3 Golden Lessons from 5+ Years as a Freelance Writer

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green flat lay image with paperclips and notebook on desk, become a freelance writer

[If you want to become a freelance writer, read this!]

If I knew then what I know now! For every business owner who has screamed spoken these words, here are some of my biggest lessons learned over the past 4 years while building my copywriting and content strategy business. 

1. Know Your Value 

Copywriting is a skill. Not only do you have to know the mechanics and best practices of being a great written communicator for the web, but you also have to understand people. You need marketing knowledge. You need consistency and creativity. I could go on…

It takes years to build that expertise. Not to mention, great copy and clear messaging make a huge difference for businesses. So it’s super valuable. 

If you’re just starting out (even some experienced writers need to hear this) – whatever you’re charging now, you’re probably not charging enough. The sooner you know your value, the sooner you can ditch the content mills and the cheapskate clients and start making what you’re worth. Good for the freelance writing industry at large, good for you. 

2. Be The Expert 

A lot of people, when starting out, think “the client will tell me what they want”… stop right there! Yes, you want to start from a place of knowing the client’s needs, goals, and ideal audience. That definitely matters. But you need to take all that and develop it into a plan that actually makes sense for them…not just what they think they need.  

Whether it’s content strategy, copy, or content writing – it’s the writer’s job to help the client lose the jargon and the “business speak”. Lose the long-winded company story that doesn’t focus on the customer at all. And to make sure everything you do all ties back to the overall GOAL of the content in the first place.

I am NOT saying to be a pushy salesperson and upsell them extra services they don’t need. I’m reminding you that you’re the expert, and often, the client needs (and wants) you to tell them what they need.

3. Start Now 

Self-doubt and procrastination kill more dreams than failure ever did. Not sure who originated this nugget of wisdom – but what a nugget it is! 

There are so many things I wish I had done sooner in my business, but I was held back by thinking I didn’t know enough, or that I had to have every detail perfect before I could release anything to anyone. It ain’t like that!  

Listen, your website doesn’t have to be perfect before you launch. They’re really easy to edit, you know. Same goes for your LinkedIn profile. You should be editing that regularly anyway to reflect what you’re currently working on.

And you don’t have to have a bunch of Instagram followers to get clients. I’ve never gotten a client from IG. Lots of people do! But there are lots of ways to do things. For me, the best strategy has been Slack groups, referrals, and building traffic to my website. 

The point is if you don’t start now, you’ll be in the same place in 6 months (or in 10 years)…

So there you have it. Know your value, be the expert (because you know your shi*) and start now! Don’t let self-doubt or perfectionism get in the way of your dream of building a career as a freelance writer (or freelance whatever).

If you’ve ever asked yourself “Where are all the *good* freelance writing clients?” then this is for you! Download my ‘Super-Mega-Handy ‘Where to Find Freelance Writing Clients Guide’.

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