Important lessons

5 Important Lessons I Learnt In My First Year of Full-Time Freelance Writing

Before I went full-time as a freelance writer, I was scared to death about what was ahead of me. I’ve narrated the story of how my friend inspired my freelance writing career and how I started freelance writing.

Since I became a full-time freelance writer, I’ve learnt (and I’m still learning) a lot of important lessons from my clients, other freelance writers, and freelance writing books that I’ve read.

Here’s a summary of what I’ve learnt so far.

Freelance writing is the easiest way to make money online

The reason for this isn’t far-fetched: you certainly don’t need all the tools and resources that might be required in other online businesses to succeed. You don’t need a blog, a degree in writing or an office to become a successful freelance writer.

The most important thing you need initially is the ability to communicate effectively through writing. However, you might decide to take a course in freelance writing to improve your business or create a freelance writer website to attract more clients, but you do not need any of these to start.

In my own case, I started getting clients through a freelance platform (content mill) before creating my personal website. And the fact that I work from home doesn’t affect my level of productivity.

Rather, it has helped me to cut out the cost of renting an office, and I still get my job done with minimal distractions.

Freelance writing is about working smart

Freelance writing is financially rewarding, but only smart freelance writers eat the biggest pie. Really, it’s not about the number of hours you put in the work that matters, it’s about getting more from doing less.

Clients love it when you turn in your writing assignments on time. But there are times you’d get more jobs than you can handle. How do you manage your workload to ensure that none of your jobs gets delayed unnecessarily during those moments?

Outsourcing is the answer.

When I first started, I always wanted to handle all my jobs. But it got to a stage when clients started complaining about my turnaround time and the quality of the copies I wrote. It then became clear that I was biting more than I could chew.

So I identified about 3 good writers to assist me. That way, I was able to handle my job more efficiently, and clients kept returning with more jobs. Indeed, “the reward for good work is more work”- Tom Sachs.

Learning to say NO is important

Saying NO wasn’t really a good idea while I was still slaving away in my last job. It meant you’re such a lazy butt who’s always trying to evade work. Saying NO amounted to insubordination at times. It was a kind of blackmail.

However, this was one of the things I trained myself to do as a freelance writer. I’m not under any obligation to accept a job proposal if the terms aren’t good enough for me.

What I’ve come to realize is that some clients might try to size you up by offering a ridiculous price for a job. They’ll know if you’re a hungry writer who’d turn in a crappy piece that’s commensurate with the offered amount.

By learning to say NO, I started attracting some high paying clients and weeding out the toxic ones. Try it; it really helps.

There’s no hard and fast rule

Freelance writing isn’t one-way traffic. Everyone tries to identify the best strategies to get clients, attract high paying jobs, and deliver top-notch quality. Simply put: different strategies work for different people.

For example, some veteran freelance writers go against using freelance platforms or content mills, and yet there are those that make a killing via these platforms. Again, there are those who use cold pitches to attract most of their customers.

Personally, I’ve won many jobs through the freelance platform that I use, in addition to the other gigs that I get through my writer website. Really, the rules aren’t set in stone, if there are any in the first place.

However, there’s no denying the fact that there are proven and tested strategies that work most of the time. You should tap into these strategies and make them work for you. But if you find that a method is becoming less effective for you, you could flip the script and try out other tested methods.

Being a writer alone doesn’t suffice

Here’s what I mean. There are numerous ways to make money online, and writing is just one of them. Therefore, limiting your income to writing alone reduces your chances to earn more.

Most clients need more than just writing. They need to promote their blog posts, land guest posts, get featured on top ranking sites, edit their images, optimize their WordPress sites, and do a host of other important tasks. Leveraging the other skills that you possess is a real game-changer.

My online business started getting a big boost the moment I went from being an ordinary writer to being a content marketer. This has really helped to diversify my client base and by extension, increase my income base.

Honestly, content marketing is an in-demand service for small businesses. This is because it helps to build brand awareness, makes you a trusted expert, attracts more leads for your business, and gets your customers to take action.


I’m sharing this piece because I want people to get inspired and to be able to make calculated decisions about their online career.

If leaving my low-paying and stressful day job to making some decent earnings online won’t be enough to inspire you, then the numerous insights I’ve shared herein should help you see freelance writing in a better light.


Author: Hafiz Akinde

Hafiz is a Freelance Writer and Content Marketing Strategist. He helps entrepreneurs and corporate brands to grow their businesses with content marketing strategies that work.

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