Hi WriteWorldwide readers. Today’s interview is with Zoe Wells, a full-time freelance writer from the UK. Read on to discover her tips for freelance writing success!
1) Hi Zoe, please tell us a little about yourself and your website.
Hi! Sure, I’m Zoe and I’m a full-time freelance writer. My site Diary of a Freelancer offers help and advice to new freelance writers, especially those that already have their own blog. You’ll find information on pricing and where to find jobs as well as a free email course that walks you through the steps to become a freelance writer.
2) Did you grow up wanting to be a writer? And how did you break into the industry?
I’ve always loved writing and I’ve had one or two blogs over the years. I started a beauty blog just over 5 years ago and I managed to break into the industry by using my blog articles to build a portfolio. I actually still have the same blog but the content is now aimed at those who want to start blogging or monetise their blog.
3) How long after deciding on this career did you establish yourself as a full-time writer?
A couple of years ago, I was struggling with unemployment and I was eager to do something I was passionate about. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I had a beauty blog which was getting quite a bit of traffic. I’d wanted to start freelancing for a long time but never knew how. I gradually found a few job boards and started applying, using a couple of my blog posts as writing samples. I started getting paid work and within a few months, I was lucky enough to go full time.
4) What’s your opinion on the subject of choosing a writing niche?
I always suggest choosing a few niches when you first start writing, unless you have expertise in a particular subject. The problem with choosing one niche at first is that you’re going to be stuck if you can’t get work in that area or if that niche goes kaput. Choosing 2 or 3 areas allows you to niche down as your experience grows.
5) Winning new clients is always a hot topic on the WriteWorldwide blog. What’s the most effective prospecting method you’ve used to find new work?
I’ve been lucky to find a lot of work via warm leads. However, I’ve also had clients contact me via social media and my website – I’d definitely recommend that every writer creates their own website to showcase their talent and experience. If I’m searching job boards, I only apply to projects relevant to my experience. I also have a pitch template which makes it easier to send a tailored application.
6) What do you wish you’d known at the start of your freelance writing career?
That it’s ok to say no. At the start of my career, I took pretty much any work I could. It’s tempting to say yes to everything when you need work and you have bills to pay, however, it’s perfectly fine to turn down work if the pay is low or the client isn’t the right fit. A large part of being a freelance writer is knowing how to market yourself so you don’t have to accept low paying gigs. Good self-promotion is key.
7) Name one book, one tool, and one article that have helped you in your writing career.
Write to Sell by Andy Maslen is a great book for writing effective copy and it’s been extremely helpful in honing my writing skills. I don’t have a specific article but I love reading Copyblogger as there are some really great tips on there for writers.
8) Keeping motivated can be tough for many freelance writers. How do you keep yourself motivated and productive as a writer?
Creating lists is a godsend for me. I’m studying for a masters degree alongside running my blogs and writing for clients so I need to be organised. Creating micro-goals works well as I can tick these off during the day and I feel more productive. I prefer using traditional notebooks so I can access my lists and notes whenever I need to. I also prioritise my workload so I meet all my deadlines.
9) Who are your biggest influences and people you admire in the freelance writing industry?
I love Carol Tice – her site has some incredible advice and it’s because of her that I realised I could confidently raise my rates. I also love Jorden Roper and Elna Cain as they’re proof that you can be successful if you work hard and put strategies into place.
10) What does the future hold for you – are you involved in any writing projects other than freelancing?
I’m currently planning several free resources for Diary of a Freelancer and I’d love to launch a podcast in the near future. I’d also like to launch an online magazine on mental health as it’s a topic close to my heart.
*Note From The WriteWorldwide team:
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