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Success & Career

10 Steps to Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer



freelance writer

As a freelance writer, you can work from any location such as your home, office or the local café. Freelance writing can be your full-time job or just a part-time side gig. However, trying to juggle a traditional job at the same time, might not give you an opportunity to dedicate enough effort to your writing career. To become a successful freelance writer, you need to understand the basic principles which will help you put your goal into action. It might take some time to build a successful freelance writing career, but following these ten steps will help you get started.

How to become a successful freelance writer

Polish your Writing Skills

Working as a freelance writer requires you to have marketable writing skills. If you are just starting with writing, you will probably need to brush up on your writing skills. Consider enrolling in a creative writing class offered by your local community college, either in person or online. You can also pursue self-study by buying books that can teach you how to develop your writing skills. Also, many free and premium resources that can help you become a proficient and prolific writer can be found online.

Expose yourself to other writers by reading books, articles, and blogs whille paying attention to their style, vocabulary, and voice. Find a variety books on different subjects to add depth to your writing skills. When you find writers you like, study their style and emulate it in your work. You should also find a writing partner who can read your work and give you honest, constructive feedback about your writing skills.

You can also improve your skills by practicing. Set up a regular schedule to practice writing. As you write, you will build your skills and find your voice, tone and other characteristics that will make your writing unique. At first, you might spend more time than you planned on every step of the writing process. If you take your time to develop suitable methods for your work, you will eventually work fast enough to manage a hefty workload. Focus on writing first and then edit later, this way you will be more productive in your writing.


Explore your Options

Now that you’ve decided to become a writer, you should explore your options. You can get started by writing about things in your personal area of expertise. Write about the products and services you worked with during your previous career, especially those that captivated your interest the most. If you previously had a job in a specific niche, you probably have enough experience to write from a position of an authority.

If you have a college degree, you should have plenty of academic topics you can write about, using your textbooks and notes as a foundation. Although you can find writing jobs that require little expertise and minimal research, you will probably discover that those jobs do not pay as much as opportunities that require specialized knowledge or experience in a particular field. As you explore your options, pay attention to the market of available writing jobs. If you can find a market with a shortage of expertise, you can jump start your writing career by customizing your knowledge for that market.


Get Some Exposure

If you want to kick start your writing career, you need to put yourself out there. In order to get the necessary exposure and gradually establish yourself as an authority in a particular niche, you should leverage the power of the internet.

One way of increasing your digital presence is to start your own blog or website. You’ll create a platform where you’ll be able to consistently post quality content on the topics of your choice, showcase your work, and eventually build a community around it.

Another great way to get under people’s radars is to look for guest blogging opportunities. By offering other bloggers great content, written exclusively for their sites, you’ll get the chance to position yourself as an authority in your industry. You’ll also get exposure and traffic back to your blog or website, and expand the network of your connections.

Your blog or guest posts will serve as your writing portfolio that can help you win jobs. When clients consider hiring your services, they often want to review samples of your writing to make sure you have the capability to produce work of the caliber they require. Your portfolio should feature a diverse sampling of your best work, so you can show off your ability to master a variety of topics and styles.


Get Good Testimonials

Ask your clients and colleagues to provide testimonials about the quality and character of your work. When you have people who can attest to your professionalism and talent you add weight to your pitch, improving your chances of success. Whether you do work for bloggers or businesses, make a habit of getting a testimonial you can add to your repertoire of recommendations.


Set your Rates

When you enter the market as a writer, you will quickly discover that you face a lot of competition. Resist the temptation to take a low-price strategy that will inadequately compensate for your work. Make up your mind to keep your fees up as a testimony to the high-quality, professional work you produce. As a part of your pitch, define your minimum acceptable rate to establish clear expectations.

Browsing through the jobs available in any writer’s marketplace will help you get an idea of the average rates charged for your level of work. Use the information you get to set an appropriate rate that will keep you competitive. Make sure you collect a retainer before you start work to help ensure that you will get paid.


Find Writing Opportunities 

Your writing career will not take off until you show some initiative in finding work. No one can give you writing jobs if no one knows that you have started working as a writer. Begin by letting your family members, friends, and business associates know that you have decided to write for a living. You should then search online for opportunities to write so that you can gain experience and a good reputation.

