"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Freelance Writing Tips to Make the Most of Your Career-Guest Post

Freelance writing is a great way to make extra money, build an extensive portfolio of work, and create a flexible lifestyle. Unfortunately, it can also be an erratic line of work, with no guarantees of being able to find work or to produce a steady income. There are a few tricks that can help you become more successful in your freelance writing career, whether you are just starting out or have many years of experience.

Build Relationships
If you have the good fortune to land a client, don’t let that contact slip through your fingers once you are finished with the job. Take the time to build relationships with each client so that you can create steady income streams or “anchor” clients that provide steady work. When you are finished with a job, inquire about other writing or editing needs the client may have, or ask for a referral. If there is no work for you at that time, check back regularly over the following months.

Always Look for Work
Freelancing is usually feast or famine. Sometimes, you have more work than you know what to do with, and other times, you can’t find work even if you’re offering to do it for free. Don’t wait until you’re starving for work to look for it. Keep checking job boards and submitting query letters, even when your schedule is full. You are more likely to maintain a steady stream of work if you do so.

Be Flexible with Pay
Set a base hourly rate that satisfies your personal budget and reflects your experience and skill. But be prepared to sometimes take less – especially if you are still building your portfolio and your reputation. Sometimes, you need to start out at a lower rate so that you can build a relationship and earn credibility, then ask for a raise later. Different projects will also carry different rates of pay, sometimes much more than what you would usually charge. As long as you are not working for far less than you are worth on every project, your overall income should average out at an acceptable level.

Create an Online Portfolio
The days of sending in a query letter and a packet of clips with a self-addressed, stamped envelope are slowly dying. More employers expect to be able to review your work online – preferably in real time, published on the site or blog for which you wrote the piece. Creating an online portfolio need not be complicated or expensive. Many Web hosts are available that are free or reasonably priced and that come with user-friendly templates for creating a page. When you contact prospective clients, you can refer them to your site, making the process easier for you both.

It’s the number one rule of thumb in every job search for good reason. Networking helps you build relationships, develop your skills, and find your next job. There are numerous blogs and online forums for freelance writers that offer industry tips and post job opportunities. Take the time to become familiar with these, and visit them often.

Building a successful freelance career can take time, and writers will face many obstacles along the way. Consistency and perseverance are key to finding success. What other tips have helped you to build success in your freelance writing career?

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and recent graduate of Elon University. She is currently a resident blogger at Accelerated online degrees, where recently she’s been researching different online physical therapy assistant classes and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.


  1. Great tips Maria, thanks for the reminders to be flexible.

  2. Jennifer Brown BanksSeptember 28, 2011 at 6:58 AM

    Thanks, Linda. Maria did provide a quality post here. :-)

  3. Flexibility is key, that's for sure. Although it doesn't always come naturally to me, freelancing has taught me a lot along those lines. Thanks to both of you, Maria and Jennifer, for sharing this!

  4. Karen,

    I can relate. :-) Always a pleasure to hear from you. Thanks.

  5. Encouraging to read. Thank you Jennifer.

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 19, 2013 at 4:24 AM

      Modern Day Disciple,

      Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed it.