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How to be a Perpetually Successful Freelance Writer

By Darnell Jackson of Your Online Biz

The pen is mightier than the sword so rest assured if you’re feeling blue, as long as you love to write your future is very bright.

Most people end up banging their heads up against the wall because they fail to focus on HOW they will accomplish their goals.

It’s called strategy.

Take the Mars rover landing for example.

Billions of people are aware of what happened.

A robotic drone left earth on a rocket and landed on the planet next door.

The question is how many people on earth know HOW it was done?

WHAT to do and HOW to do it is like the difference between having an address and a map.

It’s not about where you need to go it’s ALL about how you’re going to get there.

Here are your directions:

1. Accept the fact that YOU will be perpetually successful at freelance writing.

This is like believing that if you set out to walk across the United States then you will make it to the other side.

Obviously, you know it’s POSSIBLE to walk thousands of miles across the US, 73 people have done it.

The only thing you have to do is DECIDE IF you want to take that journey OR not.

It’s not about if it’s doable or not it’s ALL about will YOU do it?

You have to clean out the cobwebs in your head that keep telling you that nothing will work out for you and all you’ll ever do is fail.

This is nonsense.

In order for you to be successful “things” absolutely must work for you.

WHY?

Because you will make them work for you with your relentless dedication and commitment.

If it’s important you’ll find a way. If not you’ll find an excuse.

-Someone smart

2. Prepare yourself and get your ship together, the seas are rough.

It will take you a few weeks to get all the prep work complete but whatever you do–don’t let it take longer than a month, keep it simple.

It’s not about getting perfect it’s about getting started.

If you’re a perfectionist, now is a good time to show some restraint.

Register a domain and set up a blog about your freelance writing service, fill it up with useful content, and set up your social media profiles to compliment your blog.

Keep your avatar image consistent on all platforms.

Use your blog like an electronic dynamic business card resume.

Your very first articles are your writing samples that will help you get published and build your portfolio.

This is why it’s so important to have your own domain name, it makes you look more professional and it separates you from the penny a word freelance writers on odesk.

Do:

  • Register your own domain name.  You get personalized email and your own platform to communicate your ideas.
  • Use WordPress and a free responsive theme.  Responsive themes will make your site look great on any device, phone, tablet, MAC, or PC.

Don’t:

  • Make it more complicated than it is.  Planning paralysis is real.  This is when you plan so much that you’re paralyzed by it.  Avoid this trap and focus on important accomplishments remember one step at a time.
  • Spend a bunch of money or worry about things that you can’t control. Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a custom designed site at this point and don’t worry about how much traffic you’re getting or social shares and comments, it’s not important right now.

Note from Bamidele: If you want to start a blog, check out How to Start a Blog: The Basic Step-by-Step Guide

3. Research freelancer opportunities.

Carol Tice and Bamidele Onibalusi have published two of the most popular lists out there with active opportunities that pay guest writers a decent rate per post.

Browse through these lists and create a spreadsheet of the sites that you like the most as a writer.

Now search the internet for new freelancer opportunities to add to your spreadsheet.

Do:

  • Search Google for “guest writer paid”, “guest blogger wanted $50”, “online magazines that pay for articles”, etc.
  • Browse through any paid freelancer eBooks or list posts that you find for new opportunities.
  • Find your own clients.
    • Apps Store.
      One thing that ALL Android and ITunes apps need is promotion.  Pitch your service to help bring attention to NEW apps with your writing.
    • The Top Ten Technique.

Search Google for “Top ten your-keyword blogs” and other variants. Contact these sites about their guest writer payment policy. If they pay add them to your list.

Don’t:

  • Be a digital sharecropper.  You might as well work at McDonald’s while you’re waiting on your freelance career to take off. Please don’t sell yourself for pennies when you can earn $7 dollars an hour flipping burgers, do you want fries with that? 

4. Write articles like a boss for pay every day.

Start with the first blog on your spreadsheet and complete the process below.

Visit the site and spend 30-45 minutes researching the following:

  • What articles have the most comments?
  • What articles have the most social shares?
  • What voice and tone is being used, conversational or formal academic?

If you feel confident that you can add something of considerable value to the site, preferably double what you expect to earn then you should write up a 1000+ word featured article and send it to the editor.

You want your post to be at least twice as good as the most popular article on the site. If their post received 25 social shares you want 50.

