Thanks to some very wise veteran freelancers and a host of bloggers, I've learned a slew of helpful information over the past year. Below is a list of some of the best advice I've received (or read about):
1. Say yes to everything. So you’ve accepted a project and you’re not totally clear on how to do it. Don’t tell your client this. Say yes and do your research—you’ll figure it out as you go along. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to enhance your knowledge.
2. Market, market, market. Think of everyone you meet as a possible client. Carry business cards. Make every effort to connect and stay connected with people. Keep your name out there.
3. Charge what you think you’re worth. One of the best things about freelancing and being your own boss is setting your own rates. As your knowledge and expertise grows, your rates will, too.
4. Follow up. With editors, clients, and anyone you meet at a networking event. You'd be amazed at how many people don't take the initiative and wait for the other person to contact them. Make the first move. You never know where the next opportunity might come from!
5. Simultaneous submissions are not a bad thing. You know that old saying about “putting all of your eggs in one basket”? Yeah. Don’t.
6. Get half of the payment up front. This is especially true for clients rather than editors (who are usually pretty good about paying their writers). Just in case the client's budget comes up a bit short, at least you'll have something to show for your efforts.
7. It’s all material. Ideas, markets, and sources are virtually all around you. The trick is to recognize a good idea, market, or source when you see one.
8. Make your to-do list your best friend. List everything you need to get done in a certain amount of time—whether it’s hourly, daily, or weekly. It’ll keep you on track and make you feel less overwhelmed.
9. You can write for a trade pub even if it’s not your trade, per se. I just landed my first trade assignment, and I’m certainly not in that industry! You can pitch any market if you tailor your idea enough.
10. Always keep learning. I’ve never not gotten something out of a conference, workshop, or course that I’ve taken. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of others, either—freelancers are nice people!
What about you? What are you thankful to have learned?
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!