You’re NOT Doing Enough as a Freelance Writer

I haven’t landed a writing job yet…what gives?

I’ve pitched soooo much, but haven’t heard back from any of them!!! Why?

I spent hours on my writer website, but still, no gigs!

You’re NOT Doing Enough as a Freelance Writer

Does any of these sayings sound familiar? Like you could’ve said them yourself (or have thought them in the past)?

Did you know that after the first year of freelance writing, the majority of writers fail? They stop freelancing for good and never go back.

(A unicorn died when I learned this!)

Being a freelance writer is also being an entrepreneur, and as an entrepreneur, you’re going to face extreme highs and big lows.

But, that’s one of the reasons I LOVE freelance writing! I get to create those big highs if I wanted to and I can mitigate those lows, so they don’t affect my bottom line.

So, if you just started freelance writing as a beginner, I don’t want you to feel defeated or frustrated because you haven’t landed your first gig.

I want to help you because I suspect part of the reason you aren’t succeeding is that you – dare I say it? – aren’t doing enough as a freelance writer. *gasp

I know…sounds harsh, doesn’t it?

Of course, you’re doing all that you can!

Of course, you only have 1 hour a day to make this work!

Of course…

I know…

Straight talking here – it is possible to make a living as a writer. I’m doing it and have been doing it for five years. But, if you’re already thinking of the “don’ts” instead of the “do’s,” then you’re setting yourself up to fail anyways.

So, let’s turn that around and get you that first freelance writing job.

I’ll share with you what I feel you’re not doing enough and how you can incorporate that in what little time you have to devote to your side hustle.

What Freelance Writers Aren’t Doing Enough Of

1. You’re NOT Pitching Enough

One of the biggest ways you can improve your chances of landing your first writing gig is to pitch more often.

Many writers that start out send around 200 pitches or less before they land a good gig. Other writers land their first gig immediately.

There really is no right amount of pitches to send before you land a gig (I sent around 50 before I landed my first gig).

But, if you don’t hear back from the pitches you ARE sending, try sending MORE pitches.

A good rule of thumb is:

10 pitches a day for 10 days.

What’s great about this tactic is that you set a time frame – 10 days – and the amount you send per day – 10. You can adjust this to fit your commitment, but the only thing I suggest is you extend the time frame if you end up lowering the number of pitches you send –

5 pitches a day for 15 days.

You can also change the format of what a pitch entails.

For example, you can also include guest post pitches or podcast pitches along with your job ad pitches and cold pitches.

2. You’re NOT Available Enough

Watching Youtube and relaxing!

Did you know that I hire ghostwriters and bloggers to help me with my other blogs?

Most of the freelance writers are professional and available, but there’s always those few that I have a hard time contacting them or they never reply to my emails in a sufficient time frame.

When that happens, I don’t hire them.

I need a reliable and available writer. This doesn’t mean you should be at the beck and call of your clients; instead, be prompt when responding to emails – 24 to 48 hours is sufficient.

This allows for time changes with your clients or potential clients, as well as for the weekend (if you don’t email on the weekend – which is something I WOULD recommend for new freelance writers).

See, my thing is that I want to remove as many barriers as possible for someone to hire me. So, I do my best to reply to leads as soon as they land in my inbox. And you should too!

3. You’re NOT Flexible Enough

As a new freelance writer, you have to be open to expanding your niche or services.

If you’re dead set on writing about history, it might be hard to find the right client.

Why not peruse job boards and see what’s out there? Pitch to ones that are remotely interesting to you.

This is what I did, and it served me well.

This can also help you pick up your first writing gig much quicker when you expand your freelance writing niche.

How do you expand your freelance writing niche? Look at related topics in that niche. For example, if you want to write about cryptocurrency, you should also be willing to write about home loans or investments.

If your niche is mental health, why not also include mindfulness and exercising as topics?

By, doing this, you can search for more freelance writing jobs and get a gig!

The same goes for your services. Why not add editing or social media graphics as added services to your freelance writing?

Prospects who land on your hire me page will see all you offer and may start you out as their editor, and from there you can pitch your writing after you know the client enjoys your editing relationship.

4. You’re NOT Negotiating Enough

Sometimes the issue for freelance writers isn’t that they can’t find a job; it’s that the job is low paying.

*think content mill rates!

You can easily change this around by being firm in your negotiations. Try not to bend if a potential client says in their email:

That rate is out of our budget. Can you cut your rate in half?

Ouch!

Some people!

Forget what they say and be professional when you respond,

Thanks for letting me know, but my rate is (x). If you need a professional writer later on or if your budget increases, feel free to contact me!

Boom! Who’s the boss now?

Standing your ground will give you confidence, and you know what? That will carry with you on your next pitch, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t land that gig!

The only time I would write for a lower-paying gig is if it can benefit me later one. For example, if the networking potential is greater than the actual gig.

