The Defining Moments of a Beginner Freelance Writer

Now you are a beginner freelance writer.

Days, Weeks and Months pass by and you can’t figure out what you have achieved so far. You want to go back to the drawing board, but that isn’t an option (After all to you, none exists). You examine the steps you have taken, and confident you have been doing it the right way (But still yet, you haven’t achieved your goals).

You ask yourself some questions:

  • What is freelance writing?
  • Are people earning through freelance writing?
  • If people do, what is wrong with my approach?

The defining moments:

There are defining moments for a beginner freelance writer. These moments will determine how far you will go in the industry or not. They will separate those who understand freelance writing and those who don’t. These are the moments you should watch out for in your career, because it can make or mar you.

So Today, I will examine the five major defining moments of a beginner Freelance Writer, what it means and how you should approach it.

 

  1. When to Start?

One of the major moments of every beginner freelance writer is when to start. Many times, it is difficult to figure this out as everything looks so good to be true. You wonder how it is possible for someone to write for others, and get paid for that. You imagine, how easy the steps highlighted for every beginner freelance writer will materialise. You might be confused if you should leave your full-time job to begin the career as a Freelance writer, or you should start part time. You think, imagine and also confused.

What you should do:

As a beginner freelance writer, I will advise you to take actions immediately. Though the end justifies the means; actions separate doers from dreamers. [ctt_author author=”260″ name=”AbdulGaniy Shehu” template=”1″ link=”ELfce” via=”no” ]If you are just reading about freelance writing, and eager to delve into it, Do it now because tomorrow could be too late[/ctt_author]

  1. How to start:

You have read a lot about the different ways people earn through freelance writing (Maybe I have not done that here).

The Options: Content Mills, Freelance Job Websites or the Pitching Method

How they work:

  • Content mills: As the name implies, these are website where different categories of contents are written on, and paid for. What a content mill does is to allow you to write on different aspects, upload it and sell. While it is easy to sell on content mills, you do so at ridiculously low prices. Content mills have made writers worthless, as anybody can go there, write and get paid. The result in the long run, is that you work more and earn less.
  • Freelance Job Websites: These are the bidding sites, where buyers and sellers meet. Here, as a Freelance writer, you register and find the services you can offer. In the same vein, buyers come to do the same. Writers bid for available jobs on the website, and sellers test and pick a freelance writer whom they are satisfied with his service/ price. Bidding websites pay higher than content mills (but some writers have misused it too). The competition is stiff and the interest of writers are rarely protected by the websites.

  • The pitching method: This is another way in which you can make a living as a beginner freelance writer. It involves you to be in charge of the day-to-day activities of your job. Here, it’s your duty to look for clients, pitch them on the services you offer, and charge them too on the acceptable price you want. In fact, you are the boss. This could be a bit confusing for beginners who could ask:
  • How do I find clients?
  • How/ what should I write to them?
  • How will I get the clients’ contacts and the list is endless.

What you should do:

Having examined the major ways in which freelance writing can take.

What’s the best way?

As a beginner Freelance writer, I will advise you to be wary of content mills (it could tempt though), but it’s bad for your career. Freelance bidding websites are good for you as a beginner, but it shouldn’t be your goal. You can gather the necessary experience through this. Make some cash and get clients there too, but don’t stay so long here (It could affect your career in the long run). The pitching method, which seems difficult is the best way to go. This is what I practise and some other Freelance writers such as Carol Tice, Bamidele Onibalusi and Abdullahi Muhammed all do the same too. It could seem difficult but as it is said: “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”.

  1. Where to specialise:

After identifying when and how to start, the next big step is to specialise. In freelance writing and blogging, your area of specialisation is your niche, and I discussed this in my last post. So what do you consider before choosing a niche?

  • Are you passionate about it?
  • Do you have the knowledge of it?
  • Are you experienced in it?
  • Is it relevant to your potential clients?
  • Is it profitable?

