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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tips for being a successful freelance writer

Tips for being a successful freelance writer

Maybe you love to write.  You have some wonderful ideas, know how to craft perfect sentences, and can come up with the most captivating and hooking introductions.  If you seem to have all your writing ducks in line, you may want to look into how to be a freelancer.
Today, more and more magazines, websites, and newspapers are relying on freelance writers to get their work done.  Take Elance, for example.  This popular freelance broker site experienced a consistent growth in past years, with freelance writers rising from around 200,000 in 2012 to 300,000 in 2013.  So how do you join in on the (profitable) fun?  We have the steps that will take you from writing as a hobby to becoming a freelance writer.

How to Be a Freelance Writer

Love to write:  This might seem like a given, but you need to remember that as a freelance writer, you will be writing every day of your life.  Make sure that writing is something that comes to you naturally with fluidity and ease.
  • Be original with your writing
  • Have good grammar skills
  • Be able to express yourself with ease and clarity.
Be self-disciplined:  Because you are going to be in charge of your own time and work schedule, as a freelance writer you should have good self-discipline.  Writing should be something that you look forward to waking up and doing every day, so make sure that it is something you can do without dragging yourself through the motions.
Get a degree:  This is not absolutely necessary, but to market yourself as a freelance writer, it is helpful to have a college degree in English or journalism.  These majors will give you the skills and requirements that you will need to be familiar with as a writer.  Usually companies or contractors will want to take the time out to train a freelance writer, so it may be easier to get a job that you want in a field that you have a degree in.  If you do not have a degree, consider taking a few classes at a community college or online.
Pick a genre or category:  As a writer, you are going to have to decide if you want to freelance fiction or non-fiction.  Non-fiction tends to sell much easier than fiction, so keep this in mind as you are making your choice.
A hobby or jobAs a freelancer, you can be writing for fun, as a hobby, or to make a living.  Decide which of route you want to take and how much time and energy you want to devote towards freelancing.  These decisions will factor in how you treat freelancing.  For instance, if you choose to do it as a full-time job, it will require a lot more effort and time than it would, say, if you did it for fun.
Put yourself out there:  In freelancing, you are going to need to be thirsty for writing jobs, leads, and prospects on a daily basis.  You will have to learn how to market yourself as if you were running your own business.  Freelancing these days is largely done over the internet, which means that a lot of your communication will be done by email.  However, you will still need proper interaction and negotiation skills to connect with your contractors and your audience.
Write a Query letter:  A query letter will explain to your potential employer or contractor the ideas or concepts that you want to write about, as well as a short explanation about your experiences and qualifications as a writer.  Your query letter should be sent to editors, blog owners, or website operators that you want to produce content for.
Be active:  Just because you are writing from home does not mean that you have to become antisocial.  Networking and being active within the writing community is a great way for freelancers to pick up leads and land jobs.  For instance, it may be a good idea to join writing groups or freelance associations in your area to be able to meet other writers, get advice, and establish your credentials. Always be on the lookout for contacts that can help point you in the right direction or that you can look to for advice or mentor-ship down the road.
Money Management:  As a freelancer, you are going to have to have good money management and a proper financial system.  It is likely that you are not initially going to be making big bucks from freelancing.  Here are a few things that you can do to make sure that you keep your financial systems in line:
  • Be organized with your writing space and your invoicing, taxes, and accounts.
  • Have your deadlines laid out on a calendar so you never miss them.
  • Make sure that you have enough work for the month to pay your bills.
Set goals:  If you still have a day job when you go into freelancing, make sure that you do not quit it until you are making enough money from freelancing alone to support your lifestyle.  Remember that as a freelancer, you are not going to be doing the typical 9 to 5 job.  You may have to work on weekends or late into the night to meet your financial needs or word count quota.  See how well you work under pressure during freelancing, because you will likely always have a deadline that you are trying to meet.
Build your portfolio:  Even if you already have a freelancing job, it is important to continue trying to build your portfolio with every chance you get.  Even if you are writing for small, lesser known publications, you are going to want to start a portfolio to be able to show clients or employers down the road that you can produce good work.  There are plenty of ways that you can go about trying to get your work published, even if you are not yet a freelancer.  You can submit articles to online websites, blogs, or even nonprofits.  You might not get any money at first, but you will get a byline.

The Hunt

Once you are in the know of what it takes to be a freelancer, you can begin to start looking for your first freelancing gig!  Here are some steps you can take:
1.    Start contacting people in the industry.  For instance, look for publishers or websites that you think you would like to write for, and read any guidelines that they have.  Make sure you do not send your articles to irrelevant publications.
2.    Know the market that you want to write for, and have content that will show them that you can write accordingly.
3.    Send out your query letters.  However, do not sit back and wait for a response.  Continue sending your work out to other publications until you get a few projects lined up.  Always be on the hunt!

