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10 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Writing Biz

Let me tell you,  I have made more of these mistakes in my writing business than you even know.

I started this journey not knowing that people actually did it for a living! I mean, sure I read the articles on my Facebook or my Twitter feed.  I for sure pinned things on Pinterest, but never, ever thought that it could be a lucrative gig.

So, let me help you! Here are some mistakes I have made, that hopefully, you do not.

Not personalizing my cold pitch

When I first started to learn to pitch, I pitched and pitched and pitched….the same letter. Sure, this was an okay idea, except nothing was personalized.

How to personalize

When you send your letter of introduction (sign up for my newsletter above and get my free one ), personalize it. “Dear Sally Smith, I visited your website www.blanksite.com, and I love what you are doing!”

That gives them a personal touch from you. Showing them you care about their websites and want to be a part of the team.

No Follow-up

After sending my mass amounts of pitches and cold call letters of introduction, I never followed up. After doing a little experiment the other day, I followed up with 5 out of the 5 clients I sent letters of introductions to, after hearing nothing from them, and that day I got responses!

Give your potential client time to read your emails, but always follow-up!

Don’t say you’re new

I am guilty of this, and I am sure it turned my potential clients away. When introducing yourself, don’t say you are new at this. I know it is hard to say you have no experience

You only pitch when you have no work

Bad idea, I’ve done this too. When you are slow in your business, of course, you will pitch more, you have to. When you have work, you also have to pitch! Try to set time aside each week to do this. There is nothing worse…I’ve been there… than not having work because you haven’t been hustling as you should!

You have no website

I had a wordpress.com website when I first started. Clients never came, but it was a free option. Clients have to be able to find you. Establishing a website is important to get yourself out there! You may have clients refer you to their colleagues, and you want to present them with a nice website. When I established my website, I was torn on the name. You shouldn’t do a website that is not a .net or .com. You want to make it easy for clients. I understand the investment can seem challenging….but it is a worthy cause! My sister, Brittany, over at Homesweethyatt, builds awesome websites (like mine), on the platform Squarespace, which is a great place for the non-HTML person to add to the site. It is very easy for me to understand.

You have no samples

At first, I remember, it was VERY hard for me to provide samples of my writing for clients. Try to write guest posts for people. Start a blog to show you like to write. Do whatever you need to, and get together some samples for your clients. I love contently.com to display my work.

You try to do it alone

When I first started as a health writer, I by no means thought I knew it all. However, I also didn’t reach out looking for help.

I wanted to start making money but didn’t know how.

I wanted more clients but didn’t know how.

I wanted to help others but didn’t know where to find others. Then, I joined a mastermind group.

If you want to get anywhere in your business, you have to find a group to join that understands your struggles and can help you climb to the top.

You think you know what you’re doing..until you don’t

After the first couple of clients, I felt like I finally got it down. Then, I was rejected. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like a failure. The inner voice in me telling me I sucked at everything and really should quit. I found a coach/mentor who really boosted my esteem, and I brushed off myself and got back up, ready to fight the battle again. Find a mentor or a personal coach for when times get tough.

You write when you have no time

I get it, you work three days a week, so you should have all the time in the world to write…until you don’t and the article is due tomorrow. You have to take the first initial steps in any project to create a draft. That will be step one, and the most important one. If you write on the spot, you will create errors, there’s no doubt. Take that time, write the first draft and come back to it, in hours or better yet days…and laugh at yourself when you correct all the errors you initially thought sounded great.

Mistakes happen to the best of us. I hope my tips help you in your freelance business not to make the mistakes I did.

What mistakes do you regret when you first started out?

Janine Kelbach
Janine Kelbach

Business Coach ツ and Author ✎ I wrote Entreprenurse: 30+ Nurses Turn Into Business Owners and Share Their Secrets to Success https://www.writern.net/book/ Podcast Host ♥ The SavvyScribe - a podcast for freelance healthcare and medical writers and creatives who want to grow their businesses. We cover a wide range of topics on writing, sales and managing your freelance practice.

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for the tips! Having just started a blog, the thought of freelancing is in my mind but I’m trying to get through the learning curve of one challenge first. So helpful though, some of these seem so obvious once you read them, yet they hadn’t crossed my mind.

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I help health brands create authoritative, well-written and well-aligned content. That’s it. Health writing changes lives.