Grow Your Freelance Writing Business
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Our 11-Step Guide to Growing Your Freelance Writing Business (With Advice From 50+ Experts)






How serious are you about freelancing?

Whether you’re a moonlighter or a full-time freelancer, we want to help you fuel your fire. In our “Guide to Growing Your Freelance Writing Business” (which includes enough savvy info to fill a 200-page book), we’ve compiled some of the best tips, interviews and advice from 50+ highly active and experienced freelancing professionals to help you:

  • Win that next client.
  • Seize that next assignment.
  • Earn that next payday for work well done.

Because your future can’t wait.

In an excellent roundup of 50+ articles, get some of the best tips from 50+ experienced freelancing professionals to help you succeed, from setting up your business to winning repeat clients. #freelancewriting #writerslife #freelancing Click To Tweet

Grow Your Freelance Writing Business: Decide on Freelancing Part- or Full-Time

Step 1: Decide on part- or full-time freelancing.

Whether you’re a writer, creative professional, or consultant, going freelance full-time is a major lifestyle change one that can impact your future and your family in all kinds of ways. And even if you decide only to moonlight, dedicating a set amount of time can be equally challenging.

So before you map out your business plan or tell your current boss you’re hitting the road, first ask yourself the most important question of all:

“What will ultimately make me happy?”

To help you come to your own conclusion, we’ve rounded up some of our most popular articles on making that personal leap of faith:

Because your future can’t wait. #freelancewriting #writerslife #freelancing Click To Tweet

Grow Your Freelance Writing Business: Determine Your Freelancing Niche

Step 2: Determine your freelancing niche.

Have you committed to freelancing full-time? Or have you felt you’ve needed more focus in your current freelancing career?

We hope you’ll take advantage of an industry reality: Niche is the new norm.

In an era of audience segmentation gone wild, the rise of content niches has created a new market for freelancers, entrepreneurs and creative professionals who specialize. So don’t get left behind as a generalist. Establish yourself as an expert in a particular genre or content type, and you’ll likely attract better clients and better pay.

If you haven’t quite forged your own path yet, get insights from these independent pros who already have found their special calling:

Look for more upcoming interviews with niche freelancers and independent professionals in our ClearVoice blog. Subscribe now!

Take advantage of an industry reality: Niche is the new norm. #freelancewriting #writerslife #freelancing Click To Tweet

Grow Your Freelance Writing Business: Make Your Freelance Business Plan

Step 3: Make your freelancing business plan.

So you’ve decided freelancing full-time is the best fit for you… Or, perhaps you still want to moonlight, but have set aside dedicated time to freelance…  Now what?

Get down to business.

Although your first instinct might be to pitch, pitch, pitch yourself and land assignments, taking time to think of yourself as a business and to map out your future is key to establishing long-term success and security.

To many, this stage in the transition can be daunting. Aside from overcoming the insecurity of the unknown, there is a whole new range of concerns to consider: income, expenses, taxes, retirement plans and accounting.

Here are several articles related to the business of freelancing to help you focus on what’s important at the beginning and to get you on the right track:

Get down to business. It's time to think of yourself as a business and to map out your future for long-term success and security. #freelancewriting #writerslife #freelancing Click To Tweet

Grow Your Freelance Writing Business: Create an Effective Freelance Portfolio

Step 4: Create a winning freelance portfolio.

After doing all your soul-searching on the kind of independent professional you want to be, and after mapping out your business plan, your efforts should shift toward optimizing your portfolio of work.

Your portfolio should not just be a resume or a dump-file with all the work you’ve done. It should be a representation of your best work and the value you have brought to clients.

It’s your elevator pitch. It’s your calling card. It’s your best cheerleader when you’re not available for direct communication. If you take time to make it the best it can be, you’ll find it can bring long-term rewards.

Fortunately, we’ve made this step in establishing your freelancing business as easy as can be, with our new CV Portfolios. They’re free and fully customizable with a WYSIWYG interface, and they can help connect you with brands in the ClearVoice Talent Network. A win-win.

