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How to Achieve Success as a Freelance Writer in College

A Guest Blog by Jenna Sherman

As a college student, you may be considering freelance writing as an income source. While there are many benefits to taking this route, it’s important to understand the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them. With the right research, portfolio development, work ethic, marketing strategies, payment negotiations, and taxes preparation, you can achieve success as a freelancer while still in school — these tips shared by can help.

Investigating the Freelance Writing Industry

Before you dive into freelance writing while in college, research the different types of jobs and articles that writers are paid for and decide which ones interest you most. You should also read up on various publications’ submission guidelines so that when you come across a job posting or assignment that appeals to you, you will have all the necessary information at your fingertips. It is also beneficial to keep track of current industry trends and market rates for writing services.

Creating a Portfolio

As with any creative career path, having an impressive portfolio can make all the difference in getting hired for gigs. Consider starting a blog or website where you can display your writing samples online. You can also create a PDF version of your portfolio if potential clients prefer hard copies or if they request something specific for their own record-keeping purposes. Keep adding samples of your best work overtime to solidify your skillset and showcase your growth as a writer.

Creating a Solid Work Routine

Having an established work routine is crucial when it comes to meeting deadlines and delivering quality work on time. Before committing to any project, make sure that you understand exactly what is expected of you and set realistic goals for yourself based on that information. It’s better to under promise and overdeliver than vice versa; this way, clients won’t be disappointed when they receive your final product.

Using Business Cards as a Promotion

Promoting your writing services can be easily done by creating a business card. This leaves a lasting impression and is more visible than email, offering potential customers and clients something tangible to remember you by. Designing a personalized business card doesn’t have to be hard — pre-made templates are available that you can customize with images, text, color schemes, and the font of your choice. Check out this example of a great business card design tool that you can use.

Establish Clear Payment Terms

It is important to discuss payment terms before the start of any project to avoid surprises. This includes discussing payment amounts per article or hour and any other negotiations between both parties. It is essential that these discussions address the client’s budget and needs so that both sides remain satisfied throughout the duration of their agreement.

Identifying as an LLC

Forming an LLC for your writing business is a great way to protect yourself from potential liabilities. An LLC offers several benefits, like limited liability, tax advantages, less paperwork, and flexibility. However, it’s important to check the rules in your state surrounding forming an LLC before getting started – and if you don’t want to handle the legwork yourself there are formation services available that can help without costing you hefty lawyer fees.

Keeping Taxes Straight

Freelancers must manage their own income and expenses throughout the year in order to submit proper tax returns. Establishing monthly spreadsheets can help with organization and compliance, but failure to do so can be costly due to penalties or interest. Furthermore, freelancers should check for any local or state taxes that may be applicable.

Freelance writing offers college students a great opportunity to gain experience, increase their income, and support themselves during their studies. To be successful requires careful planning ahead and researches into industry standards and rates. It also requires a strong commitment to meeting deadlines and providing quality work every time in order to maintain good relationships with clients.

Following these steps should put students well on the path to achieving success as freelance writers while still attending college.