My dad used to tell me to always use the right tool for the right job. That made a lot of sense. Showing up to the job site with just a flat head screwdriver would pretty much guarantee that all of the screws at the site would be Phillips head. What I learned is that in order to do the best job in the most efficient manner, I needed a healthy tool kit rife with a variety of implements needed to handle most any job.
Writing freelance is no different.
A freelance writer needs a tool kit, it’s just not as big or as red – and weighs a heck of a lot less. Let’s look at the tool “drawers” and examine what should be in each of them:
- Everyday Tools – As you can imagine, these are the tools that you reach in and grab every time you sit down to write. Most of these tools you may not even realize you are using while you are writing but they are nonetheless invaluable to your work. These include your grammar and spelling skills, your sense of text flow, your voice. They need to be sturdy, they need to be sharp.
- Management Tools – These are the tools you use to help manage projects and your freelance business. Management tools can be paper based with a file cabinet or they can be software to help you keep organized. Some tool kits will have both methods in use. Good accounting software and a good word processor are the basics here.
- Contact Tools – Without contacts, your freelance writing will end up being little more than personal journaling – and that doesn’t pay the rent. Your contact tools are all of the means at your disposal to locate and keep in touch with your contacts. These contacts may be the regular visitors to your web site, or maybe they are potential new clients. Regardless, they need constant shaping, so tools like newsletters, e-books and other branding items need to be used regularly. Your social media tools should be in this drawer as well. Do you use and understand Twitter? What about Facebook and some of the other sites? They are indispensable for making new contacts, and keeping old contacts fresh.
- Work Finding Tools – Unless you come to the table with an established client list, you need to have some tools in this drawer to help you find work. If it’s writing experience you need to gain, then this drawer should have some sites where you can bid on and find freelance writing work. Sites such as E-Lance and Textbroker are great starting out tools. Another tool in this drawer is a list of freelance job sites that you can go to every day and peruse for work. Do you think locally? Flyers, business cards and the time taken to contact local business owners directly are great tools that can boost your freelance writing business.
Every writer’s tool kit will look a little different, and that’s okay. The important thing is that you keep a tool kit and you work to add tools to it on a regular basis. Also, make certain the tools you have are sharp and of good quality.
Let’s hear it from you. What tools are in your tool kit that you have found invaluable as a freelance writer?
Image credit: aliedwards