The Seven Habits of High-Earning Freelancers (Part One)

With apologies to both Steven Covey and Captain Tagon, I’ll be doing a list of the behaviors that make for the best opportunities to succeed as a freelance writer.



Habit One: Professional Appearance

Yes, freelance writing often means telecommuting. Yes, that part of the job often finds me working in my jammies with a three-day stubble. Yes, this is one of the better parts of my job.


You still have to maintain a professional appearance. The “face” you put forward to potential clients will determine whether or not they reach out and give you a chance to bid on what they want done.

  • Is your website professional, well-written and easy to read?
  • Do your social media pages include enough comments, likes and shares to demonstrate that you can compel readers into action?
  • Are the photos on your page high-quality, with appropriate accreditation?
  • Do you communicate using good grammar and professional protocols?
  • Is there at least one professional photo of you on your website and each social media page?
  • Can you provide references and testimonials?

If you have to answer “no” to any of those questions, then you have some targets for the next few weeks.

Physical appearance also matters whenever you’re soliciting work face-to-face, or meeting with clients in person or over video chat. I posted not long ago about being solicited for work at the grocery store by an intelligent, skilled woman who hadn’t dressed for the part.

Stay tuned for Habit Two: Professional Communication. Meanwhile, leave some comments about how having — or lacking — this habit has affected your business.

Photo Credit: Onomotomedia

5 thoughts on “The Seven Habits of High-Earning Freelancers (Part One)

  1. I do work from home, but in software development, not freelance writing. Some things still apply though, and are similar across fields. Having worked in the software development industry in the south (LA), in the east (PA, GA), and in the west (CA, OR), the west is by far the most relaxed when it comes to physical appearance.

    At my previous employer, shorts, t-shirts, and sandals were comfortable, acceptable attire. That being said, whenever I had meetings scheduled with people higher in the food chain, I always classed it up a bit, maybe some slacks, maybe a button-up shirt with a collar. That level is fairly standard daily attire at all the places I worked south and east… At interviews for a new job, dress pants, a button up, and even a tie are the norm for me.

    Poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation (long live the Oxford comma!) have always been a pet-peeve for me, so my opinion here is likely skewed, and should be taken with a grain of salt… but if ur emails look like this lol wit mispelings & abbrev. n shitty acronyms and no punctuation i assume u r an idiot or lazy or both My ire on this is further exacerbated by knowing that people in my profession (and writing as well) basically type for a living. They should be good at it. Someone who can type 100+ words per minute should never feel it’s acceptable to save time by dropping out letters, especially on a full keyboard, or by skipping grammar corrections and punctuation. Rawr…

    • Right now I’m taking a look at the book Get Clients Now!, which was reedemcnomd by a fellow translator. The book is about creating and implementing a marketing plan for a small service business, and there are worksheets that you can download from the author’s website.I thought I’d try this and see if it improves my marketing efforts, which could use a bit of discipline. However I’m not entire sure that everything in the book is 100% applicable to translators, since the top method reedemcnomd is direct contacts (cold or warm calling), followed only afterward by networking and referrals. I’ve seen quite a few comments by translators lately that they get most of their business by *being found* by clients who are looking for translators, through venues such as Peter mentions above, through referrals, and so on.

  2. Pingback: The Seven Habits of High-Earning Freelancers (Part Two) »

  3. Pingback: The Seven Habits of High-Earning Freelancers (Part Three) »

  4. Pingback: The Seven Habits of High-Earning Freelancers (Part Four) »

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