Freelance writers make lots of mistakes, especially when they’re starting out online.
Mistakes are useful. They’re fertilizer for entrepreneurial growth. They keep you learning and moving forward.
However, if you fail to make the right mistakes — and to learn from them — you may as well just keep your writing as a weekend hobby.
You want to make the mistakes that teach you how to build a better writing business or show you things you only learned because you were reaching.
What’s one of the biggest mistakes a freelance writer can make?
Let’s find out …
Do not ignore your most important client
One of the biggest mistakes a freelance writer can make — and one most writers constantly fall into — is ignoring their most important client.
Oh sure, most writers take care of the person they think is their best client. The client who pays them the most per word and gives them the most notice between projects, or the most glowing referrals.
And you might be right. That might be your best client, but it isn’t your most important. Not by a long shot.
Your most important client is the one who will stay with you forever. The client who will help ensure you make more each year than you did the year before. Your most important client will help you do all of that, but only if you promise to never ignore them.
Who is your best client?
Your best client is you.
And are you taking care of yourself? Do you make sure your needs are met?
Do you set aside at least an hour every day to tend your projects and build your assets — the same assets that will accumulate over time and help you build streams of steady, passive income?
Probably not, most working writers don’t.
It’s bad enough when you’re freelancing, tearing through so many hours that you don’t have the time to write for your muse or build your assets, whether that means publishing fiction to Kindle or creating eCourses you can sell to your list.
But at least busy freelancers are paying the bills.
They’re growing their businesses and building their reputations.
While busy freelancers who spend all their time cranking out copy are ignoring their permanent assets, at least they have an excuse.
They’re working hard.
A case study in “working hard”
I used to run a small chain of flower shops in Long Beach, California.
There were often times when I felt I had to do everything myself, from stripping roses to answering phones, even sweeping up the shop.
But if I wasn’t booking a wedding, negotiating a better price for international roses, or helping a hapless husband build the perfect bouquet for his beautiful wife, I was costing myself and the business money.
Of course I’d learned all this before I started my writing career. Yet for some reason it took me a couple of years to figure out that the same principles held true online.
For the first year, I couldn’t justify the expense in my head.
My writing business wasn’t generating enough money to outsource, or so I thought. I quickly fell into the same trap I’d fallen into many years before in the flower business.
One excuse followed another until I finally realized that the more I wrote for myself, the more I could ultimately make in the long run.
Yet, that would never happen if I spent all my time inside my WordPress dashboard instead of building my future.
There is never any good reason to spend needless minutes mired in menial tasks that keep you busy and fenced from your future, drowning in tedium and leaving you with a finished product that probably isn’t as good as what you could have paid for.
Do any of the tasks below look familiar?
Are you needlessly spending time on any (or all) of these, because you think you should?
- Coding your website
- Audio or video transcription
- Blog design
- Cover art design
You might be decent at accomplishing the items on that list.
But if you’re a writer, none are your specialty.
By outsourcing that kind of work and paying a specialist a reasonable rate, you will be buying yourself more time for the work you can charge top dollar for.
Outsourcing also gives you time to write and create the bigger assets that will make you money over time, rather than just once.
Top-notch content for your own site. Superb client education material. The kind of great marketing you create for your clients, but never write for your own business.
To truly grow as a writer, you must be willing to hand off any menial tasks that strip your time away from what you’re best at –- writing.
The less you write, the further you’ll be from realizing your goals and dreams.
It’s time to work smart
You must be willing to eliminate from your workday any mindless tasks that cannot make you money or help you grow your business.
Every task you keep for yourself is adding distance between yourself, your passion, and the true future you could be building around your writing career.
Outsourcing travels in every direction.
When you write copy for a client who doesn’t want to do it themselves, they are outsourcing their work to you. For you, writing is easy. For them, it isn’t.
Some of the things you don’t want to do, aren’t especially good at, or take you far too long, are tasks other people are exceptional at and enjoy doing: coding, WordPress development, blog design, research, and all the other stuff your writing business needs to grow.
Let others handle the heavy lifting of your business so you can spend your time writing a better tomorrow for yourself instead.
Don’t spend your time sweeping the floor with your future.