• Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

What’s the One Skill that Separates Well-Paid Freelance Writers from Those Who Struggle?

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Jan 10, 2020

Everyone loves the part of the hero’s journey where our protagonist accepts the “call to adventure” and “crosses the threshold” from “the ordinary world” into “the extraordinary world.”

It’s engaging. It’s hopeful. It pushes the plot forward.

But we can’t forget about the challenges and struggles that come next.

For new freelance writers:

You may have started off with a couple of great clients, but now you have to turn your passion into a sustainable writing business.

So, what’s the skill that enables a terrific content marketer and copywriter to offer premium services?

Time management

Before you click away, disappointed that I brought up something as practical and boring as time management, hear me out. My intent is not to poop on your party.

In fact, it’s the exact opposite.

When our freelance-writer heroes accept calls to adventure to cross over into the extraordinary world, they still need to be equipped with the real-world abilities that make their service businesses possible.

And part of that transformation involves balancing client work with their own marketing and marketing education.

Time management is the core of your strong business and content strategy, because how you spend your time directly affects the:

  • Health of your business
  • Types of clients you attract
  • Value you have to offer those clients

You don’t get anointed a freelance writer and then get to sit back and eat bonbons while clients who pay competitive rates flock to you.

The challenges and struggles of the hero’s journey exist for a reason: They help you and your business grow.

Use these five tips to navigate those obstacles in the extraordinary freelance writing world on your way to becoming a well-paid content writer.

1. Treat your business like … a business

Successful freelance writers establish the healthy boundaries all businesses (and especially service businesses) need.

Working extremely long hours every day of the week might seem exciting at first, but it always leads to burnout.

And when you’re burned out, you only have scraps of energy to offer new clients who might want to work with you at that time. You may even be so absent-minded that you forget to invoice your existing clients on time, which can be a strain on your cash flow.

To avoid those unfortunate scenarios, schedule your work and leisure hours. Creative people know the uncanny benefits of spending time away from work.

2. Market to the right prospects

A part of your work time needs to be dedicated to marketing your own business.

One of the reasons why freelancers often experience the “feast or famine” cycle is because they overbook themselves with client work and don’t have time to market themselves.

If you only spend time serving current clients, when you finish those projects you won’t always have new prospects on the horizon.

It might seem scary to turn down extra work because you need to set aside time for your own marketing, but it’s an important step in building a long-term healthy business.

3. Carve out time for learning

Another part of your work time should be dedicated to your own marketing education.

To stand out as a well-qualified content marketer in the sea of freelance writers, you have to offer something special.

Staying on top of both the expertise clients need and smart marketing trends helps you present your services as the only reasonable choice.

By now you’ve probably noticed that I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned time management above.

Freelance writers with strict work schedules and fierce discipline are the ones ahead of the curve.

4. Get to know your topic better every day

This is a branch of your marketing education.

While you might aim to work your way through a premium online course over time, there are other ways you can learn every day.

Create your own free marketing curriculum by narrowing down the top publications in your niche and studying them as if they were paid products.

5. Practice like an artist

Your communication skills enable you to be an intelligent marketer.

When you continually sharpen your writing and editing on your own creative endeavors — such as maintaining your own blog, publishing your own ebooks, or offering your own online training materials — you increase your value as a service provider.

Prospective clients like to see the quality of the projects you independently produce.

Transform into a writer who uses words to sell

Our Certified Content Marketer training program was created to teach writers like you — the ones with strong voices and solid techniques — how to use their words to sell, both for themselves and their clients.

The program is your opportunity to attend our four-week content strategy course, taught by Brian Clark and Sonia Simone, and then submit your own work for Certification.

It’s important to know that not everyone who applies will receive Certification. There are plenty of programs out there that will give you a badge for completing a few multiple-choice quizzes. This isn’t one.

Each application is carefully reviewed by a member of the Copyblogger editorial team.

Writers who can show us great writing combined with a demonstrated understanding of content strategy are added to our list of recommended writers on Copyblogger.com.

We’re saying, in effect, “We believe this writer is well qualified to produce terrific content marketing.”

We’d love to show you how to make a great living as a writer.

Just add your email address to the waitlist below to be the first to hear when we reopen the doors to new students in early 2020.


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