The 4 keys to successful freelancing

I was talking to my partner about blog ideas, and she suggested this one. So -- as an unsuccessful freelancer -- here are the 4 keys to successful freelancing:

1. Understanding your market

"Market" here meaning "editor" -- as a freelancer, you're not selling your work to an audience, you're selling your work to an administrator. That means you kinda have to write badly in certain important ways. Your job is to write the kind of blandly generic work that a boss-type-person is going to look at and say "I'm definitely not going to get called into an office and spoken to if I publish this."

2. Appropriate workplace clothes

It's a very common piece of advice that if you want to get work done from home, you should get dressed as if you're going into the office. I recommend having a pair of pants that you feel professional in. Wear them every day. Never wash them. These are your lucky pants.

3. Social media

As a writing professional in the age of social media, you are expected to do an impossible thing. That impossible thing is to (a.) not be constantly distracted by social media while working, and (b.) maintain a strong social media presence. You can't do this. You still have to try. You will be blamed for the consequences of your inevitable failure.

4. No matter what, never spend more than 20 minutes on a job

Your work isn't going to pay very well. If you want to make rent, you're going to need to produce it at an exceptional volume, in your time between your shifts at Starbucks, where you will also have to work to make ends meet. (Remember to smile!) To do this, avoid putting a reasonable, thoughtful amount of time into your work. Instead, crank it out like a missing Londoner in Mrs. Lovett's beef grinder. Times are hard, do what you must to survive.