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Brutal But Truthful Advice for New Freelance Writers

  July 2

This post may contain affiliate links.

Being a new freelance writer is not all sunshine and roses, believe me! Here'w what you need to know about being a new freelance writer:This week, as many of you know, is the launch of my first course Get Paid to Write for Blogs. I’m so excited that a few students have enrolled, and I’m already getting great feedback just a few days in:

“I just love this course already! You are super motivational, and so are your guests. I love that you are upfront and honest with your advice. I am not left hanging with any questions because of how thorough all of the information is. I have been researching “how to be a freelance writer/blogger” for years and never found straight-forward, honest information like this. I can’t wait to get through more modules!!! :D” – Sara C.

“Cat, the bonus video work is awesome – very inspiring.” – Sharee T.

“I’ve been going through the course and it is amazing! I can tell you put to much work into it. It’s really motivating me to go out and hustle!” – Jessica D.

So, in the spirit of providing some of that “up front and honest” advice that my new students are loving so much, I thought I’d share some of it with you as well whether you buy the course or not. After all, if you want to be a freelance writer, there are some things you should know.

Trust me, writing for blogs is an amazing career and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but that doesn’t mean that it’s without its challenges:

1. The Rejection Will Sting

Rejection is inevitable in life, and freelance writing is no different. It definitely stings when someone you really want to work for ignores you or when you don’t get a job you so desperately want.

The good news, though, is the rejection stings less and less as time goes on. You’ll come to expect it and it will be woven into your normal, everyday life as a freelancer. Eventually, you might get comfortable enough to stop pitching and applying to so many jobs because the work is coming to you. That is when you know you’ve hit the sweet spot.

2. Still, The Work is Not Guaranteed

When I was a brand new freelancer, I knew that work wasn’t guaranteed and that I had to constantly hustle to find it. But in the last year, I grew complacent, comfortable even. After years of writing professionally, I’d finally reached a comfortable client base and financial position.

Then, it happened.

In the same exact week, two clients of mine had to stop paying their writers. One of them was worth $1,500 a month and the other was worth $260 a month. The first one had to take a step back to reevaluate their marketing. The second one stopped being profitable. They totally ran out of money to pay writers.

Normally I could handle losing one client, but losing two in the same week made me scared. Losing nearly $2,000 of income is not small potatoes, especially when you have two adorable tiny people to feed.

So I did what I would instruct anyone taking my course to do. I hustled like crazy and secured 3 new clients the next month, increasing my income dramatically.

The work isn’t guaranteed no matter how good you are or how long you’ve been doing this, so never lose the hustle!

3. People Won’t Keep Their Word

Some people might promise to hire you and then never do. Others will promise to pay you and then never do. Someone might assure you they recommended you for a job, only you never got notified.

Someone says they have a certain budget, then when it comes time to sign they suddenly don’t anymore.

People will make you jump through a bunch of hoops to get a job and actually give it to you only to take it away the next day because they found someone less expensive.

Remember, your writing clients are never actually your writing clients until they sign on the dotted line and actually pay you. I’ve learned after years of being in this business to never trust that any job is mine until I actually see my words published on their site and the paycheck in my account.

I know it all might seem harsh, but this is the truth about freelancing. That being said, there are many positives.

The Positives

Some of the positives include being able to walk out of my home office and give both my kids a huge hug in the middle of the day whenever I want. Then there’s the fact that as you’re reading this today, I’m probably not working at all since I have some meetings scheduled tonight and will work then after my kids have gone to bed.

Then there’s the moment I decided the day of to fly home to Louisiana to surprise my family with the twins on Memorial Day weekend, and I didn’t have to ask anyone for time off. I literally wrote up a contract for a new client while riding in the car to surprise my inlaws.

So you see, it’s not all bad, but you do have to be smart about it. If you want to learn how to write for a living and run a business like mine, let me teach you.

My course is 15% off right now, and if you buy through my link, I will throw in a free 30 minute Skype consultation where I will personally review your blog or your writing and give you advice on how to succeed with your specific and unique goals.

Being a new freelance writer is not all sunshine and roses, believe me! Here'w what you need to know about being a new freelance writer:

Are you in?

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9 responses to “Brutal But Truthful Advice for New Freelance Writers

  1. One thing I’d add to the rejection section – you actually don’t get “rejected” much in the beginning. You’ll just never hear back. For that reason, I’d say don’t let fear of rejection keep you from starting – just get out there and hustle.

  2. I’ve definitely experienced rejection and long-term clients falling through. Thankfully I’ve never not been paid. It is tough but it helps to know what to expect going in so thanks for sharing this list.

  3. It’s so important to not let rejection get you down. Rejection is arguably just as important as success in freelance writing. Rejection teaches you what not to do, how not to phrase pitches, and how not to approach new clients. Like Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

  4. Yep, freelancing is a tough biz. Especially since so many people are charging so little for their work. I was shocked to find out that some people are paid as little $10-25 for their work.

    One of the many reasons I’m glad I don’t freelance. But I’ve watched my mom have to hustle. She has credibility as a long-time journalist and then writing for MSN, so she doesn’t have to hustle as much as newer bloggers. But still, she can’t just sit and wait for offers to come in.

  5. Published words are nothing! It’s all about the $$. (Says the gal still waiting for payment on some mag articles MONTHS after publication, sigh.) Thankfully this is just a side thing for me.

  6. I LOVE freelance writing as a side income, the inconsistency scares me enough that i couldn’t handle it as a full-time career like you have….the post reminds me that I need to get some energy and find a new gig ot two to replace two of mine which have ended. Good luck with everything Cat!

  7. Confidence and decisive action were two things I had a hard time with when I was just starting out. Sometimes you feel so overwhelmed by all of the ways to start that you end up doing very little. And you’ll do even less if your confidence is lacking.

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