Skills for a Freelancer

As a freelancer, here are some skills you should have:
  • Self motivation and self discipline
  • Be able to work under pressure and under deadlines
  • Be able to wear many hats, such as a: researcher, job seeker, and business consultant.
  • Be able to communicate ideas clearly and logically in writing.
  • Be a master of the English language.

Begin Your Writing Conquest, Today!

As a freelancer myself, I know the wave of emotions (excitement, frustrations, and relief) that can come with freelancing writing in general.  Freelancing is a wonderful way to entertain and apply your talents as a writer, and there are plenty of opportunities available and content needs that you can look into.  Before you take a dip into the world of freelancing, be sure to brush up on any writing skills that you have with these courses, and get ready to take the writing world by storm!

Most Important tips and tricks to become a successful freelancer

Most Important tips and tricks to become a successful freelancer

Being a freelancer means a lot of freedom to plan your own days at work, but it also does require discipline and planning. Being your own boss, you need to be good at making the right rules to succeed. Most of these tips sound just like common sense, but actually remembering everything when it’s needed isn’t necessarily as easy as you would think.
Different rules work for different people. Having worked as a freelancer on and off for over ten years, I’ve created this list of my best tips on how to succeed. Maybe you already use several of these or versions of them, great! Hopefully you will also find a tip or three that can help you to succeed in what you do!

1. Make a marketing/business plan

This should be the first thing you do. Even though you have all the info needed in your head, putting it on paper will give many advances and definitely be worth the extra work. Not only will you that way be «forced» to think through important issues and possible challenges before they occur, but it can also be a lot easier for you to get the needed help from potential business partners or investors when you have a good business plan to show them.

2. Plan your days ahead

Allow yourself an hour or so at the beginning of each work week, or the last hour of the previous week to plan the upcoming week. Then it’ll be easier for you to plan how to spend your hours to reach the deadlines you have upcoming. The more ongoing projects you have, the more important this is.

3. Use free software

Starting up as a freelancer can be challenging economically, and by choosing from all available and good free software you can save a lot of costs without necessarily having to give up a lot of functionality. Free doesn’t have to mean it’s not good software, there are more and more options available every day so make sure you check out what can be used related to your business. When you buy a computer, camera, tablet or printer make sure to check out the software that comes with it as well. You may be in for a positive surprise.

4. Create an eye-catching logo

To look professional and catch those potential clients in a tight market requires hard work when it comes to branding yourself. Creating an eye-catching logo (or getting someone to do that for you if you lack the skills yourself) can make you seem more professional and easier to see. The power of a good logo and actually using it on business cards, websites and such will give you that professional look which could be the extra inch needed to catch the attention of a new client.

5. Learn to say NO!

If you don’t have the time for another client at the moment, it’s important to be able to realize it and say no. It is the fairest thing to yourself, your existing client and the new ones that knock on your door. Worst case scenario is saying yes to too many and it having consequences for existing clients. You always want to make sure you have enough time to give your current clients the best service you can. A client too many could be the thing that lowers the quality of  all your work.

6. Make a blog/website

In this Internet age that we are, having a website of your own can mean a whole lot. Not only does it make you look more professional but it is also a gateway to new clients. Many do surf the net to find people for their next projects and if they can’t find you online they won’t know you’re there.

7. Update your website regularly

Do you already have a website or blog? – Great! But to maximize its value to you it’s very important to update it regularly. If new clients visit your site and see that you haven’t updated the content for a very long time that might just be the reason for them to choose someone else instead. Updating regularly will require an hour of your time every now and then but can pay back multiple times rewarding you with new clients.

8. Give your online visitors something free

Giving something extra to the visitors on your website always is a good thing. If you work as a designer you can for example consider putting up some free textures or buttons. This will give your site more visitors and potentially more clients for you. Or how about offering every visitor a percentage off on their first order with you? Again, this could be the extra thing needed to stand out to new clients.

9. Use social media

Social media is where many relationships are made these days. No matter which country you live in, using social media can connect you to potential clients and partners all over the world. Twitter is a must, and you should consider Facebook and also forums related to your business. If you are a designer consider having a look at deviantArt and YouTube aswell. In several of these media you can advertise for your own business as long as you make sure to not spam it too much.

10. Get allies

Having allies can mean everything. Connecting with people through social media or even spreading the word of your business through friends and family can get you just that word out there that you need. Also making relations with people who can do things for the clients that you can’t can help, you give the clients a more complete package of what they need. One day you are the one sending a client to an ally that can offer a more suitable service in that case, the next day you could be the one having clients sent your way.

