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Thanks to online technologies, freelance ghostwriting is an exceptionally easy industry to get into. However, it takes a great deal of hard work and determination to actually be successful. Unfortunately, too many people assume that it’s all roses and cash. The reality of writing online is that it can be extremely difficult on the author. As I approach my five-year anniversary of my professional career, I have discovered several truths that you need to address.
What Truths Are there to Freelance Ghostwriting?
Before you delve too deeply into writing online, you need to be aware of the things you’ll be up against. After all, an educated mind is capable of making better choices down the road. Don’t get me wrong, freelance ghostwriting has been one of the greatest experiences in my life. But, here are the truths that I’ve discovered since 2012.
1. Work is Not a Guarantee
We are in the age of quality content reigning supreme in the search engines. While this means that more website owners are looking for the best material to put onto their websites, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have an endless flow of work. Sometimes the days can be quite long and unproductive.
If you use platforms such as Textbroker and WriterAccess, you’ll see days when there are thousands of jobs available. You’ll also see days when there is absolutely nothing to write. Although these lulls seem to be reducing in frequency, a single day without pay can greatly affect your household income for the week.
Adapting to Work
One of the best ways you can adapt to the lack of work when freelance ghostwriting is to keep yourself busy. Sitting there at your desk and waiting for a job isn’t going to cut it. Turn off YouTube and try some of these:
- Read and learn more about your preferred industry. It will help you write better content when a client finds you.
- Start your own blog. Blogging is a great way to keep your skills in check while giving you the chance to earn a few extra dollars if you monetize it.
- Get active in social media regarding your writing. More than 53% of employers are searching social sites for candidates today.
- Start your own novel. While it does take a bit of work to get a novel published, writing one may still prove to be beneficial in the long run.
- Spend time marketing yourself as a freelance ghostwriter. I’ve seen several authors advertise themselves across the Internet in order to attract bigger and better clients.
2. Pay Can Greatly Fluctuate
Not every client will pay you the same amount. Although you can set a certain dollar amount per word, you need to understand that you’re not the only author on the Internet. Unfortunately, this competition can quickly cause a price war as most clients prefer mediocre quality and low cost to superior skills.
When the pay begins to fluctuate, it can be difficult on a writer. The difference between an average of $12 per hour and $18 per hour is incredible over the long haul. It can screw up your budget and be devastating when it comes time to pay the bills.
Adapting to Pay
Raising your prices may cause clients to bypass you altogether in search of someone cheaper. Lower them too far and clients can easily take advantage of your hard work. You need to find a “happy medium.” Remember, most clients want cheap and good compared to expensive and literate. The best way to adapt to fluctuations is to budget your money better.
I use an extensive spreadsheet when working for clients. I track how much time each project takes as well as how much I am paid. Over time, I can see a pattern for my average rate of pay. It’s this average that I base my budget on. Since I’ve been doing this, managing my finances while freelance ghostwriting has been much easier.
3. There is a Great Deal of Financial Responsibility
Your budget isn’t the only thing you’ll have to bare in mind when it comes to finances. Taxes, sick leave, vacation time, insurance and all of the benefits you may find in a corporate job really don’t exist for all freelancers. If I get sick for a few days right now, my weekly budget would be devastated. Working while you’re sick compromises your quality and could be extremely bad on a professional level.
Not everyone takes these aspects into consideration when freelance ghostwriting. There are a lot of financial burdens that can make the experience extremely stressful. As a result, you could be on the hook for far more than just keeping your lights on and food on the table.
<u>Adapting to Financial Responsibility
One of the best ideas I came up with was separating my weekly income. Every Friday when I am paid through Textbroker, I’ll send at least 10% of my pay directly to a bank account I never use. In fact, any time a client pays me directly I do this. Stashing the money in such a way gives me some of the finances needed to cover obligations and debts. It also makes a great cushion during the holidays if you want to go lavish on gift giving.
