Freelance Writer’s Survival Kit

If you’re a Bristol freelance writer (or from anywhere else) then this is for you.

It’s never been tougher to be a freelance writer. The market is under severe pressure and there are probably more freelance writers out there than ever.

Competition can breed contempt, but at Copywriting Bristol, we love all freelance writers, freelance content producers, and even freelance bloggers (remember them?).

We’ve been through some tough times as a business and as individuals. Here, our chief copywriter Lawrie Jones provides some common-sense tips that could help you survive as a freelance writer in 2020.

Counting the cost of Coronavirus

There’s no getting away from the only C-word that we find genuinely offensive. Whether you prefer that classic Coronavirus or the bold and badass COVID-19, it’s a word that will define this year, this decade, and perhaps even this generation.

If you’re a freelance writer, there’s little doubt that Coronavirus will have affected your fortunes. You may still have a healthy client base or have seen every single client drop away after March. Things may be getting better or still be bad. We don’t know, only you do.

What we do know, from years on the frontline of freelancing, is that being adaptable is key to survival. But being versatile doesn’t mean you should be a victim.

Here is a list of our tips for freelance survival.

Tip #1: Calculate what you need to survive

Work out the amount of cash you need per month, and set this as a target. It can seem daunting when you start from zero, but it helps to motivate you, and you’ll be pleased as you see the target being chipped away. It also helps to stay true as you battle with Tip 2…

Tip #2: Don’t reduce your price

There’s a temptation to reduce your day rate to snag jobs, but this can kick off a dangerous race to the bottom. Where will it end? You prostituting your services on Fiverr, that’s where.

If someone comes to you with a large project, then, of course, you can negotiate a fair rate, but stay principled with your pricing.

Tip #3: Be strategic, not scattergun   

As a young freelance writer, I developed a comprehensive list of places I’d look for work, editors I’d contact and magazines I wanted to write for (it was the olden day, when paper mattered).

Develop a strategy of searching for jobs or pitching to potential editors. I found an unsolicited email or pitch a day kept my landlord away until I built up enough contacts I could rely on for work. If you’re a Bristol freelance copywriter, here are some useful tips on how to find local jobs.

Tip #4: Put a spotlight on your speciality

Today, there are literally thousands of freelance writers looking for work, with everyone a “wonderful wordsmith” who can “craft compelling copy” and tell “stories that sell.”

While this all sounds great, they tell a potential customer too much about the who, and not enough of the why (cheers Simon Sinek). Don’t waste time telling people who you are, tell them why you’re the right person, and put a spotlight on your speciality.

Tip #5: Warm up old leads

Freelance writers are used to rejection, but a no yesterday may not be a no today. It’s easier to reheat old leads than to find new ones, so get in contact with old leads.

Don’t spend time crafting a lengthy email; just ask them whether they’re still looking for copywriting support, accepting pitches, or looking for a freelancer. This cuts through the shit, and if they’re as busy as we are, then they’ll appreciate the brevity.

Do you have any jobs for a Bristol freelance writer?

This is where it gets a little tricky because we’re asked this question daily. The reality is that our business has been affected like all others, and we’re currently able to manage all contracts in house.

If you want to learn more about how we deal with your emails (and yes, we do read them all), then take a look at our blog on the subject.

If you’re looking for a freelance writer, then our team can help. Let’s hope things return to some semblance of normality sooner rather than later. Let us know how you’re doing.

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