The choice of your niche and area of specialization play a significant role in your success as a freelance writer.
Besides most freelance writers’ failure to identify their appropriate niche, they face a bandwagon of other challenges.
You may not be an exception.
The good news, these challenges are normal: and thanks to an incredible package of hints from the very best to get you up on your feet and keep going.
Make no mistake…Nothing can stop you from being a rock-star once you establish a good freelance writing strategy and excellent writing skills.
Basically, these are real challenges and hints based on my personal experiences as a non-native freelance writer, a situation that makes it even more hard to break into the freelance writing career.
So as is a double edged-sword, freelance is home to both ups and downs; the fight to overcome challenges and the joy of raking in real cash for your efforts.
Fun, isn’t it?
We may encounter defeats, but we must not be defeated. – Maya Angelou
Challenges may keep changing as you gain experience and so in this article, we examine the challenges according to the three stages of freelance writing; start-up, intermediate and the experienced stages.
The Start-up Stage
You first hear about freelance from a friend, the internet or in class and you want to try out. At first, I was eager and desperate to work as hard as possible so as to offload my high accumulated bills and debts with my first six months.
It wasn’t until I endured a grueling three years of hopping from one content mill to another before finally setting up myself to attract direct, high rate clients.
Challenges you’re likely to face;
Finding Well-Paying Clients
Unlike experienced freelance writers, the search for customers can be a daunting task for young online entrepreneurs.
From tight competition to lack of writing and marketing skills, there are many reasons this lucrative career is elusive.
For you to catch the attention of prospective clients; you need to provide your prospective customers with proposals that are above board, have a vibrant engagement with potential clients and experts in your field, and continually work towards your personal development as a freelance writer.
How can you attract high rates as a freelance writer?
- Choose an area of specialization that is unique;
- The secret with successful online writers is selecting a unique niche. If you must specialize in a congested niche a like web design or freelance writing, make sure you provide phenomenal results.
- Put in more time, effort and creativity to attract clients who are willing to pay you good rates.
- Search for people who are interested in your area of specialization; the internet offers a huge opportunity for prospects who would want to partner with you on a reciprocal basis.
- Create a list of all the details including the names, email and web address, phone numbers of prospective clients. The more the numbers in your list, the high chances of being hired.
- Strategically reach out to your potential clients on your list, and let them know how best you can help them out with your services.
- Show your clients how; your skills and experience has helped other organizations perform better, the kind of results each article you write will deliver and the steps you will take to achieve these results.
- To raise your persuasion power, offer something incredible like a discount or free trial for your services; it may just be the right hook.
- Double your rate in your initial offer. Once your prospects subscribe to your services, chances are they already trust you can provide value to their business. Increasing your rates can do more good than harm. Similarly, setting your rates high portrays you as an expert in your field, increasing your chances of getting a decent income for your sweat.
Lack of Confidence
Fear is the leading cause of procrastination in new freelance writers.
You may be anxious to provide the perfect projects to your clients that fail to deliver the expected results or your project on time eats into you and plagues your performance.
Fear cuts across the best part of your freelance writing journey, right from startup to intermediate stages.
To succeed, you must believe in your ability to deliver. Cultivate the confidence to pick on a particular task and deliver it satisfactorily, and of course, you’ll break the deadlock.
Self-confidence involves being assured about the quality of your skills and being assertive in your communications with your clients.
However, if you can’t find your right footing
Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything very good. – William Faulkner
- Convince yourself that there are better opportunities for you in the writing business.
- Avoid offers that don’t meet your expectations.
- Apply for writing gigs in big companies
- Pitch for guest posting opportunities in established companies.
With the fast internet and the increase in the rate of online workers, competition is at its highest; the harsh economic conditions continue to drive many writers to work for peanuts.
However, much is not lost.
As much as competition seems like a career killer, actually it’s not. Successful freelance writers have worked their way through it by growing their skills to fit in the game and better still, earn enough money.
Impressive yet unique results for your clients will propel you to your dream pay.
- Increase the value with well researched, high-quality and timely projects.
- Embrace competition, it provides you the opportunity to work better and increase your worth.
- Raise your rates as you grow.
The upsurge of online workers has led to a lot of writers offering cheap services in exchange for good reviews and ratings.
