Friday, December 20, 2013

10 Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE I started My Freelance Business

I don't know about every other writer out there, but I wish I had done the proper research on the freelance business before I took it seriously. 

When I started blogging for a living, I had a lot of doubts, and a lot of questions.

One of the biggest questions I had was- How exactly was I supposed to make a living from my blog??

Better yet- How can work from home in my spare time?

I had a lot of questions, that in time, I slowly started to answer, but to be brutally honest, I really wish I had more information when I began my career. 

The freelance business is quite simple when you think about it:

There are hundreds if not thousands of opportunities for writers who are looking to make cash from their work online. Whether its blogging, selling ebooks, landing private clients etc.. All of these are ways for writers to create an income from home, in their own time.

And, its all great. Until its not. 

Here is the honest truth: 

There are A LOT of opportunities for bloggers and writers to make money from their creativity, but you have to know how to search for the jobs you want, and land the job.

Suddenly, the excitement of creating an income as a writer, at least for me, diminished when I found out another side of the freelance business- The Competition.

Just like me, there were hundreds if not THOUSANDS of other writers trying to make a name for themselves, and trying to land those high paying clients -which by the way, only picked the lowest bids- and create an income for the day. 

One of the many, many things I wish I knew when I started my freelance business, was the amount of time it takes to get started as a writer. It is much more complex than starting a blog, writing two or three blog posts in it, and watching the traffic flood your posts. 

I WISH! But no. Unfortunately it takes more work than that. A LOT more. 

So, Here are the 10 things I wish BEFORE I started my freelance business. 
  1. You have to be committed and you have to be persistent. There is no other way to achieve success in your own business, if you are not persistent. I've had my fair share of success, but I have also failed. I know that it takes more than just posting once or twice a week to catch the attention of prospects. You also have to be willing to search for jobs sometimes hours at a time, then keep up with your blog, and reach out to people you know and promote your services. This is one of the things that keep many freelancers from achieving many of their goals. 
  2. Private clients are not going to search for YOU, YOU have to search for them.Let me break this down for you! When I started my freelance business, I started posting on my blog in June 2010, but I did not land my first writing job until late July of the same year. Which means that for a full month, I was blogging without making a single profit. OUCH! I thought that I would automatically be Indexed by Google, and that clients were going to find me online, because I created a Blog. For those of you laughing at the moment... Ok, its kind of funny NOW, but it wasn't years ago. I wanted to make money, but I thought I had to wait my time until someone found me, and offered me a job. It really does not work like that.
  3. There are HIGH paying clients, and then there are LOW paying clients. I talk a lot about how to land clients, and How to market your freelance services online. Looking back now, I wish I would have know all of the information I know NOW, because then I would have landed more high paying clients, instead of a bunch of low paying clients. Dont get me wrong, all of the clients I had in the beginning helped me tremendously, especially when I needed the money the most, but now, compared to 3 years ago, I really wish I knew that I could land bigger clients, so that I had more time to grow my blog.
  4. It is NOT impossible to land private clients right away. It just takes time and practice. Landing private clients is a skill. I like to call it this because it takes time to do. For one, you have to know where to search for clients, and then you have to know how to approach them. Not every client you meet will like your work, and not every client will want to continue to work with you after you complete a project. This is why its a skill, and you can get better at it. One of the easiest ways to search for private clients and land them, is to create an amazing proposal of what your skills are. 
  5. You don't need a whole lot of High-Tech. In the beginning of my writing career, I may have made the mistake of thinking that I needed a lot of technology to start my own business. My ultimate goal, was to save enough money to buy a new laptop, maybe a new cell phone so that I would grow my business.. Well, as I started my business I realized I also needed a lot of money for my expenses. I started out really simple. I am talking about a good ol' fashion legal pad and pen, and a simple laptop. As I started landing more and more clients, I realized that I didn't need my cell phone as much, and I didn't need seem to need an extremely expensive laptop to get my business going. Yes, a new laptop did help. A LOT, but I kept it simple too. 
  6. Just because you have a blog, does not mean that you are automatically indexed. What a shocker for me! The dream of bloggers is to be searchable online. As in, search for your name and BOOM, you are the first result on Google. Unfortunately, this does not happen to every blog. If you want to get Indexed by Google, you have to create keyword friendly content, and LOTS OF IT! Producing amazing content is just ONE way to get Indexed by Google, you also have to constantly update your blog and keep up with it. 
  7. Taking on Multiple Projects Can Be FUN. The majority of freelance writers that I know, are currently working on more than one project. Taking on multiple projects can be fun, if you are organized, and have a specific goal in mind. Taking on multiple projects can also be profitable if you are planning on creating an income from your work. Whenever I take on more than one project, I HAVE TO write everything down. Getting organized using Apps online is great, BUT I really hate being tied down to my computer or cell phone all the time. So, I have my go to daily planner and organizer, and calendar handy so whenever an idea strikes me, I'll quickly jot it down!
  8. Building your brand online does not have to be hard. A brand is the name by which your company or business is known for. For example, my business is Beyond Words. That's my brand. For writers its important to have fun whenever you are trying to build your own business for the first time. Yes, owning a business can be time consuming and difficult, but making the work FUN can make the work seem painless. Try different ways of letting your creativity flow.
  9. You can build a profitable Blog during your first year. Sometimes it can seem pointless to stick to a blog, or a project that you had great hopes for once upon a time, but it is worth it. I started this blog with one objective- to create a form of income from my home. Two years later, I have done just that. But it was not always simple, and there were a lot of times when I doubted if I would ever be able to make money. But, I stuck to my original idea, continued to create content and now, I'm slowly living off of my results. And you can too!
  10. There is more than one place to search for jobs. Looking back at when I first started to write for a living, let me tell you, I stuck to only ONE freelance writing site to search for jobs. It was great, lots of opportunities, but I also felt like I was being defined as a freelancer. Whenever prospects would find me, all I could show them was the work I've done for past clients. Sometimes the work would match, and other times I would miss out on really great opportunities because I stuck to only a certain types of projects. Now, I do a variety of projects. From social networking, to SEO. You name it, I probably do it. But, it took me a while. So, to summarize get out there and search for different areas of work. Dont stick to only ONE website, search the whole industry for different options!
  11. BONUS! I write a lot about organization, and staying ahead in my work. Honestly, keeping organized helps a lot! ESPECIALLY when you start to get more work, and start working on more projects, and create your own schedule. 
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