11. Save for rainy days

Even though your business may go really well, there can and probably will come a bad month or two every now and then. Being a freelancer is being vulnerable to changes in the market. My advice would be to save up a little bit of your income each month, save it in an own savings account so that you have it as a safety buffer for when times get rough. You sure won’t regret doing that. It would be a shame if a couple of small bills would ruin everything for you in a bad month.

12. be creative

There are many ways to be creative, to get new clients or to make better use of equipment and office space. Some examples can be to upgrade an existing computer if you can’t afford a new one, redecorate a spare room if you can’t afford the rent for an office outside of your home. Add a new product or service to your current list or ask friends or family if they know anyone that may be in need of your services. The options are many, all you need is to try think a bit out of the box.

13. Reward loyal customers

If the market is tight you need to do what you can to have your customers back a second and third time. Being friendly and service minded is always a must, but what about giving them a discount the second time? Or sending them special offers of various kinds.Use your fantasy and implement these things into your business plan. Make customers want to come back and you will have the best possible chance to survive

14. Treat every client as if he is the only one

Giving existing customers good offers as mentioned in the previous tip is important. But remember to be service minded. If a customer feels important that will make him more loyal as well. Use positive language when you talk or write to him. Don’t be afraid to say that you will go out of your way to make sure he is satisfied with the product/service he is getting. And remember to let him know that feedback is appreciated. That way you can keep making your services more and more attractive and get happier clients. Don’t forget that existing clients can be the best advertising you ever get!

15. Work when you are at work

If you have decided to work from lets say 8am to 4pm every day, then do so. If you have errands to run, private mail accounts to check, private phone calls to make and so on, these will quickly eat of your much-needed work time. Make a promise to yourself to only do this when you are not supposed to work, as in before or after work or during your lunch break. It may not seem that much to you, but I’ve seen several great freelancers getting their days completely messed up because they were not good enough at managing their time properly.

16. Know when to start and stop

Just as important as actually working when you are at work, is starting when you should and stopping when you should. You may have to prepare yourself for working extra hours every now and then to keep your business alive, but it is very important that you have free time too. You need to recover and get your mind filled with other things or you will get burned out and ruin things for yourself. The more hours you work at once, the less productive you get. So remember to follow your own rules on when to start and stop the day at work.

17. Keep your finances tidy

Keeping your finances tidy probably sounds eassy, and it can be – as long as you keep an eye on them regularly. No matter how small a business you are running you will run into trouble if you only spend time on billing and accounting once or twice a year. Set up dates for when you pay your bills, when you send out invoices to clients and to make monthly budgets. Not only will this make it easier for you throughout the whole year but you will be able to fix errors quicker, do adjustments if needed and so on.

18. Remember to breathe

Breathe you say? Yes ;) And by breathing I mean that you need to take care of yourself. You may be freelancing using a computer or two, a camera or other tools, – but the most important tool will always be yourself. And just like any other tool you will be in need of some defragging and polishing yourself. Remember to continue to spend time on your hobbies, friends and family even if you have a busy work schedule.

19. Get out of the house occasionally (especially if you work from home)

If you have a home based office it’s important to get some fresh air. Book some of your meetings somewhere else, meet business partners for lunch, or spend an hour or two working from a library or coffee shop with your laptop if you can. The change of scenery may boost your energy level/creativity and give you a lot back.

20. Make an inspirational string

Rough days come and rough days go. Simple as it may sound, having something around you to remind you of why you are working this hard can be what you need to get some extra energy on that one difficult day. Make your own inspirational string! Take a piece of string or use a cork board/whiteboard, whichever you have available. Add a picture of your kids, of the vacation spot you are saving to go to, or maybe a car you hope to be able to buy. Add some of your favorite inspirational quotes or pictures, whatever inspires you really. And there you go, your own inspirational string! Taking a look at it when you are close to giving up or when a day is extra stressful can work wonders for you. You should give it a try.

21. be humble

No one is born an expert or world champion. If things go well or you feel on top of things it can be easy to get a little bit too confident, which can be bad for your reputation and bad for the quality of your work. You should always aim to be humble, listen to your clients on what they want. Give them your professional opinion when needed but in the end it is the client that generates your paycheck. Also remember to willingly take advice from colleagues or others who have been in the market for a while.

22. Look professional, in every way possible

You have the logo, the website and so on and things are starting to look pretty good. Remember to also meet clients with respect, look presentable and be polite. Being your own boss doesn’t mean you can talk or act in any way and still keep your clients. Remember that.

