning and only leaving my work to eat. And even with my insane hours, I accomplished very little.

Most people working online suffer from a lack of focus rather than time.

Go buy a timer – I used to think living on a timer would make me a slave to my obligations but instead it liberated me. And it can liberate you as well.

A simple little travel timer or kitchen timer will do; don’t use a cell phone alarm or incoming calls will interrupt you.

Then, decide which of your work tasks create (or will create) the most value. My most valuable tasks, the ones that put money directly in my pocket, are bidding on new work and writing articles (whether for clients or my own sites).

Perhaps you’d rather pay someone to bid jobs for you while you put 100% of your attention into penning the content. Or maybe you’ll hire other writers and spend all your time marketing – it really depends on your business model and your personal strengths.

The goal here is to identify those value-adding tasks and then create blocks of time where you do nothing else but those.

Set your timer for 40 to 90 minutes, and put all your energy into that one thing until the time is up. Then take a short break before getting back to work again. After every two or three highly focused work blocks, take a longer break for coffee or a small bite to eat.

Sometimes, on my breaks, I play a little guitar, do some push-ups, or take a walk to unwind.

Of course, you decide the length of your blocks and how you use your breaks – just create an ultimate work drill for hyper-focus and put it into action.

2. Batch Your Communication Work

To achieve maximum productivity, you should also consider the process you use to deal with client communications. Opening up your email inbox while working is one of the easiest ways to throw yourself off track – the same is true for Skype, IM, Facebook, and the telephone.

Communication interruptions scatter your focus, often setting off a domino effect from which you may not recover all day.

First, turn off all communication devices when working in your focused blocks. The phone, Skype, Facebook – the works.

Set a specific time each day for checking your email, mailing off articles, and chatting with clients. In fact, schedule admin work blocks halfway through your day, so they don’t sidetrack you as soon as you get online. Knock at least one of your focused work blocks out of the way before even touching your email accounts.

Also, unsubscribe from all unnecessary email newsletters, and ignore anything unrelated to work during admin time. You may even want to set up a completely separate email account for work.

3. Hire a Virtual Secretary

Outsourcing offers a great strategy for handling systematic processes while you focus on your most value-added tasks. Consider hiring a fluent English-speaking virtual assistant from the Philippines – entry-level virtual assistants work full-time for a mere $300 a month (and they appreciate raises, I might add).

So, what tasks should they handle? Well, that’s really up to you.

My previous assistant managed all of my separate email accounts (I had quite a few of at the time). She essentially filtered my emails and only forwarded the ones requiring my response or oversight. In addition, I gave her templates for standard questions, etc, and permission to mail them on my behalf if my input was unnecessary.

Or how about having your assistant bid on jobs?

Arm them with niche-specific bid templates and teach them to tailor each one for individual jobs. Then write your heart out as your pipeline fills up with work.

Other tasks you can outsource include order fulfillment on upsells (like backlinking or directory submissions), doing keyword research, or building websites for your other projects. What aspects of your business could you hand off to someone else?

These are just 3 simple tips for moving your productivity into hyper-drive, but trust me when I say that these alone are enough to radically transform the landscape of your business and move you to the next level. If you’re new, hit the ground running and you will leave your competition in the dust as you build a solid business that lasts for years to come.