Tips For Succeeding As A Self-Employed Writer
All the big wigs on the Forbes lists have one thing in common: they are self-employed. The same goes for the richest, most successful writers. They all:
- Live on their terms
- Have no bosses
- Work with flexible schedules
- Work from the comfort of their homes or hotel rooms
- Choose the kind of projects they want to be involved in. They have the liberty to turn down jobs.
- Explore the possibilities of expanding their earning potentials and profit margins.
The list of advantages can go on and on. It is for this reason that most people aspire to monetize their writing talents.
However, succeeding as a self-employed writer requires a lot of skill, grit and hard work. To be honest, it isn’t a walk in the park. It definitely isn’t a pursuit for the faint-hearted. If you have decided that you want to live a life free of tyrannous bosses and inflexible schedules and that you want to accomplish this by writing full-time, you are reading the right piece.
In this article, I’ll share my top 5 practical tips. The tips here have helped most freelance writers to keep their heads above water. If you want to learn how to be self-employed particularly in the field of writing, employ the following tricks and tips.
- Become An Indispensable Copywriter
Most writers start out as prose fiction, poetry and.or play writers. This explains why they expect to make millions of dollars from publishing contracts and book deals. They want to be like Chimamanda Adichie or Wole Soyinka. But even with all their fame and accolades, Adichie and Soyinka do other types of writing (e.g speech writing and academic writing) and they have other sources of income (e.g. teaching, public speaking and so on.)
While you’re waiting for your big break in the publishing industry, perhaps you should explore the limitless opportunities in copywriting. Hundreds of thousands of businesses are creating an online presence for their brands. They need lots of lots of content to attract the right audience and to sell their products. This is where copywriters come in. Copywriting and blog writing often involve a great deal of storytelling as well, so you can enjoy yourself while earning lots of dollars.
So here’s how you can get copywriting jobs as a self-employed writer:
- Set up a LinkedIn page and promote your skills and expertise.
- Join a freelancer hiring platform online (Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and PPH are good examples)
- Read online job listings
- Create an online portfolio on other social media pages.
- Build a professional website and advertise your services.
- Don’t Be A Jack Of All Trades. Stick To One Or Two Niches.
The highest paying clients often seek out niche writers. For instance, travel tour companies hire mostly travel writers. Culinary and wine companies seek the services of food and drink writers. Pharmaceutical companies also prefer to hire professional health writers.
To make a lot of money, you have to pick one or two niches and build your portfolio in that area of writing. This will increase your chances of earning between $75 – $125 per hour. I’m not kidding.
You can also stick to jobs designed for generalists, especially if you feel confident of your abilities to write on topics that require little or no research. The disadvantage is that you’ll have a lot of competition and you won’t make as much money as the niche writers do.
To become a niche writer, read various niche-focused essays and blog articles. Subscribe to podcasts where experts discuss the kind of topics and theories you like to explore in your writing.
3. Come out of your closet. Increase your online presence.
If you don’t announce your skills and expertise online, no one will do it for you. While certain experts advise budding writers to build a professional website, I think it’s cheaper and better to register with a freelancer hiring platform and other digital marketing media companies.
The freelance marketplace is teeming with opportunities. It gives newbie writers the opportunity to connect with well-paying clients and business owners from every part of the globe.
But if you’ve been unfortunate to experience rejection from freelance hiring platforms, do not despair. You can try Facebook groups, LinkedIn and Instagram. You can also start a free blog as well. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Be willing to network with other writers. Sometimes, writers get gigs via word of mouth. Don’t be like the ostrich who lives with its head in the ground.
4. Learn to Write Kickass Proposals.
Being a talented writer is one thing, but knowing how to sell your skills is another. Clients judge writers by their proposals. So if you want to start getting hired, you will have to learn to make a good impression.
So what do clients want to see in an excellent proposal?
- Your level and area of expertise
- How long you have worked as a copywriter and blog writer (particularly in that niche)
- How many businesses you’ve written for.
- If you’ve made any difference in their businesses (eg increased their profit margins, boosted their online sales, increased traffic to their site etc.
- And most importantly, existing writing samples, especially if they’ve been published on reputable sites. Some clients will be happy to see unpublished writing samples especially articles in their niche.
Before you start submitting applications at online job listings, make sure you can write a compelling, error-free proposal they can’t resist.
- Hustling Words For Money Requires Wisdom and Business Acumen
All the successful freelance writers I know spend a lot of time hustling to acquire long-term and short-term clients. We all learned early that freelance writing is seventy per cent hustling and thirty percent writing.
Think about all the time it’ll take to read through job postings, write proposals and sometimes, attend online interviews. In some cases, you’ll need to pitch story ideas and develop them with editors. And of course, there is the research phase and all the transcription that have to be done after interviews.
Sometimes, you’ll have to juggle all these alongside other ongoing jobs. Don’t slack or relax. Put yourself out there and hustle as many jobs as you can. Write, write, write. Get a writing team if the workload gets too much for you.
Final thoughts on succeeding as a self-employed writer.
The beauty of being a self-employed writer is in the limitless opportunities for growth and expansion. Nothing compares to the joy of doing what you love for a living.
However, you have to work hard at it in order to succeed. All you have to do is build an online presence, choose a niche, hustle, employ business acumen and learn to write outstanding proposals.
You’re one step closer to being a successful self-employed writer. Don’t give up now.
Tips For Succeeding As A Self-Employed Writer by Chioma Iwunze @cwritingnews Click To Tweet