I’m a freelance writer, and freelance writing can be a fantastic job. You get to work anywhere you want at any time. You can take on different styles of writing without sticking to an in-house style of writing. You can pursue traditional publications, academic, blogging; Biography’s or you can go way off to writing children’s books.
But freelancing is also a challenging job, and not for the faint of heart. Although my personal experience is specific to freelance writing, pretty much everything I’ve learned applies generally to business. What’s tough about freelancing isn’t so much about what you specifically do but about the ins and outs of freelancing itself.
Here are three key things you need to keep in mind if you’re thinking of embarking on a freelance career:
1. Demand Your Worth
Stay away from clients who want to pay less: You deserve clients who will pay you for your talents and expertise. If they want a good writer, they should be willing to pay for one. If you are new to the game and not sure what to charge, you owe it to yourself to make sure you’re being paid for what your time is really worth.
When I was starting out I calculated the time it would take me to get familiar with the subject times the amount of pages I was to write and came up with six figure sums. It scared some of my first clients but as I gained footing and executed my work at a professional level, the money I was worth came in.
2. Always sign Contracts
Whether the person you’re going to write for is your mother or best friend always ensure to put together a contract for each client you get. In the contract it would be better if you tailor make each of them according to your clients’ needs and your needs.
For instance in my contracts I always include how I expect to get paid, 40% before I start on the project to ensure that the client is committing themselves to me and the other percentages come in on work delivery. Never ever start on a project without getting your clients commitment because you’ll end up with wasted time when they reject your work at first viewing as opposed to making corrections according to what they don’t like.
Most people will tell you it’s wrong to insist on money before beginning a project and no client will accept that, but am telling you serious clients will always want to commit.
Learn to be your own best personal assistant, set a calendar for yourself that includes deadlines for everything currently on your plate, as well as midway points that give you an idea of what steps you should have taken.
For instance, if you’re writing a book, on what date should you have your final draft finished? By what date should the editing be complete? Cutting your projects up into doable action steps will make it easier to visualize your progress, and easier to keep all the balls in the air when you’re managing multiple projects.
Set daily routines for yourself, when you’re not following standard working hours. It can be all too easy to find yourself becoming one of those freelancer horror stories who don’t shower in days and forget to eat altogether because their trying to beat a deadline. It can also leave you feeling overwhelmed and overworked you’ll start hating your work.
Therefore structure your day like you would if you were reporting to a boss: When will your lunch break be? From when to when will you answer emails, and what periods will you set aside for invoicing and other administrative tasks? The freedom to work whenever, wherever you want can be too much of a good thing sometimes, so don’t let yourself become unmoored
4. Don’t forget that you’re running a Business
Many writers go into freelancing because they don’t enjoy working traditional jobs; they like the freedom and creativity freelancing gives them. And while freelancing is a lot more fulfilling than making copies or entering data, you can’t forget that you’re still running a business or you won’t have a business to run for very long.
In addition to wearing the “writers” hat, freelancers also need to be good at bookkeeping, marketing, customer service, project management, and a myriad of other duties. You can’t balk at chasing down clients that aren’t paying so you need to never ever hand in your work before receiving your last payment ever.
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