Discussing the points raised above:

  • Passion: This is an unnegotiable factor in choosing a niche to specialise in as a beginner freelance writer. You must be passionate about your niche and be ready to write about it anytime, any day and anywhere. A niche which you are passionate about will be easy to research on and write about. In the long run when have more clients and more work to do, the passion will keep you going.

 

  • Knowledge: This is a very important consideration for choosing a niche. Your knowledge about that niche must be all-encompassing. You should be able to write about it with minimal or no research. This could be because you learnt about it while in college, or through self-learning and research. Your clients will expect more from you as a professional, and your in-depth knowledge of your niche will help you a great deal.

 

  • Experience: Experience will help you a lot in choosing a niche. Are you a retired Banker/ Financial analyst? You can take up the finance niche. Were you once a counsellor? You can take up the personal development niche, Have you ever taught in high school, college etc. you can take up the education niche. With the requisite experience, it’s expected that you know a lot about the niche. When clients see you are experienced, they will trust and want to work with you more.

 

  • Relevance: In choosing a niche, you should be sure that, it’s relevant to your potential clients and audience. You should know that, what is relevant in a particular market isn’t the same with the other. Take for instance, topics of interest to the US market, won’t be the same for the UK market. Therefore, you must study your market, identify the relevance of your niche there before settling for one.

 

  • Profitability: You are in freelance writing to make profits. This is because, it is the profit you make that can foot your bills, take care of your family and so on. Therefore, you should be on the lookout for profitable niches that enable you to get well paying clients always.

 

What you should do:

Before choosing a niche, you must examine all the points raised, as any mistake made here could be fatal and threatening to your career.

  1. A Blog, A Writer Website or What?

As a freelance writer who have went through the pitching method as explained. A blog or a writer website is important to you. So what’s it all about, and how will it aid your career.

  • Blog: A blog is an online platform where a writer expresses his opinion and provides solutions to issues in his niche. As a freelance writer, a blog is an avenue to show your expertise and establish authority too.

So how relevant is a blog to a freelance writer?

  1. It provides a platform for you to speak to the world
  2. It helps in sharpening your writing skills
  3. It gives you the opportunity to show and sell your products
  4. It aids in establishing yourself as a Professional. And lots more.
  • Writer Website: A writer website is your online office as a Freelance writer. It is through this website you can get in touch with clients all over the world. Display your portfolio, testimonials, the clients you have worked with and so on. You can also embed a contact/ billing form where they can get in touch with you with their various projects. Clients get to know more about you through this website.

As a beginner freelance writer which of them do you need?

A freelance writer needs both a blog and a writer website. This is because with a blog, you can showcase your expertise to the world, and people will recognise you. And with a writer website, you are making your business more professional. Taking Winsome Writer as an example, it’s both a Blog and a Writer Website. Writers In Charge of Bamidele Onibalusi is both a blog and a Writer Website, OxygenMat by Abdullahi Muhammed is both a blog and a Writer Website. Though, you can have a different blog and writer website, like Carol Tice who operates her blog at Make A Living Writing, and a Writer Website too.

What you should do:

As a Beginner Freelance Writer, you should identify how important these two platforms are to your career, make a wise choice today by keying into them. If you need more help on setting up your blog or writer website, get in touch with me.

  1. Getting your first client:

    This is the moment that defines your Freelance writing career. Experts in Freelance writing have opined that getting the first client is the most challenging and difficult task for a Freelance Writer. This is because, as a beginner, the industry is still strange to you, the clients will be skeptical about working with you. But as soon as you get the first client, then you can welcome yourself into the industry.

What the first client does for you:

  • It gives you the motivation that you are on the right track
  • It gives you a reassurance that your efforts have not been in vain
  • It gives you the opportunity to earn your first few dollars from writing
  • It provides an opportunity for you to show the clients, your writing prowess.

As a beginner Freelance Writer, what should you expect from your first client?