You may have been in this shit at one time, or it’s still with you. If you’re, STOP.
Strive to establish yourself as a top-notch writer.
- Write more breathtaking samples for your portfolio.
- Strategically, approach established online publications for guest posting opportunities.
- Pitch for writing gigs in the leading publications.
Different Time Zones.
Freelance writers often work and deliver on their clients’ projects remotely; provided they speak the same language with clients.
However, the problem of different time zones complicates the smooth flow of communication to non-native freelance writers.
I’d to adjust my schedule from daytime tonight to be in constant touch with my clients in the United States, Canada or Australia.
- Set your communication schedule with your client in advance and stick to it.
- Adjust your working schedule to fit with your customers’.
As a new freelancer, you may be confused as to how much to charge for your services.
I know of cases where clients can take advantage of your confusion and pay you peanuts for a lot of work.
- Research on what other online writers in your niche charge
- Ask for the price which you think you deserve.
The fear of delivering projects that might not meet the expectations of clients is synonymous in most start-ups.
As much as your clients expect the best from you, you don’t have to spend the rest of your life working on a single 500-word article; or worse still, throw away any project for fear of under-performing.
- Appreciate your job as it is and keep working on it after you have published.
- Deliver your project, make a follow-up to determine whether your client needs more rectifications.
The Mind Set
Most writers enter into the freelance writing career with the hope of making a good fortune, which is a good anticipation and if you are lucky, you might be smiling your way to the bank within the first few months of your career.
However, getting well-paying clients remains a tedious and challenging task for new freelancers.
- Go for small projects and focus on increasing your value as you grow.
- Avoid providing free samples to secure jobs.
Managing your money requires that you spend less than you earn. However, this is not as easy as it seems.
Ordinarily, your expenses override your income, and you may not save or invest.
- Hike your rates to attract a better income.
- Cut down on your expenses only focusing on your basic needs.
The Intermediate Stage.
In the midway stage of your freelance writing profession, things take a different turn.
With some little experience and a number of projects streaming in, you find yourself busy.
Some of the awful experiences you are likely to encounter at this stage include;
Boring and Tedious Work
Working on a project outside your specialty or taking on the same kind of project on and on may negatively affect your emotions.
Do you find yourself slowing down because of lack of interest?
- Treat each project with the seriousness it deserves.
- Try out on different types of projects without changing your specialty.
Handling Overbearing Clients
As a freelance writer, it’s your duty to commence and maintain a mutual communication with your clients.
However, this may be a challenge.
If your clients aren’t bothering you to work for peanuts, issues of delayed payments, tight and strict deadlines and other unreasonable demands may crop up.
Some clients can also demean your efforts. If you aren’t careful, you may become miserable and unproductive.
Before you embark on a project and expect good rewards for your efforts, play smart.
- Agree on the rate and mode of payment beforehand.
- Be assertive in your bargaining.
- Double your rates in case of nagging clients.
No Price Hikes
Increasing your rates as you garner new clients will definitely escalate your value. Nevertheless, most clients are adamant to increase their rates.
Take care. Find out if you are doing the donkey work for pennies.
- Notify your clients about your plan to increase rates in advance.
- However, if you face resistance, don’t hesitate to fire them. You will find a good deal.
Poor Negotiation Skills
Lack of set rules to determine rates for freelance writing services means you have to negotiate and agree your client.
Unfortunately, most freelance writers fall prey to their client’s demands, for fear of losing them. Worse still, other writers are ready to offer the same services at a lower price.
Doing nothing to increase your value will result in too much work but no money.
- Look for well-paying clients.
- Cultivate good bargaining skills.
- Focus on increasing your value as you grow.
Lack of Synchronization
The need to increase your income may drive you to go for diverse writing opportunities.
In the end, you end up with a backlog of unfinished projects leading to confusion and disorganization.
What is the outcome? Late submissions, shoddy work, and disgruntled clients.
- Plan your work to fit in your timeline.
You Have to Be Flexible
As a freelance writer, you work for different clients with specific and diverse needs.
Probably, they need to increase online sales, jumpstart their online presence or simply have an excellent e-book design.
Be flexible. Strive to meet all the clients’ needs and remain relevant; or else you may end up losing them.
- Before you start on any project, ensure you fully understand your client’s needs.
