Wondering how to make money as a freelance writer? Well, buckle up, because everyone loves the part of the hero’s journey where our protagonist accepts the “call to adventure” and “crosses the threshold” from “the ordinary world” into “the extraordinary world.”
It’s engaging. It’s hopeful. It pushes the plot forward.
But we can’t forget about the challenges and struggles that come next.
For new freelance writers:
You may have started off with a couple of great clients, but now you have to turn your passion into a sustainable writing business.
How to make money freelance writing
So, what’s the skill that enables a terrific content marketer and copywriter to offer premium services?
Before you click away, disappointed that I brought up something as practical and boring as time management, hear me out. My intent is not to poop on your party as you learn how to become a freelance writer.
In fact, it’s the exact opposite.
When our freelance-writer heroes accept calls to adventure to cross over into the extraordinary world, they still need to be equipped with the real-world abilities that make their service businesses possible.
And part of that transformation involves balancing client work with their own marketing and marketing education.
Time management is the core of your strong business and content strategy, because how you spend your time directly affects the:
- Health of your business
- Types of clients you attract
- Value you have to offer those clients
You don’t quickly learn how to make money as a freelance writer and then get to sit back and eat bonbons while clients who pay competitive rates flock to you.
The challenges and struggles of the hero’s journey exist for a reason: They help you and your business grow.
How to be a freelance writer and make money
But here’s an often overlooked scary thought that might happen on your way to earning money freelance writing:
What if your content marketing actually works? What if you get all of the clients you want? Will you be able to handle them?
Every service provider needs to answer those questions honestly because there is often a disconnect between what we say we want and the actions we take.
Fear of success can prevent us from crafting the bold, strategic plans that will truly teach us how to make money as a freelance writer.
Without realizing it, self-doubt causes us to make weak and safe moves that limit our potential — because we’re unsure if we’re capable of managing a full roster of clients.
The path to make money freelance writing
Self-doubt will arise in any business journey, but if you prepare for the healthy, sustainable relationships you want to have with clients, you’ll be one step closer to attracting and winning over prospects with confidence.
Check out these 15 service business essentials, so that you’ll feel nothing but proud when your content marketing dreams come true.
1. Get serious
Before you offer services, you’re used to operating as a non-business person. You likely perform favors for others — whether it’s reviewing a friend’s resume or sharing their content on social media.
Once you start offering services to make a living online, part of you becomes your “business self.”
It’s the foundation for the rest of these pointers about how to make money as a freelance writer.
While in your personal life “wanting” to do something might be a reason to do it, in your business life, you need to consider favors or discounts with care.
Your service is a business now, not a hobby.
2. Treat your business like … a business
Successful freelance writers establish the healthy boundaries all businesses (and especially service businesses) need.
Working extremely long hours every day of the week might seem exciting at first, but it always leads to burnout.
And when you’re burned out, you only have scraps of energy to offer new clients who might want to work with you at that time. You may even be so absent-minded that you forget to invoice your existing clients on time, which can be a strain on your cash flow.
To avoid those unfortunate scenarios, schedule your work and leisure hours. Creative people know the uncanny benefits of spending time away from work.
3. List goals
To reinforce your new business-centric mindset, list out your professional goals in a document you keep handy near your workspace.
A digital file on your computer desktop works well because you can easily add to it over time. The items in the list will ideally help both you and your clients.
They’ll be especially useful when you’re faced with a tough decision. You’ll already have clear intentions for the services you offer, so the choice you make should always help you reach one or more of those goals related to your online business ideas.
You might have to say “no” sometimes.
4. Protect your time
Service providers often work at all hours throughout the day and night, and give the excuse “that’s just my lifestyle.” (Been there, done that, wasn’t worth the indigestion.)
Skip that path to burnout and don’t reinvent the wheel just because you have the freedom to make your own schedule.
You can have a creative work life and borrow wisdom from tried-and-true practices, like designated office hours.
Give yourself time for:
- Work responsibilities
- Personal responsibilities
- Meals and breaks
Like your list of goals, here you need to have clear priorities and agree to activities only if they realistically fit into the schedule for your work time or the schedule for your personal time.
5. Market to the right prospects to make money as a freelance writer
A part of your work time needs to be dedicated to marketing your own business.
One of the reasons why freelancers often experience the “feast or famine” cycle is because they overbook themselves with client work and don’t have time to market themselves.
If you only spend time serving current clients, when you finish those projects you won’t always have new prospects on the horizon.
It might seem scary to turn down extra work because you need to set aside time for your own marketing, but it’s an important step in learning how to make money as a freelance writer and building a long-term healthy business.
6. Be friendly, not friends
That non-business side of you will keep popping up if you’re not stern with it.
You can have friendly, professional relationships with your clients without crossing over into “friend territory.”
I’m not saying that a friendship with one of your clients can’t or won’t develop organically over time.
But a “I’m friends with all my clients!” attitude does not establish boundaries that enable you to take care of your business, your clients, your actual friends, and yourself.