In April, 2015, I decided to pursue freelance writing as a career. I chose to submit to unpaid websites for the next six months while I established my name as a writer. After six weeks I was sick of writing for free and vowed to never write for free again.
July, 2015 was my first month working as a paid writer and, by the end of that month, I had made $1,500, a billable rate of $40/hour.
How did I find success as a writer in my first month of paid freelancing?
1. Stop Overthinking and Just Pitch!
Stop writing your business plan, and reading writing books, and obsessing over grammar podcasts. Just start pitching your work, submitting your articles, and searching for clients. Writers like to overthink everything. Don’t. Just pitch.
2. Expect to be Paid
Say this with me: “I deserve to be paid!” Do you believe it? You better! Nobody is going to pay attention to you unless you believe that you are worthy of being fairly compensated. Don’t write $10 articles and don’t waste your time on low-paying clients. In my first month of paid writing, when I made an average of $40 per hour, I had very little professional experience and zero education in my field. Educate yourself on current freelance rates and believe your work has value.
3. Get Interviewed
One of the ways that I spread the word about my freelance business was by allowing myself to be interviewed in major and minor newspapers. When I pitched ideas about articles that I would like
to write, some publications recognized me as an expert on a specific topic and I would occasionally get requests for an interview instead. I obliged, while stressing that I wanted them to plug my freelance business. One of my best clients was a result of an interview I did on our family’s anti-debt lifestyle in a national newspaper.
4. Promote Yourself
“Hi, my name is Brianna Bell and I’m a freelance writer.” This is how I introduce myself now. On my social media, I am clearly proud of my new freelance venture, and everybody knows it. I promote myself because nobody else will ever know what I do unless I tell them. My outward promotion has led to a lot of interest in my career and even some clients who I already knew through social media.
5. Fake It
Some days, I feel like a five-year-old girl trying to make a living writing. I have fears and doubts and question whether I’m good enough for this career. On days when I don’t feel like I’m good enough, I just pretend I have what it takes and, by the end of the day I realize that I really do.
I hope this encourages you to get out there and start submitting your work and committing to your craft. Trust me, if I can do this, so can you!
Brianna Bell is a freelance writer specializing in corporate blogging. You can find her professional blog at Brianna Bell Writes, and her Facebook author page, where she engages with her readers daily. She has also been featured on Scary Mommy, The Penny Hoarder, and The Globe & Mail.
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