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It seems that today everyone and their dog is a writer. So many people have taken to freelance writing with the hopes of making it big or even just paying the bills. A number of digital nomads do writing as their gig, and for good reason – writing seems to be one of those things that can be bought and sold almost anywhere, for any topic, for any business. Have you thought about becoming a freelance writer? If so, this useful guide of five do’s and don’ts of freelance writing.
Do: Fine Tune Your Skill
You should always be looking to improve your writing, spelling and grammatical skills, even if they’re already good because there will come times that you are working on something for long periods and these skills can fade. Practice makes perfect.
Don’t: Sell Yourself Short
Just because a lot of people sell a 1000 word piece for $5 doesn’t mean you should too. Sure, perhaps in the beginning, but over time as your client base increases and you get higher quality clients, you will likely want to raise your prices to be more in line with what you actually should be getting as relevant to a piece based on length and topic.
Do: Understand That Freelancing Takes Time
Will you hit the big time overnight? Unlikely. Can you create an impression that nets you a return client overnight? Totally. Freelancing takes time. Getting your name out there doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen quickly if you offer a niche service, competitive prices and a great customer experience.
Don’t: Over Or Underestimate Yourself
This is easy to do in freelancing. You’re only human and might not be able to complete a huge project in the time that someone is asking for. Don’t be afraid to negotiate deadlines and price. If someone wants something that is going to require ten hour days, they should be paying extra for that level of service.
Do: Create A Realistic Timeframe For Each Project
Likewise, if you have too much on your plate or a lot of personal commitments, take this into consideration when you choose to take a project on or not. Not every project needs to be done by you, so remember this so you don’t stress yourself out.
Don’t: Say Yes To Every Project
It’s true. In the beginning it’s tempting to say yes to everything to make a name for yourself but it can actually be detrimental. You need to be happy with the projects you take on or you won’t do a good job. Not everyone is cut out to write about bathroom tiling or renovations. Pick and choose what to take on and then do a superb job on those projects.
Do: Look At What Others Are Doing
Is someone doing something specific that is netting them a lot of work or repeat customers? What are they doing that you aren’t? Consider taking what others are doing and adapting it to your specific situation to see how it works for you.
Don’t: Expect The World At Once
It’s true. Many go into freelancing expecting to make thousands of dollars per project and be able to quit their day jobs, but often this isn’t the case at all – especially in writing. Everyone thinks they’re they next Hunter S. Thompson or Stephen King, but many aren’t. That means writing is intensely competitive and can be difficult to really break into, so have patience.
Do: Create Contracts For Every Project
Nothing could be more important than remembering this aspect. If you work through a freelancing site like People-Per-Hour or Upwork, the website takes care of this for you. If you don’t, create a contract for every piece of work you undertake to ensure everyone knows what’s expected, what will be provided as well as payment terms.
Don’t: Work With Friends
Never mix business and friendship. Often the lines of professionalism get blurred and someone gets hurt, potentially damaging the relationship. Just don’t do it.
Hopefully this list of handy do’s and don’ts of freelance writing will help you decide whether this career path is for you or not. While it’s hard work, it can be really rewarding, so be sure to measure all the pros and cons before diving in fully.