Have you decided you want to be a freelance writer, but not sure it’s for you?
Did you know you might have the wrong idea about writers and this can sway you to doing something else?
Writers are often lumped in the same group with starving artists.
They are pinned alongside painters and potters who are begging for a sale and complaining that others just don’t, “see their vision.”
For the past 5 years, I have told people that I am a freelance writer, and that has occasionally earned me looks of pity.
Sometimes people will ask things like, “So you blog for fun?” or they will say, “I wish someone paid me to write reviews all day.”
The bottom line is that freelance writing is grossly misunderstood and lucky for you and me, it can be much more profitable than others think.
I make a living writing for small businesses and other moms, college students, retired folk and the like can do the exact same thing as me.
You don’t need a degree to freelance write and you don’t have to be the best writer either.
But, one thing’s for sure – you do need to adopt some successful habits to help you earn big as a freelance writer.
Let’s look as nine habits successful freelance writers adopt to make more money with their words.
1. Kill the Artist Talk
I know this sounds harsh, but trust me.
If you want to make money freelance writing, you must be a business person first, artist second.
If someone is paying you $300 for an article, it will be to your disadvantage if you take 10 hours trying to craft the most perfect and beautiful piece.
As well, when an editor suggests revisions or changes, just do them. It is useless defending your craft when the editor has specific needs or preferences. You will just end up breaking ties with that editor or publication.
For me, this is the hardest.
My most recent client told me that they would have to remove over a thousand words from my post and that I had to redo the last 15 subtopics in the list.
You better believe I had a fit. Why?
Well the items in that list were approved by the client and the reason they removed the items was because they weren’t age appropriate.
In the end, I realized the client is always right (even if they put the onus on me instead of them).
I rewrote the items in my post, was paid $850 for the assignment and went on to a different client.
2. Never Quit Hustling
Always keep looking for new freelance writing jobs.
There have been times that I’ve found the dream company to work with, and then the company switched to an in-house writer or cuts a whole section altogether, leaving me jobless.
While it hurts to lose my ideal client, every time I had connections already in place I was then able to fill the financial gap that the job loss made.
My constant hustling led me from making $100 an article to over $600 an article (and sometimes over $1,000 an article).
Each time I got a higher paying client, I would end a lower-ending contract on good terms.
I know it can seem hard if you’re new and don’t have a lot of clients, but you have to value your worth and use your time wisely.
And this goes into my next point!
3. Don’t Waste Time on Low-Paying Writing Gigs
Many email subscribers will tell me they would kill themselves just to make $1,200 a month through writing $12 articles.
They were exhausted, always in a rush, and was not improving their writing skills with these content mill jobs.
When I started freelance writing, I was open to any writing gig.
I landed a gig writing for $25 a post, another one writing for $100 a post. Another gig that paid me $45 to edit posts.
I was writing about the VFX industry, dentistry, healthy eating, social media and more.
But, one thing I picked up quickly was how to increase my rates so that $100 a post became $200 a post and upwards to $600 and more a post.
The problem with low-paying writing gigs is that they burn you out quickly.
Since you are burnt out, you aren’t putting your best work forward, so you get stuck in a loop of low-paid writing gigs.
Break the cycle.
You need to start charging more for your words.
When you start writing for a rate that you are happy with, you start to create work you are passionate about – even if the topic is dry.
4. Avoid Getting Writer’s Block
Writer’s block is real!
As a freelance writer, I struggle with writer’s block.
For me, my life gets in the way and ruins my creativity. But, I have to learn that when assignments are due and paychecks are on the line, there is not much time for writer’s block.
I have found that the more you write, the easier it gets – not always, but usually!
I always say I’m not the best writer, but I have a knack at story telling and conversational writing that clients will pay big bucks for.
5. Perfect Your Writing Routine
It’s important as a new freelance writer to develop a strong writing routine so that you can avoid writer’s block and get in the groove of writing for money and not as a way to express yourself.
Your writing routine should also incorporate daily tasks to improve your business.
For example, I always need to create an outline before I write my post. It helps me see the big picture for my blog posts and client pieces.
So, sit down and form a routine for writing. Maybe you need certain things before you write.
For me, it’s always my water bottle and music.
For you, it might be some slippers and a mug of tea.
In either case, outline your routine and follow it!
6. Diversify Your Income
Many successful freelance writers – including me – diversify their income.
This means they have multiple sources of income to supplement their writing income.
For me, I do affiliate marketing, display ads for ad revenue, have done coaching in the past and I create digital products.
Other writers I know have:
- Done sponsored content
- Learned new writing projects like white paper writing or case study writing
- Offered ghostwriting
The point is to keep growing your skill base and learn different ways you can sell to businesses.
7. Diversify Your Service
Another habit to adopt as a way to earn more money as a freelance writer is to diversify your services.
Having different services can help new prospects hire you.
They may be searching for a blog writer, but when they land on your writer website and see you offer email writing, they realize they need that service too.
Suddenly, you become their #1 writer.
To help you find more services, check out this post on 31 types of writing jobs you can have.
8. Pick a Niche and Run With It
I know the majority of people interested in freelance writing, struggle with this the most.
It’s hard to pick a niche and “run with it.”
What if you pick the wrong niche?
What if the most you can make is only $20 a post in this niche?
Well, one habit successful writers have is having a freelance writing niche.
So, it’s in the best interest to pick 3 niche topics and see what’s out there in terms of freelance writing jobs.
9. Never Give Up
Did you know that most freelance writers give up after the first year of trying?
Why is this?
It’s important, though, to look beyond that and remain committed to freelance writing.
Every person that signs up to my free course is asked to make a commitment to freelance writing.
This helps them believe in themselves and gives them the internal motivation to see through it.
Find something to help you never give up.
It might be knowing your why or that next bill payment or having a better future for your kids that will help you never give up.
The one thing to remember is don’t stop at one writing job or let criticism bring you down (like when I almost gave up freelance writing for good).
Just kept hustling!
Making money isn’t about who is the best. It is about who doesn’t give up.
Form These Freelance Writing Habits Today
Writing is a form of creativity, but freelance writing is a business.
By incorporating these habits early on, you will have a better chance at making a living as a freelance writer!
Over to you –
Want to get started as a freelance writer and earn more money? Make sure to take my totally free course!