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.

Sidestep your fears: Why You should start Writing Today

“If you don’t want to be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten in the grave, either write something worth reading or do something worth Writing.”- Benjamin Franklin

It’s common to see wannabe writers, afraid of starting a writing career. While many are afraid because of the notion that writing is hard. Others think that they do not have the requisite skills to command a clout of active followers. Not only that, many others do not know why they should start writing.

Today, I want you to sidestep your fears and do nothing but writing. I am revealing in this post, reasons why you should pick up your pen, switch on your computer, and start writing.

Sidestep your fears and start writing today

But before that; let me tell you this:

“Without a good writing skill, you’ll be doing yourself more harm than good.”

Reference.com puts it this way: “Writing is an important part of life, whether in the workplace or school, as a hobby or in personal communication. This skill helps the writer express feelings and thoughts to other people in a relatively permanent form”

Likewise Skillsyouneed describes writing thus: “Writing skills are an important part of communication.  Good writing skills allow you to communicate your message with clarity and ease to a far larger audience than through face-to-face or telephone conversations.”

As you can see, Writing is an essential part of our daily life, there’s hardly a day whereby you’ll not meet writing.  Be it in College, University, Workplace, and Conversation via Social Media and the list is endless.

Still thinking of writing? Here are 7 reasons why you should:

  1. It expresses your personality: In writing, you express your thoughts and personal convictions. So when you write, it demonstrates who you are as a person. Writing is a personality booster and shows your audience what/how/why you think/believe in whatever you write. As a reader of this post, you should decipher that I believe you need not only acquire a writing skill but do nothing today, than to start writing.
  2. It gives you credibility: Writing makes it easy for your audience to believe in you and want to relate with you. When you are a writer, you automatically express your thoughts which makes your audience see you as someone who is credible. It makes them see you as someone who is intelligent and can be trusted. Even in colleges, universities and schools writers tend to get higher grades and seen as more intelligent than their less literary counterparts.
  3. It aids Networking: Writing travels farther than you, and makes it easy for those who won’t have heard of you, revere and want to associate with you. With a good writing skill, you will meet new people, go places, and have memorable experiences. Many popular writers in the world today, have only gotten that privilege because they write. If you want to network with the right people today, start writing.
  4. It’s an essential job skill: Employers place a high value on sharp writing skills. There is hardly any job today that doesn’t need you to write. You need to write a report, grant application or press release, exchange e-mails with your colleagues, etc. So, you need a good writing skill to enable you do that. Without one, you might not be able to get a job. It might even be difficult to get along with your colleagues (if you have one). According to Grammarly, major companies spend upwards of US$3 billion (£1.8bn) per year training their employees to bring their writing abilities up to scratch.
  5. It’s a profession: Writing is a profession. If you are a Journalist, public relations professional etc., you need to start writing because it’s your profession. For these professions, you need to write because that is what you do. Apart from these professions that traditionally need writing, other professions do too. Thus, if you dream to work as a professional in these fields, you need to write.
  6. Means of communication: Before the advent of the internet, many people communicate via the telephones. We can say then that it is easy to defy writing. But today, writing has become the major means of communication between persons, businesses and organisations. With emails, notes, tweets, texts and so on. It’s hard for you to communicate without writing. Communicating via this platform can hinder or boost your career, relationship, networking etc. Remember, good writing leads to good communication.
  7. You can make a living: Of course, you can make a living writing, and affecting others’ lives positively. Many writers, bloggers, freelancers and so on are earning a decent living just by writing. Some writers and bloggers make six figures and more monthly writing Of course it’s not a day’s job but with efforts, perseverance and persistence you’ll join them. And the most interesting part is that, making a living from your writing not only gives you freedom, you can continue earning forever.
Start writing today
Start writing today

Why not sidestep your fears?

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” says Nelson Mandela. It’s always difficult to start, easy to procrastinate, and easier to dream of becoming a writer. Why not sidestep your fears today, ignite your passion and follow it up with actions. Definitely you will become a writer who will enjoy these benefits and more.

