Wanting to start a freelance business but not sure if you can succeed as a freelance writer? You’re not alone. As a newbie entrepreneur, starting any business can be intimidating.
The fear or hesitation you’re experiencing could be the result of misconceptions you’ve heard through loved ones or even read online.
Through the many articles saturating the internet about freelance writing, some of it can make you feel demotivated or paralyzed to make the first move.
Every writer struggles with certain freelance writing myths that makes them feel overwhelmed and prevents them from advancing at one point or another during their career. These limiting beliefs don’t need to apply to your journey as a freelance writer.
That’s why I’m sharing the five most common myths related to starting a freelance writing business to help you break through the false assumptions so you can thrive in the freelance career of your dreams.
Myth 1 : You will always be a broke freelance writer
This myth is one of the most common limiting beliefs floating on the internet. It is not only false, but it can also be disheartening and harmful to your confidence as a new freelance writer.
The truth is that you can climb the ladder and hit whatever income goal you envision.
Many freelance writers transition from charging lower rates for their services as a beginner to earning top dollar for their articles over time or they start out charging professional rates from the beginning - I recommend the latter.
It all depends on how you position yourself, the ideal client you've identified and of course, the strategies you implement to book projects that pay well.
To dismantle this myth, even more, realize that not all companies and publications are cut from the same cloth. Some will pay measly wages, while others will gladly pay upwards of hundreds or thousands of dollars for quality content.
There are plenty of ways for you to make a stable and satisfying income, whether you choose to work full-time or part-time as a freelance writer.
Myth 2 : You have to accept free work as a freelance writer
A common misconception as a new freelance writer is that you have to accept free projects to build your business. Now, you have the option of completing free work, which is not the worst idea to build credibility and social proof, but you don’t need to work tirelessly for free.
For instance, when starting my own freelance writing business, I accepted two or three free assignments to receive testimonials and build the authenticity of my brand. After that, I no longer said yes to free projects until I wanted to get published with a byline and there was a strategy behind my approach.
You can do the same. Please remember once you create great portfolio samples showcasing your work, you can start getting paid.
It’s often worth the few hours of writing a couple of high-quality pieces for free in the beginning to start booking the jobs you desire. But unless there's a strategy behind doing work for free, that's where it should stop.
Myth 3: You need to work 24/7 to be successful
As a beginner, you might feel compelled to accept several projects at a low rate to develop your brand and improve your skill set. While this may be a great strategy, in the beginning, it has a few caveats.
If you accept several projects at a low rate, you will not only be incredibly busy with tasks, but you'll be putting in more hours to hit your income goal which can leave you feeling burned out.
To make matters even more challenging, you might be a full-time employee, parent or have other competing responsibilities that affect your ability to devote that amount of time to writing.
Juggling a new freelance writing career and the obstacles life throws at you can feel like a recipe for disaster.
To save your sanity, you need to strategize and utilize your time management more effectively, and consider implementing positive freelancing habits.
For instance, when I started my writing business in June of 2018, I was also juggling working as a full-time teacher and being a single parent. I knew I couldn’t invest hours upon hours each day to my writing career.
I reviewed my situation and figured out a solution that allowed me to maximize the time in my writing business by working with clients that paid well.
As a result, I was able to replace my teaching salary within 6 months and quit my job.
My advice is to use your time to focus on getting better paying clients and improving your skill set. This strategy will benefit you in the long run instead of constantly settling for low paying gigs that lead to burnout.
Myth 4: You can only work in one niche
Another common myth is that you have to fit in a box by only having one niche. This assumption means you can only succeed if you stick to one niche such as writing sales pages, writing for law firms or even ebook writing, to name a few.
While I recommend that you pick no more than 3 niches and establish yourself as an expert in those fields, there's no rule that says you can only do one type of writing.
Also, keep in mind that your niche doesn't have to stay the same forever. Feel free to pivot over time if you find that you'd be better suited in a different niche.
Myth 5: You need to be the best writer to succeed
“I can’t get paid as a writer because I don't have the same experience that XYZ does."
"Only professionals and writers with an English degree succeed”.
Do these statements sound familiar?
They both belong to a common myth in the freelance writing industry that you can’t succeed if you don't have a certification, a degree or paid experience as an employee writing for a company.
The truth is that you can succeed if you have a natural ability to write or if you invest the time to learn and improve.
It depends on how you approach writing.
For instance, as an artist, I am terrible. But my boyfriend is amazingly talented and when we first met he gave me a 30 minute art lesson. At the end of that lesson I drew a pumpkin that was so realistic it surprised me. I didn't believe that I was really able to draw on that level.
You can approach writing with the same mindset. If you learn the skills to be a good writer, and you practice and implement the knowledge you’ve gained, you can succeed as a freelance writer.
I wasn't born knowing how to write SEO articles. I had to learn over time.
You can learn how to write sales pages, emails, etc.
Don't let these myths stop you from thriving as a freelance writer
Which freelance writing myths do you struggle with most?
Do you worry you will always struggle financially? Remember to find the freelance writing clients that pay well for valuable content, and invest the time to charge what you’re worth.
Do you believe you have to accept a lot of free projects? A great strategy as a beginner is to accept a few free projects to leverage your work, develop your portfolio, and improve your skill set. But, once you have great samples, you will start reaping the rewards.
Do you fear you will have to work 24/7? You accept several projects at a low rate or invest the time to finding the best clients and improving your skills to work less for higher rates, it all depends on how you position yourself.
Do you worry you will only work in one niche? Leverage your skills and practice to identify a couple of writing niches you'd be glad to serve in. You don’t need to stay in one niche that makes you unhappy.
Do you fear you can’t start because you're not the best writer ? If you are a natural writer, or if you invest the time to learn and improve, you can succeed. You don’t need an English degree or a certification to start making money.
As writers and as people, we have several limiting beliefs that can hold us back from the clients, life, and income we desire. But we have the power and the capability to overcome these myths, and more.
Running a business comes with its challenges but if you possess the passion and are willing to invest the time, you will succeed. Keep at it.
If you need additional help and want to learn how to leverage your skills, find clients, create content in several different niches, and get stable writing assignments based on topics you love, I invite you to download the free Start Your Freelance Writing Business Toolkit.