Freelance Ghostwriting Tips From a Professional Writer

Last updated on July 11, 2020

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Freelance ghostwriting tips

The first time I heard the term ‘ghostwriting’ I conjured up images of Stephen King and his scary movies/books. Fortunately, those are not my thoughts anymore. If you are wondering what ghostwriting is, rest assured that you are in the same boat as many.

A ghostwriter is someone who is hired by another person to write an article, eBook, speech, etc, and they typically don’t get any credit for doing so.

For example, you hire Stephanie to write an eBook about cat food but YOU will be the author of the eBook. Either you didn’t have the expertise or the time to write the eBook so you hired Stephanie to do the job. That, in short, is ghostwriting.

I got the opportunity to interview a very active freelance ghostwriter called Igor, who is an active Quoran like myself.

A Quoran is someone who spends a lot of time on Quora. (okay, I just made that up).

Quora actually is a question and answer site. You can post a question about almost anything and you will get an answer from the community of users.

Igor had some yummy tips to share about freelancing and freelance ghostwriting. So here goes.

I am so honored that you agreed to this interview, Igor! 

The privilege is all mine, Sheeroh. 

1. How did you start freelancing?

By chance, as it usually happens. My friends and family used to tease me because, as someone who was always looking to learn everything about anything, I had a habit of providing exhausting answers on even the simplest questions.

And since I knew my way around writing appealing reports and papers, mostly as the part of my job as a crime scene investigator back then, a friend of mine asked me to help him draft and publish a self-help book. That was way back, in 2004.

The book was an instant success on the local market so I figured, why not make some side money. One thing led to another and I soon expanded on the international market. 

2.  What are your core skills and what do you freelance as?

I’m a professional ghostwriter, predominantly focused on non-fiction but with the occasional “trips” to fiction writing or, to be more accurate, transforming the non-fiction (i.e. some self-help topic) into a fictional piece with characters and exciting plot.

In the core of my service, however, is the smart content marketing and the bulk of my professional engagements is going in that direction. 

3.  What are your best ways of getting clients?

Currently, the word-of-mouth since I have a rather large network of business connections.

But at the beginning of my international freelance career, I was exclusively relying on the freelancing platforms like Elance, oDesk (now Upwork).

Even today, I still occasionally pitch my services using Upwork just to stay in shape and to establish fresh relationships. 

4.  Is there anything else you do apart from your freelance work?

Investing. It spans from day trading like Forex to long-term investments in startups, options, and commodities, plus private investments in my own startups.

For some time now, I’m focusing on blockchain and ICOs in particular. 

5.  How do you handle feast and famine cycles? Do you experience those seasons?

Who doesn’t, lol? Sometimes things happen – things outside of your direct influence, that drain away all of your available time, preventing you from doing any serious work.

As you know, in our line of business, you are paid based on the results and not the fixed monthly salary, meaning that you won’t get a dime unless you create for the clients.

Luckily, I became aware of this a long time ago so I made a decision to allocate a part of my time and incomes to active investments or the things that generate money with or without my direct influence.

For example, it’s not rare for me to recognize the potential of some startup (job post on a freelancing platform) and offer my services for free in exchange for 5-10% in the future profit.

It’s a gamble and in most of the cases everything ends up with me losing precious time. But those few that bang, compensate for the losses and add to the total income.   

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6.  Are there any tools that you can’t do without for your freelance work?

Grammarly.  Definitely.

You see, as an author, you are “reading” from your mind. And that renders you useless when it comes to editing and proofreading because, as you are well aware, you can go over the same piece of text over and over again and still miss some type error or even worse – regardless if you are native or not.

That’s why we have professional editors and proofreaders in the first place.

But with Grammarly, those common mistakes are reduced to bare (acceptable) minimum. And no, I’m not, in any way, affiliated with them. 

7.  Do you look back now and wish that you had done things differently in your freelancing career and what would that be?

Self-reflecting and learning from the past mistakes is the most valuable tool in the life of every living person. That is as long as you are learning from them and not dwelling on them.

When it comes to my freelancing career, I would lease my own professional space outside my residence on the Day 1.

It would definitely save me and the others around me a lot of nerves and probably reflect well on my income.

Because one of the greatest challenges of working from home is the lack of a professional environment. By utilizing a living room as a workspace, you are effectively changing the paradigm of the central home R&R space.

And that can, sometimes, be a nerve-wracking experience not just for a freelancer but for every member of the household. 

8.  Do you think there’s any more space, as it were, seeing that so many people are now venturing into the online freelancing field?

It won’t be long before working from home (freelancing) becomes a must rather than a choice as it is now.

The way I see it, the current numbers are not even close to market saturation.

An ever-growing number of companies are looking for ways to outsource the big chunks of their workload to the contractors (freelancers) because it saves them a tremendous amount of money.

Simply put, if it’s “intellectual,” it can be outsourced. The main incentive for companies is that they don’t have to worry about the office space, health insurance, equipment, and everything else traditional job environment carries with it.

An independent contractor is just another business entity and the entire freelance industry is nothing more than a classic B2B relationship.

Unfortunately, the largest number of freelancers doesn’t see it that way. As the result, their careers are short-lasting. 

9. How do you stand out from the crowd seeing as there are so many freelance writers in the market, whether they be blog writers, ghostwriters etc?

I deliver. In a way that I carefully consider what and to whom am I writing, meaning that I’m always adjusting the copy to the targeted demographics even if the client didn’t specify it.

If that’s the case and I don’t have any other mean to precisely assess the targeted audience, I simply ask and discuss. From there, it’s just the matter of skillful writing. 
 
That said, it’s important to approach every project with the simple question: Why? In other words, what is the problem I’m trying to solve? What is the main question?
And it doesn’t matter if it’s the writing, design or software development. I believe clients recognized that added value in the early stage of my career. 
 

It’s always about that added value or delivering the project that leaves a client in awe. Anything less than that is simply not enough given the competition. 

10. What’s your best advice for your newbies who want to become freelancers?

Think business rather than a job. That is to say that you must perceive freelancing as the business venture and not job searching.

In other words, if you want to succeed, you have to think on the B2B level and act as an equal party in the process.

After all, as a freelancer who is competing on the tender with the others, you are nothing less than an independent entrepreneur who is acting in the best interests of his/her business; regardless of the fact that you are a part-time freelancer.

About the author

Virginia Nakitari is a work from home mom passionate about making money online. She's here to show you legitimate companies offering full-time, part-time and remote jobs from home! Stay tuned!

  • Good job Sheeroh, you’re in a league of your own. You are Miss-Know-It-All, I mean your pages have answers for anything and everything.

    Keep it up!!!!

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