If you have a background in copywriting, copyediting or proofreading, freelance writing can be a great way to put away some extra money – or possibly even earn a living. From blog posts to feature articles to integrated marketing pieces, freelance writers tackle a wide range of assignments and research a considerable amount of subject matter. As any experienced freelancer can attest, attracting repeat business is crucial to one’s success in this field. In the absence of regular clients, most freelancers are unable to generate consistent income, so writers looking to grow their personal finances should make finding repeat business a priority. In the quest to turn first-time clients into regulars, the following pointers are sure to serve you well.
When getting your start as a freelance writer, the temptation to overcharge clients can be powerful – especially if business is slow. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be paid what you’re worth, it’s important to understand the position your client is in. They’re taking a risk by giving a fledging freelancer with virtually no experience a shot, and blatantly overcharging them is a poor way to repay their kindness. Furthermore, asking for too much is liable to make certain clients change their mind about hiring you. Charging exorbitant fees can also generate high expectations from clients – expectations that you may be ill-equipped to meet as a newbie.
To ensure that your rates are fair, do some online research into common rates for newer writers. Additionally, if a client is pleased with your work and willing to use you again, they may be open to a rate renegotiation down the line. While some clients are more generous than others, you’d be hard-pressed to find one willing to pay top-dollar to an inexperienced writer. Conversely, writers who have built up impressive resumes are often in better positions to request more money.
Don’t Blow Off Deadlines
As a freelance writer, the worst mistake you can make is blowing off deadlines. Not only does this betray the trust of your clients, it also shows them tremendous disrespect. Deadlines exist for a reason, and very few careers allow people to get away with ignoring them. If you don’t think you can realistically complete a certain assignment by the desired due date, it behooves you to tell the client upfront so that the two of you can work out a mutually-agreeable date. Habitually ignored deadlines are among the most commons reasons clients part ways with writers, so if you’re looking to attract repeat business, take care to treat deadlines as sacrosanct.
Under certain circumstances, missed deadlines are inevitable. For example, if a writer suddenly falls ill or is forced to deal with a family emergency, they’re liable to find themselves unable to work. Should you ever find yourself in such a situation, make sure to contact your client posthaste. This will ensure that they’re given a proper heads-up and enable them to alter their plans accordingly. While the client may not be happy about this, they’re sure to appreciate your consideration.
Don’t Take Forever to Send Out Invoices
Afraid of seeming too forceful, many fledgling writers are hesitant to submit their invoices too quickly. In reality, however, there is no downside to submitting invoices in an expedient manner. The sooner a client receives an invoice, the sooner they can process it – and the sooner you can receive compensation for your work. On the flipside, allowing a great deal of time to pass between the submission of an assignment and the submission of the corresponding invoice is liable to annoy clients and make you appear lazy and/or disorganized.
That being the case, make a point of submitting all invoices within 48 hours of assignment submissions. Additionally, you can give your invoices and estimates a professional appearance by using ready-made templates. Frugal freelancers are sure to appreciate being able to download this professional estimate for free.
Freelance writing can be a difficult field in which to succeed. No matter how skilled a wordsmith you are, you’ll need to attract a steady assortment of repeat clients in order to earn your livelihood. Unfortunately, for many fledgling freelancers, this is easier said than done. However, with the right tips in your tool belt, winning over clients doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. If repeat business is what you’re after, you can do yourself a favor by putting the previously discussed tips to good use.