Becoming a freelance content writer is the dream for so many people. You can be your own boss, skip all the soul-destroying meetings and focus on delivering great work for your awesome clients. It’s not always quite as easy as that though, so we’ve come up with some top tips to help you make the most of the opportunities that freelance writing can bring.
Where to Pitch for Work
One of the main challenges, especially when you’re just starting out, is getting the work. There are lots of freelance content writers out there, not to mention content farms who are experts at hovering up work and using cheap foreign labour to undercut professional freelancers. This can lead to a race to the bottom in terms of prices on lots of freelance job boards, which means everyone loses out.
It can be dispiriting using websites like PeoplePerHour and UpWork while pitching for work but they’re also a potential source of long-term working relationships and are a superb place to start when building up a portfolio. Other places to check include Freelance Writing Jobs, Indeed and LinkedIn.
Networking is important as a freelancer, so you can find new clients in all kinds of places as well as through pitching for work and job boards. People may call out for freelance writers in a post on LinkedIn, while attending local business networking events can be a good way to make new connections that can lead to bigger things.
How to Stay Productive
Productivity is key for a freelancer. You may not have a boss standing over your shoulder making sure you’re working every minute between 9 and 5, but any time wasted is potentially costing you money or impacting your ability to hit deadlines for clients. Too much of this will cost you those clients and potentially even more money.
Finding the right time and place to work will help with this, as tempting as it might be to work from a coffee shop or the park every day, you may find that there are too many distractions. If the distractions take place on the internet, there are tools that you can use to maximise your productivity like nesto.cc, which uses the Pomodoro technique for time management.
Creativity Boosting Tips
But what happens if you take too much on and get burned out creatively? After all, you’re a person, not a content machine built to churn out endless blogs and press releases. If the quality of your work suffers, so will your income so here are some quick tips to boost your creativity and keep yourself fresh:
- Mix up your routine – As a freelancer, your day is your own, so if you find yourself in a slump, take advantage of your flexibility to change things up. You might find that it fires up your brain and gets you out of that slump.
- Be Inspired – Listening to music, reading, doing arts and crafts or even taking a class gives your brain the kind of nutrition it needs to be creative. Your clients will thank you for it.
- Take a break – If you’ve overloaded yourself, take a break, whether it’s going for a walk in the afternoon or actually taking some time off. It’s tempting as a freelancer to work as much as possible to bring to money in but learning when to say no to work and focus on your own wellbeing is crucial.
- Exercise – It’s great for your physical and mental health and being a freelancer means that you can go and get some exercise whenever you want. You may well find that going for a run actually helps your creativity while you are doing it as the change of scenery and pace gives your brain the chance to approach problems in a different way.
What to Do with Quiet Spells
We’ve talked about how to cope with TOO MUCH work but what about the opposite, when work dries up? It’s a scary time for freelancers when this happens and is why you need to always have a financial safety net to cover your bills.
But as long as you have this financial security, a quiet spell can be useful, not only to help you recharge (so don’t spend the whole time chasing up new work) but also to refocus, to explore new areas of business and to learn new skills. Of course, you need the work to pick up again, but a short spell of downtime can be a game changer for your freelance business.