Freelance Writing Market Shifts in 2010

Because contemporary economic conditions are so unstable, self-employed individuals will need to develop some new competencies. A better understanding of the economics of their own transactions, planning for jobs in advance, and shifting their interests in accordance with a truly global marketplace, are all necessary for freelance writers.

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Freelancers have a whole new roster of questions to answer. What should an experienced writer be able to take on? What software will make a freelancer competitive in a constantly evolving environment of information and opportunities? What services will be in demand next season or next year? How can a freelance prepare for market shifts? These and other questions will be answered in the current article to facilitate a freelancer’s analysis of their market.

As you no doubt know, there are secular trends that affect all sectors of domestic and foreign economies and have an impact on freelance workers as well. These trends include changes in the value of the strongest world currencies and changes in consumption rates. It is clear that demand is one of the most influential and potentially damaging factors affecting a freelancer’s financial situation.

Some writers write books or articles and sell them to whichever publishing entity makes the most appealing offer. After the writer has demonstrated their capacity to write creatively and to the point, such an arrangement may, at some point, evolve into a more formal contractual relationship.

Nevertheless, as a freelance writer, you face disadvantages as well as benefits. An example is a risk associated with working with an international publication. Changes in the currency rate can prevent you from receiving the price you were offered.

Thus, if you are about to sign a contract for a freelance writing gig with a company from abroad, make sure you read it well. Some contracts specify how a writer is to be treated in case of currency fluctuations.

For example

Let us imagine that the contract specifies a payment of 1000$ for a job. Later on, it also mentions that this funds transfer will take place in the currency of the company’s home country. This is, of course, far more convenient for the company, especially if their operations are largely within that country.

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The result, however, is that movements in the international exchange rate could leave you with only 900$. This is a much-simplified hypothetical example – the real world of currency variations is far more complex. Clearly, a freelancer needs to be financially educated as well as legally informed, in addition to the usual requirements to be articulate and creative!

Many other factors affect the freelance writing market, such as the current tsunami of competition from abroad. In response, resident freelancers should take measures to make sure that their marketing efforts, whatever they are, are more noticeable and attractive than others’

This new challenge forces freelancers to consider advertising, in some fashion, even if this is a novel and perhaps previously unappealing or frightening notion. In the present environment, writers may need to be pro-active, reaching out to the public, informing potential customers about what differentiates him/her from everyone else. How can you fulfill their needs? What quality of writing can you offer (would you feel comfortable sharing a sample)? What do you charge? What kinds of deadlines can you handle? What reference databases can you access?

Writers can spend a great deal of money and/or time and effort advertising their services, even though they are totally unprepared. On the other hand, some freelance writers let their work act as an indirect advertisement. Satisfied customers often advise their friends to use the services of a specific writer. That sort of publicity is literally priceless.

I’m saying nothing new here, but it bears repeating that a professional freelancer should have their own blog. For obvious reasons, if you are already known, respected, and influential in your own circle, this will be an additional marketing tool. If not, a blog (well written and adding to the sum of human knowledge, preferably) can serve as your portfolio. Some writers post their blogs on one of the social networks. Others use dedicated sites. The combination of a social network account carefully presented and kept free of casual, slangy messages (this is not the place to advertise what cereal you are eating!) and a formal blog is a potentially important boost to your career. Make it personal – reach out for the customer and grab them by the heart and wallet!

Since social media are increasingly central to marketing, writers should be prepared to provide a strong presence in the specialized freelance writing-oriented communities. Don’t be hesitant to ‘meet’ people online. Comment on their postings and blogs, and add them to your contact lists. Be polite, be sensible, be social-media savvy, and you will doubtless benefit.

Freelance writers face difficulties in organizing their workspace and time and advertising their services. If you are prepared to provide your customers with a high-quality product, you can compete with freelancers from abroad who are quite happy to scoop up the market.

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According to statistical data generated by, non-native speakers are already conquering the freelance writing field. Consider the following:

Applications for a freelance writing position within RWC project (January-July 2010)

  • Native Speakers – 25%
  • Non-Native Speakers – 75%

Naturally, many more native speakers are accepted than writers for whom English is a secondary language. However, their quantity is overwhelming, and sometimes they offer good quality as well. (There are plenty of examples of superb writers working in a language other than their mother tongue)

You can also offer appealing discounts and special offers to encourage repeat business. As noted earlier, satisfied customers, and their referrals to other potential clients, are the best and cheapest advertising a freelancer can ask for.

Sometimes, unfortunately, customers prefer quantity to quality. This disappointing fact often means that a writer fails to remain competitive. How can a writer manage when there are poorly qualified but aggressive competitors offering something resembling writing, whatever the quality, at half the price?

Thus, securing jobs and aligning oneself to secure a staff position in the future is increasingly urgent. Offering ‘freebies’ and jazzing up one’s pricing for new or regular customers can help maintain the volume of work.

Your blog can be an attractive source of free content, advice, and information – and part of your strategy for drawing in new customers and keeping old ones around.

Writers have to remain human in this high tech age and build up relationships with customers based on mutual respect, understanding, and collaboration.

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