If you’re a freelance writer, you know that navigating through the freelance world can feel like an uphill battle.
With a seemingly endless number of potential clients, projects, and platforms to choose from, figuring out the secrets to success in the freelance writing space can be overwhelming.
But fear not, fellow writer! Today, I’m here to give you 25 tips on how to succeed in the freelance writing space without losing your mind.
1. Find your niche
The first and most important way to find long-term success as a freelance writer is to find your niche. Generally, it’s easier to excel in one or two niches than be a jack of all trades.
A niche allows you to build expertise and often results in higher-quality work, high-quality clients, and higher pay.
If you’re just starting out, take time to research various niches, identify your interests and strengths, then invest your time and effort in becoming an expert in that domain.
2. Have your minimum rate and stick with it
You’ll never do well in freelance writing if you accept any rate just so you can have work flowing.
Know your worth and set a minimum rate that highlights your skills and experience. To help you set your rates accordingly, research industry standards and evaluate your level of expertise.
Through this journey, I’ve learnt that when you stick with your minimum rate, it signals your value proposition as a professional freelance writer and attracts even better clients. That’s how I managed to maintain valuable clients and replaced my full-time income with freelance writing.
3. Set achievable goals
Setting goals helps to keep you focused, and gives you a sense of direction in your freelance career.
Consider setting both short-term and long-term goals in terms of income, number of clients, workload, and any personal growth targets.
For instance, you can set to write at least 3000 words daily and learn a new skill every three months. Regularly review and adjust these goals to stay on track and ensure continuous development.
4. Look for new clients every day
Building a diverse clientele base will help you achieve long-term financial stability. Always be on the lookout for new clients, while evaluating potential pay hikes with existing ones.
As you gain more experience and enhance your portfolio, raise your rates to reflect your improved skill set. Remember, the more value you offer as a freelancer, the more you deserve to be compensated.
5. Diversify your job search
Related to my previous point, avoid relying on a single platform for jobs. Relying on one platform can be disheartening if you’re not seeing results.
Diversify your job search by mixing various methods like:
- Cold pitching
- Social media
- Job boards, e.g., Problogger, BloggingPro, and Craigslist
- Content mills e.g., Upwork and Fivver
Read more from this post I wrote about 50 places to find paid freelance writing jobs.
Also, never at any time rely entirely on one client for work. What will you do if they wake up one day and end your contract without notice? Or what if their business collapses? You also collapse with them, right? Case closed!
6. Avoid toxic clients
Beware that there are all sorts of clients in the freelance writing space. And it’s always best to stay away from the topic ones for sake of your mental sanity.
How can you tell a toxic client?
- They try to coarse you to accept very low rates
- They always delay your payments
- They don’t pay the rates you agreed on
- They make unreasonable demands
- They expect you to do too much in a short timeline
- They don’t give clever instructions upfront and nag after you’ve completed the work
Toxic clients can leech on your mental well-being and hamper your productivity. Always be keen to recognize a toxic work relationship and walk away as early as possible.
I’ve fired a few bad clients and felt a huge relief afterward!
7. Master the art of pitching
To be a successful freelancer, you must know how to propose your writing services to potential clients.
Take time to learn how to craft a personalized proposal or pitch that demonstrates your unique value proposition. Both cold and warm pitching can help you secure lucrative writing opportunities.
A high-quality pitch increases your likelihood of landing a client, whereas a poorly structured or generic one may yield no results.
8. Keep honing your skills
Your writing skills are the foundation of your freelance writing business. Regularly seek ways to improve and diversify your skills by reading widely, taking courses, and participating in workshops.
However, writing skills alone are not enough. You can make yourself more valuable by learning complementary skills such as:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Web/graphic design
- Content marketing
- Social media
- Content strategy
There are several free and paid online courses on sites like HubSpot, SemRush, and Udemy you can take. Some of them even offer certifications that you can showcase to potential clients.
With these skills at hand, you can offer service packages to clients and command even higher pay.
9. Learn how to manage your time
One of the biggest challenges in freelancing is time management. You often juggle multiple tasks and projects, and knowing how to prioritize them effectively is critical for success.
To improve your productivity, leverage tools like calendars, scheduling apps, and time-tracking software to monitor deadlines and allocate time for various tasks.
Once you know how to manage your time, you can plan yourself well to deliver consistent, high-quality work while honoring clients’ timelines.
10. Network, network, network!
It’s essential to build relationships with other writers, editors, and professionals in your niche. Occasionally, create time to attend networking events, join online communities, and engage in conversations with people in your field.
Social sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Quora have great networking communities for freelance writers.
Networking not only exposes you to potential clients but also helps you learn from others. You can gather recommendations and stay updated with industry news, all to your advantage.
11. Develop a routine
Freelancers often have the freedom to set their own schedules, but this can often lead to procrastination or burnout.
You may find yourself doing too much or too little. You may even find trouble maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
To be on the safe side, establish a schedule or routine that works for you by allocating time for research, writing, pitching, and personal development.
Don’t forget to allocate time for breaks and rest.
A routine will help you set boundaries with clients, as they will know your availability and when to expect responses from you.
