How to sustain a freelance writing career

By Denise Turney
Freelance writing offers a range of rewards, including the chance to work from home, set your own hours, travel and give yourself salary increases two or more times a year. Salary increases come for freelance writers when they market their skills and land jobs with higher paying clients. Freelance writers can also give themselves salary increases by working longer hours or taking on more projects.

Developing a successful freelance writing career

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, writers, including freelance writers and authors, earned a median annual salary of $55,940 in 2012. Sustaining a successful freelance writing career calls for tenacity, resilience and assertiveness. Assertiveness is crucial because rare are the instances when corporations and small business reach out to freelance writers, especially new freelance writers, asking them to create content for them.

This means, writers have to build winning portfolios that highlight key projects (i.e. website content, headlines, product reviews, advertorials, white papers) they’ve worked on. In addition to publishing their portfolios on the Internet, to land more higher paying clients, freelance writers research the market and contact companies they’re interested in writing for. They do this at least one day a week. It helps to keep their name in front of quality employers.

Continuing to grow a freelance writing portfolio

To keep themselves honest, successful freelance writers may keep a spreadsheet or database that details the names of prospective clients they reach out to, the date they contacted a prospect and the results of the contact. Should initial contacts not prove fruitful, freelancers schedule a date to follow p with those prospects. That’s right. Earning a living as a freelance writer requires these creative workers to perform sales work, and regularly, again – at least once a week. Rather than getting comfortable working for one to two clients who provide them lots of writing work, successful freelancers continuously market themselves.

In fact, some freelance writers don’t rest until they land 10-12 writing clients. It goes without saying that successful writers value each word they use. They work to get out in front of a story. Rather than copying work from other writers, they’re original, innovative. To stay sharp, they also complete certifications and continue learning.

When work is low, successful freelance writers contact clients they haven’t received work from in several weeks, asking if they have content they need created. They value these relationships and keep in touch with all of their clients throughout the year.

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