There is only one way to be a professional freelance writer: Be a professional.
If you are going to break into freelance writing to earn money through your talent and skills, talk the talk and walk the walk. Act like a professional, think like a professional, write like a professional.
- Tell potential clients what you will do. Be exact and concise. Cover everything and provide all the details.
- Ask a question about the project. Show interest and that you have paid attention to what the client needs.
- Provide excellent customer service. Half of being a professional is the relationship you develop with the client. Answer emails and calls in the shortest delay possible, even if it means saying you will get back to the client later.
- Allow price negotiation. Clients often want to wheel and deal on rates, and this is acceptable. Know the limits though. Don’t keep dropping rates because you feel obligated. Some clients are very savvy at bargaining rates, so play along for a while, but remember that sometimes it is best to walk away.
- Keep clients involved by providing updates of where you are in their project. Stay in touch – even after the job is complete.
- Provide the best work possible. Cutting corners and rushing jobs makes for sloppy work and mistakes.
- Never be over-confident. There is always room for improvement and always something to learn. No matter how good you are, you’ll never be perfect.
- Ask the client for feedback, good or bad. Bad feedback isn’t a reflection of you, personally. Bad feedback is a good indicator of where you can improve your skills. Be gracious and thank a client for showing you what you need to work on.
- Let clients know that if they would like something changed, you are willing to revise your work. Writing is subjective; what one person thinks is fantastic, another doesn’t. Be prepared to revise your work to fit the client’s needs.
- Thank clients whether they decide to work with you or not. The fact they considered you as a potential service provider is something you should appreciate.
You may discover you’re not the best at negotiating or doing customer service. That doesn’t mean you should give up your hopes to be a professional freelance writer. Plenty of businesses work with teams of writers. They’ll handle the front-running; you handle the writing. It’s a win-win situation all around.