The first thing you must know as a beginner freelance writer is that everyone can not do this job. When people think of freelance writing, what immediately comes to mind is working from home, setting your hours, and not having to commute to work. However, there are a lot of other factors that can make this job difficult. Discipline and professionalism are some of the essential traits of a freelance writer; therefore, if you are sure you want to venture into this career path, below is a list of 5 mistakes you must avoid.
Not Having A Blog
Having a blog is essential for a freelance writer. This is because a blog showcases your abilities to prospective clients, and is an excellent medium through which clients can contact you.
You can create the perception of being an expert through blogging; it will also come in handy during negotiations. You may be very knowledgeable on topics related to health and wellness or sports, but if clients don’t see your body of work, how can they be sure of your expertise.
Prospective clients want to see your writing style and gauge your competence. They also prefer seeing this through a blog post than you sending a google or word doc. Therefore having a blog is an excellent marketing strategy.
Blogging is also a lovely way to stimulate your brain, experiment with writing styles, sharpen your writing skills, share your experiences with the world, and, most importantly, build an online portfolio.
Not Negotiating Properly
I remember when I started as a freelancer, I would accept way less than what I was worth because I hated negotiating. I hardly made any money doing what I loved and had to work other jobs to supplement my income. However, over the years, I have realized that for me to get paid what I’m worth, I need to be confident enough to negotiate my pay correctly.
As a freelancer, you will not only be negotiating your pay; you will negotiate for your workload and deadlines. Therefore, you have to learn to negotiate because you are offering an essential service. Think of it this way, the client would not have asked to work with you if they could do all the work themselves, and you need to receive the proper compensation for your skills.
A factor that boosts confidence is an outstanding quality of work. When you know your write-ups are well researched, not plagiarized, readable, and free of grammatical errors, you have leverage when negotiating with your clients.
Based on the company you are freelancing for, you will need to reach a consensus concerning the payment method. Ask questions such as ‘will you receive compensation on an hourly base?’ or “based on productivity?’. At the end of the day, you and your client should be able to settle on a situation that works for the parties involved.
Not Keeping To Deadlines and Following Instructions
Keeping to deadlines and following instructions is an essential part of your job as a freelancer. This helps your client know that you are a professional, and you can be trusted. Trust is critical in your working relationship with your client, and when you start delivering low quality work or not keeping to deadlines, the trust relationship becomes eroded.
One of the best ways to keep to deadlines is to have a schedule and dutifully follow it. Design your schedule around times when you are most productive. Do not take on more work than you can deliver, and set out time for contingencies just in case something unexpected comes up.
Also, when a client gives you a task and outlines instructions, take out the time to read through it carefully so that you can deliver on exactly the requirements. For example, if you were to insert a specific amount of links in an article or insert an anchor, make sure you do.
Mistakes are a normal part of life, but repeating the same mistake can affect your relationship with the client. Therefore, try and follow all instructions and deliver your work on time.
Not Using Tools
As a beginner freelancer, you have to make use of available tools to help you become more productive and increase the quality of your work. There are a lot of free and paid tools you can use to improve your efficiency. Some of the best tools out there that every freelancer should use include:
Grammarly, Ginger, and Hemingway – These apps correct grammar and spelling errors.
Copyscape, Plagiarism Checker, and Dustball – These tools help check for plagiarism.
Trello, Monday.com, and Google Sheets: These tools help with project management.
These are the three essential categories of tools you will need as a freelance writer; therefore, make sure you invest in them. An additional tool you can use is Online Writers Rating, which will help you find reviews about clients you might want to start a working relationship with.
There are other great tools available for you as a writer that is not listed here. These tools will significantly increase the quality of your work and make your life easier.
Not Choosing a Niche
This is a widespread mistake among beginner freelance writers. Choosing a niche is essential so that your business has a focus. Like everything in life, it is always best to cater to your strong suit. If, for example, you love news stories, it is best to focus on journalism writing.
Choosing a niche does not only assure that you produce better quality work, but you also do not have to spend so much time researching on topics you have no clue about. You, however, do not have to choose one exact niche, you can venture into other topics. If, for example, you love wrong about make/up, you can also write about skincare, hair, fashion trends, and so on.
Beginning as a freelance writer can be devastating if you do not have the right information. You will be taken advantage of, which can lead to frustration. Therefore, take advantage of communities of writers, and read blog posts for you to get the most out of this opportunity.
About the Author
Tiffany Porter has been working as a Chief Writer at Online Writers Rating reviewing a variety of writing services websites. She is a professional writing expert on such topics as digital marketing, blogging, and design. She also likes traveling and speaks German and French.