4. Success Depends on Availability
I see a lot of advertisements on the Internet regarding how people can “make their own hours” or “work in your pajamas” when freelancing. This is partially accurate. However, these ads don’t go deep into what this actually means. While it’s true that you can make your own hours and dress any way you like, a great deal of success will be influenced by those decisions.
Most clients I work for are within the United States. These range from small businesses to corporations looking to expand content on their websites. Most of these companies also work according to the average “business day.” A very large portion of my work happens between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm.
Don’t misunderstand. It’s still possible to have a degree of success when writing in the afternoons or at night. However, optimal workflow may be dictated upon the hours you make yourself available for writing.
Adapting to Availability
The best way to approach availability is by determining your professional goals and what kind of a budget you’re looking into. This may take a while as you discover when the best time is for you to be available for a client. I’m not saying that you have to adhere to a 9-to-5 job.
Your target market of clients will be the biggest factor in how successful you’ll be throughout the day.
5. Competition is Extremely High
The competition for freelance ghostwriting is exceptionally high. You’re not the only one who is interested in sitting at home and writing blogs for clients. There are thousands upon thousands of people who are putting their talents to the test in the realm of freelancing.
Because there are so many people trying to make money while writing from home, it all falls on you to make this career work. Essentially, you need to offer superior customer service if you want to keep clients happy. It also means you need to invest in a bit of marketing for yourself as a professional.
Adapting to Competition
Just like any brand on the Internet, you need to have good marketing if you want to grow a client-base. Here are just a few ideas that may be able to help you in this regard:
- Completely fill out your profiles. Sites like Textbroker give you quite a bit of space when it comes to the profile. It’s this information that clients are going to find when running a search for the perfect writer. Make sure you keep these updated and completely full of valuable information.
- Always be professional. It may be difficult to take the high ground when an angry client starts bashing your work. Keeping your professionalism intact can be greatly beneficial in building an online reputation.
- Market yourself well. Take to social media and other avenues to show off your abilities. From blogging to writing an eBook, it all can be used to enhance your reputation as well as spice up your resume.
- Value customer service. Customer service is just as important to freelance ghostwriting as it is at a restaurant. It’s all about giving a client what he or she needs with respect.
6. Knowledge is Truly Powerful
Knowledge is truly a powerful tool when it comes to anything in life. As a ghostwriter, this could be in your preferred industry or learning how to improve your writing style. Continually learning all that you can about the process can put you above the competition while improving your rate of success.
When I first started freelance ghostwriting, I felt that I had a decent command of grammar. Now, I realize that I wasn’t nearly as good as I thought I was. However, I still have a great deal of success because I am open to learning all that I can.
Adapting to Knowledge
Grammar and linguistic skills are not the only aspects to ghostwriting. Expanding your knowledge regarding your favorite niche and current trends can be greatly influential in your success. After all, you wouldn’t want to give a client something that is grossly outdated in terms of relevance.
For instance, writing a blog piece about current technology would be meaningless if you wrote an article pointing out all of the holes in Windows 95.
7. Your Motivation Is Key to Success
Motivation is probably one of the most difficult things when it comes to freelance ghostwriting. Unlike a punch clock or having a boss glancing at his or her wrist watch waiting for you to show up, freelancing isn’t necessarily governed by a start and end time.
This is one of my biggest failings. Sure, I am capable of making enough money to survive yet another day. But I often talk myself out of doing more simply because I want to do something else.
For example, this blog is taking up more than an hour of my time when I could have easily made $20 writing for one of my teams on Textbroker.
Adapting to Motivation
You need to find ways that can keep you motivated to keep working. Setting goals, focusing on your daily budget needs, or even focusing on buying something fun for yourself at the end of the week can be helpful. I can’t say what motivates you, because each person is different. However, here are a few of my goals in any given week:
- Typing more than my average number of words
- Surpassing my daily average income
- Completing a certain number of jobs each day
- Budgeting something fun I want to buy for myself on Friday
If someone promises that you can make a set amount of money per week while freelance ghostwriting, question it. There are simply too many variables that come into play that can affect your income. Writing can be a great way to make money from home, but only if you put in the effort to succeed.