I started out in this business believing that I couldn’t achieve any semblance of success as a freelance writer without broadcasting a long list of accolades and achievements. A dramatic portfolio. Stacks of published work. A binder full of “click-through” rates and statistics – solid metrics proving my worth and value.
I don’t have those things, so don’t bother searching for them. And if you need those things in order to build confidence in my abilities, then I’m probably not the writer for you. I don’t track clicks. I don’t run A/B tests. I don’t log social proof that my writing reaches people. I understand that such facts and figures are widely considered to be the foundation of a good writing business.
Truth be told, I don’t know anything about the business of writing.
Some would say that makes me a fool. That I’ll never achieve success in this business. Their version of success and mine aren’t the same. Roy Williams writes that most people are looking to make money, a name, or a difference*. I, myself, am not looking to be the highest paid writer in the world. Nor do I seek to be the biggest name in the game. I’m just looking to deliver powerful content to people who appreciate it and earn enough money to create a nice little life for myself and my family.
My freelance business isn’t built on facts, figures, or numbers. It’s built on excellent communication, careful listening, and good, solid work completed on time. It’s built on the unchanging principle that most folks want to work with someone they know and trust, and the fact that I happen to be quite skilled at earning and keeping the trust of the people with whom I have the privilege of doing business.
I may not be able to provide a laundry list of numerical data evidencing my value and expertise in this business. Why is being an “expert” such a great achievement, anyway? Experts become such through repetitive interaction with the same subject matter, placing them in danger of losing the original passion and creative, out-of-the-box thinking that made them great in the first place.
The fact that I’m no expert is precisely what makes me exceptional at my craft. I’m able to approach each project with fresh eyes, a new perspective, and without all the background noise of “how things are usually done.”
If I become an “expert” in this business, it’s time to hang up my hat.
I’m not looking to do one thing better than anyone else. I’m looking to do many different things, learn new skills, and tackle new challenges. I’m simply looking for a chance to make an honest living doing the one thing I love most: producing good, solid writing for folks who appreciate the gift.
*Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads