There are basically only two ways to build your career as a freelance writer.
There are many different kinds of freelance writing work you can do. But if you’re starting out as a freelancer — or trying to get your writing career to the next level — there are really only two approaches you can take.
You can figure it out on your own.
From my own experience, I’d say this is accomplished mostly through doing it wrong the first time. You learn the hard way that you don’t want to write without a contract, for instance.
You can scrabble around for years until you luck into one better-paying client. Get ripped off by scam websites. Get paid $5 an article, not realizing that’s not a fair wage. Get stuck with low-paying gigs where you can’t seem to raise rates.
Or do all your writing for one website, never realizing that one day that well could dry up, like we’re seeing right now with Demand Studios.
It can take years to find a good-paying niche or two, and start getting quality job leads.
Or you can pour accelerant on your career.
There is a shortcut to earning well as a freelancer.
You can get advice from somebody who’s already been there, who can point out the potholes and show you the roads that most likely will lead to better gigs.
How do you do that?
It takes a willingness to search for information. To find mentors. A willingness to listen and learn.
Here’s the reality: If you want to go faster, you’ll need to invest in your writing career.
As with any startup business, the initial phase of your freelance writing business will require spending some cash to ramp it up. But if you know you write well, you can be fairly confident that initial investment will pay off down the road in much higher earnings.
In college, when you wanted a fast way to get the gist of your 800-page assigned novel, what did you do? You bought the Cliff’s Notes version, right?
You spent money to get there faster.
It works the same way with mastering the freelance-writing game. You can buy a slice of knowledge that will jump you over a lot of hurdles and save you tons of time.
How much is your time worth to you? Personally, I consider mine terrifically precious. What would it be worth to you to earn well within the next year, instead of five years from now?
In my view, it’s really worth investing a little to get there faster.
But I know everyone doesn’t see it that way.
When I tell people they should buy The Writer’s Market to find more good-paying publication leads, I can almost see their eyes rolling over the Internet.
Spend $50 on my career? But I’m broke!
The problem is, with that attitude, you’re likely to stay broke, too.
If you want to ramp up your earnings quickly, you’ll need help. Otherwise, it’s the slow train to success for most freelancers.
Often, that train is so slow you have to throw in the towel and look for a day job instead. Wish I had a dime for every would-be writer I’ve met who started out wanting to write, but got scared and gave it up. Then, a decade or two later they’re back to try again, having concluded they were killing their souls by not going for it.
Why not go for it now, and live the life you really want?
My shortcut solution is the Freelance Writers Den.
It offers a boatload of accelerant for freelance writers for just $25 a month — no obligation, leave whenever you like.
I keep stuffing more learning in there, too — four new live events every month, for instance.
Oh yeah — and I added a new expert. Renegade Writer author and blogger Linda Formichelli is the new Other Den Mother, coming aboard in November.