Freelance writing sounds like a great job; not only do you get to do what you love (write) you also get to set your own hours and work in your pajamas. While freelance writing can be an excellent career choice, there are pitfalls to avoid. Unlike a regular job, where a small mistake probably won’t result in a career ending incident, freelance writers can quickly develop a bad reputation that makes clients hesitant to hire them.
Consider the following when starting your freelance writing career:
Asking for too much at the beginning of your career is like going to a job interview right out of college and demanding to be paid the same amount as someone with 10 years of experience.
Yet this happens all too often in the freelance writing world when new writers try to charge as much as experienced ones. At the beginning of your career, the only thing you have to offer is a low price because you have no portfolio that shows the quality of your work. Encourage customers to take a chance on your writing skills by offering them a reduced price in exchange.
Doing too much
When you aren’t making much at the beginning of your career, it is tempting to take on every gig that comes your way in an effort to maximize your profits. Don’t fall into this trap though; more gigs mean more money, but they also mean more time investment. There are two options when your time commitment increases due to an abundance of gigs: miss deadlines or work more hours. Neither of these are good career moves. Missing deadlines tells clients that you are poor at time management and don’t take them seriously, while working more hours causes a decrease in your writing quality.
Remember that time in college when you stayed up all night to write a paper just good enough to pass the class? It’s the same when freelance writing: staying up all night working leads to a poor writing and unlike college, customers wont accept “C” work.
Many of your clients come from the corporate world, so make sure to treat them that way. A CEO wouldn’t call a customer “dude” or “man” and neither should you. Use proper grammar and make sure to refer to your clients by their proper names. Never use casual speech in your correspondence, even if your client wants articles written in the common vernacular; let your portfolio show your creativity.
Not starting with what you know
It can be difficult to get back into the swing of writing, especially if it has been a while since you were in college. In order to sharpen your skills, try to write about subjects you are knowledgeable about. This will ensure quality work and develop a “writer’s” mindset.