Looking back on my first year of freelance writing, I’m filled with both pride and humility. I’ve come a long way from the anxious writer I was when I started. I’m grateful for the challenges and successes of my first year because these helped me grow and develop my skills as a writer and run my freelance business

From finding my writing niche and honing my craft to navigating the business side of freelancing and building a network of peers, I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge that I’m eager to continue to apply to my work. As I move forward into the new year, I’m excited to continue growing my freelance writing career and share what I learned with other freelancers starting their journey.

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What I Learned in My First Year of Freelance Writing

Finding My Writing Niche

I quickly realized that I didn’t find my niche, but my niche found me. I will admit that I struggled a bit both creatively and financially at the start. If you’re struggling to find your niche as a new freelance writer, here’s what I recommend. Ask yourself the old question, “If money wasn’t an issue, what would I write about?” To succeed as a freelance writer, it is important to write about a subject you’re passionate about and knowledgeable about. At the start, that could be a list of what feels like endless things, which is completely fine! From there, you can start to niche down to a specific industry or choose to stick with a few.

Honing My Craft

Some of the books I read included the following:

Not only did this help me improve my craft, but it helped me discover the importance of being a lifelong learner. To succeed in any type of business, we need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements. But most importantly, we need to provide our readers with the best, most current information to help them solve their problems or meet their needs in a clear and concise way. 

Navigating the Business Side of Freelancing

Freelancing is both an art and a business. Freelancers need a creative side that allows them to brainstorm ideas and write articles that resonate and help their audience and their client’s target audience. However, the business side of freelancing requires learning a few skills, including laying a foundation, building a portfolio, finding clients, and learning cold pitching techniques. 

If we neglect the business side of freelancing, we won’t be able to stay in business very long. Perfecting our writing craft isn’t enough to stay afloat. Some other skills new freelance writers need to learn to do include how to bill clients, process payments, keep track of income and expenses, and set quarterly goals. If I hadn’t spent time learning how to run my freelance business, I would have failed before I even got started.

Building a Network of Peers

No matter how skilled you are, you can’t (and shouldn’t) do everything on your own. You need a network of peers who can help you succeed. Peers can give you advice, bounce ideas off them, and learn from their experience. 

I’ve also been able to build relationships with my editors and clients. These relationships have helped me find additional opportunities that helped me succeed in my first year as a freelancer. They’ve also helped me feel less isolated as a freelancer. Having peers to turn to for advice and support helps to stay sane through the downsides of freelancing.

Final Thoughts

I’ve learned that these three things are essential to long-term success as a freelancer. We need to remember that freelancing is a long game, and the only way to win is to keep growing, improving, and investing in ourselves.

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