As a debuting writer, you have many things to learn, in order to succeed in this highly competitive online content marketing world. You probably know this already, but one of the most important assets contributing your success will be your professional reputation. This is something it takes years to build and sadly, only seconds to destroy. For this very reason, you need to learn how to steer clear of several mistakes you can make during your career building process.
Providing writing services is one of the easy ways of generating an online income. But with so many competitors out there, it may take a while to start building confidence and to earn a decent income that you can actually live on. Just as it may take very little to destroy everything you have built with a single mistake. Does it sound ominous enough for you? Well, it can be, unless you take steps in making sure you don’t fall into the traps mentioned below.
Let these wake-up tips be your guide in building a meaningful and successful writing career.
Trap no.1: Sell Yourself Too Cheap
If you are in possession of writing skills that enable you to deliver content that delivers, you can consider your writer talent is already proven. You are able to provide value to any customer out there. Don’t sell yourself too cheap to them. If you do, you may never be able to get out of this vicious circle. The internet is full of places that will try to undermine your skills, experience and professional conduct. So many so-called content mills that will make you believe you can only create work worth $3 a piece. So many so-called copywriters will create their profiles out there trying to sell their work for even less. These will never be the writers you would want to compete with. They are no more than content spinners, because no one with enough professional values to hold on to would sell their hard work for such a ridiculous amount.
You may be telling yourself you are only in the beginning and that you can sell your work for this, as long as it sells. But if you don’t stand by your true value, you don’t nurture it and you don’t show pride for who you are as a professional, you will never have the right type of success and never be able to find clients who will appreciate you for the quality you provide, not for how low you can go with your bid.
Trap no. 2: Let Yourself Down When You Receive Criticism
You are not perfect. As a writer, no one actually is. If you don’t recognize this, you don’t have many chances of succeeding in this wolf eat wolf world. We all have to learn, and keep learning in order to stay relevant and successful.
As a freelancing writer, you will encounter a lot of different clients. Some will be nice and accepting of your work. Others will be pickier, paying attention to every little detail in the work you submitted. Some of these details may appear ridiculous, when you consider all the work you put in completing a particular project. These clients will not hesitate to criticize your work and in the process, will cast doubt on your potential.
Remember one thing: criticism is essential and without it, you cannot move forward. Accepting criticism and assuming the responsibility will make you a better freelancer. Arguing about how you are always right and letting professional pride stand in the way of a good communication with an unhappy customer will not take you anywhere.
Trap no. 3: Claim to Be an Expert
Sadly, this is common practice with many online writing professionals today. Even worse, this is also something many content agencies out there will do: claim they have expertise in any possible area, when they actually don’t (I have experienced this first-hand and believe me, this never ends well with the clients).
Pretending to be an expert in a certain field in order to increase the odds of getting hired for a project is a definite misstep, one that could hurt your career pretty badly. Sure, there is always research, but if all you intend to do is research online for the most obvious Google results, you should not be selling yourself as an expert.
The moment you name yourself an expert in a certain industry, your customer will expect a certain know-how, a certain degree of knowledge that cannot be found online all the time. They are willing to pay for your specific expertise in an area, not for your hours of research on a topic, and for putting together information that actually ends up plagiarizing other people’s work.
The result, no matter how talented and experienced at putting together bits and pieces you may be, will be a fake product. This may end up losing your client’s trust. And if you don’t have trust in such a relationship, you don’t have anything.
Take a moment. Sit back and look at your work so far. Have you allowed yourself to fall into these traps? Keep in mind that these may easily turn into habits and these habits can actually hurt your productivity and sabotage your writing career.