There’s never been a better time to be a freelance writer. The freelancer economy or gig economy – is booming. If you’re part of the thriving community of freelance writers, the world is your oyster. Opportunities are endless!
 
Advancing technology is making it easier for Freelance writers (especially with specialized skills) to find work.
 
Isn’t it true that anyone with a laptop and basic writing skills can quit their traditional 9-5 job to become a freelance writer?
 
Yes but not everyone will have a line-up of clients.
Anyone can become a freelance writer, but not everyone will succeed in this saturated industry. Click To Tweet
If you’re one of the high-earning, successful freelance writers, it’s because you figured out where to narrow your focus. And the extra skills most beneficial to work on. However, there are various other ways to stand out as a freelance writer and get a leg up on your competition. So if that’s your goal, I can give you lots of tips.
 
The top freelance writers are making six-figure incomes, enjoying the laptop lifestyle full or part-time. While some writers decided to keep their traditional jobs and only freelance on the side.
 
Reaching your full potential as a freelance writer is well worth it because then you can succeed in the gig economy. You can achieve the kind of financial independence and freedom you’ve always dreamed of.

Why Do Freelance Writers Love The Gig Lifestyle?

The plethora of perks is too many to list, but let’s discuss some of the benefits of this digital nomad lifestyle. With a continuous variety of ‘gigs’ from a variety of clients, freelance writers are able to piece together a full-time income, on their own schedule.

Freelance writers aren’t just doing this on their own time, though. They’re also doing it in their pajamas from home, or from a hotel rooftop in Florence with a view of the Duomo if that suits them better.

The gig economy involves continually completing short-term projects or “gigs” that are often high-paying in nature, especially for highly skilled freelance writers. 

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Freelancers get to avoid office politics and toxic workplace environments, while enjoying the freedom to work remotely, for clients of their choosing. It’s true that not all freelancers have the luxury of choosing their favorite clients.

In fact, some freelancers are scrambling to get any clients at all. However, if you learn how to stand out, you can thrive in the gig economy and choose only the highest paying or most interesting clients to work for.

With a continuous variety of ‘gigs’ from a variety of clients, freelance writers are able to piece together a full-time income, on their own schedule. Click To Tweet

What is The Current State of the Gig Economy?

The gig economy is growing like crazy. We’re witnessing a revolution. More and more traditional workers are feeling empowered to become free agents.
 
A 2017 study by Upwork estimates that freelancers in America contribute over $1 trillion to the U.S. economy. It is predicted that within the next decade, freelancers will become the U.S. workforce majority.
 
According to a freelance industry report provided by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, the average weekly hours spent freelancing increased by a whopping 72 million hours per week. Americans went from spending 998 million hours per week freelancing in 2015, to more than one billion hours per week of freelancing in 2018.

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This growth made many people speculate on whether the traditional employment model will eventually die out.
 
However, people stuck in dreary office jobs who are sick of office politics and horrible bosses do have options. They’ll have a way out – thanks to the rise of the gig economy.
 
The people working as traditional employees, who can no longer withstand the restrictions of being someone’s employee… Or who or feel underpaid will be able to walk away. They’ll be able to leave their traditional job more confidently, thanks to the gig economy.
Americans went from spending 998 million hours per week freelancing in 2015, to more than one billion hours per week of freelancing in 2018. Click To Tweet
Gallup’s research confirmed that at least 1 in 3 American workers in 2018 have a gig work arrangement in some capacity
 
Based on MetLife’s 2019 U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, the appeal of the gig economy threatens the traditional workplace model. The report points out that almost 30 million Americans get their primary income from gig work.
 
An additional 15 million workers supplement their traditional full-time income with freelance work on the side
 
The MetLife study confirms this. It found that approximately 49% of traditional employees who supplement their income with freelancing, plan on quitting their traditional job within the next five years, to become freelancers. Not being able to work remotely is the main reason why traditional workers want to quit. In other words, they want their freedom.
Not being able to work remotely is the main reason why traditional workers want to quit. In other words, they want their freedom. Click To Tweet

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Is The Freelance Writing Industry Oversaturated? 

