Today is the first day of the rest of your life

Simply stated a freelance writer is one who gets paid to write content for an employer who hires them.  This is an obvious give and take between two parties.  However, a freelance writer has the distinction of working for someone or not.  Unlike a journalist working for a single employer the freelancer can sometimes work for a single client or even a selected list of regular clients.  The freelancer can be the master of their own fate often searching for better and more challenging work.  This work is constantly changing as the needs of companies change.  The real challenge for the freelancer is to keep themselves fresh and informed.

The lists of employers and potential jobs are many

The key to success can be as simple as finding the right mate.  Unfortunately for some this may prove to be much harder than for others.  Most freelancers acquire a particular style of writing.  For all the beginners this can be your ultimate challenge to identify that style.  Once established you will begin searching for assignments that best emphasize your talents.  It is more than likely when first starting out, that you might take jobs which don’t exactly suit your skills.  These may be the only ones that are being offered to you.  Being too selective at the start of your writing career is not something I would recommend.  However, email writing is a skill that can be learned quite easily and may prove to be the easiest way to finding steady and reliable income.  I will go into great detail about this opportunity in Chapter 5.

Your portfolio

You will build a portfolio of writing samples.  The more work you take on the faster a collection of appropriate samples will accumulate.  By choosing those samples that allow you to apply for the assignments you really want, you will be establishing your style and preferences.  This should also be building a portfolio that now fits your talents and comfort zone.  Do not undersell yourself.  There will be a number of employers out there looking to underpay new comers.  Let your quantity and quality of samples speak for themselves.  The amount of your earnings will be reflective of your portfolio.  Always keep updating your samples with those efforts that utilize your unique and diverse talents.

Some of the most common writing jobs:

1) Website Content

2) Advertising  /  Company Newsletters /  B2B emails

3) Product Manuals

4) Travel Brochures

5) Social Media

6) Blogging

7) Newspaper / Magazine Articles

8) Short Stories

9) Technical / Scientific / Medical Research Projects

10) Artsy / Poetic / Fantasy

As the jobs pile up so your portfolio grows.  As the months go by, you might find that each day can be very different than the last.  Deadlines and work loads will mostly be determined by your effort.  The faster you hone your craft the more likely your income will become predictable.

Job breakdown

Most jobs will likely start with an outline.  While some assignments will require much research others possibly little or none at all.  There will be multiple variations from clientele on things like the number of drafts and edits submitted.  The key is paying close attention to the job description and details of your employer.

Typical cycle:

1) Outline

2) Project planing (which may include multi-tasking)

3) Research (source verifications/quoting potentials)

4) Drafts (early/late/final)

5) Completion and delivery of work

6) Invoicing (may include past-due collections)

7) Updating portfolio (may include resume updating)

8) Searching for new assignments/clients

9) Job pitches/submitting resume/samples

10) Updating personal website/blogging

11) Accounting file maintenance

12) Tax payments (1040ES) paid quarterly

This cycle may seem overwhelming at times, but it is absolutely critical to keep your business progressing and your income flowing.  If you neglect any of the cycle needs you’re bound to fall behind.  If you have a full-time job and only freelance part-time it is even more important to keep this cycle intact.  However, when you choose to be a full-time freelancer, you need to be prepared for a financially challenged beginning.  Until you master a self-sufficient working cycle, you should be keeping a close watch on your financial obligations.

Frozen by the pandemic

Remember this, while we sit at home contemplating our next move, others have already decided to take a shot at becoming a freelance copywriter.  There is no better time to start than now.  The job boards are full of corporate email and copy writing opportunities and new writers are emerging daily.  Let’s face it, being paid handsomely for writing persuasive content is not rocket science.  That means most of you can do this.

You just need to undo your pent up anxiety that is self created.  This skill is in demand right now, and you are the right person to fill these assignments.  Subscribe to email lists of companies you would like to write for and make sure to read all the emails you receive.  Reach out to that first potential client and once you’ve done it, regardless of the outcome, your confidence will carry you forward.

Build your own website

To promote yourself, you must find a way to keep your writing in the limelight.  To really establish strong client relationships’ you need to have a website.  Your own domain name equals your own brand.  A traffic producing website can yield extraordinary success.   The more relevant your traffic the more likely the success.  Regular blogging on your website keeps your talents in the spotlight and will prove to be the best source of expanding your client base.

You might think this is harder than it actually is.  Stay the course and keep updating your portfolio with your distinct writing style and expertise.  Just use your mind’s eye as you’ve been doing your entire writing career and follow your favorite topics, experiences and assignments.  All a client wants to know is that you are in tune with your passions and talents.  Your samples should always confirm this much.  Make sure that you are including those writing samples that you are proudest of and mean the most to you.  Remember this is your opportunity to shine.  Your web pages can and should show even more diversity.

Your education

Your portfolio can often be a complete reflection of your education.  Often writers take to those subjects that they excelled in during their school studies.   A political science major may excel in that very field of their writing projects.  On the other hand, a history buff may be at his best researching the past.  If your passions came from your education then they should be presented in your writings as well.  A 200-500 word blog, about your education leading to your love of physics, would help sell your talents on that subject.  This will also attract likewise clientele.

Beginners can go to free sites like “LinkedIn” and read the resumes and emails placed by writers.  Here you can get ideas and key words that gain attention and results.  You can establish your own account and email requests for work from this venue after building a resume that gets noticed.  In Chapter 3 I will give you plenty of information to help you build this resume.

Time qualifies your style

All of your writing efforts will lead to a writing style over time.  Both the creation and refining of that style are important.  Always be fine tuning your writing to embody the qualities that make it captivating and unique.  Remember, you should be coming from a place of comfort.  The greatest writers typically reflect what they know best.  Inspiration can come from your own life’s journey.  This can be from those individuals or moments that remain etched in one’s memory.  Your edification will come from within.  We all have special and private associations to people, things and events.

Be cognizant of your experiences and how they make your observations, unique.  Worthy writing uses all of the senses in describing an event.  You’re not necessarily creating an esoteric view; but,  at the same time you are leading your reader into the vision you’ve created.  When you focus on elevating your readers’ senses you can evoke their experience in your own unique way.

Detailed writing

Details are and always will be the writers greatest assets.  The more descriptive the purer the vision appears.  “The hesitation in his answer”………”the abrupt turn of their laughter into complete silence”……….”the sting of sweat in his eyes”.  These examples all leave a clear picture in the reader’s mind.

Create memorable characters, events or fantasies.  Don’t ever be afraid to push the boundaries.  There is nothing more powerful or satisfying than appreciating your own words.  In the last decade, more and more fiction writers have emerged.  Many bloggers today are part of a tremendous “Flash Fiction” movement.  If you have any prowess in fiction writing you will be a desired prospect.

Searching for your truth

Always be searching for your truth.  What makes you stand out.  What it is about you that makes you different.  There are hundreds of reasons why writing can attract attention to an otherwise stagnant or fading idea.  Those writers who can cultivate the reasons are always in demand.

Just allow yourself to grow and evolve.  As you generate technique and originality you will capture more reader, which in turn will attract more employers.  Avoid circumlocution.  (word of the day)

Don’t know the meaning?  Look it up!