Freelance writers are prone to making several mistakes as they go about their business. Such mistakes can end up having an adverse effect on their careers as well as reputations. Here are some of the common mistakes you need to look out for:
1. Accepting low offers
If you are a freelance writer that is starting out, it is okay to accept low paying assignments. This will give you an opportunity to learn as you build your name in the industry. However, some people continue settling for less for too long. As a result, they continue earning peanuts for their work despite their experience. Freelance writers should know when to move from low paying to higher paying markets. If you feel that you have enough experience, you should be confident enough to raise your rates. Be ready to walk away from clients who are not willing to pay you for what you are worth.
2. Not carrying out research
At times, clients will ask you to write about subjects which you are not very familiar with. Take time to carry out thorough research for such assignments. Don’t just look at a page in Wikipedia and assume you are an expert. Gather information from different sources, talk to experienced people in the field and cross check all your facts. Submitting assignments filled with grammatical or factual errors is unforgivable and could result in the loss of a client, as well as your reputation.
3. Missing deadlines
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a freelance writer is to miss a deadline. This is not only unethical, but also a sign of disrespect to your client. When you are unreliable, clients will not be interested in working with you. When you accept an assignment with a fixed submission date, it would be advisable to set your own personal deadline. Make sure your personal deadline is a few days before the client’s. Submitting the assignment earlier than expected will impress the client, thus enhancing your chances of getting repeat business. However, if you sincerely cannot adhere to the client’s deadline, be upfront about it. Let them know the reasons and ask for more time. Most clients will appreciate your honesty and are likely to grant your request.
4. Taking editors for granted
Your relationship with editors will play a major role in your freelance writing success. One mistake can deal a huge blow to your career. Keep your communication with editors open and professional. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you need clarification or have a problem. Make sure your emails are brief and concise. However, avoid the temptation of inquiring about the editor’s personal life or sending jokes.
5. Failing to follow up
Since most editors are very busy people, it is very important to follow up constantly. Don’t give them a chance to forget your name. Once you have submitted an assignment and received payment, take time to send the editor a ‘thank you’ email. Let them know that you enjoyed working on the project and would be willing maintain the relationship. This way, they are likely to have you in mind when future projects arise.
As a freelance writer, you don’t have to fall victim to any of the above mistakes. Taking the necessary precautions will enhance your chances of success in the business.
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