Simple tips on succeeding as a service-based freelancer

Photo by Jill Wellington on

Welcome to the second Monday in April. We’ve had some nice weather lately. I scheduled an appointment to get a vaccination. The Toronto Maple Leafs are winning games. I expect some level of pain at the end of all of these events.

Random quote: How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of The Editor’s Desk.

How to succeed as a service-based freelancer

Success means different things to different people. Every freelancer – including writers – uses different criteria to determine when they have “made it” or when they can tell themselves they are doing well. I’ve put together a few strategies on being more successful as a freelance writer, as well as anyone who provides a service.

  • Offer what someone asks to pay you for – if you’re good at something, and someone will pay you to do that thing, then pitch your services for money
  • Choose a market to serve – become the best (or as good as you can be) at it
  • Create your own category – make your own niche
  • Forget about your ideas – leverage your assets
  • Turn competitors into collaborators – work with other freelancers to improve both your businesses
  • When you’re selling a service, you’re selling yourself – you are the product
  • Keep getting better at what you do – learn, study, practice, refine
  • Turn your clients’ problems into your problems – focus on your clients’ issues, understand them, and become an expert in solving them, which will make you better at what you do
  • When marketing, learn to optimize your conversations
  • Drive results for your clients – market their services and offerings
  • Be easy to refer – be very visible and collect social proof
  • Frame your services so that clients know what they are getting
  • Remove referral friction – ask for referrals when you complete a project
  • Ask for the sale and set a time limit – create a sense of urgency and be direct
  • Know your WHY – your reason will drive your business and your marketing

For more advice on the topic, check out these blog posts:

More from The Editor’s Desk

Here are a few articles and blog posts I found worth sharing.

  1. Spellcheck and your eyes alone don’t always cut it. You should hire an editor (like me). But if you don’t want to, check out Grammar checkers and editing tools from The Write Life to get a little techno help with editing your work.
  2. Whether you’re a newbie freelance writer or have years of experience, you’ll benefit from having someone spell out how to make money writing articles. Check out Getting paid to write articles from Make a Living Writing for a comprehensive series of steps on making more money as a freelance writer.
  3. Pictures are occasionally better than words, but pictures with words are even better. If you want to write more high-performing articles, then check out The content creation process in a flowchart from Orbit Media. Follow the boxes and lines – so nice.
  4. We all want to write faster to be more productive and to hit those deadlines. Check out How to write faster from SmartBlogger for a few strategies on increasing your writing speed.
  5. Great writing – and great art – comes from removing what does not belong, as well as including what needs to be there. Check out What to leave out and what to leave in from Austin Kleon for a lesson on addition and subtraction.
  6. When clients don’t come to you, it’s time to go out and find clients. Check out Creative places to look for new clients from Robyn Roste for a few ideas on how to add a few clients to your freelance roster.
  7. Marketing is an essential part of getting more clients for your business but many people don’t know how to do it or are not comfortable with it. Check out How to market yourself without marketing yourself from For the Interested for some ideas on how to improve your marketing efforts.
  8. I’ve read that writing blog posts on other people’s blogs is a good way to get more attention for yourself and your blog. If that’s something you want to do, check out Step-by-step guide to guest blogging from Content Marketing Institute for an easy-to-follow process.
  9. If you’ve written for agencies in the past, you’ve probably read a few briefs that were way too brief. Check out The ABCs of a great content brief from Content Folks; maybe you can pass the pointers on to some clients.
  10. I’m a generalist when it comes to writing, although I do write within a couple of niches. Finding the right niche can help writers be more productive and grow their business. Check out A process for finding your niche from Ungated for some ideas on how to find your niche.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is 


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