I’m beyond ecstatic to introduce today’s guest writer. This is a full circle moment for me and I’ll tell you why. Audra Rogers from Real Honest Mom is the person who first inspired me to become a successful freelance writer. Two years ago, I read her post “How I Made $1,200 Working Part-time As a Freelance Writer” which gave me the confidence and tools I needed to launch my own career.
We’ve since become contemporaries and friends, celebrating each other’s many valleys and summits these last two years.
You can read Audra’s down-to-earth stories of motherhood on sites like Scary Mommy, Babble, and Parent.co. Today, she’s going to share her wisdom to encourage you on your journey toward freelance writing success.
Take it away, Audra!
I’ve been around the block a few times and no matter how far you get or how successful you become, there’s one thing every writer needs. It’s also one of the hardest things to keep on a consistent basis.
There’s no way of getting around the one thing you need to be a successful writer: the confidence to know you can. It ebbs and flows in any writer as we balance success, rejection, and lows after the highs.
If only it were as easy as me just sitting here saying, have confidence. Believe me, if we could bottle it a great many of us would run right out and stock up for winter.
There are several things you can have in place to aid in confidence and keep your spirits up whether you’re in a hill or a valley.
How to Gain Confidence On Your Journey to Become a Successful Freelance Writer
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1. Find Community
You have to find support with other writers that get it because it’s hard to talk shop with people that aren’t in the trenches with you. Along with Laura’s writing community on Facebook, closed Facebook groups are a wonderful, free resource if you can find the right groups. Veteran writers also hang out in these groups with invaluable wisdom, and most are glad to help new writers.
Beyond Your Bloggers is a very helpful closed Facebook group that welcomes new writers and offers share threads so writers can support each other. The Beyond Your Blog website is also a great free resource for beginners.
Any time you join any group, go in willing to offer help to others and participate in the community as well.
***Laura here. Audra is so right about community! That’s why I put together an exclusive Facebook group just for Christian moms who write. If that describes you, then please consider joining our community for encouragement, networking, and honing your craft.***
2. Nail Down a Plan to Get Started and Keep Going
Another helpful resource with writing leads and help getting started is Gina Horkey’s course 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success, where Laura and I both started and a course we both fully endorse. Gina also offers a Facebook Group with the purchase of her course.
3. Have a Plan for the Money You Earn
Spend it on bills right? Perhaps that’s what you’ll do, but it’s also important to plan out what you need to cover expenses and develop a plan from there.
For instance, if you need to make $500 to cover certain expenses for the month, plan out how many writing projects you need to take on to make the $500 goal. If you make $100 per writing project in your niche, then plan on landing at least 5 pitches or projects for that time period. If you make $50 per assignment, then you’ll need to complete 10 assignments.
It also helps to be efficient with the money that’s coming in so it’ll stretch and you can keep a manageable work schedule. Need help with ways to save and earn more money per month? Check out Laura’s book The Stay-At-Home Blueprint. I’m impressed with the 150 strategies she came up with to save and make money, and I’m a Dave Ramsey person!
4. Plan for Multiple Income Streams
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. As you get up and running with freelance writing services, diversify your income with affiliate marketing and expanding into other services, like becoming a virtual assistant. Here is a free list of 150+ possible VA services you can offer.
Smaller, independent income streams will add up over time and give you other options to rely on in addition to writing to help relieve the stress the hustle sometimes brings upon us.
5. Follow Up to Find and Keep Clients
I keep a spreadsheet so I know when to follow up with clients, send invoices and track payments. Then, I set up columns for things like:
- Pitches sent
- Dates they were sent
- The contact I emailed
- Whether they were accepted or rejected.
I color code blocks as “pending” and I check dates every week so I can follow up as I need to. Typically, I allow a week before sending a follow up, but this varies depending on the publication. For larger publications, I’ll give two weeks.
Also, I color code blocks for payments that are outstanding and received. This is handy to use as a backup record of income at the end of the year.
6. Keep a Yay file
What’s a Yay file? My Yay file is a spreadsheet that lists accepted and published posts because it’s easy to get down if you hit a road bump or two and it’s nice to look back and see all that you’ve accomplished. Keep going!
Another thing that’s a good spirit lifter: take a certain amount of time to read and support the work of others. When I’m a little farther down the road as another, I feel good stopping to help someone else. And I’ve found it swings back the other way eventually.
***Laura here, again. She’s spot on. You’ll be amazed how encouraging those “Yay!” moments will be down the road. Save them!***
7. Schedule Self-Care
Freelance writing gets very stressful at times, so self-care is a must. It’s easy to feel like you need to constantly hustle and check email and go go go, but breaks are essential.
I really suck at this, so I have to schedule self-care. Even if it’s just a walk in the fresh air for 10 minutes or taking the kids out for ice cream, it’s important to take breaks and put a little distance between you and your work.
It also helps to get away for writing privacy if you can swing it. Laura scheduled a writing retreat for herself and got a lot of uninterrupted work done!
8. Use Rejection as a Positive
Rejection is inevitable in freelance writing and it can hurt. But you can turn it around and use the experience to learn something. I once had a post rejected by a publication because it had too much of me in it, and I’ve had a post rejected because it didn’t have enough of my personal experience in it.
Different publications have different needs and your work won’t always be a fit. It isn’t personal. For example, I used the feedback from the pitch with “too much me” and I offered to change it up to be more open ended and the second pitch was accepted.
So I turned a rejection into an acceptance. I would advise you to do this with editors sparingly, and only on pitches where you can offer another appealing angle, but it worked to my benefit in this case.