A new year has recently dawned. Itís an excellent time to take a look back to assess what you did right, what you did wrong and what you can do differently this year to achieve your freelance writing dreams.
The #1 Thing Needed to Succeed as a Freelance Writer: A Plan
In short, itís a plan.
At the end of every year, I take some time to look back and assess the progress I have/havenít made in my freelance writing business (since 2008, Iíve operated a full-service SEO writing company). While things donít always go exactly the way I've planned them, the fact that I have a plan allows me to easily track my progress Ė in days, weeks, months Ė hours!
Iíve been freelancing since 1993. For the first half a dozen years or so, I just kind of flew by the seat of my pants. I had no real business plan; my goal was to simply earn enough to pay rent and hang out with my friends. I was a 20-something-year-old living in New York City at the time with a carefree (ie, mortgage free) existence.
Fast forward 10 years.
Life happened Ė marriage, divorce, relocation, business closing, business opening, etc. All of these events made me realize that I needed to take life a little more seriously. Things like retirement and the mortgage were real issues I had to deal with Ė not something that was gonna happen ďin the future.Ē
I relay all of this to emphasize how life moves at amazing speed and that if you keep putting off something you want to do, youíll be looking back wondering why you never got around to it because the years will slip by before you know it.
So, if you want to become a freelance writer, nowís the time to go for it (even if itís part time). You will make mistakes along the way; you will wonder what the hell youíve gotten yourself into at times; and there will be dry spells. But keep in mind -- this is all a part of paying your dues to achieve the dream.
5 Steps to Take to Become a Freelance Writer in 2013
With all of the above in mind, following are five things you should do if you're serious about becoming a freelance writer in 2013.
1. Get a Website: If you donít know how to do a simple site yourself (which is all thatís needed), then hire someone to do it from you. FYI, there are plenty of affordable web designers on sites like Craigslist who can have you up and going in just a few days (or less).
2. Decide on a Niche: You can be a general freelance writer, or one who specializes in a niche. In my opinion, nicheing it makes more sense because it makes it easier to compose a marketing message, find targeted prospects and research things like what to charge.
3. Create Writing Samples: While your web designer is doing your website (or after you complete the basic design yourself), create a few writing samples if you donít already have them. These donít have to be samples that someone paid for; just create them ďas ifĒ they were for a client.
For example, of you want to specialize in healthcare, then compose 3-6 healthcare writing samples to post on your website once itís done.
4. Decide on Your Service Listings: Which services do you want to provide, eg, is it web content, social media account management, case studies, white papers, etc.
Whatever they are, decide Ė and list them on your website.
5. Price Your Services: This confuses a lot of new freelance writers. A good way to determine what to charge as a freelance writer is to visit the sites of other freelancers and see what theyíre charging for the type of services you want to offer.
After visiting 10 or 15 sites, youíll have some parameters within which to price your services.
Advice for Aspiring Freelance Writers
I receive many emails from those who want to become freelance writers, but theyíre afraid to make the leap and/or panic when things arenít going smoothly when they first start out.
And, many more shy away from freelancing in search of job stability. I quite frankly donít believe in the concept of job stability anymore. Why? Because jobs that many count on for stability are disappearing -- either being outsourced offshore to foreign companies and/or are being done by robots.
In my opinion, freelancing IS the new form of job stability.
To conquear the "fear of freelancing," think about it this way . . . would you rather have 20 or 30 clients on your roster to meet your financial obligations, or depend on one company (an employer) to provide for you?
I know which one I'd prefer.
About the Author: Yuwanda Black has been a freelance writer since 1993. She owns New Media Words (NewMediaWords.biz), an SEO writing company, and is the creator/instructor of one of the leading SEO content writing classes online. The course teaches you everything you need to know about not only how to become an SEO copywriter, but how to earn $50,000 to $75,000 per year Ė your first year. FYI, you can take the course online or in person -- in Jamaica!
Learn more about Yuwanda via her Google+ Profile.
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