All in business of freelancing
Freelance medical writing is a money-making specialty that’s interesting and offers plenty of work. And even better, you don’t need experience to get started. If you love to write and can understand health and medicine, you can become a freelance medical writer. That’s exactly what happened to American writer Lori De Milto when she started out as a medical writer — within 18 months, she was making six figures.
It’s a hectic time of year and if you’re anything like me, you don’t really want any new emails lobbing into your inbox at the moment. So I hope you’ll excuse the indulgence, but I thought I’d write a round-up post, of what I think are 10 of the most valuable blog posts I’ve written over the past two years.
I have never been a runner. In fact, I’m not really a huge fan of exercise in general. My relationship with exercise has always been sporadic – I’ve played tennis, gone swimming, done a couple of years when I was really into spin classes, dabbled in yoga, but apart from a three month stint when I was 15, I’ve never been a runner. But recently I took up running and had an epiphany that changed the way I look at my business.
There’s a lot to think about when you start working with a new client. It’s imperative that you have a clear brief, a detailed scope of work and set deliverables. I’ve found that if you don’t have these from the outset, a productive and stress-free working relationship can be very difficult to achieve. By having an established project intake process, you’re much more likely to get the information you need and be able to judge if the project is a good fit for you.
One of the keys aspects of being a successful freelance writer is diversifying. While that may sound like spreading yourself thin, in fact it’s the opposite. Diversifying means that if one part of your business (like writing for a particular client or magazine) takes a dive, it’s only going to cause a small ripple. But diversification is much more than how many clients you have or the type of writing you do – it’s a whole way of looking at your business, guaranteeing (as much as you can) that you’re not going to be a freelance flash in the pan.
I am such a fan of podcasts - in fact, I think the podcast app on my iPhone is the one I use most. I don’t think you can underestimate the power of a podcast - it was listening to Ed Gandia’s podcast that made me realise I could make a living from being a freelance writer. In March 2017 I wrote a post about the four podcasts that I believed every freelance writer should listen to, but two of the podcasts I recommended don’t release new episodes any more, so it’s time for an update.
I am definitely not someone who nerds-out on the newest freelance writing apps or writers' organisational tools, but I have to say, there are a lot of super helpful (and easy to use) tools that can make a freelance writer's life so much easier. In this post I've rounded up the best tools I've found for freelance writers - I use them all and they have saved me time, money or a mental breakdown (and at times, all three).
In the last eight months, I have coached over 30 different freelance writers. I've worked with writers in person, over Skype, and from all over the world including Australia, the USA, France, the Philippines and Mexico. I wasn't 100 per cent sure about becoming a freelance writing coach, but it's become one of my favourite parts of the job. Many writers I coach aren't making the income they want, so I think it's imperative that if you are going to pay for professional support, that you get the most out of it.
We've all heard that content is king. Nearly every business has a website and in order to creep up the Google rankings content needs to be updated regularly. Blog posts are an ideal way of doing that and many companies are looking for freelance writers and copywriters to pen their posts and other content, such as newsletters or EDMs. So what do you need to put in a proposal to give yourself the best chance of landing a content writing gig?
You know that saying about how you make your own luck? Well, it turns out it's true. And it's not through vision boards or manifesting (although I do know people who swear by them), but by applying a few principles that have been scientifically proven. I know this all sounds a bit woo-woo, so let me explain how freelance writers can enhance their luck (and how it's worked for me).
Here’s the thing. There is one simple factor behind almost every successful freelancer. I’m yet to meet a freelance writer (or any freelance professional) whose business is thriving, who doesn’t have this thing. It’s not a tool or a qualification. It’s a quality. A characteristic. Something that you can hone and tune. Do you know what it is?
What does it look like to be a full time freelance writer? I documented the ins and outs of my last week of work for this post - and it's less 4-hour work week and more 40-hour work week (minus a few hours). But despite the seemingly regular 'office hours', freelancing is anything but regular.
When I started freelance writing, I was doing it as a side hustle. I was working two days a week as a social worker and also completing my PhD. Feature writing for magazines and newspapers was fun and thrilling, but until the start of this year I never looked at it like it was a business. Now I’m a full time freelance writer and I am so proud of my micro-enterprise. I get such a sense of satisfaction when I see articles published with my byline and the money (eventually!) land in my bank account.