4 Simple, Actionable Steps I Took that Grew My Freelance Writing Income During My Humble Beginnings
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
The above Bible verse is what I exactly clung to when I was in the darkest days of my old career path. My old job was suffocating, for it wasn’t really what I’m passionate about from the start. The idea of doing freelance writing as a full-time job enticed me at that time.
Indeed, my leap of faith paid dividends. I’m now a renowned, up-and-coming freelance writer whose name resonates on top of my clients’ head when thinking of who to hire.
But my success story wouldn’t be that sweet without my early struggles. When I was a freelance writing rookie, it was really unstable from a financial standpoint. It’s either feast or famine.
Are you struggling with your measly freelance writing income? Below are four simple tips I followed to grew mine, with a long-term vision.
#1: I searched for a community
“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17)
When you have zero connections, your chances of finding a client (mostly a new one) is very slim to none. The competition for both price and quality can be unforgiving in the freelance writing world.
What I did was I made a conscious effort to find a group of co-writers – people who gave me market leads and hired me for some subcontract work. The rates weren’t very generous ($5-$7 per hour on average), but it was enough to cover my basic needs, which helped restore my confidence in freelance writing.
I first searched social media platforms, particularly Facebook, using keywords “freelance writing community” and “freelance writers.” Aside from co-writer groups, I also searched for B2B writing pages that gave me marketing and financial advice.
Joining multiple freelance writing groups enabled me to have a steady source of market leads, and gave me the ability to disperse my workload to others, particularly writing newbies. Talk about giving back to society and to your finances at the same time.
#2: I started quoting on a project/engagement basis
In freelance writing, minutes are your second currency next to USD or GBP.
Quoting on an hourly basis is limiting, and it’s usually adapted by rookie freelance writers. I was stagnated by this approach for almost half a year because I was able to finish a writing assignment effectively and efficiently ahead of time.
What I did with my idle time?
It was the opportunity of my clients to ask for add-on services (e.g., free revisions, etc.). I could’ve used that time to find new clients or work on other pending engagements, but I my time was micromanaged because of the agreement.
Quote on a project basis. What I mean is to give the price that best reflects your writing skill and proficiency.
For instance, instead of accepting a $90, 3-hour work for a product review, you can say, “I can furnish an equally decent work for $100, well within your deadline.”
#3: I went for lasting client relationships, rather than casual writing encounters
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5 NIV)
When I was in the first few weeks of doing freelance work, I was very hasty. Once I received payments online, it would take just a few seconds for me to send a plain and rudimentary “Thank you” remark. There was no PR, or whatsoever.
A few months later, I changed this approach. I always made sure I made a good, lasting impression on my every client.
Instead of the empty 2-word message, I opted for this:
“Hi (insert name),
Thank you for remitting the payment on time. It was indeed a smooth and efficient transaction with you. Thank you for choosing – and trusting – my skills on this particular engagement, and I hope to serve you better in our future transactions.”
With that simple tweak, I garnered hundreds of rehire opportunities. It’s because I rendered crème de la crème writing services, without forgetting the human factor in transactions.
I also made it a habit to send them a warm message during special occasions (e.g., Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year, etc.) and genuinely hoped for the best in their businesses.
According to Upwork, one of the more renowned freelancing sites, hirers only need to click the “Rehire a Freelancer” button and select your name from the drop-down list, to be able to get back to you. Therefore, give them ample reasons to.
#4: I invested in my ultimate client – myself
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (Colossians 3:23)
To tell you, I reached a point where I became extremely confident of my freelance writing income, that I almost opted not to take it to the next level.
It was when I felt tedious that the initiative to grow hit me. I found the importance of learning/adding other crafts to my writing arsenal too (e.g., SEO, graphic designing, video embedding, etc.).
Enrolling into various webinars (free and paid), and taking the time to mimic other experts’ techniques was all worthwhile. For instance, I was able to put my AdWords Certification from Google to my portfolio, which enabled me to raise my rates on certain writing natures.
I also avoided overworking, for I knew that those 2-3 hours of an extra burden would mean me not working the entire day after. In was a matter of discipline and self-improvement – things that you should embody as a freelance writer too.
As a wrap, your freelance writing income right now may not be indicative of your true writing skill. You can feel underpaid, the majority of the time. However, don’t let that mishap deter you from genuinely improving your craft.
Let me end this discussion with a Bible quote that every idle freelance writer direly needs to read right now:
“Rise up, take courage, and do it.” (Ezra 10:4)
Flora Porterfield is an Atlanta native currently living in Oregon. She loves writing proses and Shakespearean sonnets. She’s also well-versed with different blogging and writing styles. As of date, much of her insights can be found at papercheap.co.uk
MA in English
Amateur Radio, Hiking, Ice Skating, Nail Art, Origami
“A true piece of writing is a dangerous thing, it can change your life.” – Tobias Wolff