Thinking of Becoming a Freelance Writer? Here Are 9 Tips to Help You

Truth be told, writing is hard. It is tedious and on bad days, can be difficult. If anyone had told me a couple of years ago that I would end up writing, I would have side-eyed them and asked, do you mean me well?

I’ve been getting some requests on freelance writing and it’s only right that I share my knowledge and experience with others. After all, our gifts should be a blessing to others.

Let’s get right into it!

Thinking of Becoming a Freelance Writer? Here Are 9 Tips to Help You

Make a decision
Before you become a freelance writer, you need to make up your mind. Have those difficult and uncomfortable conversations with yourself and decide what you want. If you have been writing fiction or short stories all your life, you need to decide if you’re ready to make that transition –  because you might not have time to write as much fiction anymore.

Choose a niche
When you’re fully convinced of your decision, it’s time to choose a niche. Yes, I get that writers should be flexible and knowledgeable enough to write on any subject. That has never worked for me and I do not know anyone that does that. In these times, your best bet is your niche.

It can be something you’re skilled at, trained at, passionate about or simply knowledgeable about. I believe the best work comes from a place of knowledge and passion. So, make a list according to these factors and pick one or a few related ones.

Build your portfolio
Now that you know what you stand for, it’s time for you to build your portfolio and let people notice you –  because trust me, the jobs will not look for you. The fastest and easiest way to go about this is guest posting. Here, you are going to need to research a list of authority sites in your niche. When you’re done with that, send articles to them. It is not the time to think about money. This should not be a problem especially if you have a good knowledge of your niche. This is also the time to create a blog. Writer or not, everyone should have a blog. Your blog would serve as a portfolio for all your guest posts which should be as frequent as possible.

At this point you have established yourself as a freelance writer, now it’s time to put yourself out there.

Rebrand your social media accounts
No matter what anyone has told you, social media is key. This is why your accounts should be consistent. Let it reflect what you do and the services you offer.

Follow the relevant brands and influencers in your niche. 
Here, you are going to need social media to work for you.

You might be followed back and you might not. That is the least of your problems. What’s important is, these accounts are on your timeline which means your chances of getting a job from these accounts has increased because you will see those unexpected vacancies that pop up randomly. If you’re so bothered about your following/follower ratio, make a Twitter list.

At this point, if you play your cards right, you should be getting a few offers. If you haven’t, don’t lose hope.

Make a list of potential clients
Everyone has dream jobs. Companies that we’ve spent our entire lives desiring even when we were not qualified. This is the time to be proactive.

Of course, I do not need to tell you that your research skills come to play here.

Perfect your cold pitch and go for it
Remember when I said that the jobs won’t look for you? Well, except you have somehow risen to the ranks of a digital influencer, you will have to pitch yourself. That list of potential clients comes in handy now. It is time to contact them and pitch yourself. Sell yourself and your expertise – which is backed up by your portfolio (remember your guest posts and blog?) and experiences. Most of them have websites. Look for their contact details and offer your services. Trust me; you might never know where you get lucky. Sometimes, some clients might not realize that your services are needed until you reach out to them and if you are rejected, do not be discouraged.

Keep at it and be consistent
If you’re diligent in your business, you will eventually succeed. Don’t forget to start small and grow from there. If there are additional skills you need to learn to attract more income, do not think twice. Clients usually appreciate freelancers that bring extra to the table. Also, do not chase clients away by overcharging because you’re broke, you will only play yourself.

Register a business name and make it official
Don’t be like me. Don’t wait until you have hammered before making it official.

 

I think this guide also applies to other skills and not just writing. Whatever your hands find to do, with consistency and dedication, you will definitely reach your goals.

 

Originally published on Bellanaija

 

There May Be Hope For Customer Service In Nigeria Afterall

Everyone knows customer service in Nigeria is nothing to write home about. In fact, with the uprise of startups and SMEs, more than ever before, customer service is at the forefront. But the way Nigerians are wired, we tend to be cynical especially when it concerns our means of livelihood. Once in a while, there are brands that attempt to break the status quo of complacency and anyhowness by offering good ol’ basic customer service. These brands deserve to be mentioned and appreciated.

customer service in Nigeria

This month, I’ve experienced noteworthy customer service from two brands and I’ve decided to share my experience because feedback matters and Nigerians really do not give a hoot about constructive criticism. So, this is me trying do things differently.  Maybe, just maybe there is hope for Nigeria.

Anytime I patronize a relatively new brand – and they are popping out by the second especially in the natural hair industry –  I never hesitate to call them out when I’m dissatisfied when their product or service.

A while ago, I got some Nubian Roots Rhassoul Clay from Olori Online Store – my go-to store for products. Of course, I was so eager to use it but I was in for a huge disappointment. So much that I had to tweet about it.

Obviously, I was incredibly upset with my purchase because I had to spend the better part of my wash day picking out particles out of my hair. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I attended an event where Nubian Roots was a vendor. Fortunately for me, the owner was available so I dragged Ekene with me to table my complaints especially since their Twitter account was inactive so they probably hadn’t seen it. The owner carefully listened to me and apologized. She was also gracious enough to compensate me with any product of my choice. I couldn’t have been more impressed.

About a week ago, I visited a salon. The first time in three years. A natural hair salon for that matter. Of course, I went there with a lot of high expectations because Onaturals had a reputation to uphold. Lo and behold, I got the most unpleasant customer service I had ever gotten till date. It was so bad that I had to write a lengthy review immediately I got home.

I actually thought it was as a result of my stature because I couldn’t comprehend it. After making a complaint to a colleague of mine who also uses the salon on a regular, I got a phone call from the owner of Onaturals and we had a long and productive conversation from my complaints to suggestions, feedback and customer service in general. The phone call went from a follow up to a full-fledged discussion. I couldn’t be more pleased.

All of this probably look inconsequential in the grand scheme of things but I believe that if every emerging brand decides to take their customer service a bit more serious and not just the product or service, it will go a long way in fixing the already dysfunctional system.