  • More work: You should expect your first client to offer more projects for you to work on, if he is satisfied with your writing
  • Earning: At first, the pay might not be as high as you wanted, but you shouldn’t settle for less because you are desperate for your first client
  • Testimonial: If you have done the first project for your first client, you should expect a testimonial from him/ her. With a testimonial, you can include this on your website as a proof of projects you have executed in the past.

What you should do:

As a beginner freelance writer, getting your first client is the most defining moment of your career, it can make or mar you. With your first client, it heralds you into the world of Freelance writing. So prepare well for this day and put in your best to make sure that you deliver a quality project on time.

On a Final note:

Every career has its defining moments. A beginner freelance writer, should be watchful of all these moments. If you can handle them well, and take the necessary steps, it would go a long way to determine what you would achieve. If you joke with them, and take them with levity it will not only mar you, but make you detest freelance writing forever. It is never too late to take the bold step today.

Over to you:

As a beginner freelance writer, what has been your defining moments? Are you satisfied with your actions and inactions during these moments? Do make your submissions in the comment box.

Eager to begin your Freelance Writing Career? 5 Things you must know

Has freelancing finally come to stay? What is the statistics of freelancers in the world today?

Now take a look at the following:

According to the Freelancers’ Union, there are 53 million people in the US doing freelance work. 34% of the national workforce! Likewise, people who freelance contribute $715 billion in freelance earning to the economy.

In the UK, it’s revealed that the freelance economy has grown by 14% in the past decade, and there are 1.4 million British freelancers across different sectors of the economy.

According to a report by the Freelance job site Elance, the number of businesses hiring freelance writers online increased by 46% in 2013.

In Europe, freelancing is also soaring. This report titled: “Future Working: The Rise of Europe’s Independent Professionals”, indicates that Freelancers are the fastest growing group in the EU labour market as their numbers have increased by  45% from just under 6.2 million to 8.9 million in 2013.

What do you observe?

The industry is growing and, it’s becoming an acceptable profession. Freelance writing, the backbone of online marketing takes the center stage with about 18% of the freelance jobs online.

These statistics impress many wannabe Freelance writers, who are motivated to start a career of their own. While some started, and along the line, found the career stressful, and called it quits, others are afraid of starting and satisfied with discussing the industry trends without getting engaged.

Whichever group you might belong to:

Listen to this:

Many persons who could have succeeded in the Freelance writing industry are afraid of failure, others who damned the consequence to begin, are doing it the wrong way.

Though freelance writing offers you a unique opportunity to showcase your skills and get rewarded, it could discourage and frustrate you if not done with the right mindset.

So today, I will share tips on how you can successfully kick-start your career in the industry, and see yourself smiling at the end of the day

 

  1. Start anyhow:

    Yes, you read that right. If you desire to succeed in this career, you have to take actions. One of the greatest disservice to yourself and career is to continue waiting for the best time and opportunity. Most at times, these will never come, and at the end of the day you’ll continue in the same cycle. “There’s magic in action”, and you have to take the bold steps whether you think you’re ready for it or not.  N.B: Starting anyhow, doesn’t mean you should offer your services at ridiculous prices, or desperate to do the same. It means despite the challenges you are/ might face, you need to do something immediately. When you start, opportunities will knock at your door, the whole world will recognize and appreciate you for what you do, and with time you will get the desired results.

  2. Branding:

    Has it ever occurred to you that, you are the number one brand for your business? Are you proud to tell people, anywhere and anytime about what you do?

These are steps towards a fulfilling freelance writing career. You need to identify that, this is a career and you must treat it as such. You must identify why you are in the business in the first place, and improve yourself too.

Some of the things you must put in place in this regard include:

– A functional blog/ website

– A captivating profile on various Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.

– A Facebook page to promote your business and services.

– Offline meetings/ Seminars etc.

With these effectively put in place, you need to reach out to your target audience and have a voice. These platforms should also indicate clearly what you do. You should be proud to tell anyone same too.

