Tips for Beginner Freelance Writers

by WorkFromHome on March 30, 2011

Freelance writing can be a rewarding way to supplement your income while interacting with a variety of different clients. There are many freelance writers who are able to do so on a full-time basis, but to get to that level of steady income, those writers followed stringent schedules and wrote diligently. Working as a freelance writer typically means signing up with a website, or several websites, that broker freelance writing assignments between clients and writers, or one that connects writers to clients and allows them to negotiate accordingly. Regardless of the fine print, the tips that will allow you to become a successful freelance writer remain consistent.

Write The Best

Even if you consider an assignment to be low paying you should always provide high quality writing. You always have the choice to turn down an assignment. After all, that is the upside of freelancing instead of being employed full time as a writer. If you take on an assignment, though, then you have agreed to provide your services for the price specified. You can, and should, negotiate if the pricing is truly too low, but even if you are unable to do so, remember that one assignment may lead to another. If a client likes what you provide to them, then you may be able to negotiate a higher rate on future assignments.

Check and Check Again

Even though you may find yourself under tight deadlines while writing different assignments, proofreading is an essential part of your success as a freelance writer. While your word processing program likely has a spell check function included, it will be unable to distinguish words that are spelled correctly, but are not the right word, such as “their” instead of “there.” Checking for formatting is also important, as your client will want to simply import your writing into his or her brochure, website or blog without going through it to underline, italicize or bold the appropriate headings.

Learn Basic HTML

You do not need to know how to write your own code, but knowing basic HTML coding, such as how to italicize or bold words using basic HTML will be an invaluable skill set. Many clients will want to receive your writing already in this format so that it is easy to copy and paste right into their website or their blog without having to do the formatting themselves. Remember, they are paying you to do the ghost writing so that they can save the time and aggravation of doing so themselves.

Client Communication Matters

Just like the old sales adage “the customer is always right,” says, the client is always right. This means that you need to respect the guidelines that the client is asking for, regardless of whether they make sense to you. Remember, you may not understand why they do not want you to use a certain word or mention a specific brand, but your article is just one small piece of their overall business strategy.

Communicating with your client in general is very important. Beyond respecting their parameters you also need to make certain that you have a clear understanding of the different keywords, points and other aspects of the project that you are working on before you begin working on it. Try to ask all of your questions at once though, as sending them several e-mails, each containing a single question, will annoy even the most patient client. Most importantly, if a deadline proves to be unrealistic because you need more time to research a topic or for another reason, you will need to communicate that to the client as soon as possible so that they can plan accordingly.

When the job is done, if you enjoyed working with the client, then you can say so. Often, it only takes an invitation from the writer to forward future requests for articles, blog posts or other writing projects to inspire a client to do so instead of going through the same general posting process by which he found you in the first place.

Full-Time Means Full-Time

Writing freelance can be extremely profitable, and it is hard to argue with a profession that allows you to work from home in sweatpants! Remember, though, that to make a full-time salary, you will have to work full-time hours, if not more, depending on how much time you find you have to spend finding assignments and communicating with clients on current assignments. Avoiding home-based distracting can also be a challenge that adds time to your workday.

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