What Kind of Freelance Writer Are You?

Have you recently decided to take the plunge and become a freelance writer?

Maybe you’ll do this as a side hustle or – if you’re like me – transition from stay-at-home to work-at-home mom. This is an exciting time, but do you know the road that’s ahead of you?

It’s a fact that within the first year or two most freelance writers will fail.

What Kind of Freelance Writer Are You?

Hard pill to swallow, eh? But it’s true. If you don’t know what kind of freelance writer you are, you could very well set yourself up for failure.

Knowing this can mean the difference between being a successful freelance writer or one that’s struggling to break free from $10 writing gigs.

I don’t want you to fail. As a freelance writing coach, I help many new writers find their path to success and work hard to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes as I did when I first started.

So, for this post, I’ve listed freelance writer profiles you don’t want to have. Being one of these four types of freelance writers will only hurt your chances of success. But, don’t think you can’t change that.

Stay tuned till the end of the post where I show you how to kick start your biz off on the right foot.

1. You Sit On the Sidelines

One of the most common things I see new freelance writers do is…they do nothing at all! They avoid taking any action. Instead, they read every blog post, course, guide or eBook they can get their hands on, and then do absolutely nothing with that information.

I equate this to sitting on the sidelines. Maybe you think since you don’t have a perfect writer website, what’s the point of even pitching?

Or, maybe fear is consuming you and the thought of putting yourself out there and selling yourself is too much for you. So, instead, you keep bidding on Upwork and taking the $5 writing gigs.

Can I tell you something? I’m not the best writer.

I make a ton of grammar mistakes.

I know for a fact I forgot to invoice a few clients when I first started out.

I suck at math and know I’ve undervalued my services a few times.

But, you know what? I’m still successful. Just this month I landed my biggest paying writing project to date and in the last year I’ve moved from making less than $2 a post to now averaging $300 a post.

And it was all because I took action. I kept going. Kept pitching and above all, didn’t let the little things get in the way.

So what if my writer website needs updating? It’s up and that’s all that matters.

Who cares if I accidentally sent a newsletter with “Hi |FIRST NAME|” on it? Oops.

It’s time to get out there and take action. If fear is your thing, know that everyone has felt the same way you felt when they first started. I almost quit freelance writing because of that fear.

Gaining confidence is a learning process and it isn’t until you actually go out there and be a freelance writer that you become more confident.

For me, doing this online is so much easier than in person. Last year I set up appointments at my local web and printing companies in town and I sucked! I fumbled my words, blanked out a few times and couldn’t put two words together.

But, I did it. I stepped out of my comfort zone and took action.

2. You Can’t Help But Compare Yourself to Other Writers

As a new writer you may feel inferior to other freelance writers out there. Especially if you don’t have a writing background.

So, you end up critiquing your writing and sizing it against other freelance writers on the web. I did this early on in my freelance writing career.

I had just landed a client who wanted social media marketing posts and editing. I was excited as this was an inbound inquiry that ended in a paid writing gig.

I wrote my first few posts, checked them out on the blog and noticed they had another freelance writer on staff. Not just any writer, a well known freelance writer (well at least known to me!).

I was shocked. I started analyzing my writing and her writing. She was definitely a much better writer than me and I couldn’t understand why this client even hired me.

I started keeping track of how many assignments she wrote and how many were given to me (to see if she got more assignments because she was a better writer than me) and this started to affect my writing.

It was hard to shake this  “impostor syndrome” feeling off, but I did and I’m glad I did.

I’ve learned that no one can write like me and that clients seek out my writing style. I have a great track record of A-list bloggers and entrepreneurs who have hired me for my writing ability. I’ve also learned  you don’t need a writing degree to be a freelance writer, you just need to be a good writer.

While the act of comparing myself to other writers isn’t totally a thing of the past, it isn’t crippling my success either.

3. You Jump the Gun

For some new freelance writers, they can’t wait to get started and they go all out from the beginning. Before they know it, a prospect contacts them and wants them to write dozens of blog posts for their site.

Oh, hold up! You’re not even sure if you can really do this.

You still have a full-time job, kids’ activities to attend and dinner to prepare. Maybe freelance writing isn’t for you.

For some aspiring writers, they end up taking on more than they can handle and end up quitting or failing as a freelancer. For other writers, they envisioned being a freelance writer was totally different than what it really is –  a cycle between always hustling for new writing jobs and having too much work on your plate.

