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.

Dealing with Procrastination as a Writer: A Personal Experience

Today makes it 42 days I posted a new article on this blog. For the past one month, I stopped my freelance writing activities which has affected my blog updates too. I must confess it was a hell of a time, an unforgettable experience and moment of deep reflection worth sharing with you.

What happened?

Shortly before my convocation ceremony (Which came up last month), a friend invited me over to carry out a particular task that will last for some weeks. This, I agreed to reluctantly and together we carried out this task for two weeks. While this task lasted, I wrote nothing either on my blog or elsewhere. Of course, my writing career suffered a huge setback.

As if that was not enough:

Before commencing the task with my friend, my laptop’s battery got damaged so I can only use it with electricity! And immediately I finished the task, I became so reluctant to pick up my pen. I wasn’t eager anymore to type on my computer, and each day passes by and I assured myself I will write the next day.

The monster called Procrastination

Procrastination, which means postponing, or setting aside a task you ought to execute today for another day is a monster. Truly the killer of dreams and an effectual way to stop pursuing a particular cause. When you procrastinate you become so lazy, you develop a psychological apathy towards the task at hand, and most times dread ever going back to it.

Procrastination for a writer: My Personal Experience

Procrastination affects writing just like any other profession. In fact, that of a writer is more visible, more damaging and easy. During the last few weeks, procrastination made me lost my writing  voice. It made writing so difficult, and I dreaded ever putting anything down to write. My writing became so disrupted that the only consolation I put up for myself is that I will write tomorrow. In fact, I wondered if I could ever be able to write again. That is what procrastination does for a writer. It makes you lose your self-confidence, you seize to believe in yourself and abilities, and instead of been a writer you become a waiter.

Dealing with Procrastination as a Writer

Though Procrastination affected my writing career, I learnt some lessons especially on how to handle it. This is to prevent a re-occurrence and make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes as mine.

Here are 5 ways to deal with procrastination as a writer:

  • Understand the phenomenon:

    The first step to dealing with procrastination is to understand the phenomenon and how it works. Always have it in mind that it creeps into your career unknowingly, and always difficult to know that you have procrastinated. It gives you a sense of confidence that nothing will happen if you fail to write today. As a writer, when you have this feeling, you should understand that it’s nothing but procrastination and then act fast.

 

  • Make it a duty to write daily:

    This is an advice that top players in the writing industry tell fellow writers to heed. When you write daily, you achieve many things which include:

  1. You remain in a right state of mind to write (This is because writing deals with your state of mind)
  2. You remain less bothered about what to post
  3. You have a large pool of ready articles to choose.

So handle procrastination and make writing daily important. With a daily writing time table, you will have defeated it by a large percentage.

  • Make writing a top priority always:

    You cannot write daily if you don’t make the act of writing an important aspect of your life. What should always come to your mind always is writing. You think, dream and feel writing. It’s only when writing becomes a top priority that you won’t think of anything else than to write. In reality, you execute other tasks as well but practically writing remains top most in your heart. With this mind-set, you won’t see yourself procrastinating a writing task for another time or day.

 

  • Make reading a habit:

    Good writers are avid readers, and avid readers never run out of writing ideas always. To deal with procrastination, make it a habit to read always.

  • Read novels as much as you can.
  • Read about writing and its different techniques.
  • Read about the challenges faced by writers and how they overcome them.
  • Read blog posts of fellow writers, top players in the writing industry, mentors, etc.

All these and many more, ensures that you are on top of your game always. You will write as much as you can, and many more.

  • Think about your audience:

    Thinking about your audience is an effective way to handle procrastination. As a writer, your audience are the most important aspect of your career. Not only do they read what you write, they wait for it, and put them into practice. Now imagine the scenario whereby an audience that have been waiting so long for your write-up get disappointed. Devastating isn’t it? You might as well lose a sizeable number of them if this persists for long. The internet is so populated, and you need fresh contents always to stay on top of the game. As a writer, when you think about the audience, you will never procrastinate and will want to satisfy them always.

On a Final Note:

Procrastination is real, and it’s a cog in the wheel of a writer’s progress. The surprising thing is that it creeps unknowingly into a writer’s career, and if not taken care of, will cause a huge damage to it. As a writer, you should always be ready for setbacks, disappointments and so on in your career. These weigh you down and makes you want to think that procrastination is the next thing for you. But with the practical steps highlighted above, you will overcome procrastination and be in charge of your writing career. Well, I have learnt my lessons and I am back for good.

Over to You

As a writer, have you ever experienced procrastination? What are the steps you have taken to overcome it successfully? 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?

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.