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8 Special Skills You Need to be a Better Freelance Writer

What is a freelance writer?

This is a basic question yet how I wish I knew the answer two or three years ago. I would not be too overwhelmed of the amount of responsibility and preparation I need to invest to become a freelance writer.

Freelance writing lets you work from home or anywhere as long as you have a laptop and reliable internet connection. You can have job flexibility in a sense that you can work in variety of projects offered by publications, small agencies, and even Fortune 100 companies.

Does a gig drop on your inbox like a hot potato? Sad to say—and forgive me for crushing your dreams of working in a white sand beach—it doesn’t work that way. As Forbes aptly puts it, to become a successful freelance writer it “involves lots of work and some lean times before you achieve a good income.”

Lots of work means you are more than just a writer. You must take the following roles or jobs to land freelance writing gigs.

Project Manager

Job Description: The person in charge of a specific project or projects within a company. As the project manager, your job is to plan, budget, oversee and document all aspects of the specific project you are working on. — Snagajob.com

You are required to talk with your clients or hunt for prospects. Expertly juggle different clients and deadlines on your hand. Write an “air tight” contract to avoid being taken advantage of. Negotiate your freelance rates. You must be a sweet-talker, charmer, and diplomatic negotiator all-in-one.


Job Description: Prepare and examine financial records. They make sure that records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. — All Business Schools

Ugh. That’s why I chose to be a writer, I hate crunching numbers!

I feel you, dude. Sad to say, you have to—no, let me rectify that—you are required to do it. Who will oversee late paying clients? Who will handle the bills, the taxes, the invoices?! It is no other than you.

Customer Service Representative

Job Description: Assists with complaints, orders, errors, account questions, billing, cancellations, and other queries. — America’s Job Exchange

Hmm, sounds like what you’re always doing, right? This is self-explanatory and I do not want to put you into tears. 🙂

Blog/Website Designer/Developer

Job Description: Creates the look, layout, and features of a website or blog. — Study.com

Whose website? Whose blog? Yours, of course. It is your virtual space on the internet that you wholly-owned where you can showcase your writing abilities. Your website or blog must be user-friendly and pleasing to the “scanner’s” eyes. You should know some basic website design tips to get you started creating your own blog site.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Specialist

Job Description: Measures a client’s website against business goals and finds ways to improve page views through SEO. An SEO specialist is fully engaged with driving web pages traffic and converting visitors to customers. — Artisantalent.com

This is another technical aspect of being a freelance writer who wants to create a blog. It is true that you must write high-quality, informative and engaging articles. At the same time, you must optimize your blog to be able to rank it at the first page of search engines. The higher the rank, the more searchable it is.

Graphic Designer

Job Description: Create visual concepts, by hand or using computer software, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, or captivate consumers. — Truity.com

Sometimes the images at free stock photo sites are limited or do not suit your taste. You have no choice but to unleash your artistic side. Adding a “little dazzle” on your content grabs the attention of your readers and gets them hooked. It also gets 94% more total views.

Sales Representative

Job Description: Present and sell products or services to organizations, businesses or government agencies. They contact potential buyers, present products and services, answer questions and discuss pricing. — Betterteam.com

Who will promote your writing services? One of the ways of getting a gig is reaching out directly to potential clients. If you are well-established, clients will find you. However, when you are just starting, you must endure “frostbite moments.” Cold calling, cold emailing… Brr, so cold.

Community Manager

Job Description: This person will be engaging and nurturing customers and key members of your community. — Hootsuite.com

The rise of social media created this job. You must foster good relationships with your online community and readers on different social networking sites. We all know that social media is one of the ways to promote content and yourself as a writer.

You will also take a job as a social media manager. According to Sprout Social, a social media manager creates content; crafts copy for posts; responds to comments; answers questions and much more.

Based on the list above, being a freelance writer is not all about writing or just writing. In this type of career, you can’t avoid wearing many “hats.” You are a one-man (or -woman) team; a jack-of-all-trades.

Is it required to acquire these skills all at once? The earlier you realize and accept it the better. In this way, you could establish your freelance writing career and steer your sails in the right direction.

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