Over to you:

What other reasons do you have, for choosing to become a writer? And what are your fears of not yet becoming one? Make your submissions in the comment box.

Taking Action: The Newbie Writer’s Guide to Success

The Newbie Writer
writer’s desk

Admit it. You have always admired great writers in your field. You have read lots of blog posts, articles, and newsletters on how to get started as a writer. You have even joined some writing e-courses that take you through the nitty-gritty of writing. You’re a daily visitor to some of the popular blogging/writing websites in the world such as Copyblogger, Problogger, Smartblogger, Goinswriter, Writers in charge, Make a living writing, Grammar Girl, Seth Godin, TheWritelife and the list is endless.

You understand writing is the calling for you, you respect writers and always wish to be called one anytime, you believe that great writers produce great ideas, and ideas rule the world always.

Just as Paul Graham puts it:

Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them, if you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you will miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.

But, you’re held up. Not only do you procrastinate beginning your writing career, you are afraid of failure. The ideas are perfectly in your head, but you don’t know how to get started. You read that established writers make a lot of money writing, but you think you can’t withstand their expertise.

The Reality: Being in motion Vs. Taking Action

In his post, The Mistake smart people make, James Clear aptly describes it thus:

Motion is when you’re busy doing something, but the task will never produce an outcome by itself. Action on the other hand is the behaviour that will get the result.

Let’s cite some examples:

  • If I outline 30 ideas I want to write on, that’s the motion, if I actually write and publish just an article, that’s an action.
  • If I read a blog post on How to make money as a freelance writer, that’s motion, if I actually put it into practice and start making money, that’s an action
  • If I study for a test, that’s motion. If I actually take the test, that’s action

Motion is good but action is better

I love the way Leonardo da Vinci puts it:

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

Motion is good because it allows you to prepare and strategise and learn as a writer, but it will never produce a final result. Yes, motion will show you the way but action will definitely take you there.

Taking action
Taking action

Are you ready to take action?

As a newbie writer, you should understand that actions matter a lot, if indeed you want to succeed. It’s the actions that the established writers are taking that stand them out from the crowd. If you wish to be successful in your writing career, I advise you to do the following:

  1. Start small: Don’t be in a hurry. Take calculated and important steps always. Simply put: begin with one task and get it completed before going to the next
  2. Reconnect with the present moment: Don’t be a hurry to make a name
  3. Focus on how instead of ifs: What if’s can really make you lose focus. So instead of letting your mind get lost in what if’s focus on the how.
  4. Put distractions away: These days, our devices are with us everywhere and it takes just a second to get distracted. So you need to be wary of that and do the needful always
  5. Utilise your time judiciously: Your time is an asset that you must guard jealously. While you shouldn’t harbour stress and tension about time, allow it to work towards your goals
  6. Get motivated: Make sure that you have some incentives to get self-motivated. The more motivated you are, the more actions you take
  7. Don’t be a perfectionist: Don’t wait to be a perfect writer before you start. Expertise is not attained one day, it’s learned on the job
  8. Don’t follow the majority: As a newbie writer, you need to figure out what makes you happy, what you can write on consistently over time, and follow it to the latter. Don’t be a copy-cat
  9. Be enthusiastic: Enthusiasm is a great emotional state to be in to take action. Be proud and happy to be called a writer, tell whoever cares to listen that you’re one.
  10. The time is now: If indeed you want to take action, there is no other time better to do that than now. Do not wait for the perfect moment, make this moment a perfect one.

On a Final Note:

John Wooden puts it this way: “Never mistake activity for achievement”. If indeed you want to be successful in your writing career, then you must begin to take actions. And I say: “Don’t wait to be an expert before you take bold steps. Start something today, learn on the job, be determined and remain consistent. Indeed, Expertise is earned over time and not a day’s job.”

What has been hindering you from kick-starting your writing career? Do comment in the box below.