If you love to write, becoming a freelance writer is part love affair, part “I get paid to do this?”. You can find a million different stories about how people became writers.
Often the road to becoming a professional writer is as interesting as the stories the writer pens. Becoming a freelance writer has its advantages. But it can also have a ton of disadvantages if you enter the business without researching the market you’re entering and developing a business strategy.
So, let me help you out: here are three things for you to consider before you take your first writing job.
1. Your strengths as a writer
Start by answering the following three questions:
- What type of content are you good at writing?
- Which writing jobs have been the most emotionally fulfilling and financially lucrative?
- What are your financial goals?
Zero in on what you enjoy writing and what you’re good at writing. You don’t need a bunch of prior experience, but you do need to be committed to learning and adapting because the job of a content creator is always shifting with demand and kinda shaping what people want.
If you think your talent would serve you well with a particular type of writing job, start writing. By exercising those skills, you will be able to fine tune your skills as you go. Build a portfolio of two or three sample pieces and use your portfolio to get more writing jobs.
2. Your actual earning potential
There is a difference between what you could earn for a blog post and how much you actually earn. The variances in your rate and/or the rate your clients pay you depend on the market in which you work, the quality of your work and the clientele you pursue.
If you start by identifying your market and ideal client, you can conduct a search to find out what kind of content your ideal client buys and how much he’s willing to pay for it.
For instance, if you check the budgets for writing jobs on a bidding site like Upwork then compare them to standard industry rates, you will see there’s a huge difference between what Upwork employers are willing to pay for a blog post and what corporate clients are willing to pay for a blog post. FYI, there’s also going to be a difference in the level of quality a corporate client expects from a professional writer.
3. You are a brand
From here on out, think of yourself as a brand you’re marketing. Do it whether you work alone as a sole proprietor, or launch a corporation and outsource writing work. Before you take a job, price a job, deliver on a job or hire your first subcontractor, think about the type of brand you want to build and the message you want that brand to convey. After you make the decision to become a freelance writer, every action you take with regard to your craft and your business should support the brand you are creating as a writer, content provider or publisher.
Make no mistake about it – you are a brand. Keep that in mind as you work to build your business.