There’s no doubt about it: The freelance writing space is saturated and competitive. The countless online platforms available to find freelance jobs online are only encouraging more people to become freelance writers. These popular freelancing platforms include sites like Upwork, Freelancer, Toptal, and Fiverr – just to name a few.

Freelance writers go on these platforms to find work, and most of these online communities have both low and high-paying jobs. You’d be surprised by the low pay some writers accept on these platforms. Generic freelance writers get paid as low as $25 per blog post or article and don’t tend to get paid much more than $100 per article. 

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Freelance writers who have a niche expertise such as copywriting, SEO writing knowledge, or an impressive skill stack, earn more. It’s these freelance writers who can earn a real living. They can charge their clients over $500 per article or per page of copy.

Do you want to make a real living as a freelance writer? The best thing you can do is learn how to stand out. Find a niche to specialize in, keep stacking skills, and learn up-to-date skills so that you can keep up with modern demand.

Skills training courses will give you an advantage over your competition. The industry may be saturated, but not all freelance writers are smart enough to upgrade their writing skills to align with modern demand.

Skill Stacking: Stand Out by Becoming a Full Stack Writer 

Skill stacking is when freelance writers acquire additional skills that pertain to, complement, and add value to, their primary skill of writing. It’s not about accumulating a random collection of skills. It’s about strategically learning complementary skills, that together, can make you unstoppable. 

Skill stacking is when freelance writers acquire additional skills that pertain to, complement, and add value to, their primary skill of writing. Click To Tweet

Skill stacking is required if a writer wants to become a full-stack writer. A full-stack writer is a writer with a stack of skills that allows them to charge top dollar because they offer the ultimate value to their clients.

Freelance writers who are full stack writers often consider themselves part storyteller, part journalist, and part researcher – with the additional skills of copywriting, copyediting, marketing, and SEO.

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A full-stack writer is a writer with a stack of skills that allows them to charge top dollar because they offer the ultimate value to their clients. Click To Tweet

Example of a freelance writer skill stack:

  • Content Writing
  • Content Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • SEO Copywriting
  • Copyediting
  • Closing

Why is skill stacking important if you want to stand out and succeed? Each additional skill you acquire or ‘stack’ increases your odds of succeeding in the competitive gig economy. You can use your amassed skills as leverage to close high ticket offers.

Each additional skill you acquire or ‘stack’ increases your odds of succeeding in the competitive gig economy. You can use your amassed skills as leverage to close high ticket offers. Click To Tweet

You can charge your clients more money once you’ve learned more skills. You’ll also add significantly more value to your offer if you’ve acquired these skills. What is your current skill stack? How much value do you currently offer your clients? What are some additional, complementary skills you can acquire to close more prospects? Think about this.

Freelance writers who have been strategic about their skill stacking will agree with this: Learning the right set of complementary skills can make you invaluable to the marketplace.

Ultra-successful writer Scott Adams (creator of the famous Dilbert comic) calls this a talent stack. He says, “Successwise, you’re better off being good at two complementary skills than being excellent at one.” 

Narrow Your Focus and Learn Copywriting

When I tell freelance writers that they should narrow their focus, I mean a few different things by this. I’m saying that you should find a niche to specialize in, and also find a type of writing to specialize in, such as copywriting. 

Copywriting is an extremely lucrative skill that is in very high demand. When generic freelance writers decide to become copywriters, they tend to start making a lot more money. Why? Because copywriting is a high-income skill. Copywriting is a high-demand skill, especially in today’s economy. In today’s digital economy, online businesses require great copywriters to succeed.

Dan Lok's Persuasion Secrets

SEO Copywriting: The Added Advantage

If you learn the high-income skill of copywriting, you don’t have to stop there…

SEO copywriting is an advanced form of copywriting and is in high demand. It contains targeted keyphrases or keywords searched on search engines such as Google.

Taking your copywriting skills to the next level will give you the opportunity to charge more.
 
When you become an SEO copywriter you have the ability to rank higher, get more views and more sales.
 
Ultimately, helping you stand out in the gig economy.

