Freelance writing is like any other business. You need to create a business plan, do an extensive Strength Weakness Opportunity Threats (SWOT) analysis, and something that you don’t want to miss–a customer base. Running a business is both a science and an art. To operate it smoothly, you must have the qualities needed to become an effective business person at the same time an artist. To flourish in freelance writing, you must have the same traits. There are five key qualities that will enable you to set sail and make your trip more comfortable on your way to freelance writing success.
5 Qualities of a Successful Freelance Writer
1. Self Confidence — is a premium trait that all freelance writers should have. Without self confidence, you can’t stay long in the game. The truth is you can’t last even a week without this attribute. It’s a must, you have to be assured that you can do the work and survive on your own without the help of coworkers, a boss, or a stable company. When I was starting as a writer, I was also employed by a stable company, so one of my struggles was how to build my self confidence to go into business on my own. If you are still pondering and trying to decide whether or not you will quit your job and do it on your own, think about staying in front of your computer for hours alone without any company but music and a dog. If you think you can’t survive that, I suggest you stay put and enjoy your job.
2. Discipline — As a freelance writer, you’re in business with you as the CEO and Founder. That means you are an entrepreneur. Another prerequisite to be a top-notch entrepreneur, specifically a freelance writer is self-discipline. You need to report to your business every day. You don’t have a boss to check on you or to supervise you every now and then so you must have the self-discipline to supervise yourself. You need to “boss” yourself around. After all, you are the boss. Freedom is served at your feet in a silver platter as a freelance writer but it’s a two-edged sword. Either you will use it to your advantage or it will take advantage of you.
When I started my school and office supplies store, I was in my early twenties. At this age, sometimes the temptation to go to the movie theater or hang out with friends was so great. There were times I gave in and it affected the performance of my business in negative ways. You are free to check twitter anytime. You can update your status on Facebook every 10 minutes if you choose to, but is it not better to spend that time doing your tasks? If you can’t police yourself, you will have unproductive days. You have to stop yourself from checking email, chatting or playing around in the social media playground. Being a freelance writer will require you to be alone for long periods of time. If you are not comfortable with that, better think twice. When I started, and even now, I am tempted to check Facebook and Twitter all the time. As I went along, I have put a rein on myself and have learned to control my social networking urges. Self-discipline is a must for freelance writers.
3. Superb Customer Service — Customer is king. Highly-publicized business consultants will pound on the fact that you must treat your customers like royalty. They put food on the table, they pay the bills, so by all means, take care of them. One of the best pieces of advice I have received is to know your customer intimately. In fact, car companies go as far as researching the birth dates of their highly-esteemed customers. They send them birthday gifts to please them and to gain their loyalty.
Researching about the age bracket of your most probable clients is essential. Finding out the blogs they read, the restaurants they go to, the way they relax and when they do it, what movies they watch, the kind of music they listen to, and their other preferences will give you an edge over other freelance writers trying to grab projects you desire for yourself.
4. Slick Marketing Skills — Like it or not, you have to market yourself if you want to be a freelance writer. I know most writers just want to write. They want to avoid marketing if they have a choice. I’ll tell you the bad news-you have to learn how to do marketing or else you will close shop in a jiffy.
Freelance writing is business and no business can survive without marketing. I learned the basics of marketing when I started my food cart business. Bartering was one of my strategies.You can also barter for your marketing needs online. Partner with a marketing genius. Write content or articles for him in exchange for his services. That way you can focus more on writing and have better quality rather than publish poorly written posts because you are bothered by your marketing concerns.
5. Money Savvy — Any business person will tell you that one of the most valuable lessons they have learned in running a business is knowing when to spend and when to save. It’s do or die, you have to know how to handle cash properly since you do not know when the big deals are coming or not. This has been said over and over, but you have to keep the cash as long as you can, because you never know when a long dry spell will hit.
It’s a business you are handling not a job. The later will supply you with income every payday. A freelance writing business will not. It is highly recommended that you learn to master the art of handling cash flow.
There are other qualities you must develop to have better chances in freelance writing success although these five will set you up for a good start. Remember, as a freelance writer, you are the boss of your own business.