The Real Reason Why You Can’t Land Freelance Writing Work

You’re a new freelance writer.

You’ve read tons of articles, posts, seen videos and webinars and you have it all figured out. But, one things missing – you haven’t landed your first client.

I get it:

The Real Reason Why You Can’t Land Freelance Writing Work

I was once in your shoes. I had no portfolio, no one knew I was a freelance writer on social media and all the pitches I sent didn’t pan out.

So, what happened? What changed that newbie freelance writer back then into a professional writer with a ton of credibility now?

You Might Be Overwhelmed

There’s so much information out there, which one do you focus on? Which post tells you what really goes on as a freelance writer? Which blog gives you the best tips on how to navigate this profession?

After reading so much information on what to do, you become paralyzed, unable to do anything.

This happens to a lot of new freelance writers. With so much information, they lose track of what’s really important – to get out there and take action.

Suddenly, fear starts to settle in. This is what happened me and it almost ruined my career. You start to doubt yourself in your ability to be a freelance writer.

You question if you really are a writer and wonder if you’re really cut out for this.

Why You Can’t Land Freelance Writing Work

It’s not because you might be overwhelmed.

It’s not because you don’t have a portfolio.

It’s not even because you don’t have a good pitch.

It’s because you’re not confident.

Having a hard time as a new freelance writer putting yourself out there to getting noticed? My course, Write Your Way to Your First $1k, gives you a proven system to squash fear and give you the kick in the butt you need! Check it out!

And it seeps into all areas of your business. You might be negotiating with a client and instead of being sure with your rate, you end up saying something like,

“I can write that blog post for $50, if that works for you.”

See what happened? By saying, ‘if that works for you’ you open the door to a lower price. All because you weren’t confidence in the value you have as a writer.

Clients are investing in you, not spending money on you. They want your expertise, knowledge and social influence to help them with their business.

Maybe as a new writer you haven’t gotten this far in a pitch. Maybe you’re stuck in the whole, “I’m a freelance writer, who’s going to hire me?” thinking pattern.

I know, it’s tough. You think there’s no way they’re going to pay a mother with a psychology background to write an expert post on starting a content marketing strategy for a B2B business. She’s not even a writer!

Maybe you think like this because you have nothing to show of your writing. This all goes back to taking action. You’d rather read about freelance writing than do freelance writing.

You’ll gladly spend an hour perfecting your pitch, but never send it because it needs just one more tweak.

And you don’t bother creating a writer website because, hey, you’re not even a writer, right! With only a (insert your training)  background, no business is going to look at you and say, ‘hey, that woman with an event planning background will be perfect for my content needs.’

But, you know what? If you promote yourself as a writer, you’ll get hired as a writer. Don’t ever think you’re not a writer. You chose this profession because you enjoy writing, like reading blogs and want to earn some extra cash on the side or stay home and raise your child.

Lack of Confidence Stinks

I said your lack of confidence seeps into all areas of your business….and you know what? It also stinks. Clients get wind of it, it shows in your writing and in your overall brand message.

Who would want to work with that stinky writer?

Who would pay them their rate?

So, you see, when you don’t have confidence, it shows. And this doesn’t only happen to new freelancers. It also happens to seasoned ones. I’m not going to lie and say it hasn’t happened to me now that I’ve been doing this for a year.

When I have those feelings of doubt and am not confident, it’s usually when I land a client  in a new niche. For example, I’m looking into doing some copywriting and I landed my first copywriting project. I had to stop for a second and realize what I had to do. Since I’m new to the whole world of copywriting, I started doubting my ability to do this project.

But, all I had to do was give myself a pep talk and tell myself I can do this. I’ve already done it on my course page and coaching page.

But, for newbies, how can you shake those feelings off of you?

Freelance writing is tough.

It’s your own business and if you fail, that means you failed your business.

Let’s look at three ways that helped me when I first started freelance writing.

1. There’s Room for You

A big reason many freelance writers fail is because they don’t think they are anything special. They learn there are a ton of freelance writers out there.

But, you know what? The internet is big and there are more companies, businesses and soloprenuers who need content writers.

You have to work on finding these clients (or better yet, have them come to you) and creating a solid brand.

Your brand will help stand out and be unique. Whether you’re the veterinarian who turned freelance writer or the mom of twins who’s making it as a freelance writer (yup, that’s me), find your “shtick” and run with it.

2. Put Yourself Out There

How often do you pitch and promote yourself? How many guest posts have you landed? These are the things that will get you freelance writing work.

For me, when I find I don’t keep up with my social media, guest posts and if my client pieces aren’t published until much later than I had thought, I don’t receive any queries about my services. The internet “forgot” about me.

That’s why it’s important to keep up with your online presence and put yourself out there. Pitch, guest post and blog!

If you’re not confident yet about your pitch and landing a real gig, try guest posting. It’s a lot less intimidating and it’s often easy to get published if you know the right blogs to guest post on.

3. Hone Your Craft

Sometimes our lack of confidence really stems from our perception that we aren’t genuine writers. We don’t have a journalism degree and the last writing class you took was in high school.

