Welcome to the fifth rule in “The 12 Rules of Freelance Writing” series – all about knowledge and skills as a freelance writer.
Do you get those yearly reminders to update your CPD (Continuous Professional Development) portfolio? Or to undertake a PD course?
As a nurse, my work inbox is usually full of these reminders to take this course or that course to ensure I stay on top of my game. To keep my nursing skills and knowledge up-to-date and ensure that my current thinking is in line with “gold standards” of practice.
So why should my freelance writing business be any different?
Just like in any other job, continuous learning is a MUST!
I know, I know. With everything else you are doing to not only build and maintain your freelance writing business, run your home and perhaps even another job on top, you feel you do not have time to take courses. I get it. However, to stay up to date and put your best foot forward for your clients you NEED to know what is going on in the freelance world!
During down times (such as Christmas holidays) is a great time to update your skills or learn something new that will boost your business. I also like to schedule in a few hours a week to check in on other freelancers blogs or blogs in the niche I write in to see what they are up to. It doesn’t have to be all at once, you can space those hours out over the week…which is what I tend to do as I have limited time around children, work and household duties!
How do you update your knowledge?
There are so many ways as freelance writers that we can undertake continuous learning (aside from reading other websites and blogs).
Research online and read read read!
When I have spare time or am experiencing a slow day, I like to jump onto my favourite websites and see what they are writing about. The only problem is I get sucked into the black hole and time flies by! Now I need to set a timer so that I don’t spend hours reading and waste time that I should be writing!
A few sites that I regularly read to stay up-to-date:
I also love to read, and books are a great way to learn new things! You can buy the books, or head on down to your local library and borrow them.
A few books that come highly recommended:
- The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less by Peter Bowerman
- Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer by Moira Allen
- The CopyWriters Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells by Robert W. Bly
Take a freelance writing course!
There are some absolutely amazing courses out there, free and paid!
- 3 Essential Steps to your First $1000 Freelance Writing in 45 Days or Less by Jorden Roper at Creative Revolt. Jorden has a no BS, upfront attitude to all things freelance writing. No fluff here!
- Elna Cain has 2 different FREE courses – Get Paid to Write and Freelance Writing Rockstar. I have done both and they are great!
- Australian Writers’ Centre has some amazing Freelance writing courses and they offer them in a variety of formats – online or in person.
- Write Your Way to Your First $1K by Elna Cain is full of fantastic actionable tips to set you up as a freelance writer.
- Creative Freelancing Freedom by Lizzie at Wanderful World is another great course.
There are also places like udemy that have great courses, at reasonable prices on offer.
Don’t just focus on freelance writing skills and knowledge.
You can undertake different courses that will complement your freelance writing skills such as:
- Social Media Management
- Graphics (using programs such as Photoshop or Canva).
- Pinterest management.
- Website building (like WordPress courses).
And whatever else takes your fancy!
Have a look around and choose a course that will be a good fit for you, your business and how much time you have free to study.
Organisational and Project Management Skills.
I do feel like I harp on about being organized, but as a WAHM it is vital! Taking the time to develop processes, templates and habits to keep your organized is well worth the investment!
That goes for project management skills too. It may not seem necessary if you only have one or two clients, but mastering a project management system will make your business (and life) so much easier.
I completed a course on Asana however found that it wasn’t overly relevant to freelance writing or blogging. I am sure there are courses out there; all you have to do is a simple Google search!
Find out the latest industry trends.
As a freelance writer it is not just our own skills as a freelancer we need to keep up with. You need to find out the latest industry trends in the niche you write in. For example, if you write about organic beauty products. You need to know what the latest developments are, the popular products, where people are looking for them etcetera. Knowing the ins and outs of your niche will help you land new clients! It will give you an edge over other freelancers who don’t do their research!
What can we take away from this? Research. Learn. Knowledge is power!
The more you know and the more skilled you are, the better you look to your clients. The better you look equals better clients, improved portfolio and money in the bank!