Note from Sean: Like with many successful LRA members, Dario has been super active in the forums. He’s the perfect example of someone who has used his skills and determination to succeed.
When I started, I wondered if I could even land one client as a bilingual writer. I had my doubts. If I had doubts, why would anyone hire me, right? That’s one of the biggest problems that can be a huge setback for non-native English-speaking writers.
I was following Sean’s blog post on becoming a writer which encouraged me to take action. Even though I write in English as a second language, (I like to call myself a bilingual writer) I was able to figure things as I move on. Thanks, Sean!
The road wasn’t always easy, but I am happy to contribute to Location Rebel – the place where I learned everything I know and the place that helped me in many tough situations.
In this post, I’ll share tips, strategies, and things I wish I knew before starting my journey as a bilingual writer down below.
Freelance Writing as a Bilingual Writer
One of the unluckiest things that happened to me when I was only starting is seeing job posts that require only “native” English writers.
This shaped my mind to think as a non-native English writer, I shouldn’t apply for jobs. I put native writers on a pedestal.
I quickly learned this is not true. It’s important to get out of this mindset. Guess what I do now when I come across job posts that only require native writers? I apply!
Don’t get me wrong. Doubt and negative thoughts can still creep up even three years down the road.
But I also realized that this doesn’t only happen to bilingual writers. It happens to anyone who stepped out of their comfort zone to learn something and implement something they’ve learned.
Everyone has goals, and everyone has a place that they wish to be. But if doubts and negative thoughts stop you from doing what you want – here’s a reality check: your life will be miserable, and you will look back regretting things you didn’t do.
It wasn’t always just negative thoughts.
It was negative feedback and doubts from others, too. But if you let others control your emotions or actions, you won’t get far (my #1 tip is definitely for you).
Of course, the Location Rebel community is a great place to be, and whenever I visit and engage in the forums or watch Sean’s latest YouTube videos, I feel like I’m on the right track, and nothing else matters.
Therefore, as a bilingual or native writer – keep reading to find out my 5 tips & things I wish I knew when I was starting!
Tips and Things I Wish I Knew When I Started
Depending on your personality, you might have an even harder time starting than others. But that’s not a reason not to even give it a try.
By giving it a try, I don’t mean creating a profile at UpWork and waiting for clients to accept you. I mean getting your head down and getting busy regularly.
These tips below will help jump-start your journey and cut the time you’d spend making mistakes – or even worse, procrastinating!
Tip #1: Just Get Started
What helped me the most was Sean’s blog post on how to become a freelance writer.
Writing was the last thing I thought I’d end up doing as a freelancer.
What Sean did in that post is rather than talking about freelancing, ups and downs, or sharing tips – he made a step-by-step guide that required you to take more action as you go through it.
And that’s my number one tip to everyone. Just get started.
There are no excuses, and if you have any excuses, they’re probably a way to avoid getting out of your comfort zone (which can be a true dream killer).
We live in the modern age, and setting up a portfolio takes a matter of minutes. You don’t need anything more than a pen and paper to write a couple of samples.
Are you ready to find clients? There are hundreds of places to find them.
Don’t want to start as a general writer, and think a niche would fit you better? There are even tools to help you research and find out how profitable your niche might be!
You have everything you need, and the only thing you need is the will to get started and take action.
Start slow, build the momentum, become consistent, and sooner than you think, you’ll start achieving great things.
Tip #2: It Gets Easier to Get Clients
The beginning is the hardest, and getting the first client is going to be hard. But I believe that many beginners think it’s going to be way harder than it is.
When I started, I found my clients through Facebook. I went into Facebook groups that fit my niche and previous experience, and I just started providing value to engage with members.
Sooner than I knew, I was making a decent earning the next month.
And if you can get one client, you can get 10 clients. There’s no doubt. But I also realized that what works for one might not work for another.
Therefore, test and find what works the best for you.
I know that dozens of writers are very successful with cold emails, or using word of mouth. I find more success with pitches to job offers.
While experienced writers and even mentors can help you learn the ways, they cannot know what works the best for you. That’s something you have to find out for yourself and your own business.
Tip #3: Setting and Increasing Rates
There’s no good or bad rate. There is only a rate that you are comfortable writing for.