12. Learn to be professional and organized
As a freelance writer, you are essentially running your own business. Adopt professionalism in how you communicate with clients, from your email correspondence to invoicing.
Use organization tools and software to organize your workflows, deadlines, pitches, and invoices. This will make your freelance life easier and help improve your productivity.
Examples of tools I use for a more professional work approach include:
- Google Calendar: To schedule tasks
- Google Chat: To communicate with clients during the project
- Trello: To organize and prioritize tasks
- Buffer: To schedule social media posts
- Zoho invoice: To send professional invoices
13. Build a professional online presence
A strong online presence will act as a shopping window for potential clients. As a writer, strive to create a professional writer’s website that showcases your portfolio, provides information about your services, and includes client testimonials.
Maintaining a presence on relevant social media platforms and engaging your audience can help attract new clients and establish your credibility.
14. Learn effective marketing skills
Marketing yourself is crucial for a successful freelancing career. Invest time in learning how to market yourself through techniques such as inbound marketing and social media.
These skills will help you promote your services, generate leads, and establish a wide client base.
Keep in mind that marketing is an ongoing process— continually try new tactics and refine existing strategies to attract new clients and keep your pipeline flowing.
15. Pursue long-term client relationships
As a freelance writer, maintaining long-term relationships with your clients can bring countless benefits. These include steady workflow and better payments.
To achieve this, ensure your communication is clear, timely, and professional. Honor deadlines and always deliver high-quality work.
Being reliable and consistent in your performance will build your clients’ trust and increase your chances of long-term partnerships.
16. Treat each client individually
Every client is different, with unique needs, demands, and expectations. To be a successful freelance writer, you should strive to understand each client’s specific requirements and adapt your writing as needed.
By doing so, you’ll not only meet their expectations but also gain referrals and more clients in the long run.
17. Use productivity tools
As a freelance writer, staying organized is essential to increase productivity and manage your workload.
Fortunately, technology has made it such that you don’t need to do everything manually. Tools like Grammarly, Surfer, and time management apps help to improve your work quality and maintain efficiency.
18. Always refine and deliver top-quality work
A core aspect of being a successful freelance writer is refining your editing skills. Before submitting work to clients, learn to edit ruthlessly to eliminate errors and identify areas for improvement.
This will ultimately lead to higher-quality work that meets or exceeds your clients’ expectations, thus enhancing your reputation in the industry.
19. Gather testimonials
One of the best ways to market yourself as a freelance writer is through testimonials from satisfied clients.
For every successfully completed project, make a point to gather testimonials from the client and showcase them on your website or portfolio.
This will act as social proof and increase your credibility in the eyes of potential clients.
20. Learn to manage multiple clients effectively
Since you’re running a whole business on your own, you must learn how to manage multiple clients without losing your mind.
As mentioned, every client comes with their own needs and expectations, and you can’t discriminate.
You must learn how to organize your work such that all your clients are satisfied and you remain sane. If it gets too much to handle, you may want to start delegating or outsourcing other tasks (e.g., editing).
21. Think long-term
Starting your freelance journey with long-term goals in mind will streamline the decisions you make along the way.
If you’re in it for the long term, set specific, long-term goals instead of aiming for temporary, overnight success. This might include taking a course every few months to improve your writing skills, sending cold emails every day, and updating your portfolio over time.
22. Don’t be overwhelmed by success stories
The internet is brimming with success stories of freelancers earning six figures and living the good life working remotely.
While these accounts are inspiring, they can also be overwhelming and demotivating if you’re not there yet.
It’s crucial to remember that everyone starts from zero. So, stay focused on your journey and learn from successful freelancers. Don’t hold a pity party for yourself– you’ll also have a success story to share someday.
23. Stay consistent
Like any profession, freelance writing requires consistency—be it in writing, or marketing your writing services.
Set aside specific hours each day to work on:
- Acquiring new clients
- Honing your writing skills
- Exploring new writing opportunities
- Updating your portfolio
- Networking with fellow writers
- Updating your blog and social profiles
Consistency is the secret ingredient that will help you maintain credibility and find success in the long run.
24. Be patient and resilient
Always remember that success in the freelance writing space doesn’t happen overnight. You will certainly face numerous challenges, rejections, and setbacks throughout your career.
It’s crucial to remain patient and resilient in the face of these obstacles. Adopt a growth mindset and continually strive to improve your skills. Eventually, you’ll also become a success story.
25. Watch your mental health
Finally, don’t forget to watch your mental health, especially if you work from home.
Staying indoors all day, every day can take a toll on your mental health. If you have a lot on your plate, take occasional breaks and give yourself some love.
Spare time to exercise, socialize with friends, meet with family, go outdoors and unwind after a long week of grinding. This will keep your energy in check and help you not to fall into the dreaded burnout zone!
Start Learning Right Away
Being in the freelance writing space has given me the freedom to live the kind of life I desired. And you can do it too.
Once you set up your mind on what you want and set clear goals, nothing can stop you. All you need to do is start learning the necessary skills to catch high-value clients who will pay you for your skills.
There’s a lot of free information online that you can read and learn from. However, if you need step-by-step guidance from me, simply enroll in my exclusive freelance writing course and start learning your way to your life goals.
Stay focused, patient, and persistent, and you’ll see success coming your way.