3. Social Proof:

The online business is highly populated and it takes a lot of time to get into the hearts of your potential audience. So as a Freelance writer who’s just starting, you need to establish yourself to earn people’s trust.

So what do you do?

You need Social Proof.

Now, you might wonder what the heck this is all about

Read this: Social Proof is the act of having a reputation online in your chosen niche or career.

To simplify this: Quickly run a Google search for your name, and see what pops up in the search results.

What do you see?

Your Facebook profile, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. That’s what the web has about you in its records. Don’t be surprised, some will not display any result at all.

 

Again do this: Run a search of my name: Abdul Ganiy Shehu, and what do you find?

The result is glaring, isn’t it?

OK, let’s do this too: search for Bamidele Onibalusi, and observe the difference with mine.

The difference as you see it, is what is referred to as Social Proof.

Therefore, if you want to start and eventually succeed in Freelance writing, you need to establish this, and show potential clients they are dealing with a real person.

Now, you might ask, how do you establish Social Proof and become successful at it.

My response: There are quite a lot of ways to achieve this, and I promise to write an eBook explaining this to guide my readers in the coming weeks (So, be on the lookout). But in the meantime, your Website which I’m sure you already have in place, or plan to have can serve that purpose.

4. Consistency:

When it comes to any Online/ Offline business, this matters a lot, and goes a long way to distinguish doers from dreamers.

If you think of starting your Freelance writing career, you should be ready to be consistent.

It’s consistency that makes you committed to your blog and post regular updates.

It’s consistency that makes you follow up on clients despite repeated failures.

It’s what makes you follow up on different social media platforms, interacting with clients.

With consistency, you are sure to achieve your goals with Freelance writing.

One inspirational story, I wish to share with you about this, is that of one of my mentors in writing.

Within 3 years, he was consistent and focused with what he does, and today he earns six figures (In dollars), annually from Freelance writing.

Are you surprised?

OK, how did he achieve that?

This young man, as an undergraduate founded a website to announce essay contests and also share tips on writing with fellow writers in his country.

He did this consistently, till he discovered the goldmine in Affiliate marketing, which he quickly keyed into, organizing e-courses for his audience.

He never called it quits, until he found out that he can earn more through Freelance writing, which he started by founding another website for this purpose.

Today the rest is history, he’s been published on various international platforms such as Jewish Journal, Huffington Post, Business, Entrepreneur magazine, Inc., Forbes and a host of others.

The truth is that, he couldn’t have achieved all these without been consistent and persistent. Of course, he’s faced challenges, but today he’s a success, and a story worthy of sharing with you.

You can read more about him on Wikipedia.

5. The Distinguishing Factor:

As a Freelance writer, you need to distinguish yourself from others to succeed. You should bring in that x-factor that will make you stand out, and become the writer of first choice.

If you can effectively do this, then your road to stardom in the industry is nothing but close.

Jon Morrow of SmartBlogger is known for his long articles, and he does it so perfectly. Bamidele Onibalusi of Writers in Charge is also known for this, though he does it in a unique way and style.

Carol Tice of Make a living writing, curated the idea of paying freelance writers who get published on her blog, and that aids the contents on her platform greatly.

Other writers are doing different things to succeed in this regard.

That Distinguishing Factor will make you stand out and stand the taste of time too.

On a Final note:

The year 2016 is coming to an end, but it’s not too late to make a hay, afterall the sun still shines. 2017 is by the corner, and Freelance writing will continue serving the interests of many in as much as online marketing and business are concerned.

Don’t you think it’s time to sidestep your fears, and grab this opportunity?

Are you still afraid of taking that bold step of becoming the next big Freelance writer, the world has been waiting for?

On my part, as you prepare to start this journey, I am ready to cheer you to glory, offering you the necessary assistance and advice needed to succeed free of charge.

What are your fears about Freelance Writing? Are you ready to begin today?

If Yes? Do indicate your interest in the comment box below, and we’ll take it up from there.

