Freelance writers have no few sources of "expert advice" and "incredible tools" that promise to help them go from rags to riches in moments.
While much of what's out there is helpful, experience quickly teaches most that the three biggest keys to success are actually pretty simple: being responsive, delivering on time, and knowing your craft.
If you can master these common-sense basics, you'll be well on your way to a prosperous freelance writing career.
Clients are looking for quality content from contractors who are dependable and low-fuss. You'll be in high demand if you can provide quality work that arrives on time (or even early).
Let's break down the three superpowers every freelance writer should aspire to:
1. Responding Quickly (and with Kindness!)
The world of online communication moves fast, and clients expect a prompt response to their inquiries. Once you've landed a client, be quick to answer any questions or requests for information they have.
If you're working on a project, keep them updated on your progress and let them know if there are any changes to the timeline or scope of work.
When it comes to communication, more is almost always better than less. Your clients should never have to wonder what's going on with their project - keep them in the loop, and they'll be happy.
Even if you don't have good news to share, it's always better to respond than to leave a client hanging. If there's been a delay or setback, let them know as soon as possible and explain what steps you're taking to remedy the situation.
Clients who know that you're responsive and communicative are more likely to give you repeat business and recommend you to others.
#FreelanceTip: Build Stock Responses
One way to make responding quickly easier is to build a "library" of stock responses for common questions and requests. This can be anything from a simple template email you can customize for each client to a saved document with frequently used phrases.
When you have a go-to response ready, you can reply to clients almost instantly - no need to start from scratch each time. Just make sure you personalize them appropriately!
2. Delivering on Time (and Defining "On-Time" as "Early")
In the world of freelance writing, meeting deadlines is crucial. Once you've committed to a timeline, do whatever it takes to ensure your work is delivered when you say it will be.
If there are unforeseen delays, communicate them to your client immediately and work with them to come up with a new timeline that works for both of you.
It's always better to deliver early than to hit your deadline - clients appreciate the extra effort, and it gives you some wiggle room in case there are any unforeseen issues.
This doesn't mean you should commit to impossible timelines.
Trust me, clients will often underestimate the work involved in a project and expect miracles. Be realistic in your estimates, and don't be afraid to push back if a client is being unreasonable.
#FreelanceTip: Start Slow and Build Up Your Capacity
It can be tempting to take on more projects than you can reasonably handle when you're first starting out.
Resist the urge to overcommit and only take on as much work as you know you can deliver on time. Eventually, you'll be able to increase your capacity and take on more projects.
3. Knowing Your Craft (and Offering Insights to Clients)
The best way to become a successful freelance writer is to simply be really, really good at what you do. Study the craft, read books and blogs about writing, and practice as often as you can.
The more you know about writing, the better equipped you'll be to handle any challenges that come up. You'll also be able to offer insights and suggestions to clients that they may not have thought of themselves.
When you're confident in your abilities, it will show in your work. Clients will take notice, and they'll be more likely to give you repeat business.
#FreelanceTip: Join a Writer's Group
One of the best ways to learn more about your craft is to join a writer's group. These groups are typically made up of other freelance writers, and they provide a great opportunity to network and learn from your peers.
You can find writer's groups online or in person. Some of the best freelance communities exist on Twitter. Log in, follow some freelancers you know and respect, and learn from the conversations that unfold.
Target, Aim, Fire
Secret weapons are only as powerful as the person using them. The best way to become a successful freelance writer is to put these tips into practice and always be on the lookout for new ways to improve your craft.
Stay consistent and patient as your career grows. If you can master these three secret weapons, you'll be well on your way to success as a freelancer in any industry - and you'll find that your clients will fall in love with you.
The bar is set low, so jump it with quality work, great communication, and an excellent attitude.
Want to learn more insights into how to build a successful freelance writing career? Contact me today to learn how you can get your freelance career off the ground and build great content for clients fast!