As a freelance writer who has worn many professional “hats” in various industries over the years, I know first hand the importance of professional development for career success and longevity.
For example, teachers are required periodically to take additional classes to stay “smart” about new technologies, classroom safety procedures, and innovative teaching methods for today’s learners. To retain their license, home care workers have to attend instructional workshops on how to maintain a safe, clean, functioning environment for those they serve.
Likewise, freelance writers who are true “professionals” recognize that, to stay in the “black,” we must allocate time, money, and resources to realize our full potential, and remain profitable. The concept that all you need to become a successful freelance writer is “an Internet connection and command of the English language” is a myth. (If you believe that, I have some land I’d like to sell you). To go the distance, here are five practices and principles I follow to earn more, and learn more (year after year) as an entrepreneur. And, you should too.
1. I Periodically take online classes to hone my skills and increase my marketability.
We are fortunate to live in the Internet age where there is an abundance of convenient information right at our fingertips – from instructional classes, to YouTube visual videos. Tap into it.
2. I purchase e-books to broaden my knowledge base, and inform my writing.
I particularly focus on books about running a successful freelance business, and how to expand my client base. Some of them have been more useful than others but they all offered actionable tips and recommendations to build upon.
3. I invest in updated business cards and marketing materials to circulate to potential customers and people I meet in my area.
Remember, for networking to “work,” it should include both online social media and in-person interactions.
4. I pay dues to participate in several writers’ membership organizations.
These groups offer resources, workshops, and publishing opportunities to help advance my career. And, here’s a bonus: the dues are typically tax-deductible.
5. When I earn income from my writing assignments and clients, I put a percentage back into my freelance business.
Whether it involves buying office supplies, updating my equipment, or re-stocking my chocolate candy stash, this helps me stay organized and current and the chocolate, of course, provides motivation.
These are practices you might want to consider as well. There’s great validity to the expression: “You’ve got to spend money to make money.”
Don’t cheat yourself!
JENNIFER BROWN BANKS is a veteran freelance writer, award-winning poet, and serves on the board of directors of a prominent arts organization in the midwest. Her blog (Pen & Prosper) has been recognized as a “Top Blog for Writers” for five consecutive years. When she’s not writing, she enjoys tea, reading, cooking and a good bargain sale.
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Thanks so much for the feedback. I appreciate your time and comments.
Nicely written, Jennifer Banks! The claims that all freelance writers need are an Internet connection and command of the English language is so laughably false. Yet, I know of one travel writing workshop where more than 120 people attend every year, paying up to $2,000(!!) each, where those are the exact words used in the sales copy. Needless to say, the people that attend this workshop have an appallingly low publication rate. Most of them end up writing free copy for travel websites and sit around patting each other on the back, calling themselves travel writers. The pros laugh at them! In totally agree with your points, Jennifer. Regards, Roy Stevenson (www.PitchTravelWrite.com)
Thank you, Jennifer, this is a valuable piece of advice!