Writers Worth Two: Confidence

Yes, it’s another day of Writers Worth celebration! Thanks again to all who contributed. To those of us reading, we appreciate the words of wisdom. And if you’re new to the blog, you’re seeing some great stuff from some impressive people.

I’m still lurking, but not for much longer. We’ll be in the wilds of the Rockies by Friday, and completely disconnected (I hope). Nothing says “vacation” like a technology-free week!

Today Kimberly Ben, our Avid Writer blogger, shows us not only that we have confidence inside us, but how to show that to the client world. Kim is someone whose blog has morphed into this amazing gem of a place filled with fantastic advice and great insight. And that I think she’s one of the nicest people on the planet is gravy. You’ll love her. I do! And bookmark her site. You’ll be glad you did.

Kim, thank you. Teaching confidence is tough, but if anyone can, you can!


Flexing Your
Confidence Muscle
by Kimberly Ben
Having the guts to try your hand at earning a living as a
freelance writer doesn’t mean you come automatically equipped with confidence in
your ability. Some writers can command respect as highly qualified professionals
from the gate, while the rest of us awkwardly fumble our way through those
first client interactions and projects. We second guess our skill, qualifications,
rates and whether or not we can really hold our own against so many other
freelancers out there competing for the same jobs.

With confidence, you believe in your ability to provide
clients with the best value, service and solutions. Thankfully confidence is
something you can work on and build over time.  Here are some suggestions to help speed the
process along:
1.       Get a Few Jobs Under Your Belt
One of the best ways to overcome nervousness, doubts about
your writing skills and the ability to make a living as a freelancer, is to
secure a few projects. The first step can be the toughest, so successfully
completing writing projects can motivate you to keep going.
2.       Focus Your Business On What You Already
Know
One of the best ways to set yourself apart from the
competition is to focus on a specific niche or specialty. For example, someone
with an extensive career background as a paralegal has instant credibility as a
legal writer that writers who classify themselves as generalists may not have. They
understand legal terminology, culture, etc. The same   goes for an IT specialist looking to break
into writing technical manuals
3.       Keep Learning
Knowledge is power. Books/ebooks, blogs, websites, free and
paid courses and webinars are just a few ways to stay on top of emerging trends
in freelancing and specialized niches/industries. There are several free
resources available, but understand that you’ll need to continuously hone your
craft to remain competitive. Think of continuing education as an investment.
4.      Charge What Your Work Is Worth
Rates can be a source of contention among writers, but it’s
so important to charge what you’re worth. First, when you set your rates too
low, you spend more time   working hard
to earn what you need. Also, charging very low rates can cause a potential
client may question the quality of services you provide.
5.       Network with Other Freelancers
When you work for yourself, it’s important to have a network
of support you can turn to for encouragement, professional feedback,
mentoring/guidance and general camaraderie. You can begin building valuable
relationships with other writers by commenting regularly on their blogs,
interacting on writer and professional association forums and social media
sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+). You can get to know writers who
have already established themselves as successful freelance writers and gain
valuable direction from those relationships.
6.       Work on Projects and with Clients You Like
Happy freelance writers make a habit of working with clients
on projects they enjoy. It keeps them passionate about what they do, and
ensures that they produce a top notch project. Some freelance writers feel like
they absolutely must take on any and every project that comes their way. This
is a mistake because working on projects you don’t enjoy can le ad to unnecessary
stress and anxiety. When you enjoy what you do, your confidence grows
naturally.
7.       Ask for Testimonials
Compliments can work wonders to affirm your ability to build
a successful freelance business and increase confidence. When you complete a
project, ask the client for feedback. If it’s positive, request a
testimonial.  Keep a list of client
testimonials handy for pending marketing collateral and for whenever you’re
having a bad day and doubt starts creeping in. It really helps to read all the
nice things clients have to say about your work.
Kimberly Ben is a versatile
freelance writer with over 10 years’ experience in business communications and
B2B content marketing strategies. She blogs about her own freelance writing misadventures
journey at
Avid Writer.

About the author

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Comments

  • Kimberly Ben May 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks again, Lori, for the opportunity to contribute. It's really awesome that you do this each year. 🙂

    Reply
  • Sharon Hurley Hall May 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Great tips, Kimberley. I especially like the advice to keep learning. As well as being of value to clients, I think it's of value to us in keeping our brains active and inspired, which fosters creativity.

    Reply
  • Kimberly Ben May 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Thank, Sharon. I've been working in a niche recently that is on the cusp of some pretty major changes, so reading blogs/online publications and being part of the industry newsletter have been critical to keeping me informed so I can continue to provide value to my clients.

    Technology also evolves so quickly – especially when it comes to many of the technical resources/tools we rely on. Staying on top of these changes can make a big difference in a freelancer's business.

    Reply
  • Paula May 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Nice post, Kimberly. I'm glad to have you as part of my own little writers' network.

    The technology bit will always be my downfall – as soon as I get the hang of something it's already outdated.

    Reply
  • Kimberly Ben May 22, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks so much, Paula.:) And you're NOT alone when it come to grasping all of this emerging technology. It's definitely not my strong suit, but I don't run from it. I try to see if I can master it. I feel like Superwoman whenever I master something that seemed impossible. If I really don't know what I'm doing, there's always the option to outsource.

    Reply
  • Cathy Miller May 22, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Great post, Kimberly. I found the networking part to be such a source of strength. It's so nice to connect with others who understand and have your back. And isn't our community so generous?

    I'll 2nd what Paula said-glad to have you in our network, Kimberly. 🙂

    Reply
  • Wade Finnegan May 22, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Lack of confidence is the one factor that limit us in all aspects of our lives. When I don't fell confident with something I will avoid it like the plague. Building confidence as writer is essential, and thank you Kimberly for the great tips you shared.

    Reply
  • Kimberly Ben May 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks, Cathy. Networking is how I first learned about the many markets available to freelancers. The support in these communities is amazing. I'm very glad to be part of your network too!

    I agree, Wade – confidence is crucial for succeeding at just about anything. I know what you mean about how lack of confidence keeps you from taking action. When I feel that way, I force myself to push forward because wondering "what if?" will bother me more than anything.

    Reply