We are quickly becoming a freelance world. According to a study conducted by Intuit Software, as many as 40 percent of U.S. workers will be freelance or contract employees by 2020, according to BusinessInsider. That’s quite a change from the days of “30 years and a gold watch,” and, at least potentially, it’s great news for writers.
If you want to make your living by putting words on screen while maximizing your portion of the growing financial rewards the freelance economy seems poised to offer, here are five tips you need to integrate into your writing practice today.
It’s All About Your Network
If the idea of networking scares you, keep in mind freelance writing guru Carol Tice’s wonderfully simple take on the topic. Not one to mess around with business tactics that don’t yield value, on her blog Carol heralds networking as a method to increase income by schmoozing. The key is to get to know people and establish real relationships rather than trying leverage every interaction into an opportunity to send out an invoice. Let people know who you are, what you do, and then work diligently to help them. When they have writing that needs done—or when they know of someone who does—yours will be the first name they think of.
Increase Your Writing Speed
Let someone else sweat every phrase of their literary masterpiece. Successful freelance writing requires speed and efficiency. The reason is simple: The faster you write, the higher your hourly rate will be. Writers who turn two hours of simple work into a week’s worth of striving for perfection wind-up taking day jobs.
Always Provide Quality
That last tip was encouragement to write quickly, not license to write poorly. Always provide the best written work you can. This goes for every single time you attach your name to a block of text, whether it’s something as simple as filling in online applications for jobs or complicated as ghostwriting a highly technical white paper. Not only does this open the door to repeat work, but it also encourages the client to refer work to you. That referral work is important because customers who come with no acquisition
costs are always the most profitable.
Never to Quote Without a Brief
If a prospect asks for detailed information about your rates before he has provided detailed information about the gig, he deserves education, not a quote. No two writing projects are the same, and there is no way you can ensure a price that is fair to all involved without knowing the nature and scope of the assignment. Instead, follow the advice recently offered on the popular Freelance Switch blog: Offer to submit a detailed quote once the client supplies more details.
Manage Your Energy
Get to know yourself and understand when you are likely to deliver your best writing work. If your energy flags after 6:00 p.m., you may need to write in the morning and save the evenings for the administrative side of your business. If you flourish at night, don’t commit to early morning meetings with clients. For freelancers, energy management may sound like simple common sense, but there is no faster way to harm your reputation and alienate your client than to ignore your body’s natural rhythms.