Learn From The Best: Find a Mentor

Whatever it is you want to learn – whether it’s SEO or copywriting or content marketing – find a mentor. Learn from someone who knows their stuff. Mentors are great because they’ll tell you about the mistakes they’ve made in the past so that you don’t make the same mistakes. They’ll also teach you strategies and principles that it took them years to learn. 

I wouldn’t be where I am today without my mentor, Alan Jacques. He taught me the high-income skill of copywriting. Alan didn’t just teach me how to become a copywriter, though. He also taught me several unique copywriting exercises that helped me become a master copywriter.

Many of these exercises were things I never would have thought of trying. But they worked. This is why it pays to learn from the best.

Use the Blue Ocean Strategy to Find Uncontested MarketSpace

How innovative of a person are you? How badly do you want to succeed in the gig economy? Those who want success badly enough, create ‘blue oceans’ of uncontested market space. It’s these freelancers who identify areas of no competition in the marketplace. Can you think outside the box?

In the book Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne coined the terms ’red ocean’ and ‘blue ocean’ to describe the difference between the saturated and overly-competitive marketplaces versus the marketplaces not yet explored, and therefore untainted by competition. 

Freelance writers possess the ability to capture new markets. Perhaps you’ll discover a blue ocean in the form of a specific industry that could benefit from the services provided by freelance writers, yet they don’t typically use writers. If you start pitching those specific companies – the ones freelance writers don’t typically think to pitch – you’ve created your own blue ocean.

We can imagine all of the freelance writers who own their own blog as a prime example of how the blue ocean strategy works. Blogs that are extremely niche and extremely unique are blue oceans, capturing readers with the type of content that is hard to come by.

Blue oceans symbolize an opportunity to stand out and do what nobody else is doing. So, if you have an interesting idea for a niche blog, and nobody else has a blog about it, you’re off to a good start.

If you’re innovative enough to successfully implement the blue ocean strategy, what does this mean for you? It means you can create demand, and dominate the market space you’ve created. 

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Communicate in a Professional and Respectful Manner

Do you know what else makes you stand out?
 
Respect.
 
Many freelancers communicate with their clients in an abrasive, rude, dismissive, flippant, unprofessional, or disrespectful manner.
 
This is the result of being their own boss and feeling stressed or overwhelmed with their workload. They will become be short with their clients or send rude emails and messages.
 
Some clients will tolerate unprofessional or impolite communication if the freelancer producing results. However, if you’re a freelancer who wants to succeed in a competitive gig economy, you’ll need a good reputation.
 
How you communicate with clients can make or break your reputation.
 
Communicating in a polite, professional, and respectful manner – even when you’re stressed or annoyed with your client is a great way to build a good reputation.

How to communicate with clients?

First of all, always address your clients’ concerns. You need to practice empathy, instead of getting defensive. If you make a mistake or miss a deadline, take accountability and apologize.

The simple act of sending your client an apology, where you acknowledge what you’ve done wrong, has a huge impact on your client. They’ll think of you as a professional if you do this, and they’ll have more respect for you.

Another thing to remember when you’re communicating with clients is to be agreeable. If you don’t agree with some of the criteria they’ve laid out in your most recent assignment. Simply agree to do it anyway, and remain positive about the assignment, you’ll stand out in a great way.

When it comes to communication, you’ll stand out if you’re pleasant to communicate with, and you don’t give much push-back. Remember that clients like to feel heard, so always acknowledge what they have asked of you. Reassure them that you can get it done.

Don’t forget that most of the time, your client does have other options. There are other freelancers with your skillset out there, and if you are being disagreeable, argumentative, or impolite – they can replace you.

freelancing secrets

Be Responsive and Punctual

We discussed how important communication is if you want to stand out in a competitive gig economy. But good communication doesn’t just mean being polite and professional. It also means being prompt and responsive. Being responsive is especially important, so make a point of responding to client emails and messages promptly. 

Many freelancers leave clients hanging if they don’t know the answer to a question yet. Believe me, it’s better to send a quick response such as, “Let me check and get back to you” rather than leaving your client hanging.

A professional will at least acknowledge the question, even if they don’t have the answer yet. For example, do you know what freelance writers who have an overdue article for a client often do? They’ll ignore their client’s request for an ETA if they’re unsure of how much more time they need.

