How to Survive in the Crowded Freelance Writing Marketplace

There’s no question that there are a lot of freelancers out there. Some people even wonder if there are too many freelancers.

In particular, there seems to be an awful lot of freelance writers. If you’re a freelance writer, you may be watching with concern as the news has leaked out that some of the largest online publications pay their writers very little (and some don’t pay at all). You may even be wondering if it is even possible to earn a living as a freelance writing anymore.

In this post, I’ll explain why it’s not only possible to survive–but also possible to thrive–as a freelance writer. I’ll list some of the reasons why freelance writing is still a good option. I’ll also provide some steps you can take to strengthen your own freelance writing business.

Why You Can Still Succeed as a Freelance Writer

When I look at the sheer number of freelance writers online, it would be easy to panic and wonder “how on earth could I possibly compete in such a crowded market?” But…that would be the wrong attitude entirely.

The fact is that I can still compete in this freelance writing market and so (probably) can you. Here’s why:

  1. Not everyone is in it for the long haul. Many people get involved in freelance writing because they think it’s a quick and easy way to make a few dollars. When they discover that there’s actually a lot of work involved, they disappear.
  2. Not everyone is reliable. It’s hard to believe that someone would go into business, promise something to a client, and then not deliver. But apparently, it happens all the time. (At least this is what my own clients tell me.)
  3. Freelance writing clients tend to be repeat clients. Unlike some freelance fields where a client only uses the freelancer once, freelance writing clients tend to have ongoing writing needs. The same handful of clients can keep you quite busy.
  4. Experience still counts. If you’ve got experience, you will be able to work more efficiently and write more effectively. You will also be able to discern which clients are real prospects and which ones are leading you on.
  5. Talent still counts. Not everyone has the same degree of talent. Sadly, some of the people who are claiming to be freelance writers don’t actually have a real grasp of how to communicate in writing.

Naturally if the negative points above don’t describe you, then you already have an advantage as a freelance writer. However, you can go further. You can actually strengthen your freelance writing brand and set yourself apart from other freelance writers.

How to Strengthen Your Freelance Writing Brand

Setting yourself apart from other freelance writers is a key part of how you will thrive in a crowded freelance writing marketplace.

Here are some steps to take to further set yourself apart:

  1. Understand how your writing business is special. Know what you do best so that you can explain it to your clients. Your business has something unique to offer to your clients. Find out what it is.
  2. Specialize. Writers who have specialized are often able to charge more for their services. It also makes it easier for them to target prospective clients.
  3. Have a website or blog. The best way for clients to find you is through your own site. Having a website shows that you are really serious about being a freelance writer.
  4. Consider the more lucrative writing fields of copywriting or business writing. While it’s nice to have a byline, it’s even nicer to get paid. Businesses have the money to pay and the need for writers.
  5. Socialize. Nearly every social media site is free to use (at least at its most basic level). Why not set up a few social media accounts to connect with prospects and clients?

In a crowded freelance writing marketplace, branding becomes more important than ever. If you aren’t actively working on your freelance writing brand, chances are your business is hurting.

Your Turn

Do you think the freelance writing marketplace has become too crowded? What tips would you give a new freelancer to help them stand out in the crowded freelance writing market?

Share your answers in the comments.

Image by Kiwi Flickr