If you’ve been freelancing for as long as I have, then you know this career path has experienced a lot of changes. If you’re new to freelancing (last five to 10 years), you’re likely not aware of the seismic shifts in the landscape.
Among the many new aspects of freelancing today compared to 10 or more years ago are these three change makers:
- Internet — Of course, it’s changed our lives completely. Just one of the many changes it’s made in freelancing is the telephone. No one answers them anymore. Now you need new ways to make your first crucial introduction with potential prospects.
- Fees — This is another huge area of change—for the worse. Unlike most career paths, fees have not increased for the majority of freelancers. In fact, they have either stayed flat or declined. Consider blog posts. My first freelance writing job many moons ago was writing articles for a company’s magazine for $90 each—that was 30 years ago. Today, companies want to pay $20 to $50 for a blog post. That’s crazy!
- Competition — Simply stated, it’s fierce. When I started freelancing, there were nowhere near as many freelancers as there are now. Today they come not just from the writing profession or from the U.S., but from varied backgrounds and the world.
Because I’ve freelanced my entire career except for my first six months out of college (in a job from hell), I’ve learned a lot about building, growing, and sustaining a freelance career. That’s why, in 2012, I wrote and published: Secrets of Being a Successful Freelance Writer — 101 Real-World Lessons for Launching, Growing, and Sustaining a Profitable Freelance Writing Career.
I spilled all of the secrets of my longevity and financial success at that time. But thanks to so many changes in the industry, my freelance best-practice tips do not contain the new systems I’ve created to find clients and sustain my business.
As it turns out, I like my new systems so much better than my old systems. They are easier, more efficient, and more effective at helping me find and nurture prospects—and land new clients.
So where does that leave my “Secrets” book as a resource for freelancers? I recently asked myself that and re-read it to find out. I’m happy to report that my book still contains a wealth of valuable insight for freelancers. Only a few chapters could be considered slightly outdated.
My Freelancing Secrets Stand the Test of Time
I was relieved to discover that “Secrets” still holds valuable insight that freelancers can use to find great clients who pay fair rates. While all of the tips still provide great information, I picked out a few of my favorites to call you to attention.
Chapter 9 — Where to Look for Freelance Work. Relying on job boards and references alone is not an ideal way to find great projects and live a comfortable freelance lifestyle over the long haul. It’s smarter to be proactive to build long-term relationships with great clients who pay well.
Chapter 15 — Aim for Specificity. This is even more important today, because most companies want writers with hyper-specialized expertise.
Chapter 22 — Get Paid on Time, Every Time. I’ve heard many sad stories from freelancers who didn’t get paid for the work they produced. Having the right payment systems in place will help prevent this from happening.
Chapter 26 — Meet Your Deadlines. There is almost nothing as important as meeting your deadlines. Clients will fire you in a hot minute if you don’t.
Chapter 30 — Freelancing is a Numbers Game. To find the best clients you have to kiss a lot of frogs, so to speak. So, gather up a large pond of prospects and start promoting your freelance services to them.
Chapter 34 — Sustain Your Business with Ongoing Self Promotion. To make your life easier make self-promotion a regular part of your business life.
Chapter 37 — Treat Your Prospect List Like Gold. This is the group of companies or publications from which your future clients will emerge. Be sure you are a professional at all times with everyone.
Chapter 53 — Don’t Work With Clients from Hell. Life’s too short!
Chapter 55 — Beware of Project Scope Creep. This can be easier said than done. But it’s important because it’s common. Projects often grow beyond their initial scope. Be alert so you can alter your fees.
Chapter 68 — Look for 12 Key Characteristics in Rewarding Client Relationships. Not every prospect is an ideal client for you. There are a lot of jerks out there. Watch for the signs of good potential clients.
Chapter 90 — Raise Your Rates. Yes, you can raise your rates. There is a time and place and system for doing it right.
Chapter 98 — Avoid Career Burnout. This can be a huge challenge for any solopreneur. But it’s critical if you want to continuing earning without collapsing from exhaustion.
Secrets of Being a Successful Freelance Writer is free to freelancers who subscribe to my blog. Please share this with your network. My goal is to help as many freelancers as possible find their road to success.
Note: I will be sharing my new updated self-promotional system in my new workshop, which launches on October 1st—called Freelance Like a BOSS! You can sign up now and get a head start on turning your freelance business into a client-attraction magnet. As soon as you sign up, you’ll receive Lesson 1 on how to become a Rock Star Blogger. If your blog doesn’t scream “talented professional writer,” you need a makeover. If you don’t have a blog, you need to launch on STAT.
I can’t wait to share all of my new secrets of freelancing success with you in the Freelance Like a BOSS! Workshop—starting soon!