Freelance Writing Business – 17 Positive Signs That Say You’re Ready

Back in 2008 (Can’t believe it’s been that long!), I knew I was ready to leave my job and work for myself. While I piddled around with get-rich-quick schemes and telemarketing, I did bits of writing work on the side that I didn’t even know I could get paid for. When I did find out I could get paid for my written word I realized that’s what I wanted to do for my career.

Yet, the harsh truth (I quickly discovered) was that I wasn’t ready for it, and I had no idea what I needed before I jumped in head first. Talk about several years of epic fails and frustration before coming ahead!

To prevent you from experiencing my “mistakes,” I’d like to tell you the 17 ways to know that you’re ready to start a freelance writing business. It’s more than quitting your job and wanting it—you honestly need some serious know how.

Even if you only have a few of these, it’s enough to help you re-evaluate your current career situation.

Think you’re ready? Read on to discover if you’ve got what it takes to start and maintain a successful freelance writing business.

Jumping into a freelance writing businessblue-sky-692869

1. Your creativity feels cramped

Does your 9 to 5 seem to be hindering your ability to create?

Creating with words is a freeing experience. You’re rewarded with payment for your creative thinking and ability to put down your client’s message into engaging copy.

Clients enjoy writers who can think outside the box and improve upon current web copy or marketing materials. They want fresh materials and new ideas, even taking the same old idea and putting a new spin on it brightens their outlook and makes you look innovative.

2. You’re not afraid of prospecting

Do you find it easy to talk to strangers? Is it easy to introduce yourself as an asset? It should be.

Many freelancers that go into their own freelance writing business quickly discover that they have to contact businesses and companies for potential gigs. When they realize they have to talk to strangers, negotiate rates, and discuss projects, it turns them off fast.

It’s much less frightening than you think. A good way to view it is to see yourself as an asset to a company, and that you have ideas and strategies that can improve their current marketing efforts.

Besides, you won’t get far if you can’t talk to people about what you offer.

3. You can take criticism like a boss

In this business, you’re going to receive criticism—and a lot of it. But if you can take it without being offended or butt hurt about it, you’ll do fine.

Clients will always criticize your work, for better or worse. Some clients will love what you do and some will just hate it. Having the ability to accept constructive (and sometimes sharp) criticism to improve your content already puts you ahead of many other freelancers.

4. You’ve got all the tools you need

Got good internet, a reliable computer, and word processing software? If so, you’re that much closer to being all set to starting a freelance writing business.

If not, reliable internet in most cities can cost $15 for basic browsing and emailing. You’ll find that a decent laptop costs about $300. And there’s tons of word processing software you can use online without having to spend money on expensive word processing software. Here are just a few free ones to check out:

5. Your time management skills are impeccable

Never miss a deadline? Prepared days ahead? That’s a significant sign of a reliable and organized freelance writer.

You know how to plan ahead and stay on top of client deadlines. Clients love a freelancer who can deliver on-time or early. Plus, being organized helps your business run smoother.

6. You’re on top of your own deadlines

So you can keep client deadlines, but can you keep your own personal deadlines? If the answer is yes, then consider yourself well-prepared.

What I mean by “your deadlines” is anything you do on the side to improve your freelance writing business. Taking copywriting courses, doing marketing and prospecting, etc.

It can be trying to keep track of all your deadlines. But if you’re good with time management and maintaining client deadlines, you’ll have no problem keeping up with your own deadlines.

7. You’re set with a decent backup fund

If you have a sizable amount of funds saved up to keep you afloat while you put your freelance writing business into motion, you should be fine.

I can’t name a specific amount, because all incomes and budgets are different. Go through your monthly budget and calculate how much you spend. Your saved funds should be enough to keep you afloat for six months to a year.

Don’t do what I did! One of the biggest mistakes I made when I began my freelance journey was spending my back up funds on things I didn’t need. Keep your funds strictly for paying your bills—trust me, you won’t regret it.

8. You’re not desperate for income

You can skip this one if you’re all set with quantifiable funding. If not, keep reading…

Being desperate for income hurts your freelance writing business in two ways:

  1. You will easily burn out by taking any low-paying writing work.
  2. Clients can smell desperation—which makes you a bigger target for being used.

It’s frustrating and awful when you’re desperate or hurting for cash, and it doesn’t translate well in a freelance writing business. You need to be set with funding for your bills. If you have to, get a part-time job until your business takes off.

It doesn’t mean you’ve failed or you can’t do it when you take a part-time job. You want to do this right.

9. You can handle long periods of solitude

Can you handle long moments of silence and sitting at your PC researching, brainstorming, and writing? You can? Great!

You won’t be locked in a room to slave away—no! But, you’re okay working at home without any comradery of co-workers or the ever popular “Office Watercooler.”

This was a hard one for me, but I’ve learned ways to overcome it. Writing in a daily journal helps to make my writing journey easier.

Other ways to overcome this include:

  • Get an accountability buddy or group and chat weekly or bi-weekly.
  • Work at a co-office space.
  • Volunteer for a cause you believe in.
  • Just get out of the house once or twice a week.

10. You know marketing (Or you don’t, but you’re willing to learn!)

If you’re more than familiar with marketing, or have worked in marketing, you’ve got a BIG advantage already!

Most freelancers don’t understand that marketing is an essential part to making your freelance writing business successful. I mean, you can’t just “build it and they will come!” It doesn’t work like that.

Be prepared to reach out on social media, send out emails to new prospects (Not as scary as you think when done right!), and network regularly (in-person and online).

You have to market yourself in this business. Sitting at the side waiting for “them” to come will have you waiting a pretty damn long time.

