There are about 57 million freelancers in the U.S. alone, with millennials making up the larger percentage of the group. It is estimated that a significant portion of the world’s workforce will be freelancers by 2027.
These statistics show the potential growth of the freelancing industry, including freelance writing. Most workers are likely to switch to freelancing because of the incredible benefits it offers, including freedom and the convenience to work from anywhere, anytime.
If you are not sure if the freelance world is right for you we have put together a list of the many pros and cons of freelancing.
Below we have outlined in detail how to get started as a freelance writer. It is a lot of work to get started, but the freedom is well worth it, in my opinion anyway. :)
Who is a Freelance Writer?
A freelance writer is a text and graphics content creator who works for several clients and companies, helping them come up with varying content types. Such content includes sales emails, articles, newsletters, eBooks, landing pages, blog posts, emails, case studies, product descriptions, product guides, and much more. If you do such work, you can also be referred to as a self-employed worker or an independent contractor.
How to Become a Freelance Writer?
If you want to venture into freelance writing and quit formal employment, you must be ready to change your mindset and shift your focus to this new career. Although you’ll be your own boss; in this case, you must know that such freedom comes at a cost. Here are the main steps to follow if you want to become a freelance writer.
By the way, we do not recommend leaving your day job until you have significant savings and several clients. Only you will know when the right time is to make the leap, but life will be much easier if you play it smart!
Like any other new venture, it’s vital to take time and research what is expected of you as a freelance writer. Visit blogs and other platforms dedicated to this topic and gather as much information as you can.
Identify successful freelancers in your niche and discover the path they took to be where they’re today. You’ll be amazed at the wealth of knowledge you’ll gather from these sources to start your new career.
You can also Google “Freelancer FAQs,” “The writing life,” “becoming a freelance blogger,” and other related search terms that will help you find answers to your burning questions about freelance writing. Also, take time to learn more about copywriting, editing, proofreading, and search engine optimization (SEO), among other vital topics in freelancer writing.
2. What Skills Should You Possess as a Freelance Writer?
If you’re yearning to become a freelance writer, you need to have a unique skill set. This includes the following:
- A passion for writing: As a freelance writer, you’ll spend most of your time writing and editing different types of content. If you don’t love writing, you may have a hard time adjusting to your new career.
- Fluency in the language you’ll be writing in: Most companies and freelancing agencies prefer to hire native speakers. The web is filled with sites from every part of the globe where you can find employers or clients looking for content in your native language.
- Making sense out of words: You should also have this skill to be able to organize words into sentences and paragraphs that make sense. Yes, you need to turn your ideas and words into clear and easy to understand written material. This is often harder than it sounds.
- Self-motivation: In this career, you won’t have a boss monitoring you every time. You’re the boss, and you must get everything done accurately and on time. That’s why you must be self-motivated.
- Meeting deadlines: If you want to retain clients, you must be ready to deliver work on time. You must be a person of your word.
- Flexibility: Successful freelance writers know how to balance family and work life. At times, you’ll need to change your plans.
- Self-confidence: In freelance writing, you must be ready for anything. Remember, you may face rejection several times before you get it right; thus, you must have faith in yourself and what you can do.
If you have the qualities highlighted above, becoming a freelance writer will come naturally. That does not mean it will be easy, but it will certainly make for a smoother transition into your new career.
Before starting your journey in freelance writing, you require a few essentials that include the following:
- A computer
- Stable Internet connection
- A professional email address
- A PayPal or Stripe account
- A WordPress blog
- Word processor such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs
As you progress with your writing career, you’ll discover other items you may need along the way.
4. Locate Your Writer’s Niche
Most newbies encounter significant challenges in locating their writing niche but it does not have to be this way. Consider topics you’re passionate about and start writing about them right away. These include your interests, passions, and what you enjoy reading and learning. There are many niches out there so find one that resonates with you and get to work. As you start, look for a broad topic or two and as you hone in on your style and what you enjoy writing about you can specialize later. Some popular niches include:
- Making money online
- Personal development
- Content marketing
- Health and fitness
You need to learn how to become a successful freelance writer. If you want to have an easy time in freelance writing, you must be ready to invest in yourself. Successful freelance writers know this.