Revealed: The Best and only Way to learn Writing

Everybody wants to be a writer. I have seen no one who isn’t interested in writing. Because everyone wants to write, many are bemused about where to start. They want to know the best way to learn writing. Few days ago, I met someone who read some of the posts on my blog. He was so enthusiastic and told me: “Shehu, what are the secrets to writing.” To him, there are secrets writers hide from their audience.

Likewise, two days ago, a high school friend of mine called after a long time. At the end of our discussion he said: “Shehu, I visited your blog days ago, and I am impressed by what you do. Though I find it easy to express myself in speech, it’s always difficult for me to write.” He confessed.

This is happening  within a week. These and many more are questions I get from friends, family members, colleagues and readers of my blog.

Writing is both difficult and easy. Your perception to it matters and goes a long way in shaping you.

Today, I am revealing the best and only one way to learn writing.Before that, let me make three shocking revelations:

 

  1. You have no excuses for not writing:

    Most at times, whenever you are asked about writing and why you have not started writing. It’s easy to bring up one thousand and one excuses. These excuses may include: Lack of talent, No adequate writing resources, Lack of mentors, Writing is difficult, There’s no time to write etc. While most of these excuses are true, it’s true that even with all these, you will still make excuses.

Peter elbow, while making his submission on this in his book, Writing without Teachers, aptly puts it thus:

People without education say, “If only I had education I could write.” People with education say, “If only I had talent, I could write.” People with education and talent say, “If only I had self-discipline I could write.” People with education, talent and self-discipline – and there are plenty of them who can’t write – say, “If only …” and don’t know what to say next. Of course, you can make excuses for not writing but there are none actually.

  1. Writing is your right:

    Yes, you heard me right. It’s your right to write, and it’s only when you write that you can claim your right. Without writing, you’ll lose your right to be right, but when you write you’ll become right.

Abdullahi Muhammed in his book, Your right to write puts it this way:

A lot of people are so scared to assert their right to write. I was scared too. Very much frightened. How could I call myself a writer? I had no Degree or certificate to show for it. I feared I could be challenged. That I was only pretending. That I was a serial impostor. Maybe you are, too. But in actual fact, you need no certification to write. It’s a right you’ve always had …your birth right. If you write, you’ll be right. Go a step further and author… that’s how to become an authority. Whatever you conceive, and solemnly believe, you can achieve.

  1. No barriers to Writing:

    If there is any profession that gives everybody the freewill to do whatever they want to do, in the best way they can do it, irrespective of their backgrounds, then writing comes first. There is no barrier to becoming a writer irrespective of your discipline. What matters most is your ability to learn how to write and writing always. Many great writers today, never studied Arts or Humanities in College or University. Though studying these related courses is good, but not studying them isn’t a barrier. I love the way Seth Godin puts it: “The biggest challenge is that there are no barriers. If you want to do it, go do it. Ideas worth spreading, spread.” And I say: “If you want to write, just write. Ideas worth writing, write”

Now, you know that:

  • No barriers to writing
  • Writing is your right
  • You have no excuses for not writing.

 

Then, what’s the best and only way to learn writing.

If I may ask you:

What’s the best way to learn how to walk? Walking, isn’t it?

What’s the best way to learn how to speak? Speaking, right?

What’s the best way to learn how to cook? Cooking, am I correct?

So, the best and only way to learn writing is:

Writing

Writing, and

Writing.

There are no two ways about it.

It is only when you write that you can master the art of writing.

Hear this:

If you read the best of books on writing

Possess the best resources that can aid your writing career

Subscribe to blogs that can make you a better write

Attend writing conferences to equip you better.

Does these actions make you a writer?
Definitely not.

The truth about writing is that, if you don’t write, you are not a writer.

So, if you want to learn writing, you need to write.

Stop procrastination. Pick up your pen right now and write.

The first draft might look messy and frightening, but that’s the best way to go. When you write, you learn and master it. But if you fail to write, you can never learn writing. Proficiency isn’t what you need now. You need to start. When you start, you learn and become better.

