5 Ways To Set Yourself Up For Success as a Freelance Writer

success as a freelance writer

Sure, the title of ‘Freelance Writer’ on your email signature makes you feel good. Your friends and family are patting you on the back for taking the leap into freelancing. You can stick your chest out, push your shoulders back and walk with confidence because you call the shots of your business. But, with that said, it is also important to have the right tools and a positive mindset to set you up for continuous success as a freelance writer.

While the freelancing world can be fulfilling, there will also be times when things get stressful and you will be the only person pushing yourself to keep going. As attractive as the thought of being your own boss might be, it won’t always be easy. While your wins will be 100% yours, when challenges arise—and they will—the weight of them will fall on your shoulders alone. The good news? You can proactively combat those challenges early, and set yourself up for success as a freelance writer.

1. Get in the Right Mindset

Before I get into the more physical or tactile ways you can set yourself up for success as a freelance writer, it’s important to remember that your mindset is the ultimate key that will either help you open new doors or stop you from moving forward. Adopting the right mindset early on will help you in myriad ways down the road. It will be your tough and positive mentality that transforms a rejection into a learning experience, or a bad client encounter into a healthy client relationship. When you’re a freelance writer, you are in control and you must be mentally equipped for the job. 

2. Prepare Yourself

Okay so you’re a writer—whether formally trained or not—chances are you didn’t go to business school (if you did, feel free to skip this section), and you may not be fully versed in what it means to be your own boss and run your own business. Like, how do you find clients? How much should you be charging your clients? When do you send invoices? How do you market yourself?

You see, there’s a lot more to being a freelance writer than just writing. Preparing yourself ahead of time by creating a business plan or knowing the answers to the questions above will help immensely.

These resources can help:

3. Invest in The Right Tools

Living and working as a freelance writer in the 21st century means that most of the work you do will be written on a laptop or desktop, conducted online and over email and even in your pajamas if you so choose. That said, you still need to operate like a business, which means there are actual business tools—aside, of course, from a reliable internet provider, functioning computer and professional email address—that you need in order to set yourself up for success as a freelance writer.

Physical and Tactile Tools:

  • While a home office or rented space isn’t fundamentally required of you (remember, you’re totally allowed to work from your bed when you’re your own boss!), it is important to have a dedicated writing/work space that you can call your own—ideally somewhere that has good coffee and fast Wi-Fi.
  • Always keep a notebook and pen handy. You never know when a client might call or where you might be when you get your next great idea.
  • The usual office tools such as a calculator, highlighter, stickies, calendar and the like are the “usual office tools” for a reason. You will need them.
  • Speaking of calendars, it’s important to have one dedicated to your freelance writing business. I highly recommend that you use a calendar to post a schedule in your dedicated workspace. This will help keep you on track and ensure you never miss a deadline.

Online Tools:

  • One of your biggest assets that you should invest in right off the bat is your online writing portfolio. Your online portfolio can serve as your resume, a way to market yourself, a place to show off your skills, and more.
  • Because even writers make grammar and spelling mistakes, Grammarly will always have your back.
  • When it comes time to get paid, Freshbooks can help you easily create invoices, track your client projects and simplify tax season.
  • Of course, none of this matters if you don’t actually have any clients. Job boards such as our own take all of the hard work out of the hunt.

4. Find a Helpful Mentor

No man or woman is an island. Whether you are a new or seasoned writer, surrounding yourself with people that are at the level of success you want to reach always helps. If you have someone in mind, try reaching out with an email and don’t forget to offer them something in return. Maybe you can write blog posts for their website, or help with them with their outreach. The relationship should be mutually beneficial.

Alternatively, you can always sign up for online mentorship, and kickstart your career that way. 

5. Join Your Local Writers Guild

I recently joined a Writers Guild in my area and have since been invited to multiple networking events. If you have to pay fees to join, it will be well worth it and depending on your accounting situation you can usually write off the fee when tax season comes. As a member of a writers guild, you will without a doubt find inspiration, have a chance to network and potentially even meet your next client.

At the end of the day, remember that what you are doing is both brave and admirable. To be your own boss is rewarding in ways you can’t imagine. While it may take a while to get there, following the tips above will only help set you up for success as a freelance writer.

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