5 Details That Will Make or Break Your Freelance Writing Career

5 Details That Will Make or Break Your Freelance Writing Career

Freelance writing can be an extremely enjoyable and liberating career choice, with more earning potential and growth prospects than many other online freelance services — if you go about it the right way.

Opportunities to build your freelance writing career are increasing as more businesses look to enhance their online brands through content that gives value to their target markets.

Becoming a freelance writer isn’t rocket science, but it’s not a piece of cake either. To move into the top tier of freelance writers, here are five things you should focus on.

1. Brand identity: Develop your own following

My mom cooks awesome food. All moms do!

But will it sell as well as a burger at your local fast food joint? No way. It’s a simple marketing rule: brands sell better.

As a freelance writer, focus on developing a brand around your services. If you’ve been waiting to start your own blog, now’s the time! Express yourself naturally and build a community of like-minded people.

Be more than just an individual selling his or her services. Be a friend, a dependable guide and an honest mentor. Share your story and listen to what your readers have to say.

Have a look at some of the top writers out there and you’ll find that most of them make money because of the community that has grown around their brand. People can relate instantly to them.

Brands are about credibility, consistency, quality and relationships — four things your clients are looking for as well!

2. Specialization: Focus on your strengths

If you’ve been offering writing services on any topic, niche or industry, then I have bad news for you: that strategy is a dead end!

As more businesses look towards content marketing for their online survival, they’ll need more subject experts. Trying to serve everyone means that you won’t help anyone!

Identify your strongest areas: the topics you’re most passionate about, the ones that excite you the most and the ones that bring out the best of your writing skills. Once you identify them, stick to those areas and focus on the areas where you can deliver your best work. (Click to tweet this idea!)

3. Marketing: Spread the word

Many freelancers ignore this aspect of business either because they’re “too busy” with writing projects, or simply because they don’t realize how critical marketing is for their survival.

Every top tier freelance writer is an excellent and aggressive marketer. None of them misses any opportunity to tell the world about their services and how they can help businesses grow.

You need to do that as well.

Be proactive in your approach. Study the top writers and notice how they make marketing a part of their content. Promote your work through social networking websites, forums, articles and blog comments. Use the power of LinkedIn to get in touch with your clients. Join discussion groups and add value through your comments.

A lot of writers believe that content alone is enough to get them clients. That’s not totally inaccurate, but if you have a product or service that you believe can help your customers, why wait for them to come to you? Get out there and let them know about it!

4. Networking: Meet people, have fun!

As a freelance writer, networking is almost as critical to your chances of success as your writing skills are.

Many people find networking challenging. Here are three strategies to help you successfully develop relationships with fellow writers, freelancers and bloggers:

  • Comment regularly on the leading blogs. It helps you share your knowledge and puts you in touch with a lot of talented writers.
  • Send an occasional email to other bloggers and writers to thank them for a particular post that resonated with you. Make sure this is genuine, though!
  • Give feedback to other bloggers and writers. Comment on their work and if there’s an area in which you feel they can improve. Yes, you can do this even with top tier writers! Make sure your ideas are constructive by politely sharing your perspective on how you believe they can increase the effectiveness of a particular post or product.

5. Self Esteem: Know your value

This is probably the most crucial part, but it can be challenging to put into action.

As a freelance writer, you should know how critical your services have become for the survival of online businesses. The more emphasis search engines put on genuine high quality content, the more you will benefit.

But many writers seem to suffer from an inferiority complex. They might feel that writing isn’t as important as some of the other skills required to run an online business.

Reality check: every major website and online business is looking for skilled writers who can regularly produce quality content for their customers. And this demand is only going to increase as businesses try to attract more online traffic.

Your content makes thousands of dollars for your clients, who need you and would suffer without your services. So start valuing your skills the way your clients do!

Value your writing skills as much as your clients do

What other tips would you give to a struggling freelance writer?

Filed Under: Freelancing
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  • Masud says:

    Thanks for nice tips about freelancing. I am working in PPH in admin category.
    I just want to say very helpful topics you have written. Thanks.

  • David says:

    Wow, this is perfecto. You are daim right about all the points you listed above Khan especially the self esteem thing which I did suffered from at the beginning, but not anymore. One thing I’ll add is that freelance writers should stop thinking of writing as a skill to be learned, but as one facet of a much larger project: to become someone worth listening to. Once again thanks Khan for the insight

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, David! I think you’re right that writers need to consider why readers would listen to them, rather than someone else. It’s all about the value that you’re bringing to your reader.

      TWL Assistant Editor

  • Brilliant article that I think all newcomers to the freelancing world should read.

    I’m in the transition phase where I started as a blogger and now have my first few freelance clients. It’s a massive eye opener and it’s incredibly easy to loose faith in those critical first few months but planning is definitely key. Planning, patience and self-belief!

  • Amy says:

    Great Article. I really liked your 5th point about knowing your worth. I’m a blogger and tend to just think of myself in those terms, but in reality I’m slowly becoming a writer. To be successful you need to play to your skills and be constantly developing them. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Jawad Khan says:

      Hey Amy,

      Glad you liked the post.

      Even if you consider yourself a casual blogger, there’s just so much out there to take advantage of. Online businesses are looking for freelance bloggers all the time.

      The same goes for conventional freelance writing as well.


  • Allison says:

    Thanks for the great post, it got me thinking about how I can get my name and services out there. Do you have any advice on how one would find freelance opportunities in the area of health and wellness? Maybe there are key websites that writers go to?

    Thanks again for the thought provoking post.

    • Jawad Khan says:

      Look, the one piece of advice, that took me from $20-$30/article to $100+, was to focus on what my target market is looking for.

      You wont find high paying jobs on job boards.

      Think about the type of content your target clients are looking for. What type of content would they want you to write for them if they hired you?

      Write from their perspective.

      Develop a guest blogging strategy based on this principle. Guest post on blogs that your target customers regularly visit.

      With a little consistency, you’ll be amazed by the results.

  • Jennifer says:

    I would have to agree that “know your strengths” is vitally important. What are you passionate about? Work at that and the rest will come. Chasing the money may work once in a while, but the true entrepreneur that I know have all become successful because what they do is a passion.

    • Jawad Khan says:

      Absolutely spot on!

      Following your passion for success is true in most businesses but in freelance writing it’s almost a requirement. You can’t go much far as freelancer if you don’t have passion for what you write about.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Sohail Ahmed says:

    I am not a freelance writer neither I have ever thought of becoming one but this article is awakening in a giant within :). Tell me, Jawad, did you enjoy writing it as much as I did reading?

  • Cindy Brown says:

    You’ve got it! Great advice for newbies.

  • Daryl says:

    Great tips Jawad!

    Personally I’d say – remember that freelance writing is a long term game.

    Don’t expect to make a full time living in your first month or two of freelance writing (although it IS possible). Make sure that you do the important things like getting a good website up and running and marketing yourself through things like guest posting, and then you’ll find that your future earning potential will definitely skyrocket!

    • Jawad Khan says:

      Thanks for the comment Daryl.

      Yes I agree, that you need to plan carefully and show patience because it does take a little time. But isn’t that true for almost everything in life.

      There are no shortcuts!


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