Or, if the gig sounds super fun and super easy – and it would look good in my portfolio!

5. You’re NOT Reaching Out Enough

Many freelance writers think this is a competition and it’s not!

Instead of giving the stink eye to other freelance writers, connect with them and follow them! Share their blog posts and sign up to their email list!

Networking – it’s creeping up again! – is soo powerful! It is what can increase your income and move you up the income ladder.

By doing this, you will see other freelance writers giving away potential gigs if they have a full schedule. Similarly, if you’re booked up, you can connect with your list of freelance writers and see if they want to pick up another writing gig.

Some of my best freelance writing jobs came from other freelance writers or from their referral!

So, how can you connect with more freelancers?

  • Follow them on Twitter
  • Follow them on LinkedIn
  • Join Facebook groups and search for “freelancer”

And connect with other freelancers like graphic designers and coaches!

Maximize Your Time as a Freelance Writer

What if you have NO time to start this freelance writing business?

What if you only have one hour a day or three hours a week to do this?

First, list out the most important tasks you need to accomplish:

  • Create three writing samples
  • Pitch 5 times a day for 10 days
  • Start a Twitter profile and follow 10 freelancers
  • Find five companies to cold pitch to
  • Create a pitch template

Once you write down your list, next write out how long you think each task will take and plug that into the time you have during the week.

This will give you a framework to work off of.

You also should get creative on your time. Instead of vegging out after dinner watching your shows, pitch or find businesses to cold pitch to.

You might have to nix Netflix for a month to land a few clients!

Totally worth it though, right?

If you still find this difficult to execute, why not have an accountability partner? It doesn’t have to be your husband or wife or a friend; it can be another freelance writer you connected with on Facebook!

Reach out to them and see where they are in their freelance journey and see if you can hold each other accountable to grow your biz together!

Wrap Up

There ya go!

I’m telling it like it is!

I hope this gives you the motivation you need to get up and take action! I want to help you succeed and find that freelance writing job that’s right for you!

Tell me in the comments what you feel you aren’t doing enough! Maybe we can brainstorm some ideas on how to increase your productivity so you can land some writing gigs!

Hi I'm Elna and I'm a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.

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14 Comments

So true!… I haven’t done pitching yet. I’m so scared! Thank you for this post Elna!Reply to Alena
Hi Alena, You’re welcome! Yes, pitching is a big step but once you do it you can give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate! Good luck!Reply to Elna
Boom!! This message is worth it,i have tried to maximize my time and am seeing things changing rapidly. I pitch on job boards 5 times a day and i have 3 gigs so far. May God bless you Elna.Reply to Brown
Hey Brown! Thanks for coming over! Glad you are pitching to job boards 5x a day!!! Good luck on gaining more freelance writing jobs!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, Thank you for sharing this post. After reading this post, I have found that I am not doing enough as a freelance writer and that’s why I am stuck on content mills, earning peanuts. From today henceforth, I will implement your strategy *Create three writing samples *Pitch 5 times a day for 10 days *Start a Twitter profile and follow 10 freelancers *Find five companies to cold pitch to *Create a pitch template And then give myself a month, I will then come to share my results here. Be blessed.Reply to Boniface
Hi! That’s great you are taking action to become a better freelance writer! Follow your plan and I hope you gain some freelance writing jobs! Good luck!Reply to Elna
I love this. Very helpful advice. I am going to share on my Twitter because I think more starting-out writers could really benefit from reading this.Reply to Carly
Hi Carly! Thanks chica! So glad you found this post resonating for you to be a successful freelance writer!Reply to Elna
Elna, this post was just what I needed. Thankfully, I’ve started researching companies to pitch. I plan to send them out on Tuesday since Labor Day is on Monday. I’ve learned a lot and improved my writing from assignments on content mills. But I’m ready to spread my wings and move on. Your content always gives me the pick-me-up I need. Thanks for writing helpful and personable posts.Reply to Mika
Hi Mika! Good to hear! Glad you want to move away from content mills and you’re doing more as a freelance writer! You can do it!Reply to Elna
Great post as usual Elna! When I started out, I was super scared to cold pitch, but I used your cold pitch template, adapted it and got great writing gigs ever since, so thank you!Reply to Andreia
Hey Andreia! That’s awesome to hear! So glad you crushed your fear as a freelance writer and landed some awesome gigs! Way to go!Reply to Elna
Yup, I have to cut back on my Netflix time. I also definitely need to create a pitch template. However, finding companies to pitch to is my major challenge. Anyways, great content as always Elna. I love the actionable steps you included near the end of the blog post. I look forward to your next post!Reply to David
Hey David, Good to hear from you! And glad you figured out what you need to do MORE as a freelance writer! A pitch template can cut the time, but also optimize your time to pitch a lot! I love Netflix also so when I need to work (like now) I have to say No to my shows! Thanks for stopping by!Reply to Elna