You may dream of being a successful freelance writer, but you’re not sure how to achieve that goal. Check out the blog of any writer, and you’ll find all kinds of advice. Some writers take one path to be successful while others go down a different road to achieve their goals. While they may not be right or wrong, those options won’t work for everyone. However, a few tips and tricks are at the core of every writer’s success.

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Tip 1 – Treat It Like a Business

For a successful freelance writing online career, you must look at it as a business. Set up an area to act as an office and keep your files and invoices in an organized manner. What this looks like will be different for every writer, but you must create a system that fits your style.

Keep the writing records separate from your personal records and expenses. It’s a good idea to even have a separate checking account to make it easier to track your income and expenses. While it may not seem like such a big deal when you’re starting out, it becomes very important as your business grows.

Tip 2 – Maintain a Schedule

You don’t have to work from 9 to 5 or even work 8 hours a day five days a week, but you do need a schedule. You’ll find you get more work done when you have a set time to write. You’ll probably discover that you are spending more than 40 hours a week on your writing, but you can expect those kind of hours when you’re just starting out.

One of the benefits of being a successful freelance writer is that you can have a flexible schedule, but it doesn’t mean you can work whenever you feel like it. If you try that approach, you’ll find you don’t get as much work done. Instead, set a routine for each day with set hours that you can change when you want a day off or have an appointment. Each day can have different hours, but you should have a schedule written down that you follow.

Another aspect of your schedule should be dividing your time in between writing, marketing and administrative tasks. Marketing will take up much of your time in the beginning of your career, but it should always be a priority. Administrative tasks include sending invoices or ordering supplies. They won’t take a lot of time, but you do need to include them or they’ll cut into your writing time.

Tip 3 – Seek Balance

While this tip is not directly related on how to have a successful freelance writing career online, it does play a specific part. You’ll find that you’re working more hours than you did at any traditional job. You probably won’t even mind it because you are your own boss. Even though this is just part of becoming a successful writer, you don’t want to neglect other parts of your life.

Make time for your family, your friends and yourself. You may discover that you even have to schedule it in to your day, but make it a priority. At the same time, let others know you do have a routine so they don’t come around or expect to visit during your work hours. If you want to maintain this career for the long-term, you have to create a schedule you can live with.

Tip 4 – Know How Much Money You Need

One of the first things writers must think about is how much they will charge. Rates vary based on the type of writing you do, the kind of clients you want and even the subject matter. One thing that is consistent across the board is the need to make enough money to live on. Only you can determine what the magic number is, but you need to take some time to do this before you begin writing for pay.

Figure your expenses and find any you can cut out or reduce to help you live on less while you are first starting out. Determine how much money you need to earn and set that amount as your first goal. You may decide to take on lower-paying work to meet that goal or work longer hours. As you gain new clients, you can begin working on raising your rates, so you can work less.

After you know how much you want to earn, decide how much you want to work. Maybe it’s only 20 hours a week and you want to earn $1000 a week. Now, you’ll know you need to earn $50 per hour to reach that goal. If you start out with less per hour, you’ll have to work longer, but you have something to work towards.

Tip 5 – Never Stop Marketing

You know you have to look for jobs when you’re just starting out, but many writers make the mistake of letting marketing slip off their radar as long as they have work. It’s only when they don’t have enough clients that they start to panic and search for any job. If you are marketing even when you’re busy, you’ll always have new jobs coming in.

You may worry about getting overwhelmed if you have a full schedule. To prevent this from being a problem, look for jobs at a higher rate of pay than what you’re earning. When you get a new job, you’ll have no problem deciding to take it. You’ll just have to decide how to fit it in or which other client to let go to make room.

While these tips won’t guarantee you’ll be a writer who makes a ton of money and only works a few hours a week, they do ensure you continue on the path to success. It’s possible to be a successful writer, but only if you have a plan that you are willing to follow.