Friday, January 9, 2009

Do You Have the Attitude to be a Successful Freelance Writer in 2009?

I think this is a question every freelance writer should ask himself or herself. Times are tough, but it's possible to come out of this mess with a more solid, successful freelance writing business than before. Your attitude will have a lot to do with it.

I regularly spend time on a certain freelance writing forums, and have noticed threads popping up where writers discuss the dismal outlook for freelance writers in this economy. Here are a list of the main complaints I've observed:

1. There's not enough work

2. Now everyone will start freelancing to supplement their income which means even more competition in this troubled industry

3. I could always rely on content site for my income and now they're cutting back on how much I can write.

Finding freelance writing work

There were more complaints, but these are the ones I typically see repeated. I don't buy it. Personally, I've never been busier. I had plans to start a few personal projects during December 2008 thinking that it would be pretty slow, but that didn't happen. Instead I worked non-stop, including weekends, for a month (this will be my first weekend off). I don't do bidding sites (and I don't knock those who do, so please don't take my words out of context), but I do apply for work on job boards and I do my own marketing. There is work out there, people. If you don't believe me, go here and here to see for yourself. They post plenty of freelance writing and blogging jobs regularly.

More competition

If you're worrying about all of the people losing their jobs that might become competing freelance writers, I say don't bother. If you continue providing your clients with excellent customer service and quality content, they will be satisfied. That's not to say that you shouldn't start seeking projects with companies that have more staying power in this economy. Download the FREE 2008 – 2009 Freelance Writing Jobs Report on the left side of this blog. In it Yuwanda Black has compiled some pretty useful research.

Many people who do try out freelance writing won't stick with it because it's not exactly a walk in the park. My philosophy is to worry more about perfecting my own game and less time worrying about the competition.

Diversify your income

Stop relying on one source of income for your financial security. This has never been good business for freelance writers and that goes double for now. Content sites can shut down without warning. A client could suddenly stop sending you work. Diversify your income with a mix of residual income and billable hours.

Now is the time to re-strategize your business operations. Don't waste time complaining and giving in to defeat. If you're dealing with confidence issues as a writer, admit it and commit to do something about it. Utilize your public library's fee classes and countless books, take a class online or at a local college. Find a writing buddy online and help each other by editing/proofing and offering feedback on your projects. Here is an inspirational post from someone refusing to participate in the recession. There are some businesses doing well despite the economic downturn. Your mindset has so much to do with your success.


HotWebTopics said...

Excellent post Kimberly; my philosophy exactly. Like you, I've never been busier.

Glad to hear that's continued into the new year for you as well.


Kimberly Ben said...

Thanks, Ywanda. I think you basically get what you expect. If you expect and believe that you won't do well, you won't. I'm seeing too many examples of businesses that are still getting clients and doing well to submit to all the doom and gloom of a sinking economy so easily.

Mark McClure said...


I found your site via Yuwanda's.

Sound advice about diversifying income streams in these tougher times.

And that 'attitude' you're referring to is very evident on Y's blog - because I've spent a few hours 'mining ' the wisdom she's shared, and now am in virtual-line to buy the ebook ;-)

Tell you what - I'll buy it through your aff link and reward both of you for what I've gained :-)

Best Regards!

Kimberly Ben said...

Hi Mark,

Thanks so much for stoping by t read my blog. I talk about Yuwanda frequently here because the information she so generously provides has made a huge difference in my freelance writing business. When I bought her book "How to Make $25/day..." I was hesitant to spend that kind of money (she was originally selling it for only $9.99 until she got wise about what she was really providing;p). I missed out on that deal of course, but I have not regretted it. It gave me a clear blueprint for reaching out to clients directly. I made adjustments to my marketing plan accordingly and saw results.

I hope that you benefit from it as much as I have.

Becca said...

Great post, Kimberly. Although I'm a regular reader of this blog, I don't comment on here much. I was wondering if you happened to read the recent article about hot job skills for 2008 that features Wordpress. In fact, it shows the demand for blogging skills as having increased by 4 times from that of the previous year. I found this encouraging (and figured I'd share) because in this economy, it's good to be a part of something that is actually in demand.

Looking forward to your next post. :-)

Kimberly Ben said...

Hi Becca,

Thanks for sharing that link - really good information! It does seem that blooging is going on as strong as ever. I've picked up a new blogging gig and hope to pick up at least one or two more. It's really important to keep up with online trends to increase your value as a freelancer. Thanks so much for commenting.:-)

Matt Mernagh said...

my attitude towards 2009 continues to increase. companies are looking for freelance workers more. an ability to work effectively in the marketplace already gives those with experience a leg up vs those who have been laid off and seeking freelance between employment opportunities. great encouraging post.

Kimberly Ben said...

Matt, I'm glad to hear that you're feeling good about freelancing in 2009. Experience and professionalism will certainly help you stand apart from someone who has just fallen into this business with no clear plan.

There are lots of freelancers out there who have weathered economic troubles before and are still at it. I draw lots of inspiration from them.

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