Many existing online resources for finding paid freelance jobs offer you a chance to get real world experience and exposure as a writer. As you pursue the various available writing jobs, you will likely come across a particular topic, niche, and style that appeals to you. When you find the kind of writing work you like, your passion will drive you to take your career to new levels.


Craft a Great Pitch

Landing writing jobs require that you have an effective pitch. You need to make a good first impression with your pitch, demonstrating your abilities and enthusiasm. When you let your passion and your writing skills shine, you can differentiate yourself from the masses.

Give great attention to the subject line of your pitch. If a prospective client requires a specific subject line in the ad, follow their guidelines. If there’s no specific instruction, try to come up with something that will separate you from the crowd but won’t come off as unprofessional. Make it short and sweet, avoid capital letters and certain buzzwords that sound too salesy or banal.

Make sure to follow the guidelines provided in the ad and include all the necessary attachments. Prospective clients probably have dozens of other applicants, so making sure you get noticed is crucial.

Pay attention to spelling and grammar of your email – outstanding writing skills are supposed to be your strongest asset. Demonstrate them early on. Create original work and pitch it with professionalism, and you will lay a sound basis for your writing career.


Stay Professional

Once you start getting your first writing jobs it is very important to maintain a high level of professionalism. During your writing career, you will come in contact with various clients. Some of them will be delightful and working with them will be pure joy. On the other hand, some clients will be impossible and might cause you stress by having unrealistic expectations or requiring unattainable results.The important thing is to learn how to deal with them.

You should always have a lot of patience with your clients. Accept their criticism but also show them that you know what you are doing. Keep your clients constantly informed about your writing progress and offer them quick solutions should any problems arise. No matter who you are writing for, always maintain your writing to the highest standards and don’t let the character of others deter you from your career path.


Go the Extra Mile

As your writing career progresses, you’ll soon realize that many prospective clients expect more than just having the article written and submitted. If you’re writing for blogs, you should be familiar with the concepts such as online marketing, content marketing, and SEO. Your clients are certainly familiar with those terms and are keen on keeping their online marketing strategy effective. By offering to not only write, but also publish and promote the content, you’ll soon begin to discover the great range of other opportunities for the development of your freelance career.

If you’re just getting started, you should probably focus just on your writing first, but keep the option of upgrading your skills for the future. Having your own blog or website will soon prove to be worthwhile, as it will force you to acquire the extra useful skills, such as the knowledge of basic principles of HTML, CSS, SEO, or social networking.


Final Word

As with any change, your new line of work might seem difficult at first. Expect to have ups and downs in the freelance writing business, but stay disciplined and persistent. As you work, keep exploring and learning. Test new ways to write and new approaches to business. Eventually, you will become a successful freelance writer.

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Success & Career

5 tiny habits that can change your life and career



Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

When it comes to the daily grind, time seems to keep passing by – yet many things remain the same. We are so busy trying to get things done, keeping our heads above water, that we don’t take real time to think about things like balance, self-care, or making necessary changes.

Little do we realize that small tweaks at home and at work might create opportunities for us to have true balance, and even achieve that elusive success.

Let’s look at five tiny habits you can implement today to control the chaos – and start changing your life and career.


Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life and Career

1.) Embrace the concept of a “clean slate” at work.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

This involves implementing a few simple routines and organizational tools upfront. This will save you time in the long run, and will leave you feeling satisfied at the start – and end – of your day.

For example:

  • Create folders in your e-mail inbox by person and topic. Be sure to move applicable items there. The feeling of a clean inbox can reduce anxiety and enables you to find important material faster!
  • Write phone messages on a notepad next to you each day.
  • Return each call.
  • Note the status of what you were able to do, what needs to be done, and cross out which ones have been taken care of.
  • Complete your list before you leave work.

Nothing feels better than looking at the list and knowing that you have attended to every person, every item, and every task you started with. Yes, more may come in later. But these were your starting tasks.

You are leaving with everything crossed off, a clean slate for the day. You can start tomorrow with a clean slate as well. You’re more organized: able to look at a detailed history of each item you did, each person you spoke to, each item you completed.

A well-structured system and way of doing things is mentally good for you. It’s also a nice feeling to walk away with a complete sense of accomplishment for the day.


