Quite a few writers begin writing on the internet and after a few months or maybe a year or two they start earning a few hundred dollars a month. All of a sudden they begin thinking about quitting their day job and becoming a full time free lance writer.
While many people do build themselves a freelance career from writing online, there are a few skills you should have before you decide to make the big move. Here are just a few of those skills, and the reason why your need them.
One of the reasons many people find freelancing so appealing is that this is one job that pretty much allows you to work when you want picking and choosing your hours and even how many hours each week you want to work.
It is true that freelancing does offer you more flexibility in your work hours and for that reason is suited to many peoples different needs. However, in order to earn a decent income from freelance writing you are going to have to work and on a pretty steady basis. Which means, you are going to have to be able to organize your time so that your large periods set aside for writing.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have choices, you certainly do. You might want to set aside 3 to 4 hours early in the morning to write and then again late at night. You may choose to work from 10 to 6 or 8 each day, or work different hours on different days. No matter how you organize your writing time you are still going to have some kind of organized writing time.
As well as organizing your time, your organizational skills are going to have to be such that you can get the most out of the time you set aside to write. This means that to be successful you are not going to be able to turn on your computer, write for 10 or 15 minutes and then wander off to see what is happening with the ball game in the other room or stop and call a friend to have that nice long chat like you have been promising. Your work time is going to have to be for just that purpose work.
You are going to have to also be able to organize your work space in order to be as efficient as possible. In order to turn out enough quality work to make a decent income you are going to need all your pens, papers, and other materials readily at hand.
The Ability to Produce High Quality Content Quickly
Another skill that is essential to the freelance writer is to be able to put out quality content quickly and on a regular basis. Your writing so far may have been one or two articles a day or even as many as 5 or 6. In most cases there has been no pressure for you to write faster than you wanted too and you have had a lot of time to proof read and proof read again.
For most freelance writers, those kind of writing assignments are a luxury. Most clients want content and they want it fast. In many cases, you will be asked to research and write an article in a 24 hour or period or less depending on the size of article the client wants. It is therefore, important that you develop the skills necessary to produce quality content rapidly time after time after time.
No writer is going to know about every subject they may be asked to write about. Often freelance writers spend more time researching topics than they do actually writing. For that reason it is imperative that you at least have basic research skills so that you can research as well as a write an article in a timely manner.
Follow Directions Explicitly
While we freelancers like to consider ourselves as self employed, the reality is that we have exchanged one employer for many. Our clients are paying us to write an article or blog based on certain specifications, theirs. In order to earn money we need to be able to follow those specifications down to the letter. A happy client will give you more business, but an unhappy is not likely to give you a second chance.
Freelancing is all about meeting deadlines. When we promise a client we can do a job withing 48 hours we need to have it done within that time period. While emergencies crop up in everyone’s life that will sometimes make meeting a deadline impossible getting a reputation for not meeting deadlines will result in little or no work coming your way.
On the rare occasion that you find it impossible to meet a clients deadlines, contact the client explain the problem and give him the option of taking his business elsewhere. Most clients are human and if you have a legitimate reason for missing an occasional deadline they will often grant an extension if possible. Just make sure that your reasons are based on a true emergency and that you contact the client in advance in case he can’t wait until your situation rights itself. Never leave a client waiting for an assignment that is past due.
Ability to Write about Topics You have Little or no Interest in
As silly as it may seem, a good freelancer has to acquire the ability to write on many topics they have little or no interest in. While we do have the option of picking and choosing what assignments we bid on or accept, the need to have a steady income will force you to write on topics you are less than thrilled about.
When that happens make sure you write those articles with the same enthusiasm as you do the topics you really enjoy. If you are lacking enthusiasm in your topic it will show and your work will be less than at it’s best.
While there are many other traits and skills that makes the difference between becoming a successful and unsuccessful freelance writer, the skills covered here will at least give you some idea of what skills are necessary to begin a freelance writing career.
I would also like to leave you with one other piece of advice, If you are planning on quitting your day job to go into freelance writing full time, it helps if you have at least one steady source of writing income when you are first starting out. Being able to pay your bills helps eliminate some of the stress that changing careers is going to entail and gets you off to a good start on your new career.