12 Qualities You Need To Win At Freelance Writing

how to succeed as a freelance writer

When it comes to getting started as a freelance writer, there’s always a reason why not.

“I don’t have a portfolio.”
“I don’t have a website.”
“I don’t have any testimonials.”

Blah, blah x forever.

Sure, all of those things are helpful for getting you going with your freelance writing business, but they’re not essential.

This week, I’m talking about 12 qualities you need to be one of the best freelance writers out there. None of them require experience, and none of them require qualifications.

You can tick these babies off your list today. It’s all a matter of mindset.

Be Consistent

Consistency: it’s not exciting and it’s not going to set the world on fire. What it is going to do is:

  • Keep your business moving forward
  • Keep your clients happy

Be consistent in the quality of your work. Be consistent in your customer service. Be consistent in your marketing. Show up, day after day, and your business will thank you for it.

Be On Time

Don’t hand in work late and don’t show up late to meetings. If you’re going to miss a deadline, pull your big girl pants up and get in touch with the client before it happens. Then make sure it doesn’t happen again – seriously.

Be Results-Oriented

If hitting that 500-word mark is all you’re thinking about when you’re writing for a client, you need to broaden your horizons. Think about what your client wants to achieve, and how you can help them get to those goals. Always think bigger, and hey – it’s a great opportunity to up-sell.

Be Open To Feedback

So many freelancers don’t dare ask for feedback. And sure – nobody likes criticism, even when it’s constructive – but how else are you going to improve your business and give your clients the results they need? Ask for feedback every time, and take those words on board – even if they sting!

Be Prepared

Don’t jump into a project or meeting blind. It’s your responsibility to prepare, so whatever you need to know, do your prep and make sure you’re bringing something good to the table. If extensive research is part of a job, make sure your fees reflect that. Find out how to set your MAR here.

Be A Networker

Everybody knows somebody, even if it’s just your Great Aunt Hilda. Talk to everyone you know about you can help clients. Let people know you’re out there. And once you’ve talked to your network, build your network – online, in person, whenever, wherever. Build genuine connections and you’ll benefit.

 // Related post: How To Go From Chatting On Twitter To Getting Hired //

Be Assertive

Assertive people get opportunities. Why? Because they’re out there, asking, talking, networking, grabbing at those opportunities, and creating new ones. Talk like a professional, leave your nervous baggage at home, know when to say ‘no’, and reach out for the opportunities you want.

// related podcast: How to inject assertiveness into your communications //

Be Determined

So often, I see newbie freelancers getting frustrated – even angry – when clients aren’t just falling into their lap. Some give up before they’ve even given freelancing a real shot. Don’t go home empty-handed; go harder for what you want. Re-double your efforts. Be determined.

Be Positive

Don’t put yourself down when you’re pitching for business. Don’t undersell yourself and don’t pitch your fees too low. Don’t slag off past employers and don’t talk about how broke you are. Be positive: about yourself, your skills, the opportunities you want, and the jobs you already have. Let it shine!

Be Accountable

Running a freelance business means you’re the boss. Of Everything. If you’re going to make a go of working for yourself, you have to be prepared to take that and run with it. Invoicing, marketing, training, and answering for any screw-ups and outlining how you’ll improve. All on you, so own it.

Be Up-To-Date

To have any hope of delivering a quality product or service to clients, you’ve got to be up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry and theirs. This is another reason to set decent fees – training and development sessions are not optional if you want to stay ahead, so account for them.

Be passionate

Enthusiasm goes a long way. Let your passion show when you’re talking, when you’re pitching, when you’re writing. Clients want to know you care about their business, and the work you do. Passion will drive you to do better every time, to keep going when it’s tough, and to achieve your goals

Summing Up…

Whatever it is you do, whether that’s design, writing, virtual assistance or something else, your business is so much more than that. Raw talent won’t actually get you very far – it’s what you do with it that will make all the difference.

Don’t give up on your freelance business before you’ve really got started. Give it your all, show your clients you mean business, then go out there and deliver the goods. It doesn’t matter what you’re starting with – you can do this!


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