Have you ever wondered what sets freelance writers like Elna Cain and Jorden Roper apart from others? How did they become successful freelance writers while others are struggling to find work or quality clients? Becoming an in-demand freelance writer is more than just being able to write well and understanding SEO. Yes, those things are important but being a freelance writer also means being a business owner. Writing talent needs to coincide with hard work, persistence, and a little bit of business savvy.
To be a successful freelance writer, you need to develop the right mindset and habits to run your business. While not every freelance writer is the same or follows the same strategies, there are three habits that are pretty common among successful freelance writers.
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They Stay Organized
Staying organized as a freelance writer is sometimes easier said than done, right? There are multiple projects to balance, research to do, and pesky administrative tasks to tackle. And that’s just the half of it! Keeping yourself organized is an important trait and it’s one successful freelance writers have. An organized workspace, filing system, and client information will help you stay focused.
Organization isn’t only for your workspace and filing system though, it also relates to time management. Successful freelance writers know how to schedule their time for maximum productivity. While that doesn’t mean adhering to a strict schedule timed down to the second, it does mean setting a schedule for your day. Keep a list of the three most important tasks to accomplish each day and structure your time in a way that helps you work efficiently.
They Understand the Importance of Following Up
As a freelance writer, sending pitches is critical to growing your client base and your income. Chances are you’ve sent at least one pitch since you started freelance writing whether that’s sending a cold email or replying to an ad posted on a job board.
The thing is, finding freelance writing work requires more than sending the initial pitch. I’m talking about following up! It takes an average of five emails to close a sale, yet 70% of freelance writers don’t do it. Crazy, right? If you want to be a successful freelance writer, you need to stand out from the majority by following up.
Failing to follow up is the equivalent of leaving money on the table. Successful freelance writers know this. That’s why they’re the ones landing all the great jobs and scaling their business. They’re the ones you hear about growing their income beyond what they ever imagined and hiring people to join their team. Want to be like them? Follow up! I really can’t stress this enough.
Successful freelance writers also know how to cold email. Meaning they’ve tested various formats and copy until they saw results. They know the importance of personalizing their emails and tailoring them in a way that sets them apart from a sea of other cold emailers. It shows they know their stuff and are genuinely interested in working with the client.
They Know When to Say No
If you’re just starting to grow your freelance writing business, turning down work probably feels counter-intuitive. In order to grow your business, you need income. So, the thought of turning away work may make you feel like you’re going to throw up. I get it, I really do. I’ve been there.
The truth is, you need to know how to say “no.”
At this point, you’ve probably heard about the importance of picking a freelance writing niche and defining your target client. It may seem counterproductive or you may be tired of hearing it but there’s a good reason for it. Being intentional about who you work with and what you do benefits your business. Doing so helps you enhance your skills and knowledge. It also helps to position you as an expert in your chosen niche and builds your credibility as a freelance writer.
It’s okay to say no when:
- The work doesn’t interest you.
- It seems too far outside of your wheelhouse.
- The pay doesn’t match the amount of work you’d have to do.
- The client is giving off too many red flags.
- You feel overwhelmed at the idea of taking on another project.
Saying yes to every project that comes your way can leave you feeling uninspired and lead to burn out. To be a successful freelancer, you need to know how to say no without feeling guilty. If a project doesn’t excite you or you’re too busy, don’t do it. It might be hard or feel scary at first but eventually, you’ll start to see the benefits.
Katie Jenison is a freelance writer offering copywriting, blogging, and ghostwriting services. She works closely with home builders, remodelers, interior designers, real estate and property management professionals to help them create content marketing strategies, improve their digital presence, generate leads, and engage with their target audience. Katie also helps freelance writers and creative entrepreneurs pursue their dreams of working from home by providing tips and advice, business strategies, and writing tips on her blog, The Quiet Type. Download her free workbook, A Freelancer’s Guide to Setting Rates, here.