If you have a passion for writing and are looking for ways to get paid for it, you might want to consider freelance writing. That’s not to say that all freelance writers are rolling in dough — far from it. But if you’re willing to put in the work, you can leave your 9-5 and make a living as a freelance writer.
As the corporate world opens up to the idea of remote work, there has never been a better time to start freelancing. Not only is freelancing a great way to earn extra income, but it’s also a great way to get your foot in the door of the writing world.
This guide will give you an overview of what it takes to be a freelance writer, including some tips on getting started.
What is a freelance writer?
Before we give you the blueprint for becoming a freelance writer, let’s define what a freelance writer actually is. A freelance writer is any writer who writes for a living without being employed by a single company.
That means freelance writers are self-employed and work on a per-project or per-article basis. While some freelance writers may have regular clients they write for regularly, they are not contractually tied down to one buyer.
No matter your arrangement, you should be in control of your schedule and workload. It can be both liberating and daunting — it’s up to you to find the clients and projects that you want to work on, which means that you’re also in charge of ensuring you’re paid for your work.
The Different Types of Writing You Can Do as a Freelancer
Depending on your interests and skills, you can specialize in any number of writing genres. Most writers stick to one or two disciplines they’re particularly passionate about or skilled at to make a name for themselves in that field.
Here are some of the most popular types of writing that freelance writers can specialize in:
- Copywriting: Copywriting is all about creating persuasive, interesting, and attention-grabbing text for marketing or selling a product. It could be anything from website copy to email marketing campaigns to product descriptions.
- SEO Writing: SEO writing is a specific type of copywriting that focuses on creating optimized content for search engines. This means using keywords and other strategies to ensure your content appears as high up as possible on search engine results pages.
- Blog Writing: Many businesses need regular blog content, which is where freelance bloggers come in. As a blog writer, you’ll be responsible for researching and writing articles on various topics.
- Ghostwriting: Ghostwriting is when a writer is hired to write content that will be published under someone else’s name. This could be anything from a blog post to a fiction novel.
- Technical Writing: Technical writing is a type of writing that focuses on explaining complex concepts clearly and concisely. This could be anything from user manuals to white papers to how-to guides.
- Grant Writing: Grant writers are responsible for researching and writing grant proposals for nonprofits or other organizations.
- Resume Writing: Many people hire freelance writers to help them spruce up their resumes. As a resume writer, you’ll be responsible for highlighting your client’s skills and experience in a way that will appeal to potential employers.
- And more! Regardless of what type of writing you specialize in, there’s a demand for it — you just need to know where to look.
How Do I Get Started as a Freelance Writer?
Did any of the writing genres we listed above pique your interest? If so, then it’s time to start taking the steps necessary to become a freelance writer. By following the steps below, you’ll be well on your way to securing your first client.
Practice makes perfect
Before diving headfirst into the world of freelance writing, it’s essential to hone your craft first. The more you write, the better you’ll become at crafting compelling and interesting text. In most cases, your writing skills directly correlate with how much money you can make as a freelancer.
One of the best ways to practice your writing is to start a personal blog. Blogging not only gives you a platform to share your thoughts and ideas with the world but also allows you to try out different writing styles and genres. Who knows — you may even end up attracting some clients through your blog!
Research your Niche and Industry
Next, you’ll need to start doing some research on your chosen writing niche and industry. As a freelance writer, it’s important to be up-to-date on your field’s latest trends and developments. This study will make you more knowledgeable about the topics you write about and help you develop new and innovative ideas that will appeal to your target audience.
One of the best ways to stay up-to-date on your chosen industry is to read industry-specific publications and blogs. Doing so will help you understand how current events affect your niche and give you ideas for new topics to write about. For example, if you’re interested in writing about Fintech, you should make a point of reading relevant articles.
In addition to reading industry-specific publications, you should also make an effort to connect with other professionals in your field. You can do this by attending industry events or joining relevant online communities. By networking with other writers, you’ll be able to exchange ideas, get feedback on your work, and learn about new opportunities.
Gather the Necessary Tools
Now that you’ve practiced your writing and done your research, it’s time to start setting yourself up for success. First, you’ll need to create a strong online presence. This can be done by setting up a professional website and actively using social media.
Your website doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars just yet — a free theme on WordPress will do. But make sure to include some writing samples so potential clients can get an idea of your style and abilities. It’s also a good idea to create a separate page that outlines your rates and services. For reference, beginner writers usually charge between $0.03 and $0.10 per word.
When it comes to social media, you should focus on platforms that are relevant to your niche. For example, LinkedIn would be an excellent platform to focus on if you’re a business writer. If you’re a more creative writer, Instagram might be a better option. Using social media, you can connect with potential clients, share your work, and build your brand.
A readily-available bank, Paypal, or other online payment account is also vital for a successful freelance writer. It will make it easy for clients to pay you and will help you avoid any potential issues with getting paid on time.
Lastly, you might want to invest in a solid editing tool, like Grammarly, to help you catch any mistakes in your work. No client wants to hire a writer who produces error-ridden text, so catching any typos or grammatical errors is essential.
Sign Up For Freelancing Platforms
Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to start looking for some writing gigs. One of the best ways to find work as a freelancer is to sign up for a freelancing platform like Fiverr. You can create a profile on these platforms to advertise your services and start bidding on projects that interest you.
It’s important to note that you won’t get very high-paying gigs when you’re first starting. This is why it’s a good idea to take on some low-paying or pro bono work, to begin with. Once you have a few writing samples under your belt, you can start bidding on higher-paying projects.
Directly Reach Out to Companies and Brands
In addition to freelancing platforms, another great way to find work is by reaching out to companies and brands directly. Many businesses are always on the lookout for new content, so don’t be afraid to pitch your writing services. If you have a specific niche or area of expertise, you can even reach out to companies in that industry and offer to write for their blog or website.
For example, if you’re a travel writer, you could reach out to a travel company and offer to write blog posts about your latest adventures. Cold pitching can be a bit of a numbers game, but it’s worth doing if you want to land some high-paying clients. Alternatively, you can slowly build relationships with these companies’ editors or marketing managers by connecting with them on social media or attending industry events.
Becoming a successful freelance writer takes time, effort, and perseverance. It’s the type of endeavor that will require a lot of upfront work before you start seeing any real results. But once you get the ball rolling, you’ll be able to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with being your own boss. So if you’re ready to take the plunge, follow the tips outlined in this article and start your journey towards a successful freelance writing career. If you’re looking for more in depth learning about launching your writing career, check out our class, How to Become a Full Time Writer.