Managing a Successful Freelance Writing Online Career

By Rhonda Campbell

Freelance writing online allows you to work from the comforts of your home, setting your own work hours. As you complete jobs for writers, there may be times when you have so much writing client work, you wonder if you have the time and the energy to get all the work done. Those times are balanced out with times when work slows down and you’re tempted to start worrying about cash flows and engaging in nervous habits like fingernail biting.

Why Do You Want to be a Freelance Writer

To succeed as a freelance writer, get clear about why you’re interested in becoming a freelance writer. For example, do you want to write purely to generate income for your family as a head of household, to add to your personal savings, have money to pay off a loan or to build your portfolio? Or do you want to work as a freelance writer to build a following or readership in advance of releasing your new non-fiction book or novel? Or are you a freelance journalist at heart, someone who wants to share in-depth stories and opinions with others?

After you get clear about why you want to work as a freelance writer, identify a location and days and times you’ll write and finish freelance writing jobs online. Communicate your work schedule to family and friends. They need to know that you’re at home working on freelance writing jobs online and not merely gazing out the window watching birds fly across the sky.

Next, create a file system that works for you. For example, you can label hanging file folders with the names of writing clients you create content (e.g. white papers, press releases, newsletters) for. The longer you work as a freelance writer, the more important it is that you get and stay organized.

Steps to Managing a Successful Freelance Writing Online Career

Other action items you need to complete in order to manage a successful freelance writing online career include:

  • Visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website and create an Employer Identification Number (EIN). As a freelance writer, you should be able to use your Social Security Number as your EIN.
  • Designing a comfortable at-home office with a telephone, desk, chair, file cabinets, etc. (one that’s close to a window can keep you from feeling isolated)
  • Set aside a portion of your revenues to pay quarterly self-employment taxes (i.e. Social Security, Medicare)
  • Log your mileage when you use your personal vehicle for business purposes (e.g. to drive to client offices and discuss freelance writing job projects in-person, conduct interviews for newspaper articles) – Deduct your total mileage when you file your income taxes
  • Keep receipts of all business purchases (again so you can deduct them when you file your income taxes)
  • Search for new writing clients/jobs Monday through Friday, at the minimum (writing clients come and go)
  • Build up a clientele of 10-12 or more business owners (this way you’ll have a steady flow of work)
  • Consider creating a blog and running ads at your blog to build passive income
  • Market articles you write at social networks
  • Speak at colleges, corporations, professional events, etc. to build a following and to gain more  freelance writing job clients
  • Be assertive, approach business owners, highlighting your skills and abilities, and ask the clients to allow you to help their businesses grow
  • Edit your work before you submit it to clients
  • Meet freelance writing online job deadlines (do what you say you will; value your own word)
  • Keep writing!

Rewards, benefits and feelings of self-gratification aside, the tasks of managing a successful freelance writing career are not for the faint at heart. It calls for creativity and strong organization, financial, project and time management and communication skills. You also need to know how to stay connected to others, steering clear of feelings of being isolated, as you pump out one freelance writing job after another. If you have children, it’s also important that you set expectations for them during the workday. Managing a successful freelance writing online career is a bit of a juggling act, but if you’re passionate about writing, it’s oh-so worth it.

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