Today, more people than ever are working as independent contractors in many different professions and industries. Writers have always valued independence, and, over the past few years, freelance writing has become a highly paid profession.
You can make more money as an independent writer than you can at most day jobs. Six-figure incomes are common. But what if you’re just starting out in freelance writing?
Freelance writing today offers unlimited opportunities
If you have a flair for writing, and love it, you’ve got immense opportunities. You can work from anywhere, and choose your own hours. You can also choose with whom you’ll work.
However, too much freedom can be dangerous. You grab one amazing opportunity after another, then suddenly wake up with nothing.
Sadly, this is all too common. Writers can be naive, and much too trusting.
So let’s look at three tips which will help you to achieve your writing dreams.
1. Your stable of clients: hustle and build a BIG stable
Please remember this tip: build up your stable of clients. It’s vital. Companies go belly-up. You need a stable of 15 to 20 regular clients. When you have fewer than five regular clients, you’re in the danger zone, even if those clients pay top rates.
You can wake up one morning with $10,000 in receivables, and a full list of projects, feeling secure. A few weeks later, cancellations and slow payments mean you have no money coming in, but still have bills to pay.
2. Diversify: develop a side hustle
Chances are that until you became a full-time freelance writer, writing was a side hustle. Over time, you built your name, and your client list. You gave up the day job.
You sneaked up on your freelance writing dream. But dreams are one thing, reality is something else.
Every full-time freelance writer I know still has a dream. It might be:
- To build your hobby blog into a million dollar business;
- Maybe you love writing fiction and want to try self-publishing;
- Perhaps you want to develop a copywriting career, rather than being a generalist writer.
Once you have a steady writing income, it’s time to build your side hustle. You’re growing as a writer every day, diversification is good for you, and your enthusiasm for your side hustle will flow over into your “everyday” writing. And of course, a side hustle means another income stream, which is always useful.
Speaking of income…
3. Cash flow is everything. Two words: “unsecured creditor”
Cash flow is everything for all businesses, whether big or micro. Forget this at your peril.
Freelance writing is a skill for which people pay. However, people being people, sometimes they make promises they can’t keep… or had no intention of keeping.
At least once a week, I get a troubling message from a writer.
- “My client says he’ll pay me as soon as…”
- “Eventually, they’ll have projects for me every month, so…”
- “If I give them a price break now, they say…”
- “He said I didn’t need a contract, and…”
Yada, yada… When I reply to these inexperienced writers, I try to find a kind way of saying that their client is feeding them BS.
I also encourage them to remember two words: “unsecured creditor.” They’re two words you never want to hear. It means that those thousands of dollars someone owes you will never, ever be repaid… or will be “repaid” at cents on the dollar.
Over time, you’ll recognize BS too when you hear it. Until then, trust your intuition. That small voice, which says: What? That doesn’t sound right… or No! is a great warning system.
Tip: when it feels wrong, it’s wrong. Run away. Talk’s cheap, and it’s ALL talk, until the money is in your bank account, literally. Don’t start a gig until you have a contract and the deposit, or the entire payment, is in your bank account.
Onward, and have fun, and make this the year you achieve your freelance writing dreams. 🙂
I'm sure you've heard quotes like: "if you can imagine it, you can achieve it." And: "if you can dream it, you can become it."More info →
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