- Learn how to deliver better results to your client’s specific needs.
- Confirm at the end of your project whether their needs have been fully met.
Establishing Your Online Presence
Your goal as a freelance writer is to establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
Clients trust their projects with established freelancers; and will go a step further to research on your online profile before making their final hiring decision.
However, establishing a vibrant online presence remains a challenge.
- Set up your profile on the main social media platforms.
- Actively get your ideas to other people who are in the same niche
- Network with other established freelance writers to learn more from them.
A Lot of Writing
The desire to make more money may force you to work for long hours.
Watch out. Lack of rest is one of the reasons most writers underperform. Taking enough rest ensures you’re fresh, energized and ready to face new challenges.
With a focused mind, you’ll achieve better results.
- Create and stick to your working plan.
- Pick on the projects you can comfortably deliver.
Working in a disruptive environment interferes with the smooth running of your job.
If you are working from home, which I bet you are; chances are that you are going to face intrusion here and then.
- Avoid working from a noisy environment.
- Find a quiet place to work from.
Your way of life has both active and adverse effects on your freelance writing career.
Lack of rest can be a major inhibiting factor to your performance. Sicknesses, hunger, moods can also to a greater extent affect how you write.
In the event, you fail to pick yourself up; take the time to examine yourself.
- Take some time-out from writing.
- Go for a health checkup.
- Work towards personal development.
Failure to achieve your targets, clients’ refusal to approve your work or other family problems may negatively affect your emotions.
This has a direct impact on your performance and productivity.
- Assure yourself you can do it despite the obstacles.
- Work towards your personal development as a freelancer writer.
I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. – Anne Frank
Working in Isolation
Ordinarily, staying free from interference requires you work away from people.
As much as it may increase your concentration and performance, loneliness can to a large extent, do more harm than good; if left unchecked.
You miss out on important matters in the society and worse of all, undergo an emotional breakdown.
- Take a break in between your work and mingle with friends.
- Watch your favorite movie or listen to some good music.
- Work towards personal development.
Use and Expression of Words
The difference in expression of words between the native speakers and the non-native speakers can easily be noticed.
For native speakers, the use of words comes natural, unlike non-native speakers.
Poor use and expression of words may highly affect your writing and value.
- Show your work to experienced people and ask for their input.
- Spend more time reading and writing.
Methods of Payments
Non-native freelancers encounter hitches when it comes to mode of payments.
You may be required to register for online money transfer methods like PayPal for you to be able to receive payments from clients overseas.
- Register for PayPal, Payooner and other forms of digital wallets before bidding for writing jobs.
Experienced Freelance Writers
Expert freelance writers boast of enough projects to deliver to well-paying clients.
Despite going through a tough and rough journey, your problems don’t end there.
Some of the challenges skilled freelance writers undergo include;
Long Working Hours for Individuals
Individual expert writers have a high demand for their services. Your ability to deliver may be overwhelmed.
Similarly, the need to have your projects perfect may obscure the speed at which you research and write.
- Handle every project with the professionalism it deserves.
- Plan your writing schedule and stick to it.
- Find a reliable team to help you with some of your projects.
Meeting the Increasing Quality Demands
The more the projects you write the increase in quality demand.
Dealing with several clients with diverse needs requires you to change your writing style or quality on a regular basis to accommodate the diverse interests.
- Keep a keen eye on the feedbacks from your clients.
- Delegate projects not within your specialty to qualified team members.
Lack of Productivity
Productivity is the ability to deliver your best under any given situation.
This can, however, be hindered by many factors.
- Find opportune time to work on your project
- Excuse yourself from any disturbance that might affect your productivity.
Denying Clients When Overloaded
Saying NO to an old client or even newer clients who are expecting to work with you is tough. But it’s what we call life.
- Be honest but polite.
On several occasions, even experienced writers find themselves staring at a blank screen searching for words in the thin air.
Your frame of mind can’t figure out the right ideas.
Writer’s block can kill your productivity if you don’t deal with it fast.
- Make enough rest between projects. Get adequate sleep.
- Read more books to gain formation.
- Exercise regularly to stay in the right frame of mind
- In case you experience a writer’s block, take some time off writing.
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Don’t watch the clock. Do what it does; keep going. – Sam Levenson