2.) Surround yourself with people who nourish your soul, NOT people who infect it.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

Think about the people you chose to be with. Don’t feel guilty about setting boundaries, no matter who they are. Be honest if someone is a “toxic” person in your life. Surround yourself with folks who build you up, support you, are honest but fair with you, and those who have your best interests at heart.

We of course need people who are going to tell us the truth. But remember that truth can be told with kindness. We can give ourselves permission to distance ourselves from, or let people go. These are individuals who make us feel bad about ourselves, or take every chance they can get to criticize our every choice.

There is enough negativity in the world. We don’t need to have it in those closest to us. You will be amazed at the difference when you give yourself permission to set healthy boundaries. So surround yourself with healthy relationships. Stop feeling like you must endure unhealthy ones.


3.) Clutter creates anxiety more than you realize.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

Whether it’s your home or your workspace, getting organized makes a huge difference in your state of mind. So start practicing tiny habits that create structure.

At work:

Get those piles into drawers and desktop storage. File folders are your friends! Label by topic, date, etc. Having things organized and at your fingertips will save you time and a great deal of anxiety.

Have trays for things that are needed on a daily or weekly basis. Organize your office supplies neatly. Remember that your desk is also a presentation of who you are.

You may think that those piles make you look busy – but they really make you look disorganized. Create your own system so that you can locate anything instantly. That, is more impressive than a pile.

At home:

Think more in terms of scaling down to get organized. Make it a goal to make you space your solace. Organize, donate, and find a place for everything. If you have not used it in a year, consider donating. If things belong together, group them. Get the right storage to hold things.

Group things where they make the most sense. Move things where they work and function best. Get rid of things that no longer work, are expired, are outdated, or that could benefit someone else more than sitting in a pile at your home.

You will not miss them. You will probably feel pretty good for sharing the love. Nothing feels better as having a fully functional home where you can live and breathe; where there is no clutter, and where everything has a place.


4.) Practice good, daily self-care.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

It may seem so simple, yet we all seem to fall short when it comes to this vital area that impacts our lives and our careers. If we practice tiny habits of self-care, we function better, perform better, and surely, improve our opportunities for success.

Good self-care includes things, such as:

  • Getting enough sleep each night. This includes going to bed and getting up at the same time, seven days a week. When going to bed, there should be NO electronics, including screens or cell phones, as they stimulate the mind and keep you awake.
  • Eating food that nourishes you – such as whole foods, not processed foods.
  • Drinking eight glasses of water each day.
  • Enjoying treats in moderation, no need to crash diet!
  • Be sure to wake up 30 to 60 minutes earlier than usual to ease into your day, and allow yourself to practice your morning routine.

Whether it be reading the paper, listening to a podcast, watching a TV show, yoga, or morning meditation, how you begin sets the tone for the day. So set aside time in the morning so you are not rushed. This is an essential part of your day.

If you start rushed, you are going to feel that way the whole day. Starting with balance, leads to a balanced day.


5.) Self-talk is one of the most powerful habits we can change.

Tiny Habits That Can Change Your Life

If we think about how often we thought something negative about ourselves, someone else, or about a situation, we would see how powerful negative self-talk can be. Now think about how better our lives could be if we stopped ourselves before doing it. It’s possible – but it takes effort and conscious work.

You simply need to pay attention and catch yourself. But as you do, the difference can be profound. You start to see how by removing negativity and replacing it with realistic thinking, you feel more balanced. Imagine the impact it can have on your work and relationships, to not see things in the worst possible light?

By implementing these tiny habits, you can bring about tremendous changes to your work and personal life. A few would only be one-time tasks. While others require minimal, but – hopefully welcome – effort.

If things are not working well in these areas of your life, why not give these tiny habits a chance? You will at least be a little more organized. And hopefully, be well-rested at the end.



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Success & Career

7 Ways to Organize Your Day for Success



Organize Your Day for Success

Nope, don’t panic. I’m not going to start by telling you to get up earlier! As an Integrative Nutrition® Health Coach, I firmly believe in bio-individuality. This is the idea that we are all unique: just as some people can’t tolerate gluten and some can, there are early birds and others are night owls. Neither is wrong – they’re just different.

So yes, just as our definitions of success look different, how we structure our days for success will vary as well. However, I believe that there are some things in common.

For the sake of having a starting point, let’s agree that success is showing up in your life (career, relationships, physical activity, etc.) in the most biologically effective way possible (i.e., you are healthy in every sense of the word).

