Everybody thinks they want the life of a freelance writer – you can be your own boss, set your own hours, and work whenever and however you want. Sounds great, right?
So if that’s the case, why aren’t more people doing it? Well actually..they are. Freelance writers are getting a bit like Star Wars films – the more there are, the harder it becomes to replicate the success of the earlier ones.
That means if you’re going to set yourself up and make your mark, you need to ask yourself some basic questions to be sure it’s the right choice for you. Answering the seven I’ve put together below will help you figure out if you’ve got what it takes.
Let’s dive in.
1) Are you able to fully commit to your success as a freelance writer?
Being a freelance writer requires commitment. Whether you’re just starting out or want to accelerate your career and build on your success, you’ll need to make sure it’s a realistic and viable option for you.
Here’s a couple of important things to consider if you’re contemplating life as a successful freelance writer:
Financial security – with the right drive and strategy, there’s no reason you can’t start making good money fairly quickly.
But it’s important to look at your finances before you commit, and make sure you have enough cash to sustain you while you build your career, in case it takes you a little longer to build momentum. If you’re going into freelance writing thinking it’ll be a guaranteed get rich quick scheme: it’s not.
Your existing schedule – Can you fit your career goals into your schedule as it is now, and if not can you comfortably change the pace and structure of your days to make your freelance writing career a priority?
Examine these factors, along with your motivation – be clear with yourself as to why you want to do this – and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how fully you’re able to commit to your future success.
2) Do you have the right mindset?
Once you’re committed, it’s time to work on your mindset.
We’ve written before about limiting beliefs you need to overcome to establish yourself. The saying ‘whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right’ could have been written especially for freelance writers, so take some time to make sure you’re not holding yourself back with negative self-talk or thinking small.
Reframe the narrative of your work life so that you’re in control, and stop seeing yourself as an employee. Instead, establish a vision for your successful writing career where you know the value you can bring to others, pursue projects and clients that reflect your worth, and get paid good money on your own terms.
3) Are you ready to face rejection?
The road to success as a freelance writer is paved with rejections – you’re going to get rejected a lot at the start of your career. Building your client base takes a ton of hard work and is a numbers game, and the vast majority of your pitches will be rejected or simply ignored.
You need to be determined to push past the disappointment and frustration, and doggedly pursue your goals and vision using systematic processes.
If you can train yourself to do this without getting caught up in the emotional experience that goes hand in hand with the reality of establishing yourself as a successful freelance writer, you’ll be surprised how quickly you move forward.
4) Are you prepared to learn skills other than writing?
These days, writing is a small part of the skill set you need to make it as a freelance writer. There’s other things involved that are equally important – maybe even more important – to your success.
While writing is the central service you offer clients, you’ll also have to develop a deep understanding of marketing, time management, how to strategise and offer new ideas, and how to build and nurture business relationships.
If that all sounds daunting – it is! But it’s also seriously rewarding, and learning those things (alongside improving your writing craft) will dramatically increase your chances of success.
5) Can you handle the competition?
The freelance writing space is exceptionally crowded, and that trend is only going to continue. As the way people work changes and more of us take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the internet, online entrepreneurs and freelancers will soon become the rule not the exception.
What this means for you is: a lot of competition. That’s overwhelming, but it’s a reality you’ll need to deal with if you’re determined to succeed. And if you’re prepared for it from the start, there’s ways you can use it to your advantage.
6) Are you willing to do things differently?
To achieve lasting success as a freelance writer, you’ll have to think and act differently from everyone else in your field. Be ready and willing to really think outside the box, take risks, and position yourself as more than just a writer for hire.
WriteWorldwide itself is an example of this philosophy – four beginner writers who teamed up to build a new community while working on their own careers at the same time.
It’s involved a lot of work and determination, but we’ve all learnt much more in a short space of time then we would’ve otherwise, and are now poised to move forward from an accelerated position of strength.
7) Are you ready to take action, put in the work, and do what it takes to achieve your goals?
This final question is undoubtedly the most important one. To be a successful freelance writer requires methodical and consistent action above all else.
If you make a habit of that, you’ll see results. I know I’m ready to show up and make this an extraordinary year – are you?
If the answer is yes, get out there and make it happen!
I hope you’ve found these 7 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Want to Be a Successful Freelance Writer useful and thought-provoking. Share your upcoming career goals with me in the comments below.