Last Updated on May 31, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
When you’re a freelance ghostwriter, there are a number of major factors that will impact your success. While some of these may be quite obvious, there are some that you might not realize. It’s often far more difficult for people like myself to remain successful, especially since we are subject to greater levels of scrutiny than a full-time employee. So, what can you work on to enhance your level of success and keep yourself productive?
Major Factors that Play Into Success
I’ve covered many of the small things you can do in your environment that can help keep you focused on task. For those who are new to the site, there are several key components that will directly affect how successful you are. Things like dressing up and cleaning your desk are more of enhancements to your workspace. However, these are minor in comparison to the things that will directly affect your ability to make money.
1. Typing Speed
The most obvious influencing force of being a ghostwriter is the speed at which you type. The more words you can produce in an hour, the less time it will take you to complete a task. However, it also needs to be accurate. Anyone can hammer away at the keyboard and type 120 words a minute. It’s how many errors that are created that will slow you down. The last time I was tested, I hit 68 words per minute at 98.7% accuracy. I was a bit disappointed, but I also did it without my glasses on. Practice makes perfect. I would suggest using typing software or perhaps running your own blog in order to increase your keystroke and accuracy in between jobs.
2. Proofreading Ability
The ability to proofread your work is among major factors that will play into whether or not a client will come back for more work. Not only do you need to be able to spot spelling and grammatical errors, but this needs to be done at a quick pace. When you’re paid per job, every second counts. The problem with this is that it could be much easier to make mistakes by trying to rush through the order. Here is another example of how practice could make perfect. I proofread everything I type whether it’s for a client or for my own blog. It can help keep in practice while decreasing the amount of time it takes to read all of the text.
3. Time Management
Since you’re not always paid per hour as a freelancer, you need to build strong time-management skills. This is one of my biggest problems. It can be incredibly easy to get sucked into another project, playing games or watching videos when you could be working. If you want to replace your current full-time income, you have to schedule specific times to write for clients and stick to them. Even something as simple as taking a bathroom break cuts into your productivity and reduces your “hourly” rate. For instance, I have a client that pays me well for the articles I write for her. In about an hour, I can make between $20 and $25. However, taking a 10 minute break within that time span reduces the income to $16.67 and $20.83. Which rate of pay sounds better to you? Essentially, that 10 minute break had cost you almost $5!
4. Grammar and Spelling
This might seem like another obvious point, but you might be amazed by how many writers don’t practice grammar and spelling on a regular basis. Sure, there are a lot of tools on the Internet that can help you fine-tune the content. But learning all you can now will reduce time fixing those errors that these tools detect. If I had the money and time, I would invest in some college courses for writing. Even if you don’t get a degree, taking these classes individually could be worth the effort if you’re serious about being a freelance writer. In fact, these classes could be beneficial if you’re working on publishing your own novel.
5. Marketing Yourself
You can’t expect clients to throw work at you if they don’t know what you can do. If you use systems like TextBroker or Freelancer.com, you need to have your public profiles as fully completed as possible. In fact, it’s always a good idea to write new samples of your skills every six months. This is because you will undoubtedly fine-tune your writing over time. Social media, writing samples and even blogging can become major factors when clients are looking at you to write their content. Essentially, these will all play into how much trust a client has in you to complete the specified task. You want to “wow” these people from the very beginning. Remember, first impressions are the most important.
6. Customer Service
I know a lot of writers who haven’t put a great deal of effort into customer service. This is why I make more money than a lot of them. I give the customer precisely what he or she asks for regardless of how much it sounds grammatically incorrect. You have to be able to set your own beliefs and practices aside if you want to make the client happy. This will vastly increase your chances of getting future work from the same individual. I’ve had regular daily clients spanning years because I gave them what they needed. It’s how you treat these individuals that will help gauge how much money you make. Not all major factors that play into success require physical skills and topic knowledge.
You don’t have to be the epitome of fine, professional writing. However, there are a lot of things you need to consider if you want to make freelance writing your career. By practicing these six major factors as often as possible, you could vastly increase how much work is sent your way. As the competition for writers is quite fierce online, you want to put yourself ahead of the competition. Give clients a reason to keep coming back by offering the most professional and accurate services you can.
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