The title says it all so there’s really no need for a lengthy introduction. Here are a few tips I hope will help a new writer or two:
1. Customer service and communication are every bit as important as your writing skills.
Let’s be real. A lot of freelancers are flakes. I’ve noticed that many clients would prefer to pay agency prices even when a freelancer could do the job just as well for a third of the cost, simply because they’ve had a bad experience with a freelancer.
If you get your foot in the door, consider it your #1 priority to wow them with your reliability, commitment, and service. If you do, I can almost guarantee the project will blossom into a partnership that provides you with a steady stream of work.
2. If you are charging your hourly rate from your old job, you’re charging too little.
First of all, self employment taxes are ridiculously high. Be sure to take that into account.
Second of all, your old job package consisted of much more than your salary. We’re talking things like health insurance, paid time off, retirement benefits, disability, life insurance, equipment, utilities, and (most important) coffee. Comparing your salary then to your income now is not an apples-to-apples comparison.
3. If you’re not on LinkedIn, get on there. Now.
Seriously, finish reading this post later. Skedaddle!
. . . Well, now that you’re back, I will tell you that LinkedIn is an absolutely fantastic tool for marketing all things B2B. Freelance content and copy writers should spend much more time on LinkedIn than on Facebook or Twitter since that’s where their target audience is tuned in.
4. Save a substantial emergency fund and cut unnecessary expenses.
This will not only give you peace of mind, it will make you less likely to feel the need to say yes to every project that comes along. As a beginning freelancer, you might be wondering, “why would I ever want to turn down work?!” But trust me. There are times when your gut will tell you that a job goes against your goals as a freelancer. It might be a crazy schedule, an abrasive personality, or a red flag hinting at financial instability. Whatever the reason for that feeling, you want to feel free to follow it. If you don’t, nine times out of 10 you’ll end up enduring a period of misery.
Also, if you feel like you need to say yes to everything, you will be so overworked you won’t be able to provide your best possible work — and that should always be your goal.
5. Understand your true value.
I used to be so nervous every time I had to speak with a prospective client. Then one day it hit me: I am offering something of immense value. This is not just an opportunity for me, it is an opportunity for them.
To provide a company with skills, knowledge, experience, dedication, and a genuine desire to do a great job all without having to hire a full-time employee is huge. They can utilize your talents and pay only for the number of hours you work for them. And they don’t have to pay for benefits, insurance, and all the other stuff that goes along with full-time employment.
Realizing this has made me feel much more confident when meeting with new clients and more comfortable with the uncertainty that comes with freelancing. If you’re finding that your confidence can be a little shaky, take some time to write down all the benefits of working with you. I bet you’ll be surprised at just how strong they are.
Best of luck!!
PS – Are you a new freelancer? What challenges and successes have you experienced?
Been freelancing for a while? What tips would you have for a new freelancer?