So, you want to be a freelance writer. Maybe this has been your ultimate goal for a while and you just didn’t know where to start; or, perhaps, the new year has made you reflect on your career choices and the future you envision for yourself – either way, you have come here to find out how you can begin making money as a freelance writer from day 1.
I have been a freelance writer for a little over 4-years now. While it has taken years of hard work to build up to the stage I am at now, I began making money the first day I started my freelance journey. I accomplished this by completing the 4 simple steps that I am about to share with you.
Whilst it may be tempting to start advertising your services in as many places as possible, I recommend spending at least 30 mins thinking about the type of content you want to write. From personal experience, I have found that having your own niche gets you noticed much faster and by the right clients.
Writing is competitive, so advertising yourself as an expert in an individual field will help you stand out from the hundreds of thousands of people who claim they can write anything and everything, perfectly. The field does not have to be anything you are specifically trained in – if you are, that is certainly a bonus – it could be something that you have a keen interest in such as Health & Fitness, Politics, Finances or Fashion.
Build a Portfolio
A portfolio is used to showcase your best work to potential clients. If you wrote for your university paper or have held an internship position at a publication, you can use these pieces. If, however, you are relatively new to writing building a portfolio can be challenging – but not impossible. If someone has yet to give you the chance to write your own stuff, my advice is to do it yourself. Focus on your niche and write a minimum of 3 articles. Once you are happy with the quality, format them in a PDF file with images, much like a magazine, or post them on your own blog.
If you have the time, you can even apply for freelance internship positions, where you can get exposure for your work. These positions can be found on sites such as Interwise, Indeed, Monster and many other job search sites.
Create Accounts on Freelance Websites
Now it’s time to start earning some money. Websites such as PeoplePerHour, Freelancer, and Upwork connect freelancers with businesses offering long-term and short-term work. With these platforms, you could start earning money within just a few hours of setting up your account.
In my personal experience, the key to success on these platforms is an outstanding profile/application. Your profile information and your applications/proposals can be near identical in the beginning, as long as they follow this basic format.
- The first line must include your name, job title and the topics you specialize in.
- The following 2 lines will briefly outline your experience to support the claims you made in your opening line.
- The rest of the application will go into further detail about your relevant experience/expertise.
- Finish by quoting your fee and the amount of time needed to complete the project.
I have used many formats over the last 4-years and have found that this one gets the most positive response. Once your profile is complete, it is time to start applying for as many relevant jobs as possible. There are many time wasters out there, so you will significantly increase your chances of securing a project if you apply to a number of them.
While this tip may disappoint you, I cannot stress enough the importance of writing as often as possible. Each project you undertake could involve anything from website content, a blog post, magazine article, product description, press release or social media post – whatever the project may be, each will require a different voice and layout (and that’s not including the personality of the company or brand you are working with). Switching from these different styles can be difficult. However, with practice, you will soon begin to understand how they differ from one another and how you can produce top quality content for each of your clients.
I would love to see examples of your work. If you have any pieces you would like to share, add your links in the comments below.