4. You Latch On to Any New Thing

Heard your neighbor is a freelance writer?

Maybe you read a mommy blog and learned this blogger does paid writing gigs on the side. You think this is perfect and jump all over freelance writing.

Three weeks later a blogger friend tells you how much money they are making as a virtual assistant. You love the idea and start learning anything and everything about being a virtual assistant.

Before you know it your brain is fried because of all the info you’re learning about anything and everything. Then you sit there and do nothing because too much information paralyzes you from taking action.

When you decide to learn a new skill, the best thing you can do is create goals around it. So, if you really want to be a freelance writer, the first thing you should do is make a list of what you need to do and the steps you need to take to reach your goals.

This will at least get you focused on one avenue to pursue. For me personally, I don’t have an issue with trying new things. When I find something I stick with it. I think that’s why I have been able to build my freelance writing business to the level it is now even though I’ve been doing this part-time!

It’s Time to Be a Rockstar Freelance Writer

Do you want to be a rockstar writer? Someone who has the confidence, skills and strategy to get their business off on the right foot?

I recently launched a new free email course called Become a Rockstar Freelance Writer – A Free 5 Day Email Course to Jumpstart Your Successful Business.


If you’re not sure you’re cut out for freelance writing, take this free email course. It will help you weed through your uncertainty and give you the tools you need to succeed.

Over to you – what kind of freelance writer are you?