23. Ask for feedback

Not only should you have comments enabled on your website but you should also ask your friends/family/allies for feedback on your work. And most important of all, after you have finished your project – asks the client what he thinks. Not only do you get a great chance to improve but the client also feels important. Getting someone else’s opinion is always good and this will help you to become even more successful.

24. Always carry a notebook around with you

It being a normal notebook, your iPhone or any other digital form of “notebook” you should carry it with you and remember to take notes. This is for many reasons. Not only can you unexpectedly run into a potential client or an existing one, but you may come up with valuable ideas when you are on the bus, on the plane or basically anywhere else. Several times have I had amazing ideas, not had a notebook, forgotten the ideas and seen them used somewhere else a year later.

25. Take the time you need!

This is so important, it can’t be mentioned enough.Same as with the tip about learning to say no. Once you have said yes to a project you need to make sure that you take the time needed to do the best you can do. Handing over a project that is half done will not only give you a client who won’t come back, but it can give you a bad reputation. Your clients are your best references to show in the future and no one want a freelancer who leaves the work half-finished.

Freelance sites short list for freelancers Worldwide

Freelance sites short list for freelancers Worldwide
Many people wanted to make money online but have limited knowledge on what to do and where to start. Making money online by doing some freelance services from the comfort of your home is pretty easy and is available for everyone. Freelance jobs are not only for people who have special skills. You can start making money by offering services like writing, data entry, transcription, or any other jobs that doesn’t require high technical skills like programming and design. Listed below are the most active and highly populated freelance sites. These lists of freelance sites would help you start your online moneymaking experience.
The following is a short list of good freelance sites.
  1. All Freelance
  2. All Freelance Jobs is a directory and articles blog aimed at freelancers, consultants, & the self-employed, offering many helpful tips, advice & resources for home business owners.
  3. ALL Freelance
  4. Freelance Website & Freelance web site designer or a website design company is one of the matters that gets you thinking when you first decide to have an online

Presence for your company and your business on the web.
  1. Article Base -
  2. Elance.com so far the largest online marketplace for free lancers and service buyers
  3. Aquent.com offers marketing organizations a wide range of services including consulting, studio solutions, project management, and translation/localization.
  4. - another cool marketplace for freelancers.
  5. Bidradar - recently merged with and published mostly government-owned jobs for freelancers.
  6. CGI Lance largest marketplace for CGI scripts.
  7. - most projects are programming and web design and even technical support for IT-related problems.
  8. Codelance.com custom software development and webhosting for companies outsourcing offshore.
  9. - offshore marketplace for web design jobs.
  10. Design Quote a reputable marketplace for graphic and design jobs.
  11. Developreneurs.com an online marketplace where buyers looking for web development services can receive bids from dozens of qualified service providers.
  12. E work – -delivers three outsourced value-added services— integration and implementation for eWorkEnterprise.
  13. Freelance Auction – almost all services are offered here.
  14. Freelance Auction Network - is designed to bring affordable high quality services to small business owners and provide freelance contractors from around the world a better way to market their services.
  15. - a good place for independent professionals, freelancers, and service buyers.
  16. Free Lance Fest –
  17. Freelance Writers - the best site for non-fiction writers.
  18. - the first and best free freelance website.
  19. - another great freelance site exclusively for writers.
  20. –
     All services offered and requires all freelancing talents.
  1. – available in 7 major European languages.
  3. another freelance site for webmasters and programmers.
  4. Getafreelancer this is my favorite freelance site so far.
  5. –
Use’s free service to search for and find freelancers. Post your project. Get free quotes within hours. Outsource your contract work today.
  1. Hirecoders.com not only a marketplace but also a general classified for job seekers and employers.
  2. Ifreelance.com huge freelance site for talented people.
  3. Listbid.com a very simple freelance site but has a bigger population.
  4. No Agencies Please is a free freelance site concentrating on programming and design.
  5. NUJ Freelance Directory the biggest freelance job board inUK.
     6. oDESK – oDesk is the marketplace for online workteams,   with the best business model for both buyers and providers.
  1. is the online market place where buyers can post their projects. Projectlance.com one of the busiest freelance sites.
  2. PHPfreelancers.com freelance for php programming.
  3. Programmingbid.com dozens of programming jobs posted everyday.
  4. Project4hire.com marketplace for designers, programmers, offshore companies, and more.
  5. Rentacoder.com one of the biggest and reputable freelance sites.
  6. Script – big freelance sites with thousands of service providers fromIndia.
There are other freelance sites and the list is growing daily but it is always better to join established freelance sites for a reliable service.