This is a guest article by Indiana Lee. If you want to submit a guest article of your own, be sure to read the guest article guidelines.
Many people who start freelancing do so as a side-hustle or part-time gig to make extra money. However, the gig economy has grown in popularity over the last few years. Combine that with the influx of people working from home throughout the pandemic, and more people are starting to dive into freelancing full-time.
It can be a bit scary if you’re going from a “traditional” full-time job to being your own boss. However, the benefits of flexibility and self-management often outweigh the risks.
Still, if you’re not sure how to make the transition from side gig to full-time freelance writer, we’ve got you covered. With a few simple tips, you can feel more confident about your decision, and more secure in your work.
You might only be one person, but it’s important to view yourself as a business if you want to be a successful freelancer. Think about what a successful brand needs to get started, and craft a business plan for yourself. It should include things like:
- An executive summary
- Market research
- Financial planning
If you’ve already been freelancing on the side, you probably have an idea of how things work and what you’ll need to establish yourself as a full-time writer. One of the biggest challenges you might face, however, is funding.
Writing as a side gig doesn’t require the same amount of time, effort, or resources that full-time freelancing does. You’ll need to invest in your success, which might require purchasing a desk, a better computer, and upgraded office supplies. You might even need to boost your Wi-Fi to make sure you can keep up with demands.
Thankfully, the expenses for starting a freelance business don’t have to come solely out of pocket. If you need funding to build your business and increase your opportunities, consider looking for grants or even crowdfunding to cover your startup costs. The more you invest in yourself as you get started, the easier it will be to market your services as a viable business, which will help you stand out from your competitors.
Become a master marketer
Speaking of marketing your services, advertising your brand should be a bigger priority than you might initially think.
Consider some of the most successful businesses in the world – most of them are known for their marketing efforts. Even small local businesses understand the importance of marketing to help them stand out and reach the right audiences.
If you’re truly going to treat your services as a business, you have to develop some marketing techniques of your own.
One of the first things you should do is create a brand image for yourself. A logo will help you stand out and make you easily recognizable when clients are looking for writing services. Your logo should be all over your social media platforms, website, and even business cards you can hand out to people in person. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference in your visibility.
Once you’ve established your brand identity, market yourself by utilizing social media, pitching your work to potential clients, and asking for referrals from people you’ve already worked for.
Networking is also important as a freelancer. You might not need to attend networking events in person. However, joining freelancing groups or forums online can connect you to the right people and help you to grow your audience.
Join networking sites like LinkedIn, and don’t be afraid to connect with other freelance writers – even if they’re your competition. You might end up learning something from someone else that can help you. Or, you might learn from someone else’s mistakes so you don’t make the same ones. While the gig economy is a little saturated, there’s always room for more as the demand for remote writers increases.
Build client relationships
One of the biggest hurdles you’ll have to overcome as a freelancer is not just attracting clients, but retaining them. As more writers come into the gig economy, you’ll have to stay competitive. It’s much easier to develop rapport with a client and keep working for them, rather than having to consistently seek out new opportunities.
So, how can you build better client relationships?
Start by getting to know who you’re working for. You might never meet each other face-to-face, but you can utilize technology to set up virtual meetings with your clients. This extra step will give you the opportunity to connect and let them know you care about their content and their needs. It will also “humanize” your business, which is important for brands big and small. Clients are more likely to stick with you when you have a strong relationship with them.
If you do decide to take part in virtual meetings, make sure you showcase yourself in the best light possible. Consider your background when you’re talking to clients. Make sure it looks professional (and showcases some of your successes!), uses the right lighting, framing, and doesn’t appear too cluttered.
You’ll also have an easier time retaining clients if you offer superior customer service. The “little things” are often what will help you stand out. Your customer service efforts should include things like:
- Consistent communication throughout projects
- Exceeding expectations
- Asking for feedback
- Being responsive
- Providing additional services to loyal clients
Going above and beyond for your clients will do more than help you retain them. It will also increase your chances of getting some free “word of mouth” advertising – something everyone in the marketing business knows is worth its weight in gold.
If a client is happy with the work you do and the service you provide, they’re more likely to refer you to other businesses. Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the best ways to build up your client base and keeps you from having to constantly search for more work on your own.
Whether you’ve been freelance writing on the side or you’ve never been involved in the gig economy before, now is a perfect time to become a full-time freelance writer and establish your own business. Put these tips into practice to get started, stand out from your competition, and attract and retain clients that will help you find success.
About the author: Indiana Lee lives in the Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.