Do:

  • Your absolute very best job to impress.
    Compare and contrast accomplishments of yourself or others, present case studies, conduct interviews, create step by step guides, etc.
  • Answer important questions and solve difficult problems.
    Regardless of the topic your articles should always serve this purpose.

Don’t:

  • Mail it in.  Good enough is NOT good enough.  Remember your reputation is on the line.  Don’t send in articles that you don’t feel extremely proud of.
  • Write for the editor. This is like writing for Google’s search engine algorithm instead of the people doing the searching.  Write for the readers.

5. Follow up, review, and analyze results.

Check your email.

You could receive questions from a potential writing gig and if you don’t respond you could make the wrong impression and lose an opportunity.

Keep an open mind for any feedback that you receive. Good or bad it can only help you.

If you get negative feedback that you don’t feel you deserve don’t worry the best revenge is success.  Don’t get mad, get successful.

Update your spreadsheet with useful information.

Create a column for the website you submitted to, the date you wrote the article, and how much you were paid.

As time passes you’ll notice it takes you less time to create better and better content.

6. Recycle unpaid posts into promo guest posts.

Once you reach the bottom of your list review your spreadsheet for the posts that you didn’t get paid to write.

Submit these posts as promotional guest posts to popular blogs.

This is the absolute best way to network with influential bloggers.

The immediate side effects are referral traffic for your website and more social media followers.

Do:

  • Search Google for “write for us”, “guest post guidelines”, “best places to guest post”, etc.
  • Promote yourself.  Make sure you include links to your blog in the bio of your guest post.
  • Promote your friends.  The best way to get a referral is to give one.  Link to the people you admire in the body of your promo guest posts.  Then, as they say what goes around comes around.

Don’t:

  • Whine about why you didn’t get approved err paid to the editors.
    It doesn’t matter anyway, you’re not going to talk them into changing their mind but you will come off looking like a desperate whiner.  Nobody wants to work with a whiner especially not a desperate one.

7. Find more success by sharing your success.

Update your portfolio with links to the articles that you were paid to write.

Include feedback that you received from the comments on your articles.

Share an interesting story with your audience about what happened and what you learned.

This content will build credibility with your readers and potential clients.

Now you aren’t talking about what you think but what you know, like an expert.

At this point if you wrote 100 articles and you were paid $50 for half of them congrats you just earned $2500.

Also you have 50 guest posts to publish that will make a huge impression especially if they are all published in the same month.  It will seem as though you are “everywhere” to the independent observer.

8. Go to step #3.

What’s up! I’m Darnell Jackson the founder of Your Online Biz.

I believe we come from absolute greatness and accomplishing the extraordinary is the least that we should expect from ourselves.

You can follow me @FreedomMMC on Twitter, SoundCloud, and YouTube.

Category: freelance writing

9 Comments on "How to be a Perpetually Successful Freelance Writer"

  1. Roman Likhtin says:

    Thank you Darnell! Good article and a lot of useful tips!

  2. WOLE Ososami says:

    Thanks Darnell. I usefull tips to apply as a newbie blogger.

  3. Rohan Mod says:

    hi i like this blog. Can you please tell me or metion How can i use more appropriate words while writing a post.

    • #1 Use a conversational tone.

      #2 Seek to answer questions and resolve problems.

      #3 If you want a referral, Refer others.

  4. Omkar says:

    Awesome article, This made me to subscribe to “Writers in Charge” immediately.

    I am surely going to implement these steps in my writing. thanks for this..

    • Ha haaaaaaaaaaa! I’m sure you won’t regret it thanks for that Omkar appreciate the feedback!

  5. Daryl says:

    Great post Darnell!

    I think a lot of people need to pay attention to #1 – As long as you have the requisite skills (namely a good grasp of the language you’re righting in) then you have everything you need to be successful, no ifs buts or maybes!

    I definitely agree that you shouldn’t write for pennies – you could do a lot more with an hour of your time than write articles for $5, which is something most new freelancers don’t realise. High paying markets are out there, and one of the worst thing you can do is to ignore that fact and chase the cheap but time consuming low paid jobs.

    • What’s up Daryl,

      Thanks for the heads up man I didn’t realize this post was published yet I’ve been offline a few days, appreciate the feedback.

  6. Tim says:

    Nice article! I especially liked your tip on writing articles to help iPhone app developers promote their apps, as this falls right in with the theme of my own site and niche! Thanks!

Onibalusi

Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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