11. You’re always eager to learn more

Don’t have a problem learning how to write marketing copy or understand headlines? Good! Because you will be constantly learning in freelance writing.

To be honest, it’s more than just learning about marketing and writing. You also have to learn how to negotiate with clients, how to set your rates, and how to do effective research. The learning never stops with a freelance writing business.

And, it’s kind of sad. I’ve seen freelancers become so worried that they don’t know how to write articles, blog posts, web copy, or how to market themselves let alone run a business, so they give up and go back to their regular job.

I’m not going to lie. It can be frightening, which is enough to discourage any aspiring writer. But as long as you’re willing to learn and do the work, you’ll make it.

So, be prepared to always be learning and improving yourself.

12. You have a network you can tap

From your previous job, even if you’re not previously a writer, you can hit up old colleagues and bosses.

You’d be surprised where you can get referrals. And by tapping into a network of people you’re familiar with, you’ll be on a better path to getting clients.

13. You’re ready to negotiate

Negotiation is common in freelance writing. If you have great negotiation skills, you won’t have any limits to what you can make financially.

In fact, I’ve learned from my mentors that big businesses are accustomed to negotiations. That’s just the way it is. Being able to negotiate puts you in a bigger pool of better clients and more attractive revenue. So if you got it, use it.

14. You’re passionate about a topic

Passion is only one facet to freelance writing. If you have passion, drive, and determination, you’re good to go. But, passion can help make your journey easier and much more enjoyable.

No freelance writer creates copy about stuff they dislike. Sure, you may come across great offers to write about certain topics, but don’t always take up offers with topics you can’t stand.

Like me, for example. I can’t write about cars. I love driving the hell out of some cars, but writing about them? No! I just can’t do it. But give me business, marketing, PCs, gaming, mobile devices, and health and pharmacy, and I’m in heaven.

So take projects that fall along the lines of your passion. But, if the offer is too good to pass up, take it!

15. You have industry experience

What did you do before in your previous job? Engineering? Pharmacy? Administration?

Believe it or not, all of these are useful experiences that will help you persevere in writing. Almost any topic can be written about—believe me. If you can write interesting copy on rain gutters, then you can write about anything.

Plus, having industry experience helps you become an authority in your niche. If you worked in pharmacy for years, even just one year, that will help you when you reach out to prospective clients. You know the industry lingo and how they operate.

No matter what you did in the past, leverage it to help you build your freelance writing business.

16. You don’t give up

You’ll get knocked down, rejected, passed on many times… and if you can get back up and go at it again, you’re solid.

Determination is a key personality to have for a freelance writing business. It takes lots of hard work and persistence to win freelance contracts, land great gigs, and make more money. You’ll learn what does and doesn’t work, so learn from your experiences. Failure is only true when you don’t try.

17. You have great support

Your family, friends, or spouse are all the support you need. If you have at least one of these, you’ll do great.

I used to think I didn’t need the support of anyone to be successful at my freelance writing business. But, I learned that wasn’t true.

Having support helps to boost your confidence that what you’re doing is right and that it will be successful. My parents, sisters, and husband, are my biggest supporters. They see my struggles and I often talk to them about my failures. It honestly helps to have a good support system to pick you up when you feel down or discouraged.

One of the BIGGEST tips I can give that helped me truly understand what I was doing, was that “I provide a service for businesses,” not just being a little nobody writer looking for a job.

You have to change your mind set about freelance writing. Remember, it’s not just you writing for money, you’re providing a service for businesses. One that only a few can do correctly.

When you think of it that way, it changes everything.

What helped you determine you were ready to start a freelance writing business? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Share it now!

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Author:Nida Sea

Since 2008 I've been creating content for clients large and small. My goal is to promote your company's brand. Your success is my success.

4 Responses to “Freelance Writing Business – 17 Positive Signs That Say You’re Ready”

  1. July 7, 2015 at 2:20 am #

    This is an amazing article Nida. Just awesome. You nail everything on the head. I’ll add ONE thing that you just do automatically…and well, for me…I’ve had to develop it: You have to be able to let EVERYTHING go quickly. In the two years I’ve been at this, when I think of the times where I’ve stumbled, or had setbacks, it’s because I’ve had personal things going on simultaneously and often times, I allowed the stress of them to hinder my writing. Some people…like YOU, can do this easily…and even help others do it. But for me, I’ve had to really, truly work on this and learn to release, compartmentalize, let go, forgive, etc. just so I can stay clear headed enough to be creative and write! Freelance writing is fun, stressful, challenging, hard, rewarding…and much more…but the bottom line, is that I get to be at home for my girls so it’s worth it. Thanks for a great article. : )

    • July 7, 2015 at 2:39 am #

      Hey Lynn!

      I’m glad you like it!

      You’re right, being able to let stuff go is another great point. If you hold onto it, it will just keep eating at you and hindering your productivity, and possibly your confidence. Yet, when life gets tough, it really can be hard to let stuff like that go. But, I’ve seen you work through it and come out on top! And yes, while freelance writing is undeniably tough, rewarding, stressful, and fun, it’s definitely worth it–especially being home with your kids. :D

      Thanks for your comments!

  2. August 23, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    Hi Nida! This is some solid advice. I didn’t realize so much about the marketing aspect when I first started, but wow! It’s really been a key factor in improving my business. Thanks for joining the linkup party this week!

    • August 23, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

      Hi Amanda!

      Marketing is definitely a big aspect of freelance writing. And like you, I didn’t know this either. It’s something that was a mystery to me, although I had done marketing for other companies in the past. But once I understood it, I began to make it work for me. I’m glad it’s helped you to improve your own business. And thanks again for the linkup party! Great idea to have for all bloggers and writers! :)