Being a successful freelancer is often the dream of many. You’re your own boss, make your own hours and control your own pay. However, it’s not as glamorous as some might think. In reality, there are a lot of things a new freelance ghostwriter needs to understand before jumping head-first into the pool.
As a New Freelance Ghostwriter…
You need to be aware of several elements. While it’s still possible to have a bit of success from the very beginning, why not make it easier on yourself in the long run?
What can you do to enhance your abilities to succeed as a new freelance professional?
1. Don’t Quit Your Regular Job
Establish yourself as a new freelance writer before quitting a regular job. The chances are slim that you’ll make a significant amount of money when starting out.
Begin your freelancing career as a part-time job. Write when you have time and get the feel for the process. It’s better to prove to yourself and your family that being a new freelance writer is going to be lucrative.
I worked for almost a year and a half as a network technician for the school district before I was able to quit. It’s all about establishing yourself as a writer and finding the best opportunities.
2. Claiming Your Work
The difference between freelance writers and ghostwriters is one can claim the work. Ghostwriters are hidden in the background creating content under someone else.
This means you have no rights to the work once the client pays you. This also means you cannot claim the piece and put it in your own portfolio. It would hurt the reputation of the client and may result in a libel lawsuit.
Some clients may allow you to link back to work you’ve created for them if you ask. Just don’t assume you’ll be able to use anything you create to show other clients down the road.
3. Your Scheduling Matters
One of the biggest reasons why so many people want to be freelancers is because it delivers the freedom to work when they want. Unfortunately, a lot of these people don’t understand how timing matters.
Since 2012, I’ve found it far more beneficial to keep a regular business schedule. This is because most of my clients are businesses. As a new freelance ghostwriter, you need to adapt your schedule to fit the needs of the customer.
Another important aspect of the schedule is realizing productivity is vastly important. Most contracts are paid per word. Which means you only get so much money with each piece you create. You’ll need to constantly produce content if you want to make a living as a new freelance ghostwriter.
4. Take Care of Your Expenses
When working for yourself, you need to realize just how much needs to be set aside for certain expenses. Here are just a few you need to consider:
- Paying taxes
- Paying insurance
- Saving for vacations, because you won’t get “paid time off.”
- Saving for being sick, because you won’t get “sick leave.”
- Putting money aside for retirement
- Keeping repairs up on your computer
In a traditional job, the company takes care of these things. As a new freelance professional, it’ll be up to you to put effort into bookkeeping.
5. Keep Yourself Motivated
A common theme among many new freelance writers is not realizing just how mundane the job is sometimes. Not everyone is comfortable sitting at a desk for half the day and writing content for someone else.
You need to find ways to keep yourself motivated to continue writing. You will eventually hit a wall and debate whether you want to keep doing this or not. All I can suggest is taking a moment to really examine whether you want to be a ghostwriter.
Personally, I love writing and cover a lot of different industries. It’s a good way to break up the day. But without motivation, it’s extremely difficult to keep up a profitable workload.
After all, you need to make enough money to justify not working a traditional job.
6. Take Care of Your Clients
The client is the one paying you to create content. Without him or her, you are unable to pay your bills. Because of this, you need to treat each client with utmost respect.
I’ve seen a lot of writers treat clients poorly. As a result, they receive far less work than I and often struggle to make ends meet. People love working with me because I deliver what they want and am pleasant to be around.
Even if you believe the client is wrong, give him or her what they’re paying you for. You can make suggestions, but don’t try to force your ideas on them. You will quickly find yourself without a regular customer.
7. Diversify Your Workload
It’s OK to start off as a new freelance ghostwriter focusing on one industry. When I started, I kept my workload to computers and networking. However, I found I had a knack for more when I began exploring different topics.
Keeping yourself flexible is a good way to attract more clients. Just make sure you do your research to provide the most accurate and well-written content possible. You won’t be able to fake everything.
It probably wouldn’t hurt to diversify what you offer as well. One of the reasons why I have a long-term retainer is because I offer screenshots with my writing. It saves the client money from using a third-party graphic designer and I make more money because I offer it on top of the content.
8. Continue to Improve
Never believe that you know enough to get by. There is always room for improvement. This includes things like keeping an eye on trends, markets, news and technology. It will greatly benefit the quality of your work.
It’s also beneficial to continue practicing your writing skills when you’re not working. Spend your downtime developing your abilities. The more practice you have, the cleaner your content becomes – which attracts new clients.
I started this blog as a way to flex my writing muscles and fine-tune my craft. I research grammar methods and spend time exploring different ways to write content. Just like anything else in this world, practice makes perfect.
9. Understand the Competition
Don’t assume you’ll be overwhelmed by work as a new freelance ghostwriter. The pool for content creators is quite vast on the Internet. In fact, there are so many writers available place like Upwork are being very selective about who they allow in.
Even though the competition is vast, you can still set yourself apart and build a reputation that supersedes others. I’ve been told on several occasions how I am “unique” and that clients wish they could “clone” me.
The two biggest elements that will put you ahead of the competition are skill and delivering a quality client experience. Focusing on these will greatly help keeping regular clients to the point where you literally have too much work available.
Another aspect of the competition is the capacity to run the well dry. If you start off using systems like Textbroker, which is what I did, sometimes you’ll find yourself without work. This is the reason why I diversify and use several brokerage sites that pay.
10. Prepare to Write A LOT of Content
And lastly, realize the potential for writer burn-out. In order to make a significant amount of money, you will have to write a lot of content. Not everyone has the patience to keep typing.
Many new freelance ghostwriters will aim for 10,000 words per day depending on the job and the pay. Your goal needs to be realistic to keep your bills paid.
Before I quit my regular job, I had to prove I could consistently make more money writing than at the school district. I would have slow weeks, but then I would have weeks where I made nearly three times the amount.
The best way to gauge this is to take an average over the span of several months and determine an hourly wage for your writing.
It’s Within You to Succeed
Success will be determined by your own level of effort. If you don’t approach being a new freelance professional with the right mindset, you make the experience difficult. I’ve seen many potential writers fail simply because they were easily discouraged. If it’s something you like, don’t let anything divert your course.