Beyond Freelance Writing: How to Be an Entrepreneur

Beyond Freelance Writing: How to Be an Entrepreneur

Freelancing is often seen as the first step to entrepreneurship.

But as a freelance writer you probably run a one-person business, trading time for money, while dreaming of living the laptop lifestyle, posting pictures from Mauritius and Thailand while working in your yoga pants.

How do you make that happen? How do you stand out from the thousands of others with online businesses who call themselves entrepreneurs?

Every freelancer wants to break free from the time-for-money cycle and become a successful online entrepreneur. But it’s a crowded marketplace, and for your dream to turn real, you must stand out from the competition.

So how do you separate yourself from the rest of the herd?

Here are five offbeat ways to differentiate yourself as a freelance writer.

1. Make your customer the hero

Your freelance writing business isn’t about you. It’s about your customer. No matter how brilliant or unique your product or service may be, do not blow your own horn. Do not project yourself as the hero waiting to rescue a customer in distress.

Your customer is the hero, not you.

Identify what your customers want, why your product or service will appeal to them, how it works, and in what way your customers will benefit. Make it about them. They are the hero. You’re there to assist them in their journey.

2. Have a long-term plan

Writing articles for $100 per hour is okay for paying bills. But it isn’t what is going to help you realize your dream of being an online entrepreneur.

When you trade time for money, cutting down your hours hits your income; while working long hours takes a toll on your health, and sick days mean income loss.

A successful entrepreneur is someone who makes money without burning out. Doing so requires a long-term plan. Your plan could include starting a coaching program for writers or a creating a digital marketing course for small businesses.

Every freelancer finds his footing by offering services at an hourly rate, but you must have a vision to take your business higher than that.

3. Know your limits

Are you someone who takes pride in doing everything by yourself? Do you think asking for help is a sign of weakness?

If you answered yes to that, you’re far from being alone. We live in a society where being busy is a status symbol. But there’s only so much you can accomplish in 24 hours, and it’s perfectly OK to seek help managing certain parts of your business.

Get an accountant for bookkeeping, or a web developer for website fixes. If you’re too busy running your coaching program or writing your book, get someone to ghost blog for you in the meanwhile.

Outsourcing tasks helps you focus on the most important aspects of your business. A smart entrepreneur isn’t someone who doesn’t need to seek help; it’s someone who knows their limits.

4. Create brand value

Your customers make you what you are. How is your product or service making a difference in their lives?

As a freelance writer, your brand doesn’t begin and end with writing articles. You must sell promises. Remember, your customers are always looking for ways to improve their lives. They want to be less busy and more productive. They want to be less stressed and more happy. Your brand value lies in helping them achieve that.

Maybe you provide lifestyle stories and tips that inspire women to celebrate their identity. Maybe you help stay-at-home moms build their own online biz. When people identify with your brand, they buy from you because they believe in you.

Make a positive impact. Sell promises, not features or benefits.

5. Be different, not just better

There are thousands of freelance writers out there. If your focus is on being better, then you’ll never achieve that. Focus on being different instead.

In a world where everyone’s trying to be better than the other, the best way to stand out is by being different. Find out the gaps in your field that your expertise can fill in. How you place yourself in a crowded marketplace can make all the difference.

Transitioning from a freelance writer to an online entrepreneur may not be all fun and games, but it needn’t be daunting either. By carving a niche for yourself in the market, you can be a stand-out freelance writer moving steadily towards your dream lifestyle.

What steps have you followed to take your freelance writing business to the next level?

Filed Under: Blogging, Freelancing
Natalie Sisson

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17 comments

  • Sesselja says:

    Sound advice. Too many freelancers live in the moment, chasing the next gig, and forget to think of themselves as business owners and plan for the future.

  • I think it is incredibly important to define a niche. At first, when clients are few and far between, it can be tempting to take ANY work that comes along, and for a while, that’s not all bad. But eventually, I think we all need to choose a focus.

    As my business took shape, an important turning point was when I realized that my Master of Divinity and my years of ministry experience qualified me for a special niche, but not as narrow of a niche as some people might have expected. I take on editorial projects that involve spirituality, but not everything spiritual is religious. Lately, I have also gotten back to retreat work, which I have always loved, but have designed some retreats for a broader audience than when I worked for a parish.

    A combination of narrowing and broadening my focus has really helped me define my business.

    Trish O’Connor
    Epiclesis Consulting LLC
    http://www.epiclesisconsulting.com
    http://www.epiclesisconsulting.etsy.com

    • Cynthia says:

      I agree. When I started out, I wrote for every business that came along, even if they sold weed. But now, with years of experience behind me, I focus solely on small and medium businesses.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Good articles. It expose more truth about freelance and others business around the globe.

  • Bob says:

    Hi Cynthia.

    I think that you make a lot of sense in your post.

    I do disagree (only slightly) with your last statement (#5)
    about the focus being on “Different” rather than “Better”.
    Here’s why…

    When you state that we will never achieve “Better” it seems
    like, if that is the case, there would be no point in practice or
    study as “Better” is never going to happen anyway.

    That said, I do understand your point. You are absolutely
    correct that following the crowd is more likely to start boring
    your readers rather than creating that feeling of them wanting
    to come back for more.

    • Cynthia says:

      Hi Bob,

      My point is that, only focusing on being better is really vague; if A claims to be better than X, Y will say he’s better than A, and Z will claim he’s better than Y. If you, instead, offer something that your competitors don’t, you’ll be different than them and attract more clients.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • sindhubell says:

    I do believe all of the concepts you’ve introduced in your post. They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for novices. May you please extend them a bit from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

  • Redgage says:

    Thanks for sharing, really interesting topic.This logical framework of entrepreneur mindset is truly interesting and need based for changing global business environment.

  • Ace Writers says:

    My recent interest has been in your articles on start-up businesses and being an entrepreneur just to have a direction for myself, hence the question above. Lately I have been passionately working on a business plan for a personal security system. In a broad Google search, I could not find anything similar to what I am working on which makes me feel my idea is or may be unique. It is just for the sheer complexity of design and manufacturing that I mostly feel I may not be able to take it any further, specially if I were to look for the funding. Funding organizations look for the amount of work done toward an idea, publications and teams put together etc. So from point A to B of being an entrepreneur there are so many other small graduations to be attained, one being, as you pointed out, liaising with the teams.

  • Thank you for these very useful tips. I think that the core of your success is your willingness to work and grow every day. The main thing is not to stop and keep moving forward, gradually increasing the load and widening their horizons work. So, you should be ready to faults and for analyze them. Good luck and feel inspire! The first steps always the hardest so don’t give up.

  • Paige Galindo says:

    I love this article! I am currently taking my time coming onto the freelance writing scene and trying to learn as much as I can. Freelance writing is something I want to make a full-time living from and so I do not want to jump into this half-cocked. Yes, I know this is a business venture. I have bought a website name and domain for my freelance business and plan to do the same for a blog idea I have. Thank you so much for the tips in this article. I already had a good idea that these should be followed and your information confirmed my thoughts!

  • Ashri Mishra says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful blog .I liked the way that you wrote and presented this information.

  • Ashri Mishra says:

    It’s Very informative post.. For me thank… you..

  • Satik Gulati says:

    Wow! I really admire the valuable information you have been able to share us through this post.

  • Gabriella says:

    I like the way you wrote and share the information.

  • kiran says:

    Thanks for suggestions, really helps in freelancing.

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