This past Saturday, Denver-based freelance writer, Tim Beyers, came to speak to a group at the Northern Colorado Writers studio. Tim supports his family of five on his freelancing income. All the writers in the room, including myself, wanted to know how.
Tim believes this is the best time in years to be a freelance writers because there are so many opportunities between print and online publications.
Toward the end of the three hours it was clear that the key component in freelance success is relationship building. Tim actively seeks out ways, whether in person or online, to build positive, professional relationships with editors.
Although most of Tim's work is with the Motley Fool, he continues to seek out and cultivate partnerships with other editors.
Here are three key elements in creating positive working relationships:
1. Be Indispensable
Make the editor's job as easy as possible. Provide good content, on time and with the correct word count. Be the writer the editor can always count on in a crunch. There are many good writers out there, so in order to stand out in the crowd, you have to be the writer an editor wants to hold on to with a tight grip.
It took Tim two years to get a contract with Motley Fool, but he got it because he didn't give up. He kept in contact with the editors, kept sending articles and he showed them he was committed to writing for them.
3. Be Consistent
In order to be indispensable, you also need to be consistent. Send your articles in on time consistently, respond to email or phone calls consistently, be available when you say you are going to be consistently, stick to word count consistently... I think you get the idea.
Remember, freelancing is a business. If you treat it like such and foster good working relationships, you will have more success in the long run.