Being a freelance writer is all about freedom, right? Not exactly. While you have some degree of choice regarding the assignments you choose, you don’t always have access to the jobs you want. For instance, you might not be asked to write a press release if you don’t have the requisite background in press release writing.
This presents a difficult Catch-22. You can’t expand your horizons without the necessary experience, but nobody is willing to give you a chance to see what you can do. Now, clients want experienced writers, and with good reason. However, there are ways you can get around this dilemma, allowing you to bolster your credentials while making money.
Look Back to the Beginning
How did you get started as a freelance writer? If you’re like most people, you wrote for fun until you found someone to pay for your services. Eventually, your freelance portfolio became your go-to source for selling yourself. But at first, you used your short stories and college newspaper articles to get clients.
Getting into those hard-to-reach freelancing areas is much the same. There’s a difference between writing for fun and writing for pay, but you were once able to make the leap into paid freelancing. You can do the same for any area of writing that seems unapproachable.
Create a Sample
A lot of freelance writers have a problem writing anything for free. Unfortunately, if you want to expand your writing horizons, this is a necessary evil.
You wouldn’t hire a photographer if you couldn’t see his or her sample photos. So, then, why would a client hire you to write a white paper if they couldn’t see how you’d handle the task? Going the free route might be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s a mutually beneficial exercise. Not only do you have the ability to show clients what you can do, but you’ll work out the kinks of learning a new format in a stress-free environment. This will be a big-time help when you’re under the pressure of a deadline.
Don’t be Shy
Freelance writers are notoriously modest. They often downplay their accomplishments to a fault, which can leave clients underwhelmed. This is the exact wrong approach to take when trying to enter a new area of freelance writing.
Just because you didn’t get paid for a piece doesn’t mean you didn’t write it. If you knocked a white paper or press release out of the park, be sure to let clients know. Better yet, send them a link to your work so they can see it for themselves. After all, “I’m an experienced press release writer, and here’s a link to my latest,” sounds a lot better than “I’ve never written a press release, but I’ve read a lot of them.”
Breaking through the glass ceiling of freelance writing requires a little bit of creativity, a little bit of hard work, and a lot of confidence and perseverance. If you remember the things that got you in the front door, you’ll know exactly what you have to do to expand your palette. Once you’re in, you’ll become a more successful and lucrative freelance writer.
Bryan B is a freelance writer based in Long Island, NY. He likes fantasy football better than real football because it’s less painful than watching the New York Jets.