Freelance writing can be an exciting – albeit challenging – way to earn your livelihood. The chance to craft blog posts, feature articles and other deliverables on a vast array of subjects is something that many writers are sure to jump at. However, as is the case with other freelance professions, attracting a decent number of regular clients is essential to staying afloat. Fortunately, retaining clients and drumming up repeat business isn’t nearly as difficult as some writers make it look. Whether you’ve been writing for years or are just getting your start, the following pointers are sure to come in handy.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Many fledgling freelancers are hesitant to approach new clients with questions. Since they believe it makes them look unqualified or unprofessional, some writers avoid asking questions altogether. While such anxiety is somewhat understandable, it’s important to ask questions when you’re unclear on certain directions or client expectations. Failure to do so is likely to result in work that falls well below the standards of most clients. Needless to say, submitting such work will not endear you to clients and is likely to give them reservations about enlisting your services again. So, the next time you hit a roadblock, don’t be shy about making inquiries.

Submit Estimates and Invoices in a Timely Manner

If you expect to be compensated for your services in a timely manner, don’t drag your feet when it comes to submitting estimates and invoices. The sooner you submit an estimate, the sooner your client can approve it – and the sooner you can get to work. Similarly, the sooner you submit an invoice, the sooner you’ll get paid. Unless instructed to do otherwise, don’t wait for clients to request these documents before submitting them. Writers looking for professional-caliber templates should download this professional estimate for free.

Honor Your Commitments

Like every other type of freelancer, writers would do well to honor their commitments and complete assignments by specified deadlines. If you’re suddenly faced with an unforeseen medical problem or family emergency, most clients should prove amenable to extensions. Outside of these circumstances, however, you’ll be expected to submit assignments by their respective due dates. Although this seems like a relatively simple concept to grasp, a surprising number of writers habitually shrug off deadlines and submit assignments at their leisure. Adopting a lackadaisical approach to deadlines practically guarantees that most clients won’t enlist your services more than once, so if repeat business is what you’re after, treat your deadlines as sacrosanct.

As any seasoned writer can attest, freelancing has its ups and downs. On the plus side, you get to be your own boss, work from the comfort of home and choose which projects to take on. However, in order to make anything resembling a comfortable living, you’ll need to attract a steady stream of clients. Furthermore, grabbing the interest of prospective clients is only half the battle – you’ll also need to prove yourself worthy of their continued patronage.