Get instant project leads from vetted clients via your CV Portfolio.
View from a brand’s perspective when connecting with a freelancer via a CV Portfolio.

You can claim your CV here, if you haven’t already.

 

In the meantime, we hope you’ll dive into these tips from editorial and freelance pros on how to make your CV Portfolio shine:

Your portfolio should not just be a dump-file with all the work you’ve done. It should be a representation of your best work and the value you have brought to clients. #freelancewriting #writerslife #freelancing Click To Tweet

Grow Your Freelance Writing Business: Learn to Pitch as a Freelancer

Step 5: Pitch like a professional freelancer.

Are you a good pitch or a bad pitch?

Sometimes selling your ideas and value is the hardest part of freelancing, but unfortunately it’s the most important one, unless you like singing about rainbows without a single client to care.

To ramp up your freelancing business, you’ll have to master the art of pitching. There’s no doubt about it.

Pitching not only requires your ability to sell ideas and convey that you’re the best individual to accomplish them but it also requires you be on top of the zeitgeist…. to predict what your client needs before they need it.

Here are a few of our favorite posts about pitching, along with a podcast to help you get a better glimpse from the editor’s point of view:

To ramp up your freelancing business, you’ll have to master the art of pitching. There’s no doubt about it. #freelancewriting #writerslife #freelancing Click To Tweet

Grow Your Freelance Writing Business: Learn to Set Your Freelance Writing Rates

Step 6: Learn to set your freelancing rates right.

As a freelancer, you are ultimately responsible in understanding your own value and, more importantly, conveying it to a client. Yet one of the biggest challenges in knowing how to set your rate as a freelancer is that no two clients, or no two assignments, are the same.

To help you along in finding the zone where your skills match your expectations of pay, please review a few of our articles addressing common issues around freelancer pay. We hope additional perspective from both the client side and freelancer side can help you negotiate your most appropriate rate for any assignment.

At ClearVoice, we’re committed to helping brands and clients gain a better perspective on freelance pay rates and how to treat freelance professionals with more respect. We believe freelancers should always be paid for their time, on time.

As a freelancer, YOU are ultimately responsible in understanding your own value and, more importantly, conveying it to a client. Learn to set your rates right. #freelancewriting #freelancing #writerslife Click To Tweet

Grow Your Freelance Writing Business: Learn to Set Expectations With Clients

Step 7: Set expectations with clients and editors.

As a freelancer, one of the best ways to get more work is simply to work better with the clients you have. When you have a good working relationship with a client or editor, there’s often an unspoken quid pro quo that great work begets more work.

But all good relationships need to start with reasonable expectations and mutual respect. Take tips from some of our most popular articles on the subject, as well as insights from a podcast featuring the editorial and marketing perspective:

As a freelancer, one of the best ways to get more work is simply to work better with the clients you have. Learn how to set expectations right. #freelancing #freelancewriting #writerslife Click To Tweet

Grow Your Freelance Writing Business: How to Interview Experts

Step 8: Learn to interview experts for better cred.

Once you’ve landed an assignment and agreed on expectations, your most important task is to deliver, deliver, deliver…. and to make it good, real good.

In this step, we’ll focus on honing one of the most important skills for any writer or producer: the interview. So whether you directly feature Q&As in your finished work or not, being able to reach out and engage with experts or subjects is an essential asset in better informing your content.

Credibility counts.

Get tips on perfecting this essential skill, and read some of our favorite interviews featured below from our ClearVoice blog.

Once you’ve landed an assignment, your most important task is to deliver, deliver, deliver…. and to make it good, real good. Learn how to interview experts to boost your content's cred. #freelancewriting #writerslife Click To Tweet

Grow Your Freelance Writing Business: Learn How to Boost Your Productivity

Step 9: Boost your productivity as a freelancer.

Although freelancing brings with it a great deal of professional freedom, that freedom also can bring distractions and additional responsibilities. Don’t get caught in the weeds of owning your own business or get lost when it comes to keeping your creativity energized. Read that: Avoid unnecessary time-sucks.

