Do you ever get low-balled offers for your freelance writing services? Does it piss you off when you see countless other content producers offering to write for a penny per word while you try to make ends meet by charging professional rates? Do you feel like others are holding you back?
They're not. You are. Remember, no one owes you a living as a freelance writer. It's up to you to go out there and make one for yourself. Let's talk about a few things you should stop doing right now if you want to get past your own mental blocks, and what you can do to build that living you really want as a freelancer.
Stop These Habits to Grow Your Business
1. Stop complaining about writers who are willing to work for less than you are.
They're not really your competition. And either they'll do fine in a lower level market or they'll fail miserably, learn the hard way, and start over with more realistic rates and market targeting. These writers don't affect you in any way when you act like a professional in promoting your own business.
If you don't want to compete in their cut-throat race to the bottom markets, stay out of them. It's one thing to encourage people to do better for themselves when they want to. It's something else entirely to blame them for your own lack of success.
2. Stop telling other writers they should all charge more to raise the bar for your work.
That's not their responsibility. Your rates do not depend on what the masses in other markets do. Or if they do, you've messed up somewhere along the way. Fix your business on your end. Don't expect others to do it for you.
The only rates you should be concerned with are rates of directly comparable writers. Just because you both blog, it doesn't mean you're in competition. Think about market segmentation and figure out where you fit in, or where you want to fit in.
Attempting to standardize rates does us all a disservice because it implies rewarding those less qualified just because you think your own work is valuable. If it really is, it's your job to convey that value to individual clients and prospects -- not to an over-generalized group of colleagues.
3. Stop relying so heavily on advertised gigs.
I feel like I've said this until I'm blue in the face, but let's have at it again. Shall we? The best freelance writing gigs are not usually advertised publicly. Still writers keep asking the same old question -- "where" are the high paying freelance writing jobs? If you're doing your job on the marketing front, those jobs are where you are.
Stop expecting job boards, freelance marketplaces, and most importantly buyers to hand-feed you great gigs. If you want the high paying freelance writing jobs, stop wasting so much time looking for the "where." There is no place where all the good buyers congregate. You'll get lucky and find some in these places, but they don't represent the bulk of great gigs available.
If you really want to improve your living as a freelance writer, make sure buyers can find you. Get a professional website up, and make sure it's well-optimized so it ranks well in search engines. Have an active presence in communities where members of your target spend their time. Get to know your colleagues who might refer gigs they can't (or don't want to) take on. Launch a blog that would interest your target market -- one that demonstrates authority status in the subject matter. There are a lot of things you can do to build visibility and your writer platform.
Are you guilty of blaming others for your own lack of success in freelancing? Do you keep doing the same old things (like browsing job boards looking for those golden gigs), always expecting the results to change? Then it's time to step back and reevaluate what you're doing. It's time to take responsibility for the successes (and shortcomings) that result from your own business and marketing strategies. And it's time to set those defeatist ideas aside and get back to growing your freelance writing business. No one owes you a living but you. Now what are you going to do about it?
Jenn has over 17 years experience writing for others, around 12 years experience in blogging, and about a decade of experience in indie e-book publishing. She is also an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.
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