by Elna Cain
I’m not the best writer.
Heck, I know I’m not the greatest writer out there either.
But, many new writers think or feel they need straight A’s in English or to major in Journalism to be a freelance writer. But, that’s not the case.
Online writing is much different than writing for print magazines or publications. While having the formal training in writing can totally help you with your freelance writing gigs, it isn’t essential for you to start or succeed.
I’m a successful writer in spite of my non-journalism background. My background is in Psychology and education.
All because I’m not the greatest writer.
So, why don’t you need to be a Pulitzer prized writer to write for businesses?
Your Clients Want Results Not Degrees
Many entrepreneurs or small businesses aren’t concerned if you have formal training. What they are concerned with is results and that means exceptional posts, not degrees.
If you don’t already know, around 50% of your web visitors can read at an 8th grade level. So, if you’re writing at a college level for your clients, you could be turning off half of their audience.
So, what do clients really care about when they hire a freelance writer?
1. Can You Write For the Web?
Online clients want to know that you can write for the web. What does this mean?
It means, can you write in a conversational tone? Online writing is easy to read, isn’t filled with difficult words or fluff, and provides value to the reader.
Writing blog posts also comes with its own set of formatting rules. When I write blog posts, I write short paragraphs, short sentences, and I structure my writing with subheadings.
You can also add bullet or numbered lists to further break up your post. Blog writing is something I teach extensively in my Writeto1k course since this is the bulk of writing that I do and it’s highly lucrative.
2. Are You Confident in Your Abilities?
Confidence is hard to come by when you’re new to something. When I first started Applied Behavior Analysis for children with autism, I remember driving to work with sweaty palms.
I was fearful that I wouldn’t do a good job or that the child I was working with wouldn’t progress.
It was the same when I started freelance writing. I almost quit because of the fear.
But, the one thing that helped me through it all was knowing that I had to keep putting myself out there no matter what. Whether it was pitching or guest posting, I knew that if I kept going with it, I would no longer be a new freelance writer.
So, you see, even if you are a newbie and lack confidence, you just have to put that aside and start. Pitch a guest post idea, create your writer website, or ask your friends and family if they need a content writer.
Clients want a confident writer that understands their services and can produce stellar content. When I landed my first gig, I didn’t have any samples to show in the prospect’s niche.
But, my confidence and how I was able to relate to the job posting probably helped in my favor when the prospect had to make a hiring decision.
3. Do You Have a Social Presence and Connections?
Many writers don’t think they need to be on social media or have a website to be a freelance writer. But in my opinion, to be a successful and in-demand writer, you do need to be on social media and you do need a writer website.
You don’t have to be on all the top social media profiles. I suggest you start with LinkedIn and Twitter. From there you can set up a Facebook fan page as a way to make more connections.
You’re Running a Business
You don’t need to be a great writer, but you do need to know how to run a business. Freelance writing is a business not a hobby.
You’re not going to always write about your favorite topics, or have weeks or months to perfect your piece. And you’re not always going to have the choice on how you will write your pieces.
Freelance writing means deadlines, editing, citing sources, keywords, copywriting and much more. Clients hire you to either help them free up more time or help them improve their conversion rate.
So, what does it mean when you have a freelance writing business?
1. You Need to Market Your Services
A popular saying among freelancers is you always gotta be hustling. Since you are the boss, it’s up to you to find freelance writing jobs.
So, that means you need to always be marketing. There are several ways you can market yourself:
- Guest posting is a great way to show prospects you are credible, able to write and know your niche
- Comment on blogs you want to write for or that are in your niche. A prospect may see your comments and decide to get to know you better.
- Follow prospects on social media. Get on the radar of top businesses you want to write for.
- Have an email signature. When you work on your pitching and sending off those emails, you can be assured that prospects can quickly find out about you from your signature.
So, even if you are complacent with a handful of clients, know it can all change. You can lose all your clients or the client that gives you the most work decides to take a break for six months.
It’s better to have too many clients than not enough.
2. Wow Your Clients
I talk about this a lot in many of my blog posts. Going the extra mile for clients can pay off big time.
Just the other day I had a business contact me who told me they were referred from another client of mine.
I told this business that I did have an opening. I wrote an ad hoc piece and then the client asked me if I could write more:
So, if you impress your client on the first writing piece, it can turn into regular income for you. And this isn’t unusual for me. Prospects contact me all the time for ad hoc pieces which end up turning into consistent gigs.
Since you’re running a service-based business, being professional is key to your growth as a freelance writer.
This might mean exceeding your deadlines or always being available for emails or just formatting your blog post correctly.
For me, I answer my client’s emails promptly, often upload my pieces to their CMS, and correspond professionally.
This might be common sense, but there are writers out there that don’t think it’s important to be prompt or follow your client’s requests.
If You Enjoy Writing You’ll Probably Love Freelancing
It’s as simple as that. If you know how to write well, then you can definitely be a freelance writer. It’s okay if you make editing mistakes, misspell words or have a lousy writing process. There are tools to help you with all that!
So if being the best writer is stopping you from becoming a freelance writer, then know it doesn’t have to be that way. You can get started today and be successful in a short amount of time!
What are you waiting for?
Culled from Elna Cain