Standing Out in a Crowded Freelance Marketplace

Illustration of a top writer focusing on standing out as a freelancer.

There’s no denying it: Freelance writing is all the rage these days. More and more writers are discovering the advantages of working for themselves, choosing their own assignments, and earning money being creative. Moreover, the internet allows freelance writers to connect and communicate with their employers faster and more efficiently than ever before. There’s probably never been a better time to be a freelance writer.

With this growing popularity, however, comes a dilemma: How do you make yourself stand out in such a crowded marketplace? If you want to ensure that you aren’t lost in the shuffle, there are a number of tactics you can employ to boost your visibility:

Answer emails promptly.

Illustration of the importance of timely email responses.There may be times when you need to take a phone call, but much of the time, you’ll be communicating with your clients via email. Try to get in the habit of answering emails as soon as possible during regular business hours, particularly if they involve a story you’re working on. The more reliable an email correspondent you are, the safer your client is likely to feel when working with you. Here’s the good news: It’s not tough to stand out in this area. According to one study, the average response time to an email was no fewer than 23 hours.


Always meet your deadlines.

Illustration of a celebratory calendar with a met deadline.If there’s any one thing you can do to endear yourself to an editor, it’s this: Turn in your work on time—or even before the deadline, if possible. Most editors are working on a tight schedule. If they don’t have your article in front of them when they need it, it may be a major inconvenience. Plus, if your client knows that they can always rely on you to have your assignments in on time, they’re much more likely to think of you when they need work in the future.


Have your contracts ready.

Illustration of prepared contracts.It’s a smart idea to have a basic template for a contact ready to give to every client you work with. Make sure that the contact is straightforward, easy to read, and includes everything you need from a legal perspective, such as a confidentiality agreement. You should also make sure that the contract can be signed easily with as little effort as possible. Having a good template available will speed up the freelancing process. This will also help to ensure that you get paid in a timely way.


Don’t be too inflexible with your pricing.

Illustration with a slinky being flexible between price points.If you’re finding it difficult to find clients at the start, you might want to think about whether you’ve set the right prices for your services. While you should set fair prices for your work, you also don’t want to inadvertently price yourself out of a job that could have been valuable for you. If you’re just getting started as a freelance writer, it’s a good idea to be more flexible with the prices you’re willing to accept for your work.


Stick to your own high standards.

Illustration of a happy writer.What’s the most important difference between the most successful freelancers and all the rest? If you answered “quality,” you’re right. It’s easy to find freelancers who are willing to do work. However, it’s not necessarily so easy to find writers who can produce well-researched, well-written copy. As such, you should try to never submit anything for publication that doesn’t measure up to your own standards for good work. You should also keep your own standards as high as possible. While no article will ever be perfect, you should still aim to do the best job possible every time you work on an assignment.


Proof your work before sending it.

Illustration of the process of revising.If there’s anything that’s guaranteed to frustrate an editor, it’s submitting an article that is littered with typos—or, worse, factual errors. That’s why it’s so important to fact-check and proofread your work carefully before you send it off to be published. Do this with every draft you send. Be sure to give yourself as much time as possible before your deadline. If possible, you may want to have a trusted friend give your work a read before you send it—an objective eye is likely to be more accurate. You should even reread emails before sending them. You’d be surprised how much a clean, well-written email can make you stand out in a client’s inbox.


Be proactive about coming up with ideas.

Illustration of the process of brainstorming writing ideas.In many cases, your clients will already have ideas for stories that they want you to write. Much of the time, however, they won’t. Being a successful freelance writer isn’t just about writing; it’s also about ideas. If you’re serious about freelancing, don’t just rely on other people to hand you ideas. Instead, get in the habit of developing them on your own. As a bonus, people tend to be more enthusiastic about the ideas we come up with ourselves. This means that these ideas are likely to result in better work!


Work to make yourself a better writer.

Illustration of a strong arm holding a pencil.If you really want to thrive in the freelance world, you can’t just rely on the same skills and knowledge that you already have. You need to be learning new things and developing new skills as much as possible. Try writing different types of content, and experiment with different styles. Dive into the subjects that interest you and make yourself an expert on them. Get into subjects that you know nothing about and give yourself a crash course in them. The more knowledgeable you are, after all, the more flexibility you’ll enjoy as a writer.


From our online portfolio to our comprehensive video library, Writers Work is here to provide you with the tools, training, and resources you need to get an edge in the fast-paced world of freelance writing. Whether you’re interested in becoming a full-time freelancer or just picking up some writing gigs on the side, our site is a great place to get started. If you’d like to learn more about us, visit our website and watch our introductory video!

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