Taking the Leap: How to Launch Your Freelance Career
Becoming a successful online freelancer means tackling barriers such as the stresses associated with finding your own clients. You have to take steps to increase your visibility online so that you become a trusted source of information. Maintaining a professional personal brand online while producing quality content takes time and effort. We’ve provided you with some advice and tools to help you expand your client base and network with fellow writers.
01. Pick a Niche or Field You are Well Informed In
Before searching for freelance work online, you will want to have a clear idea of what subject you will specialize in. While you can make money as a general writer, building your expertise in one field will give you the opportunity to make more. If you have a college degree, take into account what you studied. Chances are you built a strong foundation in school in your area of concentration. Build on that knowledge through reading and research so you can provide the best information about your topic of choice.
02. Develop an Online Profile
New clients want to see your latest work and resume. Build a website featuring a portfolio of your writing with links to where it has been published. Choose a domain name when building your site that is both memorable and representative of your personal brand. It can simply be your name or something pertaining to the subject matter you cover.
If you take a look at Yolander Prinzel’s website, you can see from her home page her level of experience. She even features testimonials from clients who have previously worked with her. Her online portfolio features articles she has written for various clients. Creating a site like hers that is easy to navigate will help you gain more clients and find success.
03. Make Writing a Part of your Routine
Since you will be holding yourself accountable, you have to try to avoid the temptation of getting distracted with everyday tasks. Create a routine with set times for writing. Dedicate those hours to your freelance success. There will be times when you do not have assignments lined up.
Instead of doing something other than work, focus on finding new clients. Send out emails and make calls so you can ensure you have a steady income. Tools such as Google Calendar and Evernote are good resources to have to make sure you keep deadlines.
04. Establish a Professional Work Environment
If you are working from home, make sure you have a designated area for optimal concentration. Don’t work in your bedroom or other space where you relax. If you have a home office space, you will be more likely to work and accomplish the tasks set before you. Make sure it is a quieter area in your home free from distractions.
05. Market Your Personal Brand Consistently Across Platforms
While establishing a personal website is a good place to jumpstart your online profile, you also need to increase your visibility by being present on multiple social media platforms. Make sure you maintain a consistent image no matter what outlet you choose to use. Be professional and feature your writing in links to articles that have been published. Clients will expect you to have the ability to promote your work and gain viewers for your posts.
Search freelance writing communities, Facebook, and LinkedIn groups for opportunities to connect with employers. Simply type in your area of interest into the group search and connect. You can also find learning opportunities to further develop your writing and extend your knowledge in online forums.
06. Join Professional Organizations
In order to build your credibility in client’s eyes, join professional organizations associated with your niche. You will be able to stay up to speed on industry developments while formulating new topic ideas for articles. This will also give you the opportunity to network and find additional clients. If you are an advertising professional and focus on branding a business, join the American Advertising Federation. Organizations such as these offer conferences, workshops and the opportunity to get certified.
07. Build Client Relationships
When you begin freelancing, you will come to realize the competition is tough. This means it is essential to building relationships with the clients you gain. Producing quality work and sticking to deadlines could lead to more jobs in the future. Treat every client well and ask them to keep you in mind for future assignments. All your correspondence with customers should be error free and direct. Don’t let a simple typo cause you to lose a job. If you deliver results, you will better be able to keep business and reign in new opportunities.
08. Network with Other Freelance Writers
You should try to also build relationships with fellow freelance writers. They can offer you advice and give you an idea of what you should charge in terms of rates. Sometimes fellow writers will offer you jobs they don’t have time for or are not qualified to write which will provide you with more opportunities. Search on social media for freelance writer networks. You can also visit sites like The Write Life to find fellow professionals.
09. Research Potential Publications
Research potential clients before you send them an email pitching your ideas. Get to know more about what the site focuses on. Take note of the style and tone of voice. This will enable you to come up with better ideas that will be more likely to be accepted by the editor. Often times you will stumble upon site guidelines which you must follow in order for your post to be considered.
10. Ask Clients to Become References
After turning in an article, ask satisfied clients to write you a short referral note. You can quote what they have to say on your site in testimonials. You will also be able to provide potential clients with references to contact if they want to ensure you will produce quality work. This will build your credibility and help you gain more business.
By Travis Bliffen
Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a respected SEO agency helping small to medium size businesses market themeselves more effectively. Travis's got his start as a freelance writer and has a passion for sharing easy, actionable information that will help others take the leap into entrepreneurship.