As a part of my freelance writing internship for Monkey Outta Nowhere, my supervisor has made networking events a priority, so this morning, I had the pleasure of picking the brain of Claire DeBerg, a full-time freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis, MN. Claire was very open about her experience as a freelance writer, and I learned a lot about what it looks like to freelance on a daily basis. Since she gave so much good information, I decided to narrow it down to what I considered the top five pieces of advice I got out of the interview:
1) Stay open to grunt work
As a beginning freelance writer, you won’t always get the glamorous jobs. Even when you’re freelancing full-time, you sometimes are doing “admin jobs,” like maintaining the Facebook and Twitter pages. However, a lot of these jobs are still very valuable to your client, and you’re still getting paid to do them. Try to keep a gratitude-orientated mindset.
2) Specify revision work in your contract
Something both Claire and my supervisor (who is also a full-time freelance writer) said was to discuss how many revisions you’ll do per project in the contract. That way, you won’t lose money if a client asks you to do 18 revisions and you were expecting to only do four.
3) Surround yourself with encouragers
Being a freelance writer can be a lonely job, as Claire can attest to. She recommended making friends in the industry so that you can swap tips and encourage one another. She didn’t limit this suggestion to freelance writers either; as a woman with her own business, Claire tries to surround herself with fellow female entrepreneurs. She says that support groups are always needed.
4) Create an online presence
One of the first things to do when starting out as a freelance writer is to create an online name for yourself, Claire recommended. Maintain a website and Twitter account, design business cards, clean up your Facebook, and update your profile on LinkedIn. When you network with people, they’ll most likely look you up online, and you want to make sure they find only positive things.
5) Advocate for yourself
Lastly, when I asked Claire about what has helped her most as a freelance writer, she admitted to being willing to advocate for herself and see the value in what she was doing. She reasons if you can’t accept what you’re doing for companies is helpful and needed, you won’t be as aggressive in your self-promotion. And as nearly every freelance writer knows, self-promotion is vital.
Thanks so much for the interview, Claire! I enjoyed it very much.
What about you, reader? Do you have any more tips to add for a beginning freelance writer?