It’s okay to start low since you have no experience or samples you did for previous clients. But this shouldn’t put you down. This should encourage you to set goals and improve your knowledge, increase the rate, and achieve your goals.
But how do you find out what a good rate is?
A good rate is a rate that will help you be financially satisfied with the value and time you put into writing.
While this might be hundreds of dollars per article for some writers, it still might be dozens of dollars per article for others.
All you have to do is:
- Find out how much time it takes you to complete certain writing tasks
- Decide how much would you like to earn per hour
- Set a rate that will match the time you put into the article, so you end up getting paid your hourly rate
My advice would be to raise your rate as soon as you get the chance, and raise it quickly. As you get more experienced, you’ll become very comfortable increasing your rates.
When you start feeling that you can potentially make more money doing the same type of work, you should go for it!
Staying at a lower rate might be good to bring loads of clients. This will keep you busy, but you’d end up burning yourself, or you might feel you’re not making a lot of money when you consider all the hours you put in each month.
Also, I find that clients who aren’t looking for the cheapest service or won’t ask you to lower your rate might not necessarily be the best clients to work with. Sometimes, you’ll only understand why when you learn the difference between working with a client with a higher budget and a very low budget.
Believe me, you will never want to go back!
Set your rates wisely and think of yourself as a business. You will have a certain financial goal you’d want to meet per month, but don’t forget to include your expenses in the rate too.
Tip #4: Set Goals & Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Freelancing has a lot of pros and cons, but it might not be for everyone. If you believe freelancing is for you, you should work on setting your goals.
Why are you looking to become a freelance writer? Would you love to work remotely, work on your schedule, be in charge of everything involved in the business? Or do you believe you’re simply good at meeting deadlines while working with multiple clients?
While some writers decide to go full-time and become expert writers in a certain niche, others would like to supplement their income and are fine with writing general content.
There’s even an option to build a content writing and marketing agency.
The great thing about freelancing is that you are in control of your own business, and you get to choose the direction for your business to meet your goals.
But this also means that you are responsible for everything that goes bad or doesn’t go the way you planned it. Therefore, the amount of work you put into your business will determine what will you get out of your business.
And here’s important advice. No matter where you are in your journey, don’t ever compare yourself to others.
There are no two freelancers that did everything in the same way, and therefore, it’s hard to compare and measure results. However, it’s great to keep in touch with experienced freelancers as it’s a great way to learn, ask questions, and even help them out when they need additional writers for their projects.
Tip #5: Think Like a Business
As Sean says it, freelancing isn’t the “sexiest” business you can be in. But it’s a business that’s very easy to join as a beginner, and it’s a great stepping stone to achieve greater goals.
But even if you think of doing freelance writing on the side, you should think like a business.
From the moment you start offering a service in return for money, you’re a business. The amount of time you need to spend to earn money, the amount of money you can earn, the number of words you can do in a month, the number of clients you can handle, and more.
You won’t only be a writer. You will be negotiating with clients, making offers, receiving offers, setting your rates, branding your services and marketing yourself, and even managing your finances.
Therefore, every deal you make, every service you offer, and every client you work with should benefit you and your business.
However, if you’re only a writer, that doesn’t mean you can combine writing with other similar services such as SEO content optimization to provide different packages to different clients.
Think like a business and take all of your skills and put them out in the best way possible to maximize the profits.
A Few Final Thoughts on Freelancing as a Non-Native English Speaker
I’ve learned most of these things from Location Rebel Academy. If you’ve been following Location Rebel for a long time, you might know where all the value comes from.
However, if you’re a beginner – I hope that this post kickstarts your journey, as much as Sean’s post did help my journey.
These are just some of the most important tips I’d want you to know as a beginner, but they sum up pretty much the beginning of the journey, but even the mid-journey as long as you take action and stay persistent.
Nothing comes overnight. But who knows, you might find your client this week or the next week. All you need is one client, and you’re in business!
What do you struggle with the most? Is there anything in particular that you feel is stopping you from becoming a successful freelance writer?
Dario is a freelance writer and digital marketer who loves writing about technology, software, and digital marketing to share his experience, knowledge and provide as much value as possible to his audience. You can also check out his blog.