On a Final Note

Writing is a daunting, time-consuming and lonely task I admit. But if you wish to learn it, you need to start writing. It’s only when you write, that you can be called a writer. When you write, you claim your right. When you author, you become an authority.

Over to you:

What are the fears you have about writing? How has writing made you a better writer? Make your submissions in the comment box.

Can’t keep up? 7 ways to write quality blogposts always

Blog
Blogging

It is 7am, your night was awesome. You have forgotten that you slept worriedly the night before. After deciding to take action, you want to serve your readers with fresh articles on a weekly basis. Still basking in the euphoria of the success of your last article, the number of shares you got in the social media was mind-blowing, you have gotten new friends on Facebook, new followers on Twitter and quite some views on LinkedIn. Yes, a writer I am, you tell anyone who cares to listen.

Today, is another day and you have to write, you want to replicate last week’s success, you want to gain new followers, but there is a problem. Yes, you have ran out of ideas, you don’t know what to write about.

The truth is, every writer faces this situation, writing is a lonely and arduous task, but how is it possible to churn out quality articles week in week out. Today, I reveal the secrets of established writers, and how they are able to write articles, that are always interesting, enlightening and factual.

  • Writers Read always: Reading is an activity that established writers do always, they are never tired of it,  hence they are full of ideas. As a writer you must read something out of everything. Good writers are avid readers, because when reading, you get a lot of ideas which shapes your writing always.
  • Make Google thy friend: Google has been around for a while, but most writers have not found it a worthy friend. If you are a writer, and you think you can generate great ideas always without Google, then you need to rethink your strategy. Many a writer are under-utilising the search engine, and have forgotten that it has the best answers to our questions. In fact Google, can give you an insight into what people are searching for, and you can write about it.
  • Learn from the best: There is no industry where there are no authorities. Writing is not an exception, as we have writers who have made names writing and have been doing it for decades. Many writers fail today, because they feel they can be independent. Kallen Diggs puts it this way:

    “There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Accepting the help of others will usually shorten the learning curve in anything you want to pursue in life. It does not make you any less independent.”

    As a writer, you need to visit the authority blogs and websites. Topics written on these blogs can give you ideas of what you’ll write next.

Write

  • Be a good listener: A good writer must also be a good listener. Listening will let you know what your readers want, how they want it, and why they want to it. Today’s post is a product of a question one of my readers asked last week. Every writer must listen to the readers always, this could be in form of reading their comments, conducting surveys, and asking them what they want etc.
  • Write down ideas: This is natural, and many writers fail to utilize it. Many a times, you could be walking on the street, be in the public bus, or on the train, and an idea on what you can write about comes to mind. Established writers do not joke with this, they jot them down and revisit when it’s time. You should always write down the ideas you have as they come. These ideas if not useful now, will count one day.
  • My niche my Interest: Have you ever asked yourself, what interests you the most? Every writer MUST have an interest, which is referred to as niche. This interest could stem from your course of study, religious/social/cultural affiliations. Your niche is unique to you, and you should develop it. Many established writers/bloggers have gone ahead to build an empire with their niches. Examples of this include: Darren Rowse, Brian Clark and Jon Morrow best known for blogging tips, Seth Godin known for self-development, Zac Johnson known for Affiliate Marketing, Carol Tice and Bamidele Onibalusi known for Freelance Writing. Jeff Goins and Abdullahi Muhammed known for coaching writers. These writers/bloggers have honed their skills in these niches over the years, and they have been writing about them ever since.

On a Final Note:

Writing gives you the voice you crave for. It gives you a right to pen down your thoughts and make an impact in the world. While it’s generally interesting, it could be frustrating at times especially for newbie writers. Knowing these secrets and putting them into practise will ensure that you don’t run out of ideas anytime soon.

Over to you:

As a writer, what are your secrets to writing quality articles always without running out of ideas?