So how would you organize your day for success? Here are seven ways to try:


7 Ways to Organize Your Day for Success

1.) Wake up without an alarm if possible (see also #7).

Organize Your Day for Success

Jolting awake to an alarm is a sure-fire way to feel like you’re off to the races first thing in the morning. Instead, learn how many hours of sleep you are naturally inclined to. Then try to get that every night.

Waking up naturally prevents that influx of fight-or-flight chemicals coursing through your veins: nobody needs that kind of stress at the start of the day! Chronic stress can wreak all kinds of havoc with your body, starting a cascade of poor health outcomes.


2.) Start the day with screen-free “me time”.

The moment you check your email or social media, you are giving others power over how you spend your time. There will almost always be an email that just can’t wait or a post that brings on a severe case of #FOMO. Before you know it, you’re sucked in.

Instead of reaching immediately for a device, consider starting a new practice that can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes (or less) or as much time as you create for it: breathing, meditation, mindfulness, gratitude, journaling.

The Web is full of resources for these – just don’t go looking for them first thing in the morning! Are you an early bird? Use this gift of time to work out, meal prep, read, etc.


3.) Create time blocks (see also #5).

Organize Your Day for Success

As much as we think we can multitask, research shows we really can’t. “Task-switching” – what we’re really doing when we think we’re multitasking – can cost us as much as 40 percent of our productivity.

The solution: block out specific times on your schedule for tasks that require your full attention. During those times, close all other tabs and turn off all your notifications – and I mean all of them!

In between these blocks and not before, take a break to check email, make some calls – take care of some smaller tasks. Set a timer that indicates your next productive block is starting.


4.) Schedule your workouts and meals.

We seem to have time for everything but what really nourishes us: fuelling our bodies well and moving them regularly. As a health coach, when you tell me, “I don’t have time to…” what I hear is, “I don’t prioritize…”

I see you rolling your eyes. Let me tell you: if you do that enough, they’ll stick back there. But seriously – it comes down to this: if you wouldn’t cancel on your work, your client’s needs, your spouse’s needs, your kids’ needs, why would you cancel on yourself?

Meaningful self-care is putting on your oxygen mask first so you can help those who depend on you. Organize your day and put those blocks on your schedule. Treat them as unbreakable appointments with yourself.


5.) Multitask…intentionally (see also #3).

Organize Your Day for Success

Yes, I know I told you not to multitask. Now I’m telling you it’s okay if you do it intentionally. What does that mean?

In my work, I talk a lot about primary foods – all the other things in our lives that nourish us (or don’t!) besides what we put in our mouths. Think: sleep, career, spiritual practice, physical activity, time in nature, etc.

The multitasking I encourage is the kind that helps us nurture ourselves on the primary level, NOT the type that tries to manage a staggering number of little tasks that make our schedules so overwhelming.

What this looks like:

  • Need to spend quality time with family members? Instead of adding an outing (with all the planning, preparation, and consensus-building it requires), combine it with another area that needs some attention: take suggestions on the week’s meals, shop together, do some meal prep, etc.
  • Missing time with your girlfriends? Combine it with a workout or better yet, a walk in nature.
  • Desperate to do a little meal prep for the week? Invite a few friends over to cook so that you all get to stock up for the week. (There might be wine involved?)
  • House feeling like a hardhat zone, but you’d rather read? Clean while you listen to an audio book.
  • Time constraints making you choose between a workout and your spiritual practice? Take a walk in nature or practice a walking meditation.


6.) Make a plan for tomorrow.

You don’t have to organize your day down to the minute (although that works for some people). Instead, write down 1-3 large tasks to be done tomorrow and prioritize those once you’re done with your “me time.”

Are the tasks unpalatable? Brian Tracy has written about this concept in his book ‘Eat that Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time’. He calls the tasks we are most intimidated by (and therefore put off doing) as “frogs”.

His recommendation: start your work – not just the day – by “eating a frog”. If all the frogs look big and ugly, eat the biggest, ugliest frog first.


7.) Get to bed on time to get the sleep you need (see #1).

Organize Your Day for Success

Once you know how many hours of sleep you need, organize your day and figure out when you need to get to bed. Make sure to end the day as you began it: NO screens for at least 30 minutes before bedtime!

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