Top 5 Mistakes You Should Avoid as a Freelance Writer

Many people love freelancing and rightly so: the freedom it offers.

You choose how to spend your days be it taking a vacation, spending time with family or friends. And most importantly, you can kick away any thought of keeping that lackluster, unrewarding desk job.

While it is possible to have a happy, rewarding and exceptional freelance career, not everyone ends up realizing this dream. Why? It’s possible to make certain mistakes that may make freelancing a nightmare to some. Here are some of the freelance writer mistakes you need to avoid to be successful.

1. Not Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is priceless. At first, it appears like you’re doing it free, but eventually, your efforts pay off.

By guest posting, you end up creating content that attracts your target clients, making them know about your writing style and your knowledge about the subject. Subsequently, this creates trust.

Eventually, most of the visitors may visit your website to know more about you and possibly contact you to work with them.

See the incredible benefits associated with guest posting?

Sadly, most freelancers think it’s enough to publish on their blog only. Avoid that. Search for popular blogs in your niche where you can publish valuable content, and then sit back to see the magic unfold.

How do You Send a Guest Post?

Well, you need to search for sites in your niche that accept guest posts. And the best way to do this is to enter certain search terms in Google.

Specifically, write the keyword or niche followed by any of the following phrases in quotes.

  • “write for us”
  • “submission guidelines”
  • “contribute an article”
  • “guest post by”
  • “accepting guest posts”
  • “submit your post”
  • “become a contributor”
  • “want to write’
  • “add a post”
  • “guest post guidelines”
  • “guest post”

After a dozen sites show up, you need to vet each of these sites before reading their submission guidelines and sending a pitch.

2. Not Owning a Blog

Believe it or not, premium clients would like to know if a freelancer owns a website before deciding to hire them. Now you know one of the reasons you never hear from those serious clients after contacting them to work with them.

So, if you apply for a job on a job board, Upwork, direct pitch or otherwise, most serious clients will first find out whether you have a website with content published on it.

And starting a blog is not hard. I’ve seen some free WordPress blogs that look fantastic and professional, and you can start from there. But if you’re serious about your freelancing business, get a paid domain and host for your site and choose a responsive and attractive theme for that.

When potential clients check out your blog, they’ll see your published samples there, the format of posts and your writing quality. I once had a client who hired me because she liked the posts on my blog.

And even before someone accepts your guest post request, they’d like to check out your post and know how good you are. So, if you’re serious about your freelance business, set up a blog right away.

Besides, after many readers check out your interesting guest blog, they will click back on your bio to visit your blog to read more from you. If they find nothing or a single page flooded with ads, you’ll lose the whole purpose of guest posting in the first place.

Oh, and before I forget, I’ve received many students for my course purely through my blog, and some clients contacted me directly via the blog as well.

3. Omitting Information about Your Services

You’ve got your website up and running and you expect clients to visit the site and hire you, right?

But have you made it easy for them to know who you are, what you offer, at how much, and why they should hire?

Don’t go around seeking great clients yet you haven’t described the services you provide. It’s close to wearing a wedding ring but feigning to be single.

And don’t just list the services you offer. Give a description of each service; not just the features, but also the benefits it could give to a client.

4. Not Cold Pitching

New freelancers step into the industry thinking it’s a merry ride.

Of course, it is if the merry ride implies doing the work you enjoy, not loathe, and receiving a better pay for it.

But if your definition of merry riding in freelancing means having all things easy and nice, I am sorry, you’ve probably boarded your plans on a falling ride.

Most freelancers aren’t willing to go out there and get clients who’ll pay them what they’re worth. Most of us are at home with visiting freelance job sites and boards to find clients. There is nothing wrong with starting there but it isn’t enough for various reasons.

First of all, most freelancing job websites aren’t picky on the types of jobs posted there. In other words, you’ll find both serious and spammy clients. These job platforms don’t have a clear mechanism of sifting through different client details to display only the legit jobs.

Consequently, we have many freelancers who may work and not get paid or simply be paid what they don’t deserve.

Second of all, thousands of freelancers scramble for the few jobs on these sites. And this narrows your chances of receiving a consistent pay.

Moreover, most of these sites serve as intermediaries between clients and freelancers. Thus, they cut a certain amount of fees from the freelancer’s earnings.

But the good news is you can step out of this situation and shoot emails to private clients (both businesses and individuals) who are seriously in need of your services.

This is called cold pitching, and it’s one of the surest ways to land consistent, well-paying work.

A cold pitch should have five important ingredients:

  • How you heard or knew about them
  • Who you are: your skills and experience
  • Your best work (show off your clips)
  • How you can be of value to them
  • Brevity (the shorter the better)

5. Not Specifying a Niche

When starting out, most freelancers plug into the industry headlong and don’t specialize in any specific niche. While this gives you endless opportunities on the areas you can write about, it can make you come off as a jack of all trades.

Narrowing down to a specific niche does not only make you look professional, but it makes you become an expert as well.

So, if you haven’t decided which niche to focus on, ask yourself which niche you’re really passionate about, what businesses you’d like to work with, and what you’d like other people to know you for.

However, if you are into more than one niche, you can also broaden your horizon and venture into one or two more niches.

By knowing that they’re working with an expert, clients won’t hesitate to pay you a little more.

Be on top of the game by avoiding these five freelance writer mistakes and begin your work pay off.