How long is the path to success for a freelance writer?


If you’re just starting out with a freelancing career, a question you might have in your mind is that how long it’s going to take before you can actually taste success. The question doesn’t have a solid answer and it would vary drastically depending upon a person. First of all you define what success means to you. You’d be surprised to know that different people would give very diverse definitions for success. While some might think it is grabbing the first job, for some it might be the first paycheck, but for the most of them it would be the time when a good amount of cash inflows through their bank accounts.
In this article we’ll talk about reaching the eventual state where success is measured by the amount of cash inflow. Although it is difficult to predict the exact time required, it will not be anytime soon. Of course, if you’ve inherited legacy from one of the greatest author of all times, or you’re already established as a good author yourself (considering becoming a successful author is even more difficult than becoming a freelance writer), you may have a great chance of finding success real soon. For all those who are none of the two, I recommend you develop an essential trait called patience.

The day you decide to become a freelance writer, you must prepare yourself for a long struggle, plenty of hard work and abundance of patience—all three things being common for most freelancers. There is a common saying – haste makes waste. As a freelancer you must keep yourself calm and composed while you wait for the success to come to you. In the meanwhile keep writing and keep improving your skills. The only success formula that would work for most is to forget about the final destination and concentrate on the path ahead of you. The path is straightforward too—find your first job, finish it with everything you’ve got, collect your paycheck and hit the repeat button. As the time goes by you would gain more and more experience and reputation. Who knows soon you might have plenty of work coming to you without making too many efforts in reaching out to them. Even then the formula remains same—finished your jobs, collect your money and keep patience. After months have passed, you’ve worked with a number of clients and have gained a great reputation, you might consider yourself a step closer to success (or, even successful for many of freelancers).

However, patience is not the only thing that would secure the path to success. You also need steadiness and sincerity. Sometimes freelancing could be quite challenging, frustrating even. During such periods apart from keeping patience you need to be consistent and carry forward without breaking down. You sincerity towards work would fetch you closer to your destination. On the contrary if you give up as soon as you experience a bad phase or a bad client rips you off (quite common for new freelancers), you’re going nowhere. A single failure is definitely not the sign for you to stop and think that you’ll never succeed. What the failure would mean is that you’re not prepared enough to taste success yet, and that you need to act niftier next time.

While patience, steadiness, and sincerity were some non-specific traits needed for any kind of work, a good knowledge of the language and grammar, and command at your field (if you’re a niche-specific writer) are must-haves for a freelance writers. Though, it’s not really required to be an expert in both language and niche at the start of the career, but you still need to be better than average and keen to learn. As the time grows and experience comes you’d also grow better as a writer and have ample of knowledge of the field. It goes without saying that a good writer is the one who not only has a good command of the language but also creative at penning it down.

If you have all these traits there is no way that success would stay away from you for long. However, it is still not possible to predict the exact time needed. It may be a week, a month, a year, five years, or (for some unfortunate ones) never. The only foolproof answer to the question is that the time of success is dependent directly upon you.

It might take a very short time if you are very hardworking, have a great command over the niche, and, of course, you’re the master of the language (and are damn too lucky to catch a big client straightaway). But not many fresh freelancers are like that and thus success would be delayed for them. If you stick to the basics and play your part well eventually success would be yours.