It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been freelancing, what’s important is the approach you’ve been taking. Success comes in waves – so get your freelancing surfboard ready. You need to be able to develop certain skillsets in accordance with current trends in freelancing job opportunities. Therefore, the right freelancing mindset needs to be equal parts clarity and versatility.
Since freelance writing is at the top of the list for many people, we’ll use that as an example. If you’ve been walking this career path (however sporadically) since the early 2000s, then you’ve probably noticed how SEO writing has taken quite the backseat. Sure, you’ll see some SEO job postings every once and a while, but it’s nothing like what it used to be.
It seems that the SEO niche has evolved into more of a behind-the-scenes, analytical vocation for web developers. The search engine page rank formula is, understandably, a well-guarded secret, and one that changes faster that you might change your socks (and I do hope you change your socks regularly). Can you blame them? No, no you can’t. We’d all obviously prefer relevant/helpful results for a search term, as opposed to lots of formulaic articles.
What if, though, you’ve been so used to that niche, you haven’t even attempted to expand your writing repertoire? Stop limiting yourself creatively and financially. The more broadened your freelancing mindset is, the better – and this advice applies to all freelancing niches.
Sure, if you specialize in an incredibly specific topic that’s currently quite popular, then by all means, focus on that until its viability starts to fade. Always be ready, though, for a move to the next opportunity. This doesn’t mean juggling several gigs at the same time out of fear, either. Fear can be the most unproductive emotion you can have as a freelancer.
You’re going to have to reconcile your wish for success with what’s currently possible in terms of your experience and what’s available in the job market. For example, if you’ve been more of a general lifestyle blogger, and decide you’d like to move into tech writing or journalism:
- Take (affordable) online writing courses, or even a certificate program at your local college/university.
- Study the writing of journalists you admire, and use their approaches as a base for you to develop your own unique approach.
Don’t get caught up in the minutia of competition or jealousy, either. Focus on what your goals are and present the best version of yourself in every cover letter you write, every portfolio link you share. Read, if you will, some of my related learning links:
Remember the resourcefulness…
How hesitant you are to change your mindset will probably be in direct proportion to how much you depend on your freelancing income. Chances are that dwindling earnings and unpaid bills will be the catalyst for an evolution of sorts. You’ll seek out new job boards, new ways to incorporate that which you already know with that which you hope to achieve.
Prospective clients want to see a passion for their topics. If you impress them enough with an authentic appreciation for their work and a willingness to adapt to project guidelines (however different they may be from what you’re currently used to), your potential will shine all the more brightly through.
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