Instead of leaving your client on ‘read’, explain that you’re not sure how much more time you need. Saying that you’re unsure is better than saying nothing.

If you always respond to emails and messages quickly. If you’re always completing your work on time, you’ll gain a good reputation as punctual.

Add Extra Value and Offer Something Unique

See what other freelance writers in your niche are offering their clients, and then offer something extra. Offer your clients some extra form of value that other freelancers aren’t typically offering their clients. You can easily figure out what your competitors are offering by scoping them out as though you are potentially hiring. See what they offer, and one-up them by offering more. 

Back when I was new at freelance copywriting, one of the ‘extras’ I offered my clients was customer interviews. I contacted some of their existing customers and got feedback from them. This helped me understand my audience (the customers) better, which made me a better copywriter.

My clients loved this extra service. This was something other freelance copywriters weren’t doing. Whenever I took the time to get direct feedback from existing customers, I stood out to my clients and prospects, because this practice was recognized as going above and beyond.

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Get Into The Mind of Your Clients

The best freelance writers are the ones who are able to see things from their clients’ perspectives. If you can get into the mind of your client, and understand what they find most valuable, you can communicate your offer in a way that entices them. In other words, by speaking their language, you can close more high ticket offers.

Freelance writers will stand out if they’re able to adopt a client perspective and understand what the desired outcome is for their client. 

Some freelance writers simply write a quality piece of content on the topic assigned, mistakenly thinking that this is their sole job. Top freelance writers understand what the purpose of that piece of written content is. They understand, for example, that the purpose of their article about the dangers of sun exposure is to sell their client’s sun protection products.

Learn How to Pitch Clients

Lastly, you must learn how to sell yourself. If you’re going to succeed and stand out in the competitive gig economy, in an industry as saturated as freelance writing, you’ll have to learn how to pitch clients.

You need to learn how to get a prospect interested in hiring you. You could start by reading how to deliver a sales pitch without pissing people off. If you still aren’t sure you can pull it off, then check out my Perfect Closing Script below.

The Perfect Closing Script

My personal advice for pitching clients in an oversaturated industry is to create an irresistible offer. The question is, who do you offer your services to? A company with money. When I first started copywriting, back in the day, I looked to see which businesses were spending the most money on ads in the Yellow Pages.

I looked at who was buying expensive half-page or full-page ads and called those companies.

My irresistible offer was this: I told businesses I’d rewrite their ad so that it would convert better. I told them that there’s no point spending all that money on an ad if the people reading it aren’t convinced to take action. I strategically found ads that I confidently felt I could improve.

My promise – my irresistible offer – was that if my tweaked copy didn’t increase their revenue, they didn’t have to pay me. What I did worked, and that’s how I started making six figures as a copywriter.

Summary

There’s no better time to be a freelance writer. The gig economy is thriving, and more and more businesses are hiring freelancers instead of traditional employees. 

Anyone with a laptop and basic writing skills can become a freelance writer, but not everyone will succeed in this saturated industry. Here’s how you can stand out, land more clients, and make more money as a freelance writer:

  • Skill Stacking. Skill stacking is when freelance writers acquire additional skills that pertain to, complement, and add value to, their primary skill of writing.
  • Narrow Your Focus and Choose a Specialty. Choose a niche or a specialty to focus on, and become an expert at that.
  • Learn Copywriting. Copywriters are in high demand, and this is a skill you should learn.
  • Learn SEO. Freelance writers and freelance copywriters who understand SEO can charge more money.
  • Find a Mentor. You need to learn new skills from the right people. Learn from the best.
  • Use the Blue Ocean Strategy. The Blue Ocean Strategy is when you find a space without competition, where you can create the demand yourself.
  • Communicate With Clients in a Polite, Respectful, and Professional Manner.
  • Be Responsive, Prompt, and Punctual.
  • Offer Extra Value.
  • Get Into The Mind of Your Clients. Figure out exactly what they want from you, and why.
  • Learn How to Pitch Clients. Offer them something so irresistible, they can’t say no.