Freelance writing time-wasters: are you guilty?

The Biggest Time-Wasting Mistakes New Freelance Writers Make

Are you wasting your time on these major freelance writing mistakes? If you identify with any of these, you’ll be better off stopping and changing focus so you can move forward with your freelance writing business.

Spending Months on Your Website

You may think that you have to have a website in order to be a freelance writer who lands work. This is absolutely, 100% not true!

You have to have writing samples. If you have a solid writing portfolio but no website, you can get hired. But if you have the best website in the world, and no writing samples, no one will hire you.

If you spend 6 months building your cool website, that’s 6 months spent not writing samples. You may learn about the backend of WordPress and what plug-ins you like, but that won’t get you hired as a freelance writer. Focus on your writing samples and having a really good pitch email template.

Social Media Profiles and Content Marketing

Another time-waster for a beginner is building up all of your social media profiles and having a content marketing plan for them.

You need to be pitching clients, not posting on social media. Posting on Twitter for a year might eventually get you a client, but pitching is faster.

Save the social media perfection for later and just pitch right now.

Simultaneously Trying to Start Your Blog

A money-making blog is a business. Being a money-making freelance writer is a business. Starting two businesses at once is close to impossible.

Blogs are great, and can be a future part of your business strategy, but you have to focus on building your freelance writing business first. Plus, you will make money faster being a freelance writer than you will building a blog. Blogs take longer to earn money.

You can write blog posts for clients for money. You can have a blog section on your future website for client awareness. Just don’t try to start your own money-making blog right now.

Researching All Day and Night

Research can be fascinating. There’s always more to learn about almost any subject. If you’re insecure about your skills as a new freelance writer, you might spend too much time researching.

Here are two ways to help you: limit your scope and limit your time.

If you’re researching a pitch idea, get very clear beforehand as to what aspect of a topic you are researching for. Then, if you come across an interesting nugget of info that you want to explore, bookmark it for later, for another pitch.

You can also set a time limit for researching. Set an actual timer if you need to. But stop getting ready to get ready.

Getting Stuck in Editing Mode

This time waster is when you write drafts but never publish them. You write an email pitch template, but don’t think it’s ready to send out to anyone. Or you begin a writing sample but get stuck halfway through because it’s not perfect.

Perfection will kill your career faster than anything else will. A comet could hit the earth and destroy the internet more slowly than perfection can kill your career.

You have to be okay with a crummy first draft. Just get everything out of your head. It will be okay. If you don’t publish anything or pitch any clients, you can’t become a freelance writer.

Spending Months Applying ONLY to Job Boards

Job boards should be viewed as a freelance writer gym. When you’re brand-new, you start on them.

You have to build up your pitching muscles. It’s a low-risk way of getting a sense of what clients are out there and what kind of work is out there. Know that they will pay poorly on job boards.

But after a few weeks, you should have done enough reps at the writer gym to move on. You know how it feels to come up with ideas for pitches and tweak your pitch template email for different jobs. You’ve gotten better at overcoming the fear of pressing the “Send” button.

You should now send cold pitches to clients. Most won’t respond, a few will. You will keep building confidence. But you won’t build a career on the cattle calls of the job boards.

If you want help with this part of the journey, I have a course called Client Bound.

Doing Anything and Everything to Avoid Looking for Clients

What the above time wasters really boil down to is avoiding looking for clients.

It’s scary. Doing these other things feels like you’re accomplishing things for your freelance writing career, but you’re not doing what matters the most. Two years in the future, do you want to have a thriving business, or do you still want to be putting the “finishing touches” on your soon-to-be writing business?

Clips Camp

If you need help getting great writing samples for your portfolio, I have a course called Clips Camp.

It’s a three-week course for new and advanced new freelance writers who want to get started with high-paid client work. If you’re on Upwork or Fiverr and miserable, if you haven’t even done anything to get started and you don’t know what the first step is, then Clips Camp is for you.

I teach you how to put together a solid portfolio of writing samples that position you as the kind of awesome writer that awesome clients want to hire. If you want in on that or you just want more information, go to, and I will see you on the inside!

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Ashley (24) (1)

After working with dozens of brilliant, hard-working entrepreneurs as a freelance writer, I learned a thing or two about great content. Now I bring my years of experience, practice, and self-study to bloggers and businesses that want to nail it in the content game.


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