I still remember the first day I published my first blog post like it was yesterday. In hindsight, it really was yesterday (13th February 2018) but that’s beside the point. I clearly recall the bubbling of excitement within me and the anxiety. Deep down I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do with it. Hell, I didn’t even have a niche.
It was one of those “I-know-I-may-regret-you-later moments” but I went on with it. To be fair it was a requirement for a travel article I wrote. The article paid $40 and it cost me $12 so the economist in me screamed fair. Working on that article was a chance to scream out and for the first time, I felt free, like a caged bird set free. Am not saying it’s been all roses but I can, with utmost certainty outline reasons why you should have your own blog as a freelancer.
Benefits of a blog to a freelancer
It is paramount to note that I have been freelancing for almost two years. I wrote a few academic essays before I branched into content and article writing. My favourite niches include travel, décor, fashion, and finance. I also had a wordpress.com blog that I only published once in 2014. Me and passwords… Maybe the second time’s the charm?
Creates the perfect portfolio
The most common hurdle to making the big bucks as a freelancer is finding the right clients, clients that will pay you enough money to quit your day job. Sites such as UpWork, Fiverr, and even iWriter are awesome but you can only earn so much. Think of it this way; before a client pays you, they have to pay job listing fees, website maintenance and your writing fee.
By cutting out the middleman, you can get the whole fee, which you are actually worth by the way. In addition to that, blogging is your own field, you get to pick your own niche and make it work. For instance, I love books. My idea of fun is a book, a cup of coffee and fuzzy socks.
However, all the freelancing gigs I worked on previously were not book related. This blog gives me the opportunity to share my loves with my favourite people (yes, you).
It is easier to self-publish from a blog
The reason I got into writing, or quit then came back is because deep down I consider literature as art. I love poetry and well-written books give me orgasms. In 2014, my aim was to express my thoughts, fears, and feelings with the world but I was naïve and shy. Back then, blogs were all personal and emotional and I did not think I am wired that way.
Freelancing came after ages of being broke and a lot of free time. Amazingly, I could make money just by writing. But this year I decided I wanted my own space and so far I love writing. Many freelancers get into it for the money but there are those that wish to publish a book.
Blogging lets you do that, and at no cost to you. In fact, you can just combine all your best-performing blogs into your book. And sell it through the same blog. Publishing has come a long way and you should get on the bandwagon before it’s too late.
Sometimes, your best articles will get rejected for one reason or another. Mostly you are scammed or the content does not meet the client’s needs. In such a case, you can publish your work on your blog. In this way, you get to regularly publish posts while ensuring your rejected articles are never published elsewhere.
Become the go-to expert and resource in your niche
Blogging involves picking a niche, focusing on a keyword, conducting detailed research and writing about it. The package also includes editing the article, creating backlinks and adding images. Its hard work, but the benefits are exhilarating too. Depending on the industry and niche you select, you get to write and focus on a specific topic.
Select a niche you like, preferably one you are an expert on. An Economist could select the Foreign exchange market, a pessimist-reviews and African wear for plus size women for a fashion designer. Just pick something that is broad enough to warrant a category but specific enough that it appears in search engines.
Done right, your blog becomes a resource for everyone interested in the specific topics. Your Domain Authority dictates your ranking and may lead to visitors to your site. Clients are more likely to find you in this way and pitch you. In this way, they do all the work for you.
As an expert, you get to pick your assignments and at a higher budget. The increased visibility only adds credence to your freelancing portfolio. This basically means you earn more as a freelancer or guest blogger.
It is a long-term Passive Income investment
If you are an academic writer, you are already familiar with the seasonality of assignments. This largely affects your monthly income which is dependent on the number of assignments you undertake. On the other hand, article writing pays fairly low though available throughout the year. As a novice, a blog is a perfect way to hack the system.
Blogging enables you to earn a passive income for a long time whereas you only get paid once for an article. Contrary to popular belief, it is easy to set up and maintain a blog. In fact, without the paid plugins and themes mine totalled £22. That is inclusive of the web hosting and domain.
WordPress.com offers the whole package for free. There are disadvantages to having a wordpress.com blog as a freelancer but for starters, it is pretty great. And there are ways to earn from it too in addition to affiliate marketing and selling your own products.
Practice and Maintain a Disciplined Schedule
When I started out, I pretty much posted when I felt like it. Being the perfectionist I am, it took 3 days min to write a blog post I was especially proud of. Between house chores, freelancing for funds and promoting the blog, I was unable to keep up. This necessitated the one-month sabbatical I took in April.
Since then, I have rescheduled my posts and tried my best to remain relevant and disciplined throughout. I publish a book review in the fiction reviews category ever Friday and a freelancing category article every two weeks on Tuesday. Being accountable to people online (strangers and friends) is a push worse than an article deadline.
Working around this posting schedule has helped me focus on other areas I deem important. As a final year Economist, am working on my project (half-truth) and continually honing my writing skills. I slot in a book or two in between the social media campaign schedule too.
A Blog helps you find your Voice
This has to be by far the most important part of this process for me so far. As an article writer, your assignment includes scouring the client’s site and coming up with a unique angle on the given theme. Sometimes, you will be given specific ways to phrase the content.
All of this is helpful as it makes you versatile so you don’t cave in from pressure by demanding clients. Do that for one year and soon you do not recognize your own articles. Your voice is what makes you unique. That is what separates Tendai Huchu from Maya Angelou.
Running your own blog enables you to write unique content that you relate and your readers appreciate. It is a unique outlet that helps me focus when I am idle. All the effort involved in research, editing, proofreading and publishing makes me a better freelancer.
A blog is the internet’s way of cutting out middlemen. Without them, life would be simpler for established writers. As a freelancer, writing sites are the perfect place to sharpen your skills but a blog is a home. It is where your heart should always reside. The benefits above are more rewarding and fulfilling. If you do not yet have a blog, you should get one as soon as you can. If you not yet up to it, write posts on your social media accounts and see how you like it.