How to Make a Living from Writing
It takes a lot of courage to replace a steady wage-packet with pitching for paid work and managing sporadic payments.
Freelance writing might seem like the ideal career path.
Rolling out of bed and onto the computer, working in pyjamas, fitting in the childcare and chores between commissions… But the reality is that becoming a successful freelance writer takes dedication and commitment.
First and foremost, it’s about winning some actual paid work.
Build a Portfolio
If you’re reading this article, presumably you’re already fairly confident with your ability to create engaging copy, and maybe already have experience of writing in a professional capacity.
If so, an online portfolio is a great tool to present your work professionally and attract new business.
Identify Your Client
Be honest: what are you good at writing about?
Where do you have the most knowledge, and what level of ability and experience are you at?
Identifying your market and those publications whose content matches what you write, will help you ascertain the most effective way to manage your workload and income.
Writing for a high-profile magazine or newspaper is a very different beast to writing blog articles or landing page copy for a local business.
If applying for freelance work from job listings, increase your chances of winning work by applying for multiple jobs at once.
This way, you eliminate the risk of work drying up, whilst increasing your chances of being able to choose your work.
Try to complete your job search all in one sitting either once a week or once a fortnight. That way, you can leave your schedule free to concentrate on completing paying work for the rest of the week.
So, you’ve snared some paid work: what next?
What to Charge
Putting a price on your services is one of the biggest challenges freelancers face.
First thing’s first: make sure you’re covering your running costs, including:
• Monthly overheads
And don’t forget to add profit margin!
Working from home presents a number of natural obstacles to your productivity levels: Jeremy Kyle, Facebook, the Daily Mail Online, Loose Women… the list is endless.
Keeping track of your time is vital to ensure that you’re working effectively and, most importantly, making money.
Free apps, such as Teux Deux are really useful to make the process quick and easy.
How to Charge
There are a number of ways to charge clients for your work:
1. Retainer: you set an agreement with the clients to work a predetermined number of hours within a time period.
2. Word: payment by the word
3. Hour: payment by the hour
4. Project: a set amount is agreed upon in exchange for completion of a set project – be careful to find out exactly what the project will entail however, before submitting costs.
Writing may be what you love doing but it is also your profession, and clients are paying for you to offer a service. Too many freelancers are apologetic about charging for their work!
About the author
This article was contributed by Laura Moulden on behalf of Nixon Williams, a firm of contractor accountants offering comprehensive accountancy services to businesses throughout the UK. To find out more, visit the Nixon Williams website.