5 Things I Wish I Knew As a Brand New Freelancer

#4 might surprise you.

Photo by Daniel Thomas on Unsplash

New freelancer on the block, eh? Your mind can explode into scattered bits with ideas and information overload. Just google freelance writing or copywriting, and you’ll fall deeper than the hole into which Alice once fell.

Before you waste another minute binge-watching how to get started or how much a freelancer can earn in one year, I’ll get you pre-started with my no-BS steps; you can start as soon as you finish reading this.

1. Create a Separate Email Address

You’ll subscribe to several newsletters initially. Experts throw in a bunch of freebies, aka bait-cheese, to grow their newsletters on their websites. As a newbie, you’ll often feel compelled to subscribe to every other newsletter.

But giving your primary email address everywhere is asking for an inbox flood.

If you’re an experienced 9–5er, you might have previous companies’ offer letters, statements and receipts of your EMIs, investments, and other important conversations in your primary email.

So use a new email address for your new career. Another important tip is to keep a tab on e-mails that make you yawn and often lie un-opened. Make sure to hit unsubscribe to such emails.

It saves both of you time. You’ll also have a better chance to find people that vibe better with you.

2. Editing Makes Perfect

In my very first freelance writing job, the client asked me to write and then edit my content using Grammarly and get a 95+ or have a Hemmingway score of less than 5. My first task was to find out what they were.

So these handy helpers will be your editors when you can’t see your misspellings and bad sentence formations after staring at the text on your screen for hours.

I’d say check out Grammarly, Hemmingyapp (free) and Prowriting Aid. Even the free version is good to start.

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”-Stephen King

3. No Need of a Fancy Website

Use google docs and write up a quick portfolio. A bit about yourself and some links to published or spec samples: you can print as a PDF. And share the link to the pdf on the drive. That’s it.

Earlier I wasted months deciding on the hosting provider, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace…

And a few more days of understanding the platform and plugins. Then obsessed about the colour scheme, then pages. Later I was worried about spammy comments and maintenance.

Gosh! I deleted the website after a year and started blogging on free platforms like Medium and Linkedin. I found a ready audience in the publications I published. Now I often get 2–3 leads per month through these.

4. Chuck Niches

Selling is the same everywhere. We’re all humans and respond to the same triggers. If you’re a pro in pets or technology, you can decide to niche there. But if you’re like me with diverse interests, thinking about niches will limit your ability.

I’ve written on topics ranging from pest control, cybersecurity, smart home devices, parenting, home improvement. And guess what? I enjoy writing. So as long as you enjoy writing, just f*ck niches.

5. Start Networking Right Away

It’s a small world. You’d often be advised to ask your closest friends and family for work. But 9 out of 10 times, they’d advise you to go back to your old job.

Some feel shocked at your courage to quit that secure job and start independently. But you have your reasons. Your muse is calling, your passion, your vision…

I was hesitant to ask inside of my friends and family circle. Building a genuine connection in FB groups, Linkedin groups, or Twitter is what’s worked for me so far. People who are in similar shoes respond better to you.

All you need to start as a freelancer is your undying will and being an action taker. Try these simple steps, and it won’t take long to see clients sliding into your inbox.

Go get’em, tiger!

That’s a wrap. Share this with your community if you found this helpful.

New to freelance writing? Here are 31 Creative Writing Prompts (+ my 7 best writing tips) to build a solid writing habit.

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