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How I Went From Failed Freelancer, To Full-Time Writer

Photo by Andreas Dress on Unsplash

Deciding to Commit To Writing Full-time

Before I quit my job and pursued freelance, I was a marketer. As a freelancer, I still dabbled in different marketing projects before I committed to being a writer full-time. When I was doing various marketing projects, it made it really challenging to market myself to people that I meet, which made it more difficult to make a name for myself as someone who offered specific services.

Setting very clear intentions

Once I knew I could make it work as a writer, I had to decide to fully commit to writing. This meant not getting distracted by other offers and opportunities. I had a tendency to go after every opportunity that matched my skill set. It wasn’t productive because I found myself wearing a million different hats and stretching myself in a million directions to learn new industries and optimize my skills in certain areas.

How I Landed Freelance Jobs

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Sent out cold emails regularly

Even though I’m pretty maxed out on the work I’m doing right now, I always anticipate something falling through. I’ve been there and going from a decent income to zero income overnight is not fun. Now I try to keep conversations going with a few people just in case something falls through or a client needs to end a contract for whatever reason.

Subscribed to a handful of job boards

In addition to sending out pitches regularly, I like to keep an eye on writing job boards.

Wrote free guest posts on relevant websites

I decided early on that I wanted to be published in publications. I’m not talking about Medium publications, but other websites where professionals in those industries could read my work and identify me as an expert in that field. Since I had a background in marketing, it was relatively easy for me to write content about different marketing practices and pitch them to business and marketing websites.

Chose a few niche’s but remained open-minded

I’ve always resisted the idea of niching down. I was afraid my work would get boring having to write about the same things over and over again. I still don’t have one particular niche I work with or write about, but there are a handful of topics that I know I can write on efficiently and knowledgeably. I’ve also learned that when I’m focused on one niche, and I don’t have to spread my brain too thin researching and reading on a bunch of different topics, I can be so much more efficient in my writing and nail down a process that works long term.

I learned to embrace rejection

Remember that finding clients is a numbers game. I had to commit to sending out 50–100 pitches per month to potential clients before I found ones that actually stuck. These pitches were through a combination of cold email, job board applications, sites like UpWork and FreeeUp and through doing my own research on companies I wanted to work with.

I showed up every single day, even when I didn’t want to

It was all about putting as much of myself out there as possible to generate as much opportunity for myself. There were a few days when I got one too many rejections and wanted to throw my computer out the window and start a new life as a farmer or something that involved never using a computer again. I would breathe through those moments, make a snack, maybe watch a few episodes of The Office and then sit back down and write more emails even though inside I was convinced I would always be a failure.

Eventually, things will fall into place.

if you put in the work, are good at what you do and genuinely care about helping the people you work with, it will work. And once you figure out your processes, it gets easier. I failed at freelancing for years. I started and stopped and got real jobs and quit those jobs and tried again and failed again, and eventually, it worked out. This isn’t a “success” story. But more a reflection of real-life and ebbs and flows that we all face to actually achieve the goals we want to achieve.


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