Today’s guest post is from Tom Ewer, a very successful freelance blogger.
Tom just launched what I think is the ultimate guide to being a successful freelance blogger, and a guide I think you should check out!
Are you a writer? Let me tell you something — you’re better than you think you are.
I cannot of course guarantee the above statement, but I know that in saying it, I am speaking the truth to the vast majority of writers reading this post.
How do I know that? Because over the past year or so I have spoken to a huge number of aspiring freelance writers, and almost every single one gives themselves less credit than they are due — both in terms of their writing ability and earning potential (which are of course intrinsically linked).
The fact is this — your lack of confidence severely hamstrings your ability to convert your freelance writing side pay into a full-time income stream. In this post I want to show you why, and offer a remedy.
Why a Lack of Confidence Doesn’t Pay
When it comes to freelance writing, I believe that you can draw a clear connection between confidence and earnings. If you believe that you are good, your earnings are likely to reflect your belief. I am not saying that sheer belief can somehow galvanize your writing ability onto new echelons of brilliance, but I am saying that confidence can spur you onto becoming a better writer.
Perhaps more importantly, your confidence has a huge impact on how other people perceive your ability. If you believe in yourself and act appropriately, people will value you far more highly. If on the other hand you are for instance frightened of submitting a post to your editor, they will devalue your words before they even read them.
I have spoken to (and edited) enough able freelance writers to understand this effect intimately. I sit there thinking, “Why is this person being so hard on themselves? They clearly have talent.” And yet I am frustrated, because their lack of talent can only be detrimental to both their writing and the editorial process.
Why You’re Better Than You Think
When I submitted my first pitches in search of a freelance writing job, I had absolutely zero belief that I could make a living from freelance writing. It just didn’t make sense to me — my writing ability has been with me for my entire adult life (and much of my childhood) — how can it possibly be a monetizable asset?
I’m sure many people can relate to this attitude — I believe it is common amongst aspiring freelance writers. Essentially, because just about everyone can write (at least to an extent), you inherently feel that it must not be worth much.
But the fact is that if you actually want to be a freelance writer, you probably have more ability than most. After all, you didn’t just decide to choose freelance writing on a whim, did you? You realize that you have talent. You may not have much confidence in that talent, but it’s there.
Not only that, but as a student of writing, you are extremely receptive to developing your talent. I have no formal writing or journalistic qualifications and I had barely even read a blog 18 months ago (let alone written for one), yet I now make a full time living from blogging. All it took was an adaption of my existing skills into the appropriate format (i.e. blogging).
My point is this — everything you need to know to become a successful freelance writer can be learned, and you are probably an eager student (even if you don’t yet know it).
And the Rewards?
So let’s say you approach your freelance writing efforts with a renewed confidence and willingness to improve your craft — what can you expect?
In short, relief. There are so many editors out there looking for good talent. Don’t believe the bullshit about the saturation of the writing market — people are in desperate need of quality writers.
I once quizzed a client of mine regarding the availability of freelance writers, and his response was extremely revealing:
Once you’ve set up at least a dozen trialists, the only way to really find out if people are up to the job is to pay them, as well as possible, to work with you for some time, and see how that goes.
Needless to say, unless they are some sort of freak (and/or you are paying them $100+ hr…and even then) you are going to have to do a fair bit of editorial, encouragement and advising, sort out a bunch of contributor based approaches and then deal with it when they completely ignore you or start taking backhanders on the side.
And that’s just the start. If they work out amazingly and achieve great things, it’s almost inevitable that eventually they’ll end up costing you more or leaving for greener pastures, or most likely both. If they don’t work out amazingly then you have a bunch of average writers that you are constantly struggling to improve, eating into all the time that you should be doing other things (and this is assuming you’re a decent editor, I was employed as one by a major newspaper for a year, I’m still not any good!).
But, at the end of the day, it’s just something you have to do.
Just reading it, let alone going through the process, gives me a headache. Now imagine you, as a good writer — a willing, eager and organized writer — walking into that situation. You’re a godsend.
So What Are You Waiting For?
I won’t be the first person to say it, but confidence breeds success. It also happens to be something that many freelancer writers are missing. It could in fact just be that one missing ingredient you need to kickstart your freelancing career.
So remember — you’re better than you think, and you want it enough to make it work. Now get out there and make it happen, and do it with confidence!
Tom Ewer is a freelance writer and internet marketer. He quit his job in 2011 and has been helping people to do the same via his blog, Leaving Work Behind. He is the author of Successful Freelance Writing Online: How to Generate a Full Time Income by Writing For Blogs.