It’s tough for freelance writers to make a go ofit. In the current market, their skills are largely undervalued and they are therefore frequentlyunderpaid. To counter that trend, here are some tips freelance writers should keep in mind to start earning more.
1. Write where you’ll be noticed
A lot of sites will ask you to write for free in exchange for “exposure.” Most of the time, it’s a website that isn’t even read by that many people. If it did reach a wide audience, they would probably be offering something to its freelance writers. But some outletsare worth working for reduced rates because of the attention it will bring to your work and the samples that come out of it that you can include in future job pitches.
Know how to spot the difference between places that are exploiting you and places that are giving you a spot to shine by looking at their social media followings and reading up about the outlets online.
2. Write faster
Most new freelance writers spend way more time oneacharticle or project than they need to in order to deliver a quality article. Researching is avery common form of procrastination. After awhile, you have enough information to start writing. Learning to stop delaying the actual writing process is key to your success.
Stop overthinking things and just lay it allon the page. Your work may even end up better for the spontaneity. Even if you’re not happy with the initial results you can always, and should always, revise it later.
3. Offer expertise
If you’re writing about a broad, general subject,you probably aren’t making much for your efforts. The most successful freelance writers specialize in certainnichesand industries. Because of the specific expertise they offer their clients, they are able tocommand much higher rates. If you’re not an expert in topics that are in-demand for freelance writing jobs, go ahead and learn some.
I highly recommend Lynda, awebsite chock-full ofvideo tutorials where you can learn about a bunch of different, marketable subjects for a prettylow monthly fee.
4. Know when to charge hourly and when to charge a flat rate
Common convention calls for freelance writers to charge a flat rate for their work. This makes a lot of sense. You should price your services based on the value you offer your clients, not the amount of time you put in. You also wouldn’t want to punish your client when you have an unproductive writing day, nor should you punish yourself when you’re ableto finishyour workefficiently.
However, there are some cases where an hourly rate might be worth bringing up, like if someone is insisting that you do a lot of work for little pay. If a potential client is demanding that you write 2000 words for $10 (which would equate to a pitiful 0.5 cents per word) explain to them how little they’re offering you per hour so they understand that they’re not offering a fair wage.
5. Keep hunting
A lot of people (like me), really, really hate applying to jobs. Freelance writers have it easier than people applying foran on-location jobs because usually their applications only require a brief introduction and some samples. Still, the processgets old fast. But, even though I’m already working full-time, I’m still looking on the job boards for freelance writers because I want to continue to find higher-paying and more fulfilling work.
You shoulddo the same. One way to save time is to have a template for your introductions, revising just a few things each time to make them feel personalized. You can also keep a handy document (or better yet, a web page on your online portfolio) where your best clips are stored so that you can quickly plug them into anew application.
With tips like this, you can make the application process less painful and keep vying for opportunities to progress furtherin your career and earn increasingly more money as a freelance writer.
Featured photo credit: Home office/David Martyn Hunt via flickr.com