The Benefits of Being a Generalist as a Freelance Writer

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When writers start freelancing for the first time, they are often surprised, if not overwhelmed, by just how many different kinds of jobs are out there. There are clients who need a freelance writer for a one-off project, clients who are looking for someone to write for them on a consistent basis, and clients who have one project that leads to another that leads to another. Some people are looking for freelance writers to write press releases, others want a freelance writer who can write a technical paper, and still other clients need a freelance writer to pen blog posts.

With all of these different kinds of writing jobs available, no two days as a freelancer have to be the same. Write blogs about cooking on Monday, put together a press release for a tire shop on Tuesday, and spend Wednesday writing a B2B white paper and keep changing things up as you add new clients to your roster. Being this kind of freelance writer is usually referred to as being a generalist. Some freelance writers prefer to focus on being niche writers, which means that they focus on writing about just one topic, and while there is nothing wrong with either approach, you don’t have to dive headlong into a niche to build a career. Here is a look at some of the reasons that being a generalist is a good fit for a number of writers.

Build Up a Strong Portfolio

Many generalists are experienced writers who have been freelancing for years and have had extraordinary success with their businesses. However, if you are a beginner, being a generalist is a great fit, because it lets you build up a writing portfolio quickly. As a generalist, you will be doing work for a huge variety of clients, and that will help you build up a huge variety of samples. After a few months of being a generalist, you may be surprised to discover how many different kinds of writing samples you have in your portfolio, from blog posts to long-form essays. Each of these pieces will help you approach a different kind of client.

Growing your portfolio is often a challenge for new freelancers, and many people end up writing spec pieces just so that they have something to show in different formats. As a generalist, you can tackle this problem easily and reduce the amount of time you spend writing spec pieces, so you can focus on getting paid.

Get More Clients

One of the problems of being a niche writer is that the clients are also niche. By definition, there is only a narrow group of them, which means that it can be more difficult to find the jobs and clients that fit into your writing niche. As a generalist, your doors are open to all kinds of clients, so you’ll get more of them.

If you are open to doing most kinds of freelance writing, then you will find that you are spoiled for choice when it comes to jobs. As a generalist, you can write about anything, and you can write in a variety of formats. You won’t be forced to skip over job post after job post because you don’t like the topic or don’t write in the requested format. You’re a writer for hire, period, and every client is a potential client for you.

Create a Reputation for Research

Generalist freelance writers aren’t people who simply know about everything. Instead, they are writers who are capable researchers, so they find the information that they need to complete a piece. In fact, you simply can’t be a generalist writer if you aren’t a good researcher, no matter how broad your knowledge base is. Eventually, you will bump into a topic that you need to learn more about before you can complete an assignment.

If you’re a generalist, it tells clients that research is something that you do well. It can help you stand out, even if you’re competing with writers who have experience with the subject matter. Clients know that they can trust experienced generalists to delve into a topic and get the information that they need to make the finished content sound polished, authoritative, and current.

Keep Things Interesting

From the perspective of a writer, being a generalist has the benefit of being fascinating. Sure, you can deep dive into a niche, but ultimately, you’re going to be turning out the same content over and over. As a generalist, every day is different, so you’ll never get bored with the work that you are doing. Changing things up helps to battle some of the common issues that affect freelance writers, including writer’s block and concentration issues, since learning new information and tackling new challenges keep things interesting.

That doesn’t mean that you’re going to love every topic you write about as a freelance writer. You may find out that you really hate writing about cars, skincare, smartphones, dog grooming, or one of the countless topics that come across your desk. That’s OK, because it is still part of the process of building your freelance writing business, and it still shakes up your day and gives you something new to cover. Since you have access to the largest number of clients available as a generalist, you can easily skip over jobs that you know you won’t like, without fear that not taking on a dreaded project will leave you without any other options for work.

Whether you want to focus on one type of work or cast your net wide as a freelance writer, Writers Work has the tools you need to get the job done. Our Job Finder brings job listings from across the web, as well as our own exclusive listings, to one place, so you can search available work conveniently, and our Writer’s Marketplace lets clients come directly to you. Start your membership today and watch your career grow.

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