If this is you, maybe all you need is to brush up on your writing skills and grammar rules. For me I found these places have helped me strengthen my skill as an online writer:

Take Action

Make this time the time you take action and learn the steps to becoming a successful freelance writer. Enroll in my course!

Anyone can be a freelance writer. But, not every freelance writer can be successful. To truly be successful you have to really want it and go out and get it.

For me, this has to work. I want to stay home with my twins so I have to contribute to our income. If I don’t put myself out there and take action, I don’t get paid.

So, are you ready to get out there and own it?

You’re in charge!

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.

Leave a Reply


Spoken from the trenches Elna! In the end, you’ve got to be out in order to get noticed! And the proven real world insights that you’re so freely sharing, will definitely help make that happen sooner, rather than later!Thanks!Reply to Mark
Elna, I really enjoy your writing. It’s clear and informative. I think writers are generally introverts (or at least I am) so we find it hard to put ourselves out there. I just published my eBook on Amazon, and along with the excitement is fear, of what I don’t know. Keep up the good work.Reply to Jayne
Hello Elna, You’ve really written a very sound and interesting post here. Indeed, what always stops us from going after that which we truly seek is the fear that we’re not good enough (inferiority complex) and this has really eaten deep into so many people that they finally decided to give up and find something else to do. But if we can always overlook our fears and get on with what we desire then, we will discover that fear is an enemy.Reply to Theodore
Yes, lack of confidence can eat at your soul. This turns into fear and every little decision becomes a monumental task. Writing is very personal so when someone bashes it, it seems they are bashing you!Reply to Elna
It’s so true – people can “smell” your lack of confidence. One thing I quickly learned is that when you leave the door open for negotiation (e.g., let’s talk if the quote is higher than expected), then people will always try to haggle, and that’s asking for trouble. You’ve given what you thought was a fair price, and now feel you have to cut the price, and then you feel unhappy. So I decided to close the door for negotiation, and wrote instead “If the quote is higher than expected, let’s talk about the scope of the project. We could start with your most important web pages first.” This worked far better for me. Thanks so much for your kind mention of my blog!Reply to Henneke
Hey Henneke! Can I say I absolutely LOVE your blog! You are fantastic with words (I mentioned your author bio in my contributing post over on FreelancerFAQs! Anyways, I like your approach to stopping negotiation! Sounds good and I’ll be sure to adapt that to my strategy! Thanks for letting my readers get wind of this. It’s hard when you’re a newbie and all you want is your first gig! Something, anything…but it’s a slippery slope of unhappiness because you’ll end up working for peanuts.Reply to Elna
Thanks for sharing Elna, and so true! It has taken awhile to find my way out of that thinking, but like you said…take action. It has proven the one thing I had to do to make me believe again. It gives purpose and drive to not let go again.Reply to Mariken
Hi Mariken! It’s so true isn’t it! You have to take action to succeed. It’s hard when you think there’s a lot of competition and you feel you’re not a great writer. I often feel because I don’t have a writing background that I’m an impostor. But, I just have to go back and think, no on can write like me! Clients seek me out because they like my writing!Reply to Elna
Love the note of confidence. I think writers of all levels suffer from anxiety and doubt one way or the other. The key is not to let it show. It passes.:)Reply to Pinar
Ha, tru dat! Fake it until you make it so to speak. I think for me, since I’m behind the screen, I have much more confident than if I was doing this face-to-face! I’m not sure how successful I would be then! But, yeah, if you don’t let it show and act as if you are confident, you can go a long way and it gives you time to become more confident!Reply to Elna
Thanks for this fab and very helpful post, Elna! Greatly appreciated. 🙂Reply to Ivy
No problem Ivy! Glad you liked it.Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, I think you really struck a cord with me here. There are so many freelance writers out there that the competition is stiff! For newbies who are just starting, I can see how they may get disgruntled. I’m there. Finding the confidence and embedding that into one’s head is the trick. I think I finally figured this out when I had a potential client tell me that (1) he didn’t budget enough in blog content to hire me; and (2) I was definitely out of his price range. However, I know my worth and the right client will come along, right? Your words inspire me to push forward. Thanks so much! BReply to Brenda
Hi Brenda, Thanks so much. I’m glad this post struck a chord with you. Not a lot of freelance writers really talk about this issue. It is a big issue for many of us. I did have a big bout of doubt in the beginning of my career but I trudged along and came out ahead. You need the support in place and you just need to keep your head down and write. It’s great when a potential client tells you the reason why they didn’t hire you. It gives you a direction to go from and peace of mind. You do know your worth. If a client can’t afford you, then they aren’t your client! Your client is out there, you just have to keep pitching! Let me know if you ever need any help! I’m here for ya.Reply to Elna
I just love your words! It’s like they are being addressed to me directly. Thanks a lot Elna.Reply to Mercy
Hey Mercy! Thanks. Glad you liked my post and yes I address it to all new freelance writers out there. I’m glad my words speak to you so well! Go get em!Reply to Elna