HOW TO DEVELOP A FREELANCING CAREER WITH THE POWER OF THE INTERNET
Maximilian wrote: "I've read many of your blog posts with great interest and do admire your discipline and passion for the craft. I especially am interested in how you find clients for various writing projects. It's clear to me that people who call themselves writers are as abundant as sand on a beach. It's hard to stand out. This year I really want to earn some coin with my writing, not necessarily with my as-yet unfinished novel, but with helping others find the right words. You mentioned that you've been hired as a ghostwriter before...you have shown time and again that you can weather any storm, or at least you're good at making others believe that. I admire what you've accomplished. I would appreciate some advice, any advice, as to how I can develop a freelancing career with the power of the internet."
Dear Maximilian, let me preface my answer with this: In the almost five years that I've been writing full-time (it'll be five years this May, Jesus...), my goal was never to develop a freelancing career. It kind of fell on my head out of my incessant sharing of everything I'm doing—learning this, learning that, figuring things out—on the internet. I started sharing on my blog, then continued on Twitter, then migrated to Instagram, then to Ello, and finally to Patreon, but the gist has always been the same—I don't plan anything (except my writing schedule). I just share. Things happen every day. Bad things. Good things. In-between things. Boring things. I share ALL OF IT. That's probably some secret sauce lots of people ask me about ("How did you do X? And what about Y? And Z?"). We've all been groomed (with various differences, depending on the culture) to put our best face forward. Especially in business. Especially if we think of making money in said business. I have turned this formula upside down. Not because I was very smart. And not because I have foreseen some spectacular results. But because I had nothing to lose. I wanted to take my life. Then at the last moment I decided not to take my life. Then I started talking about EVERYTHING that was cooking inside my head, without any filters. Not the type of decision you'd make if you want to make money. Only I did start making money. So that's how my "freelancing career" started.
I'll give you a rundown of the things I do, and maybe from them (and from how I came to them) you can glimpse something useful, steal it, and apply to your own career. None of them are carefully planned. And all of my clients (well, almost all) came to me, not the other way around. Meaning, I wasn't looking for clients. Clients found me. And one more thing.
BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER!
Recognize my perceived position on the internet. I look like a white straight American middle-class woman, hence all the privileges I get with it. For example, not very many people realize I'm an immigrant and English is not my first language. Also, I'm conventionally beautiful, in the Western-culture sense, with blue eyes and all that jazz. People make subconscious choices when wanting to hire me. Sometimes older men in particular are drawn to me, which is standard in the white patriarchy. I cringe at it, and I hate it, and I accept it for what it is and use it if I have to, and when it seems wise, I fight it, because I learned that being confrontational at the outset isn't producing a positive change. Instead, it inflames people. I still make mistakes in this department, and a few years ago I didn't even recognize my privileges. Another such privilege is my ability to rely on Royce financially when all goes to shit. This allows me to pick and choose. Now, would I be hired as much or as often if I were black? A black man? A black woman? Hispanic? Asian? Muslim? Not straight? Ugly or physically deformed in some way? Handicapped? Hardly. The conventions of our society marginalize those who don't fit the bill of the white straight Christian male if you're a man, and a white straight obedient beautiful female, if you're a woman.
With all of it in mind, and with your own image on the internet in mind (depending on what country you're from, you can now proceed.