If possible, enroll for freelancing courses to learn the basics of this new career. There are many online freelance writing courses offered by renowned freelance writers that you can join. Again, you must be committed to relentless self-improvement. Freelance writing is broad, and you need to keep learning and writing each day. Remember, you won’t become a pro writer overnight- it takes time.
Also, take a keen interest in the feedback you get from editors and clients in the areas you need to improve on and take the necessary action. An investment of about $500 in a training course can pay back thousands of dollars down the line; thus, launching your freelance writing career with minimal upfront investment is totally possible.
6. Know Where to Find Freelance Writing Jobs
Once you’re ready to start your freelancing career, your next task is to find writing gigs. First, start by creating an online presence. Most writers start a blog to increase their online visibility.
You can create a WordPress website or get up and running pretty quickly with an account with Medium. Having a website makes pitching easier, and you don’t have to be tech-savvy to create one. If you have challenges coming up with your site, you can rely on a professional web designer’s services.
It’s also advisable to optimize your LinkedIn profile by including your portfolio on the platform. You will want to publish your work in as many places as you can. Your own site, LinkedIn, and Medium should certainly be top contenders. You can also create a profile on popular freelancing sites such as UpWork and Contently.
Getting jobs as a beginner in freelance writing can be challenging. It’s even harder if you don’t have a portfolio. Clients are interested in knowing what you can do. Therefore, when you start putting your name out there, start by creating several high-quality samples in your chosen niche.
If you already have a blog, you can post them on your site. Alternatively, you can write guest posts or publish your work on LinkedIn. Your “starter portfolio” should comprise a few online samples that your potential clients can read. The easiest way to guest post is to connect with bloggers in your niche and ask them to post your work on their sites.
Most clients won’t pay you to guest post, but remember, such opportunities can result in paid gigs in the future. Besides, this is what your potential clients will use to gauge your writing skills and hire you.
8. Learn the Art of Pitching
One of the skills you must invest in is learning how to pitch clients successfully. You may be an amazing writer, but if you don’t know how to market your services, you will certainly have difficulty landing high-paying clients. Besides learning how to write quality content, you must also learn how to pitch.
Getting new clients is the most daunting task for beginners. Thus you need to know what to say and maintain a consistent pitching routine. When you’re new to freelance writing, you should spend a considerable amount of time pitching and trying to get new jobs. For instance, you can decide you’ll be sending 3-4 pitches each day until you get sufficient work.
Also, remember to work on your social media accounts. You can get great clients from Facebook, Twitter, and other related platforms. The only way you can increase your earnings as a freelance writer is by finding high paying clients, and the best way to accomplish this task is by pitching.
9. Other Avenues Where You Can Get Freelance Writing Gigs
Besides pitching directly to clients, you can choose to find writing gigs on other platforms. At first, you may have issues since you may lack the confidence and feel you’re not well prepared for the task. When searching for freelancing gigs, consider visiting free job boards such as Problogger, Freelance Writing Jobs (FWJ), and Blogging Pro. If you want to land gigs faster, you can try paid job boards such as Contena Pro, FlexJobs, and Freelance Writer’s Den Job Board. You can also find jobs on Craigslist and related sites.
As a freelance writer, you don’t have to network in-person. Reach out to fellow writers in your niche and share ideas. You might be surprised to get high paying work from your network. Besides, you also get to know a lot about your new career. Join online freelancing groups and forums; for example, Facebook groups dedicated to freelance writing. On such platforms, you can find job leads, network like crazy, and share writing tips with other freelance writers.
After you start earning income from freelance writing and have sufficient knowledge and information about the industry, it’s time to expand your business. If you consider freelance writing your business, you can grow to exceptional heights. One way of achieving this goal is to make pitching and delivering quality content a priority.
You must get your name out there. Other steps that you can implement to scale your writing business include increasing your rates, diversifying your niches, and adding extra services to your list.
It is best to start small, in a single niche, get really good at that writing style in a particular industry, and then start to brand out to others.
Freelance writing can be a rewarding career, but you must be ready to pay the price and keep on implementing what brings the best results.
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