How to Succeed as a Freelance Writer

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Being a freelance writer isn’t easy. Competition for jobs is fierce, and it’s only getting fiercer. If you want to succeed as a freelance writer, you need to bring your A Game. Here’s how:

1. Treat Your Work Like a Business

Whether you’re just moonlighting to make extra cash or building the foundation of a full-time freelance writing business, professionalism is crucial. There are plenty of flaky freelancers out there, and you want to set yourself far apart from the crowd.

One easy way to stand out: be on time. There’s no quicker way to diminish both your client list and your reputation than to miss deadlines.

Stay punctual by organizing your time. Carefully calendar every due date, then work backward through the week or month. Designate plenty of time for writing, editing, and miscellaneous tasks like invoicing or checking in with clients.

This will prevent you from over committing your time or forgetting an assignment, which in turn will prevent you from missing deadlines.

If you have a hard time ignoring distractions, try using the Pomodoro Technique or an app like SelfControl, which enables you to block time-wasting websites so you’re forced to focus on the task at hand.

2. Become an Expert

The most successful freelance writers are discerning about the work they choose. Don’t be tempted to take on any and every opportunity that comes your way.

Specializing in a specific industry or type of writing gives you a competitive edge with prospective clients. A jack-of-all-trades is no match for someone with proven experience and expertise, not to mention a tailored portfolio of work to back it up. Clients will be eager to work with you if you can demonstrate a deep understanding of their business and weave your insight into the content you write for them.

Before you narrow your focus, be sure to consider whether there’s a strong demand for content in your chosen niche. If you specialize in writing about small business management or know everything there is to know about engaging email campaigns, there will be no shortage of job opportunities.

But, if you choose to tout yourself as, say, an elite vegan skin care expert, you’ll run into trouble.

It’s almost impossible to succeed as a freelance writer if you are too specialized.

3. Don’t Forget the Basics

Have you ever heard the story about the typo that cost NASA $80 million? Maybe your typos aren’t quite that costly, but they will cost you.

Failing to turn in top-notch work will result in time spent making revisions, apologizing to unhappy clients, or—even worse—looking for new clients because your mistakes kept you from getting rehired.

Yes, you need to master more than writing to succeed as a freelance writer, but don’t neglect the actual art of writing in the process. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and diction are just as important as conversion and calls-to-action. Sacrificing good writing in pursuit of a few clicks will only yield lackluster results all around.


Excellent writing should always be at the top of your priority list. Review, edit, and review again. Check your spelling, check your facts, and check in with your clients to make sure the work met their expectations.

As a freelance writer, you're a professional. You'll have an even greater advantage if you are an expert in a niche industry or type of writing. If you're considering becoming a copywriter, or you would like to further develop your skills as one, consider working with us.

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