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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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Hi Elna! Great piece! the part talking about information overload is so true, that is the reason I don’t try to learn too many things at one time! As for as freelancing, being paid for writing for other brands, people goes, I want to know which is more beneficial in the long run, having a super duper weblog choke-full of quality content or selling all that quality content to brands/people via freelancing… ? Because I never thought about freelancing but reading this post kind of made me thinking differently… I hope I am not asking too much.. Have a great day…Reply to Arshad
Hi Arshad, Thank you so much! Yes, information overload is a paralyzer! For me, too much info just stops me in my tracks. I do my best now to take it in chunks πŸ™‚ As for freelancing vs. building up your own blog, I know freelancing can get you paid much much sooner than making your own products or having ads on your site. Freelancing also makes you more money in the short run, but I think if you really focus on it, you can make definitely make a living from it. That’s what I’m doing. My writing income is about 70% of my total income. The other 30% is from coaching and my course! The goal for any solopreneur is diversification right? That’s why I started included coaching and now have my own course for writers. I’m now – after a year starting – building my brand. It’s a great mix and I love it!Reply to Elna
Thank you so much for replying but still I think you didn’t made me happy with your response, I certainly google after I left your platform to search on it and I think its a wise choice but I was hoping something that would at least be something to be happy about ;p… Like hey Arshad, making your own personal brand does pay off well in the end like look at socialmediahat, brandedsolopreneur and all these bloggers … though I must admit I missed the opportunity to expend my brand from being just blogging on my platform to being a freelancer… I joined freelancer last night to start wish I had started way too early.. thanks for your time and reply, much appreciated! πŸ™‚Reply to Arshad
Hi Elna! Another excellent post for ANYONE who wish to become a freelance writer. I have to tell you a little secret, one of my biggest insecurities comes from the fact that I’m a native Spanish speaker (I’m from MΓ©xico) but I’ve felt really attracted to the english freelance market for a while. I know I have great english but I’ve always thought that as a non native english speaker I make more grammatical mistakes. I guess my only option is to suck it up and start writing my samples RIGHT AWAY! Thanks as always for your great advices! P.S. Do you recommend starting a free blog on wordpress or paying for the hosting and getting my own domain name? (I don’t have steady income right now and the plans I’ve seen for hosting are on a 12month basis)Reply to Ale
Hola Ale! Es Lorena. Yo se un poco espaΓ±ol. Start a free site on WordPress. You can move it later to a self-hosted site. This is what I did. (In fact, there is a post on my site telling how I did this.) I began blogging right away, for free, and when I started making money selling my freelancing services, I invested some of it into my business. Wording Well was born! If you begin on a free blog, you will gain experience with the WordPress platform. If you decide you don’t like it, you can quit… and you will not have lost any money! Pero Elna es correcto. Having your own site makes you look more professional. However, you need to start somewhere, and creating a free site is an option. Tiene un bueno dΓ­a!Reply to Lorraine
Hi Ale Although English is my first language, I still make tons of mistakes! Like always and with every sentence I write. Maybe it’s because I’m highly distracted with twins or my thought process is much faster than my hands can type. In either case, wanna know my “secret” weapon? Grammarly! It’s totally changes my writing and I love it. I also have someone proofread my posts and that really helps too! As for your own site, I’d highly suggest you set up a self-hosted site. It’s much more professional and makes it look like you invested in your business. If you can’t afford this option, then go with the free version. Here is the BEST post to help you make your free site look credible http://beafreelanceblogger.com/free-wordpress-site/ Read it and follow it πŸ™‚ Let me know if you need any more help!Reply to Elna
This is great Elna. I think I fall under the second category…always comparing myself to others. I don’t have much writing experience and I always think about it, which stops me from going after writing gigs. It’s something I plan on working on this year. πŸ™‚ Your email courses sounds like it will beneift a lot of people who want to make money as a freelance writer. It’s great of you to share your knowledge! Have a great day and weekend! CoriReply to Corina
Hey Corina! I had the same problem too! I started to doubt my writing because I thought I’m just a mom with a Psychology background. I’d always compare my writing to other writers and think why would anyone hire me? But then I got hired. Again and again! So now, my thought process is more like no one can write like me!Reply to Elna
Hey Elna! Great post. I think there is so much truth to this post. I used to be the freelancer that sat on the sideline. And then I transitioned into the comparing myself with other freelancers. And then I jumped the gun. Before I made it to No. 4 though, I took a moment to re-evaluate what I wanted. And of course, with your guidance, I think on I’m the track now!Reply to Raymonda
That’s great Raymonda! You’ve identified with all of these but look at you know! You are on the road to success. I think every freelance writer goes through one or all of these traits. I certainly did when I first started! I’m excited to see you take off girl! You can do it!Reply to Elna
Great post Elna! I think when I first started out, I was one of those freelances who sat on the sidelines. But I realized, that’s not going to get me ahead! My business really increased when I started doing more connecting and marketing. As far as comparing yourself to other writers, I still do that. It’s hard not it, especially when you’re not “as good” as someone else. What really helped me in the beginning was literally telling myself “I AM a writer.” Sounds stupid, but it was like I was convincing myself that I am a writer, no matter what my self-doubt or what anyone else thought.Reply to Corinne
Hey Corinne, Great tips for squashing your insecurities about being a writer. Yeah, it happened to me, but you’re right you have to tell yourself that you really are a writer. Once you can convince yourself, you’ll easily convince others that you’re one. Thanks for stopping by!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, Best post to get rid of fear in me as a newbie freelance writer. I got a lot of inspiration from your awesome posts like this one. And, we can become good writers by writing on topics we’re well known. Thank you very much for providing this informative post. Oh, I forgot! one question to you, Elna. How do you design your blog post’s images like this one above? waiting to hear from you.Reply to Venkatesh
Hey Venkatesh! Thanks a bunch. Fear and perfectionism resides in many new and established freelance writers. I’m prone to it from time to time, but it’s how you deal with that shows your true potential for success. My images? I use Photoshop, but you can easily recreate these types of images using a free editing tool like Canva! I actually have a video training for my Writeto1k course students on this!Reply to Elna
Canva is really an excellent tool. It’s easy, fun to use and above all it’s free. You have to try it out Venkatesh!Reply to Ale
Hi Elna, This is a great post. I find myself as (1) a partial sideliner; (2) trying to “measure up” to others, and the biggest (3) trying to find the time and not give up my family time. It’s slow going for me as so many other “priorities” jump in and then I lose focus. Excuses, excuses, right? One of these days I’ll get it together. πŸ™‚ BReply to Brenda
Hey Brenda! I’m right there with ya! Yes I always compare my writing to other writers. I’m still in shock I get paid for my writing πŸ™‚ But, I hear time and time again how great my pieces are, so I should start believing them right? I at times also jump the gun. Like just right now – I suddenly decided to do live workshops. Where did that come from? So now I’m rushing to solidify this plan. This happens to me a lot. I get an idea and I just roll with it. I have to be aware, though, that my plate is often full of other priorities and can I really take on another project? But you know what? Recognizing what type of freelance writer you is the first step πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by.Reply to Elna