“Show, don’t tell” is a classic bit of wisdom and a solid piece of advice for fiction writers. In this context, the phrase refers to painting a picture in your reader’s mind rather than overloading your text with a boring description. This phrase, however, can also be used to understand one of the most important principles for a freelance writer.

Give Potential Clients a Reason to Hire You.

If you expect anyone to pay you for your work, you must show that it is worth paying for. Freelance writing can be a lucrative career, but it is also highly competitive. In addition to the other skilled writers you will be competing with, you have to also account for the less skilled and less motivated individuals who give freelancers a bad name. The industry is over-saturated with aspiring “writers” looking for a quick buck. Your job is to separate yourself from the people who think writing is easy money and turn in low-quality work to their clients. This can be a bit of an up-hill battle when you start out because most clients who have been around for any length of time have been burned by freelancers before. There are two sides to this coin, however. The large volume of people online claiming to be professional writers and delivering low-quality work means that you will have to prove yourself to potential clients. The good part about this is that once you show some proficiency with your writing, you demonstrate your value.   

Demonstrate Quality Work

No one wants to hire a freelance writer who is going to deliver poor quality work. To take it another step, no one wants to hire a freelance writer who cannot demonstrate high-quality work upfront. If a client can’t see that your work is worth your fee, they are unlikely to take the risk. The reason I say “show, don’t tell” is because literally anyone can set up a blog or website and say that they are a professional writer. Nothing is stopping you from pitching to companies and telling them that you are the best writer out there and they should contract you right away. You can say whatever you want on the internet, but if you can’t show it, it doesn’t matter. If you are going to get anywhere, you need strong writing samples. Prospective buyers need to see what you can do. Whether you write some guest posts on a blog, start your own website or offer your services on a site like Fiverr or Peopleperhour, you have to have something to show your quality of work. Furthermore, since I brought up sending pitches, this is another area that requires thought and attention. If a client sees that you didn’t put effort into your pitch, they have no reason to believe you will put effort into writing for them.  

Focus on Quality Writing Whether You’re Getting Paid For it or Not

Applying for a writing job or offering your services as a freelancer with typos and grammatical errors Is the fastest way to shoot yourself in the foot. Keep the same thing in mind when communicating with a potential client, even if it is a casual email or message. If I’m looking for someone to write a professional SEO article with topic research and source citations, and you hit me with “bruh, i can right that 4 you,” I’m not going to think twice about rejecting your offer.  When you have a rapport with a client, casual is fine, but ignorant is never a good idea. 

Show Professionalism and Compassion

It’s easy to understand that if you are selling a service, you must show your professionalism in performing the work. There is another component, however, that should not be ignored. To be successful as a freelancer, you need to establish solid relationships with clients. A big part of this is being respectful of your customer’s time and their needs. You have to communicate clearly and respond quickly to your clients. This demonstrates that you care about their project and will work harder than someone who is just collecting a paycheck. Always remember that you are providing a service, not a product and you have to always deliver One-Hundred Percent.

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