Freelancing — whether it’s writing or another content area — is an inherently volatile occupation. But the freelancers themselves can exacerbate the problem by making simple mistakes which can offend editors, accidentally reduce their work load, and lower their overall compensation just through a few oversights or honest mistakes. Most freelance article writers commit the five same mistakes when they first begin their time among these editors, clients, and freelance article pools. Here are those mistakes, so that you might avoid them when you dip your own toes into the stormy waters of freelance article writing.
- Missing a Deadline
Articles don’t write themselves, and they won’t wait forever to be written by the author selected to do so. Often, editors and clients, as well as freelance article website, will assign a deadline to every article that is written by a freelancer. This deadline will often tick away automatically (that’s the magic of technology) and is largely an inflexible measurement of time — a countdown with no room for error. If this deadline passes, the article automatically goes to either another writer entirely or back into the pool of articles which can be written by any freelancer who stumbles upon them. That article might be anywhere from ten dollars to more than one hundred dollars, but it’s money that will no longer go into your pocket.
- Offending an Editor or Client
Writers, whether they’re freelance or not, can be considered a type of artist — an artist who creates dazzling arrays of words and grammar rules. And like any artist, freelance writers can be a bit demanding and hard to work with when they’re receiving criticism from a client or an editor. But it’s important to remember that these relationships are professional, and communication between any freelancer and a client should be kept that way. Otherwise, your risk offending your employer. And while traditional office workers might not care too much about offending the boss — at least not the first time — a freelancer who offends a client or an editor will probably not receive their work every again. And that means less earnings.
- Not Conducting Adequate Research
Each article specifically focuses on a certain topic or keyword that must be researched, fleshed out, and emphasized. Most writers new to the art of freelancing will assume that they can “get by” with minimal research — or none at all. But it soon becomes apparent that their lack of research has led to a poorly constructed article that fails to meet the needs of the client. From there, they’ll be responsible for a series of revisions and additions that will take extra time and limit their compensation. When an article needs ten revisions because due diligence was not taken, authors lose out.
- Stagnating at the Low End of the Spectrum
Like any traditional occupation, freelance article writers typically start at the “bottom.” That is, the rates they’re eligible to charge are often among the lowest in the industry. Some freelancers simply get stuck in this phase or they don’t consider themselves eligible to advance to higher levels of compensation. This can lead a freelancer working 60, 70, or even 80 hour weeks all to “just get by” when they could easily put their previously-written articles to work and pursue a raise. It’s important not to persist in the lowest-paying sector of the position any longer than is necessary to gain experience and impress clients.
- Not Taking Initiative
While some freelance writing websites are “one way” websites, in that a client always proposes an article idea to a writer, there are other websites which allow for a bi-directional exchange of ideas. In this setup, a freelancer can determine what they wish to write about and propose the idea to their editor or a client they frequently work for. Because writers generally propose ideas which they find easy and entertaining to write about, these articles can be completed quickly and without as much effort as those articles whose topic is pre-determined.
As a freelancer, taking initiative is an essential way to gain success and increase compensation levels. It is no different when proposing ideas for new articles to be written. Never accept a client’s ideas as the only ones which will generate great articles and content — your unique ideas may impress them even more than the way you write about them.