How to Start Freelance Writing

Thinking about becoming a freelance writer?

You should read this post first. Then, if you decide you still want to give it a try then read on.

I used to think in order to be a freelance writer, you have to be an AMAZING writer. But I was wrong.

You have to a be a decent writer and a SUPERB marketer because that’s what the majority of freelance writing is about: marketing.

Is it difficult?

I don’t care what anyone says or what you’ve read but yes, it is. In order to become a successful freelance writer, one has to have a lot of time, practice, effort, and an exterior made out of steel.

Because at some point, you’ll want to give up. However, if you think you have what it takes or you at least want to give it a try, here’s a loose outline of how to get started.

General Idea of What You’ll Need to Do:

Just to give you some ideas, here are some things you’ll have to do in the beginning:

freelance writing

  1. Set up a writer’s website.
  2. Write samples.
  3. Learn to market yourself.
  4. Brush up your writing skills.
  5. Pitch to clients.
  6. Face rejections.
  7. Keep smiling.
  8. Network with other freelance writers.
  9. Drink a lot of caffeine.

The Different Types of Freelance Writing

There are many types of freelance writing and depending on which one, they each require different skills.

freelance writing
Who actually wrote these?

The common types of freelance writing are:

  • copywriting(writing to sell stuff)
  • technical writing (writing to teach stuff)
  • ghostwriting (writing for others)
  • marketing writing (writing to promote stuff)

 

How Do You Find Work?

You pitch, meaning you send samples of work to clients whom you think might be interested in your work.

How Do You Find Clients?

You look through writing job boards. You join freelance writing network groups and keep your eyes and ears peeled for anyone who needs a writer. You make friends and ask them for leads. You pitch, you pitch, you pitch.

What Does a Typical Writing Job Look Like?

They all look a little different but essentially:

freelance writing

If a client reaches out to you:
1. They’ll give you a topic or ask you to come up with one.
2. You accept or reject it.
3. You get to work.

If you reach out to a client:
1. You present an article or idea to your client.
2. They’ll accept it or reject it.
3. You get to work.

You have to negotiate payment and deadlines by yourself. You are your own boss.

How Much Does Freelance Writing Pay?

In the beginning, not much. But after a while, it grows.

Based on your experience, niche, and skills, pay will vary but here’s a general idea of what most* freelance writers get paid per article (usually 500-1000 words):

  • Complete beginners – $25
  • Intermediate beginners – $25-$100
  • Advanced beginners – $100-$300
  • Intermediate (1 or 2+ years) – $300-$600
  • Experts – $700+

As you get better and better, you can demand higher and higher rates.

*There are always exceptions, of course.

How to Start Freelance Writing

1. Build a Website

If you don’t already have a website/blog, start one. Buy a domain to practice writing and to display your work.

2. Write

Write and publish your writing on the internet. The goal is to get your name out there and build credibility.

If you don’t have clients yet, publish them on your own blog or websites that allow you to publish for free such as Medium or LinkedIn. Or write guest posts for other blogs and websites.

3. Start Pitching

Look on job boards, email companies. Even if they aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, email them anyway to gain experience. You might not hear back for a while but don’t be discouraged. With every pitch you send out, you’re also getting better at pitching. Eventually, someone will respond. Hang in there.

Join freelance writing groups on Facebook or other community websites for support. Ask the people around you if they know anyone who needs a writer. Email blogs, websites, businesses, ask friends.

There you have it, the is how you start freelance writing.

Freelance writing is all about taking ownership of your own success. If you are not willing to write, pitch to clients, handle rejections, and basically kick your own butt, this might not be the right job for you.

But if you’re the type of person who loves taking initiatives, solitary time, learning, writing about random things, and drinking lots of coffee or tea, then this might be the right job for you.

freelance writing

Questions? Comments? Let me know down below.

2 thoughts on “How to Start Freelance Writing

  1. Have you ever tried HARO (help a reporter out)? People pay to write articles in your areas of expertise. I signed up but haven’t wrote anything yet (too self-conscious and lazy) but it might be a good for you.

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