Monday, November 30, 2020

Advice for Freelance Writers Working Online

The recent COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have been a peril to us all, but it’s worth taking the time to consider just how things have changed, and how we should prepare for the future. Many people, for example, are taking the time to renew their career paths by working from home and trying to source supplemental income. 

One of these additional sources of income is freelance writing - as it’s quite a versatile skill that many people can learn and deliver with limited equipment. Furthermore, copywriting, SEO services, and social media management can all be helped by competent writing, meaning that if you can turn a phrase well, you’re sure to do well.

However, finding work, managing your affairs, setting up your workday and subcontracting can all be quite confusing and strange efforts for the newbie freelance writer, so this article will serve as a resource to help you. No matter if you’re a college student trying to make ends meet, a parent trying to make the most of their day, or if you’ve just lost your job - we hope this advice helps you:

Take Your Time

It’s important to take your time. Sentence structure, syntax, grammar, all of these things can be learned, but only if you continually look back on your own writing and measure its merit. You may also use tools such as Grammarly or Hemingway to ensure you’re writing with the correct punctuation, and that you avoid misspellings. Furthermore, using synonyms for certain words can often be quite a healthy alternative, helping you change up your style.

This said - it’s important to remove your ego as a writer completely. Even if you can construct the most beautiful prose in the world, if it’s not what your client needs, it’s not going to be accepted. Read each brief thoroughly, multiple times, and ask questions if needed. Absorb the nuances and expected behaviors expected of you if working for an online firm. Take your time to consider the process, to set up your work desk, and to get focused before writing. This will help you become a better writer, but more importantly, a better professional.

Set Up A Website

It’s a wonderful idea to set up a website because it helps you promote your portfolio. This portfolio may include bylines, excerpts of material you may have written (hosted with permission), and even personal blog postings showcasing just what you can do. Setting up a website helps you flourish your art, and provide a hub where businesses can refer to you as an actual presence.

Of course, in some respects, you may simply wish to curate your profile on freelance writing forums. Upwork, for instance, is quite well-known as a platform for freelance writers. Ensuring you hold a good rating there and encouraging testimonials can make it easier to find future work going forward. That has to be a great idea.

Consider Writing Houses & Content Services

Remember that writing is often unnecessary until it is needed. You’re not going to convince a firm that has all of their copy needs taken care of that you, as a freelance, outsourced writer, will provide them with the value they haven’t already had. That’s why some of the best places to write include content services that provide SEO maintenance

This can provide you with a wide range of potential subjects to write about. It’s also a great means to practice your style, get used to briefs and associated clients, and make great relationships. Find the right firm, and you’ll gain a daily allotment of content that helps you grow and develop at your will. That’s a wonderful place for any beginner freelance writer to start out.

Outfit Your Office & Working Hours

While writing can seem like quite a physically comfortable task - it’s not. It takes brainpower, but it also takes long hours of sitting down in your desk chair, typing away. This means it can damage your hands if you’re not careful. We would recommend learning to touch type, as this is, in general, easier on the hands of those who choose to perform it.

Furthermore, good posture and ergonomics are key. This helps you avoid curating a terrible posture and back pain. Sit up straight in an ergonomic chair. Make sure the top of the screen is lined up with your natural eye line. Ensure that you have adequate arm wrests or a worthwhile wrist pad. Take a break to stretch your hands from time to time.

It’s also essential to curate your working hours in the best possible sense. Freelance writing can be flexible, too flexible, and this can prevent you from setting yourself hard deadlines. It will also prevent you from seeing to work with enthusiasm, and like dirty dishes on your sink, this can, unfortunately, pile up. For this reason, make sure to complete jobs as and when they come and don’t overstretch yourself. Commit to the same writing hours every day. Find a backup device so that you can work even if your main device doesn’t. These measures will help you as a professional stay competent and in work in the best possible sense.

Seek To Improve

While we have made it clear that freelance writers rarely make money by flexing their best prose, it’s also true that you can seek to develop and progress as a writer in other fields. For instance, learning more about technical writing can be a fantastic skill to have, particularly if you want to help create corporate documents or write technical guides with exacting specifications.

Writing, like most art forms, is a malleable tool. It’s not just creative, it’s also informative. It’s not just words, it’s language. For this reason, you have many different areas in which you can specialize provided you seek to learn. This will help you become the very definition of an ever-growing asset.

Manage Your Finances & Taxes

Remember, as a freelancer, you are self-employed. This means that you have to take care of your own finances for the most part. It means you’re unlikely to be covered with sick pay or healthcare. It also means that you need to take care of your own taxes.

Unfortunately, many freelance writers (and freelance professionals at large), fail to accurately report their earnings. If you yourself are in a bind, it’s worthwhile to contact tax attorneys at Leinart Law Firm to help you unravel your tax history and help curate your best route forward. We would recommend documenting everything. Make sure that you report even the little trickling of income you may receive from side projects. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry, and to never think your freelance status gives you free rein.

Communicate With Your Clients

In any freelance capacity, you’re going to come across testy, annoying, uninformed clients. But you’re not here to condemn them for not knowing every little part of your process - that would be quite toxic, in fact.

Instead, learning to communicate with them is essential. Discussing your rates, what the job might entail, what questions you have, and who you can contact, all of this helps you make this relationship seamless. Furthermore, don’t take the need for revisions or extra edits personally - clients will be looking for an exact specification, and if you’re not providing it, they’ll let you know. Think about graphic designers. They can come up with the most influential and beautiful logo for a brand, but if it doesn’t convey the spirit their client wishes it to, they have failed in their task.

The way you keep clients and encourage new ones is to routinely care for them. If you can ensure your communication is pristine and speedy, you’re sure to enjoy a better end result.

Read Great Copy

They say that it’s important for budding novelists to read, and so if you hope to make a living freelance writing as a copywriter, you need to read great copy. Consider marketing material, read technical guides, read press briefings, or the launch of advertisement campaigns. Consider the copy you take for granted, such as instruction manuals for consumers, or the marketing copy on the back of a product you’re using. This can help you understand the flow and style that may be expected of you.

Finally, read plenty of websites. Websites in 2020 and beyond have an exacting standard. A landing page is there to help encourage you. It’s often split into digestible sections to help promote a brand in the most convincing manner possible. This means specific word counts, imperative language, memorable phrases, and informative explanations. Odds are, you may find potential work in this direction. For that reason, it’s best to know what your competition is doing, and what the expected s standard may be.

With this advice, we hope you can become the best freelance writer you can be, especially if working remotely during the time of COVID-19. Who knows? With a little effort, a supplemental income may be yours for the taking.

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