When you started this freelance writing endeavor with just an idea in mind and a good grasp of grammar in your pocket, you likely worked for peanuts—less than peanuts. It’s entirely possible that you started this career making a penny per word—rates that make peanuts look like the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. You’ve been doing this for awhile now though, and the days of penny-words and peanut-mongering are hopefully behind you. It’s beginning to look a lot like a lucrative career. But how did you go from writing press releases for pennies to making upwards of $50 an hour?
Network, Network, Network
Not enough can be said about networking with your peers. Become a regular in the forums of your favorite writing platforms and watch your earnings rise accordingly. It’s in the forums that you’ll find out about all the other places writers write. Use your social networks to communicate with your fellow writers, post your work and share samples of theirs. You may only have 75 Facebook friends, but that writing peer that you friended has 2,000. If he shares your work, your popularity could soar overnight. Take advantage of all the free social networks that are available to spread samples of your work far and wide:
These are the fab four that can help launch your writing career overnight. Market yourself with a professional headshot, samples of your work and that all-important contact information that can bring customers right to your door.
Fill Those Easter Baskets
It may be the most overused metaphor in freelance writing, but keeping all your eggs in one or two baskets is a recipe for disaster. Algorithms change, sites go down, and if your entire income rests on the shaky legs of a single writing platform, you could be just a hair’s breadth away from financial disaster at any given moment. Scour those writing forums for the places other people are making money and then sign yourself up. If you’re Googling for new places to write, avoid searching phrases like “where to write online” and opt instead for phrases like “where to hire a freelance writer.” Approaching the problem from the perspective of client instead of content producer may yield interesting, previously undiscovered, territory.
Set Daily Goals
Decide how much money you need to earn per week, per day, per hour to accomplish your goals, and then over-project. A huge mistake that many new writers make is setting their goals just high enough to survive. The game isn’t about survival, it’s about developing a career that’s lucrative. If you’re only earning enough each month to pay the necessities, you’ll soon tire of depriving yourself and your family. You might go so far as to seek out…gulp…a 9-to-5 job. And nobody wants that.
Forego Writing Press Releases
They may be comfortable old friends, but unless they’re willing to pay your current rate, you may have to let old habits go. You’re moving into the big time now. Your experience, your knowledge—all that has grown. You deserve to earn those premium rates. Don’t settle for anything less.
Anne G is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.