Your time is your money. Make the most of it.

Here are several of our most popular posts to help you save time and keep focused (and, yes, we do realize you might sense a bit of irony in doing so):

Your time is your money. Make the most of it. Learn productivity tips for freelancers. #freelancewriting #freelancing #writerslife Click To Tweet

Grow Your Freelance Writing Business: Courses and Skills to Keep Current

Step 10: Sharpen skills for more freelance jobs.

Once you’ve established yourself with a good set of clients, you might be tempted to breathe a sigh of relief and rest on your laurels…. Please don’t.

In our fast-paced media environment, what’s “in” today could be “out” tomorrow.

Don’t leave yourself open to getting left behind. Regardless of your career path, you should strive to stay up with current events in your sphere, keep your skills sharp, and network, network, network.

Here are several simple things you can do:

In our fast-paced media environment, what’s 'in' today could be 'out' tomorrow. Sharpen your skills, find courses to keep relevant (and clients interested). #freelancingwriting #freelancing #writerslife Click To Tweet

 

 

Grow Your Freelance Writing Business

Step 11: Show your clients and colleagues gratitude.

When you’re a freelancer who relies on networking and relationships to find and keep good clients, a little gratitude can go a long way. So in the final step of our freelancing business guide, we address one of the most asked questions for freelancers:

What’s appropriate, or even ethical, when it comes sending gifts or tokens of thanks to a client or someone who gave you a referral?

We asked a team of professionals in these great pieces:

Are you following the Golden Rule when it comes to getting or sending client referrals? Get up to speed on proper etiquette to make, not burn, more bridges. #freelancing #freelancewriting #writerslife Click To Tweet

At ClearVoice, we think freelancers should be treated as businesses. So we hope our guide on growing your freelance business has helped you find your own North Star, whether you’re a creative professional or an independent consultant.

No content strategy is possible without talented creatives and freelancers

We like to thank the 20+ creatives and 50+ experts who contributed to content featured in this guide:

Ann Adams, Danielle Antosz, Karen Bannan, J. Barbush, Ben Beck, Adam Black, Miriam Bookey, Caitlin Sandberg Brancale, Jenna Briand, Chad Buleen, Stacy Cabrio, Sue Campbell, Elizabeth Carriage, Dahna Chandler, Jenny Chen, Elizabeth Chey, Roy Peter Clark, Greg Cohen, Jason Cox, Courtney Craig, Meagan DeMenna, Nora DePalma, Karen Dennis, Sonia Diaz, Rick Dobbs, Nicki Escudero, Jennifer Bradley Franklin, Allie Freeland, Liza Gershman, Deborah Harrison, Kelly Hayes-Raitt, Lori Hil, Wendy Zipes Hunter, Stacy Jackson, Ben Jacobson, Kelsey Jones, Lena Katz, Julie Kendrick, Chels Knorr, Megan Krause, Abby Lerner, Kim Livengood, Hernan Lopez, Kristin Luna, Jenna Mahoney, Brandi Doanne McCann, Megan Marrs, Doug Newcomb, David Nadelberg, Carrie Smith Nicholson, Brandi Ong, Jess Ostroff, Joel Patterson, Laura Pettit, Giulia Pines, Chantae Reden, Jenna Robbins, Gregg Rosenzweig, Amy Sherman, Erik Sherman, Carol Sogard, Rachel Sokol, Hannah Sydiongco, Angela Tague, Marygrace Taylor, Lynn Tejada, Greg Tillman, Jeannine Thompson, Lindsay Tigar, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Aly Walansky, Christina Walther, Katie Winick, Roger Wohlner, Serena Wolf, Luke Wolfe

Justin McKinley

About Justin

Justin McKinley is the Director of Content Marketing at ClearVoice. He has led national editorial teams, online and offline campaigns, and influencer partnerships at Fortune 100 companies, including TimeWarner and AT&T. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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