Updated: Feb 23
Want to learn how to get started as a freelance writer? Are you ready to join the ranks of the thousands of people who have decided to turn their passion for words into a career? Well, buckle up because it's going to be a wild ride. This freelance writing guide will help you with what you need to know to get started.
According to a recent survey by Indeed, the average freelance writer earns over $42,500 per year if they work 40 hours per week. But don't let that discourage you! Just think of all the late nights, endless revisions, and rejected pitches you'll get to experience. And let's not forget the joy of constantly searching for new clients and battling for scraps of work on job boards. But hey, at least you'll have the freedom to work from wherever you want, right?
So grab your laptop and your determination, and let's get started on the steps you need to take on this exciting journey!
Define your niche and area of expertise
First things first, it's time to figure out what you're going to write about! If you're not sure where to start, consider your passions, hobbies, and areas of expertise. Are you a tech guru who loves to write about the latest gadgets and apps? Or maybe you're a foodie who loves nothing more than trying out new recipes and writing about your culinary adventures.
Whatever it is, it's important to find your niche and hone in on it. Not only will this help you stand out from the crowd, but it'll also make it easier to find clients who are looking for writers like you with specific knowledge and skills. So don't be afraid to specialize in a niche– it'll pay off in the long run.
So, If you're seriously considering turning your hobby into a profitable niche to write about, it's important to do some research to determine if it's a viable option. Here are a few things to consider:
Is there a demand for content in this niche?
Do a thorough search on job boards or reach out to potential clients to see if there is a need for writers with expertise in your hobby.
Is the competition fierce?
While it's not necessarily a bad thing to have some competition of some sort, it's important to assess the market and see if there are already a large number of writers in your niche. If there is, it may be more difficult to stand out and find work.
Is there room for growth in the niche?
While it's great to have a passion for a particular topic, it's important to also consider if there is potential for growth and long-term viability.
Are you able to differentiate yourself from the competition?
Even if there is demand and room for growth in your niche, it's important to consider how you can differentiate yourself from other writers. This could be through your unique perspective, writing style, or specific areas of expertise.
By answering these questions, you can get a better sense of whether or not your hobby is a profitable niche to write about.
Build a portfolio of writing samples
Now that you've defined your niche and areas of expertise, you should be ready to start building your portfolio. This is essentially your online resume, showcasing your writing style, skills, and abilities. When building your portfolio, be sure to include a variety of different writing styles and formats, such as blog posts, articles, web content, and even press releases. This will help demonstrate your versatility as a writer. Medium is a great place to save your portfolio, as you will be able to share links to your writings from your dashboard.
Don't worry if you don't have a ton of writing experience under your belt – you can still include personal projects or writing that hasn't been published yet. The important thing is to showcase your abilities and let your writing speak for itself. And if you're feeling stuck, consider reaching out to friends, family, or even local businesses to see if they'd be willing to let you write for them on a trial basis. It's all about getting your foot in the door and building up your portfolio.
Remember, your portfolio is a work in progress – as you gain more experience and improve your skills, be sure to update it with your latest and greatest work. This will help you stand out to potential clients and show them that you're dedicated to your craft.
Establish your rates
Okay, let's talk money. As a freelance writer, it's important to have a clear understanding of how you'll be compensated for your work. This includes establishing your rates and pricing model. But how do you know what to charge? Here are a few things to consider:
Your level of experience: If you're just starting out as a freelance writer, it's important to consider your level of experience when setting your rates. It's generally accepted that newer writers will charge lower rates, while more experienced writers can command higher fees.
The complexity of the project: The more complex or time-consuming the project, the higher your rates should be. For example, writing a comprehensive report will likely require more time and effort than a simple blog post, and should be compensated accordingly.
The demand for your services: If you have a highly specialized skill set or niche, you may be able to charge higher rates due to the demand for your services.
There are a few different approaches you can take when it comes to pricing your writing services. Some writers charge by the word, while others prefer to charge by the hour or project. However, you should find a pricing model that works for you and your clients. And don't be afraid to negotiate – if a client is offering a rate that you don't feel is fair, be sure to communicate your value and why you feel your rate is justified. Remember, as a freelance writer, you're running your own business, and it's important to set boundaries and advocate for yourself.
Create a website or online presence
In today's digital age, having a website or online presence is essential for any freelance writer. Not only does it give you a professional platform to showcase your writing samples and services, but it also makes it easier for potential clients to find you. And let's be real – if you don't have a website, how are people supposed to take you seriously?
When creating your website, be sure to include a clear and concise bio, a succinct list of your writing services, and a portfolio of your work. You may also want to include a blog or news section to demonstrate your expertise and keep your audience engaged. This can also help you reach more people organically. And don't forget to include your contact information – it's important to make it as easy as possible for potential clients to get in touch with you.
And while it's important to have a professional website, be intentional to show your personality. After all, you are a writer, and your website is a reflection of your voice and style. So have fun with it and let your unique personality shine through.
Network and market yourself to potential clients
Being a freelance writer importantly means continually marketing yourself and networking with potential clients. After all, if you're not out there promoting your services, how will people know to hire you? Here are a few ways you can market yourself and find new clients:
Utilize social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, to connect with potential clients and promote your services. Each platform stands out in certain areas depending on how you use them. Instagram is best for pictures and reels of you in action and your work, while Twitter shows a strong strength in words. Don't be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself – the worst they can say is no.
Online job boards:
There are a ton of online job boards specifically for freelance writers, such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com. These can be a great way to find new clients and projects.
Reach out to businesses and publications directly:
If there's a particular company or publication that you'd love to work for, don't be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself. Apollo.io and Snov.io sure have a database of your dream clients with their emails attached to each one of them. You never know – they may be in need of a writer and you could be just the person they're looking for.
Join freelance writing communities and forums:
Connecting with other writers can be a great way to find new job opportunities and get advice from more experienced professionals. There are a ton of online communities and forums specifically for freelance writers, such as the Freelance Writers Den or the Freelance Writers Guild.
Remember, networking and marketing yourself isn't just about finding new clients – it's also about building relationships and establishing yourself as a respected member of the writing community.
Set up a system for managing projects and communication with clients
The success of your freelance journey will depend on your ability to be able to manage client's projects, and communications. This might include using project management tools, such as Trello or Asana to stay organized and on track. It's also really important to establish clear lines of communication with your clients, such as setting up regular check-ins or using a messaging platform like Slack to stay in touch.
Having a solid system in place will not only help you stay organized and on top of your workload, but it will also help build trust and professionalism with your clients. They'll know that you're reliable and capable of handling multiple projects, which can lead to more work in the future.
Continuously improve your writing skills and knowledge of the industry
To succeed as a freelance writer, there's a need to continuously improve your writing skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends. This might include taking writing courses or workshops, reading industry-specific blogs and publications, or even joining a writing group or critique group. By constantly learning and improving, you'll be able to offer higher-quality work to your clients and stay ahead of the curve in a constantly-evolving industry.
Remember to keep your writing fresh and interesting. Whether it's experimenting with different writing styles or tackling new topics, it's always good to challenge yourself and grow as a writer. Who knows – you may even discover a new niche or area of expertise in the process. So don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new – it will only make you a better writer in the end.