Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to Work from Home as a Freelance Writer Successfully

The issue with the term “work from home” is that most people hear this and take it too literally. They become lazy, irresponsible and just assume that they are going to make it big or become wealthy overnight – all of which are wrong. So how come so many people work from home as a freelance writer and make a successful living, but you can’t? Consider some of the following:

The Work from Home “Dream”
Those that want to work from home as a freelance writer often do so not because they love to write, but because they want to make money and work for themselves – this is issue number one. The other “dream” misconceptions of working from home as a freelance writer:

·         I can make my own hours
·         I can be my own boss
·         I can choose when I work and how much I work
·         I can write on whatever I want to write
·         I can become rich working 20 hours per week
·         I can be a writer; I did good in school

Let’s talk about these “dream” misconceptions and how most likely they are destroying your chances of ever being a successful freelance writer.

I Can Make My Own Hours: Yes and No
Sure, you can make your own hours, but do those hours work around the people you are writing for? As a freelance writer, you still work for someone in terms of writing. What if that client is available 6am to 4pm, but you only work 5pm to 11pm? How will you contact your client with issues or questions? If you answer “I’ll wait until the next day”, then right there is your freelance writing failure. Though you can make your own hours, you still have to plan those hours around your clients.

Bottom line: If you are selfish with your hours, you might be surprised how many clients you lose or don’t get altogether.

I Can Be My Own Boss: No
A freelance writer still works for someone and answers to someone. Whether it is an editor at a newspaper, CEO of a copywriting company or the owner of a company you are writing a press release for, you answer to some sort of client and that client is, technically, your boss. If they are unsatisfied, they fire you. Therefore, if you think you will work from home as a freelance writer successfully by saying you work for no one, then you have just axed your chances of writing successfully.

Bottom line: Even great authors like Stephan King and John Grisham report to an editor at their publisher’s office and they still have to report on time and do the job. Everyone answers to someone.

I Can Choose When I Work and How Much: No
You can pick and choose what clients you take on, but that’s as far as your power goes. Clients will give you assignments, which might take you longer than your scheduled hours. If you don’t do it, you won’t get more work from that client. It’s quite simple. Those looking to work from home as a freelance writer need to be flexible with their working hours, flexible with how much work they take and always strive to do the best. Why? Because one week you may have work and the next none.

Bottom line: Take what you get when you get it, get it done and do it no matter how long it takes.

I Can Write on Whatever I Want to Write: No
If you have been freelancing for years and built up a large enough clientele or work for a newspaper, then yes, you can. However, most who start to work from home as a freelance writer do not have that luxury. Therefore, being an avid researcher is important so that you can write on any topic presented to you. You cannot just pick and choose. If you do, you will be surprised at how little you make.

Bottom line: Learn to research and learn to write on what you are told to write. Pretend you are starving and work is your food. Take the food you get so you don’t starve to death tomorrow.

I Can Become Rich Working 20 Hours Per Week: No
The whole “get rich, work less” jargon was created by the schemers of the work-from-home industry. They lure people in saying work 15 to 20 hours per week and make $5,000 per month from home. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. This is no different with working from home as a freelance writer. Freelance writers have to work long hours, long weeks and sometimes for little pay. Even famous writers work more than 20 hours per week. Do you think Stephan King wrote all of his novels working when he felt like it or just 10 hours per week? No. Stephan King writes a minimum of 2,000 words per day for eight hours per day the entire week. Sure he’s rich, but he didn’t get there nor keep himself there only working a few hours a week.

Bottom line: If you think you will make it big working a small number of hours per week, you will be surprised at how little you make. Get to work and get working hard.

I Can Be a Writer; I Did Good in School: No
Those who want to work from home as a freelance writer often fail because they say they are a good writer. Writing a term paper in school is nothing like writing a 400 word article on the effects of a prescription drug and hair loss or installing a vinyl fence. Those who look at freelance writing as “homework” ultimately fail. Those who are passionate about writing, who write naturally and without effort are the ones that are successful. You have to be naturally witty, entertaining and more so conversational. A client that asks for an article on vinyl fences doesn’t want a book report. They want something interesting for their readers to learn from.

Bottom line: Not everyone is cut out to work from home as a freelance writer. Just because you were good in school doesn’t mean you are good at professional writing.

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