The sheer size and scope of the freelance writing profession means that writers are often bombarded with potential clients and editors who cover an even wider range of topics, writing styles, and requirements. It can be hard to find the best people to work for in this industry, but with attention to a few key aspects of choosing clients and editors, that process can be made just a little bit easier.
List Your Expertise and Industries
First and foremost, don’t assume that you can write any number of words on any number of topics. It simply isn’t true, and you won’t enjoy being a freelance article writer if the articles you’re required to write are difficult and completely uninteresting. Before getting started, make a list of the things you’re an expert in: your hobbies, your professions, your life experiences. Next, then make a list of topics you find interesting — whether it’s cars or shopping, weddings or travel.
These topics will be the easiest and most enjoyable to write about. And, because you’ll be able to produce higher-quality articles when the material is interesting, these topics will lend themselves to healthier writer-client or writer-editor relationships.
Decide What Kind of Businesses to Write For
Not all articles are created equally, and one of the largest distinguishing factors has to do with the size of business requesting the article. Smaller businesses are generally easier to work with for new freelance writers who are still learning the ropes. Their approach is more personal and flexible, and they’re able to cope while a writer “learns on the job” with their first few articles. A small business does, however, tend to pay quite a bit less per word or per article than larger companies.
For better pay, freelancers often end up working with large publications and corporations who have the kind of deep pockets that can afford higher pay rates per word or per article. These companies are far more demanding and inflexible, and they generally have in mind what they want their article to contain before they’ve even requested the job. Writers who can handle working with harsher critics for higher pay will want to focus their efforts on these more lucrative opportunities instead.
Networking for Clients
Clients aren’t going to come to you; as a freelancer, it is essentially your job to bring your work to the clients so that they might read, approve, and pay you for it. That being said, one of the best ways to find new clients outside of traditional freelance writing mills is to use social media websites to self-promote and discover writing opportunities. These social network sites, led by career-centric LinkedIn, categorize freelancers by industry and automatically show them a listing of top-ranked freelance employers and potential clients or editors.
Failing to engage in the social networking process will severely limit the number of future clients your work will reach, and you will likely be confined to freelancing websites that are, of course, subject to the feast-or-famine flow of articles and revenue sources.
Know What You’re Looking For
A good freelancer always knows the exactly kind of editor or client they wish to work for. Make a list of the qualities that you look for in a positive client relationship and evaluate potential clients based on that list. You’ll find that you only work with the clients who best mesh with your style, making articles easier to write and compensation easier to come by.
Learn to Treat “No” as an Opportunity
Too often, freelancers are so paranoid of earning too little income that they’ll say yes to any job, client, or editor that comes their way. While this might initially seem like a solid strategy for boosting earnings and ensuring a stable salary, it simply is not the case. Failure to discriminate properly when dealing with an editor or client will lead to tense and sometimes unmanageable working conditions that will make the creative process difficult. This may lead to tiring back-and-forth communication between the author and a client which will increase the time it takes to complete a project and reduce the freelancer’s income for several days at a time.
Using a “gut” feeling to decline clients and jobs which don’t seem easy to complete will help a good freelancer focus on completing the best articles in the quickest amount of time, thus raising their compensation levels. And it’ll prevent the kind of discouraging interaction — and morale-suppressing communication — that can force people out of freelance writing and back into the traditional office environment that they so hoped to escape.
Not a Foolproof Method
While these techniques will certainly help reduce the likelihood of working with a difficult or even impossible client or editor, they’re not foolproof. Freelancers should always be prepared to manage a tough writer-client relationship and understand that it’s often more about the client than it is about their talents. Stay encouraged and always remember to follow these key steps when choosing your next job!