There are thousands of writing opportunities in the market today. In the era of digital transformation, everyone has their presence online, and the need for content writing has increased. That is where the art of a freelance writer comes into play.
Who is a freelance writer?
A freelance writer is someone who writes on a self-employed basis. He doesn’t belong to any single company, but work as a small business. The freelance writers work for websites, magazines, and many more areas. More diverse the areas of writing, more likely they get published and paid for it.
It is a terrific way to earn extra income if you are doing a job. It can boost your income and there is no boss to rule you. Some people also take this as full time and make a living from it.
Becoming a freelance writer doesn’t require any graduation degree. If you have writing skills, you are up for it. In last few years, many bloggers, work-from-home women, and people who don’t like their 9 to 5 jobs have opted for freelance writing, and it is profitable.
But many beginners have questions about it, on how they can become a freelance writer. If you are someone wondering the same, then this guide will help you jump start your freelance writing career.
This is an obvious thing, but many people have this mindset that they can write just like that. But when they give it a try, the lack of good grammar, originality, and self-discipline prove them wrong.
Writing is a medium to express with ease and clarity, and a writer should be comfortable doing it. Before beginning as a freelance writer, be a good writer by taking some courses and practicing it. Write content for yourself, write some lengthy posts on social media sites and let people review it, and read more.
Most importantly, you should have the right skills to write blogs. Read blog posts on leading publications and observe them, how headings and sub-headings are used in a blog, etc. Learn to write an effective introduction, importance of statistics in a blog, actionable tips, and lastly the call to action or conclusion.
Decide a niche
Picking a freelance writing niche is the most important thing for a writer. Niche is the area of specialty. For example, some people write business to business (B2B) articles related to marketing topics, and they show themselves as specific in marketing topics.
Never mention things like “I can write the content you need”, because it doesn’t make you specific in any area, and doesn’t establish you as an expert at anything.
There are a lot of talented writers out there with expertise in specific areas. A client who requires content for a fashion website will prefer a freelance writer who defines himself as a “Writer who specializes in writing about fashion topics”, rather than someone who can write the content they need.
This thing is really very important because it helps you stand out from the crowd as an expert in something. Look at this thing from your own perspective as a client. If you want someone to write a technical blog for you, you’ll go on Google and search ‘freelance technical writer’.
Where does the writer with “I can write the content you need” stand?
Find the reason behind your freelance writing
When opting for freelance writing, deciding the reason is a crucial part. Why? Because whether you want to start freelance writing for extra cash, a living, or for fun, it will have impact on the approach you take towards it.
If you want to take blogging as career option or as full-time work, then it will require a lot of effort and hard work to establish yourself in the niche. Also, to make yourself stand apart from the crowd, having a degree or diploma in writing will help you in the competitive world.
Establish your presence online
When you have decided the niche, it is time to establish your presence online using a website. Setting up your website plays an important role in establishing yourself as a professional freelance writer.
Many writers get concerned that they’ll have to pay for domain and hosting to get the website. But this is a backward thinking. You don’t have to set a big website with tons of features. There are a lot of hosting and domain name providers who offer cheap hosting with annual plans.
You need to keep in mind that only being a good writer can’t help you earn money. You need to invest a little money, and more of your time. The clients often judge the writers by seeing their online presence, and website is the best way to attract them.
Keep some samples ready
Before assigning you tasks or articles, the clients like to see your work to get an idea of your writing skills. On that end, write some relevant samples according to your niche. Don’t write on random topics. If you have defined yourself a technical freelance writer, stick to it and write samples related to technology.
There are a number of options to publish your writing samples. You can create a blog page on your website to publish articles, or self-publish on LinkedIn publisher. Another cool option is to upload samples on your website in the form of Google documents.
An additional option to create samples is guest posting. There are several blogs out there that accept guest articles. Send them your articles (again keeping the niche in mind), and they’ll publish if your work is relevant to their blogs. Before submitting your work, read their guidelines carefully. Sending samples for publishing without researching the publication is like turning up for interview without researching about the company. When published, you’ll have links to show your work to clients.
Reach out and communicate with clients
Once you have set a website, the next step is to reach out for clients. You need to market yourself and chase leads. You’ll have to talk to a lot of people out there looking for freelance writers. For this, you need to have effective communication skills.
As a freelance writer, you need to reach out to other people to drum up business. Prepare yourself to work according to the needs of clients or employers, and this needs communication and negotiation skills.
A good thing about it is that most of the communication these days is done through emails, allowing you to rely on your writing skills. But you need to prepare yourself, as you can’t just sit out there waiting for leads.
For reaching people, write a query letter which explains your work, brief introduction of your qualifications and experience, your niche, the time required to deliver, as well as the pricing.
Write a personalized and high-quality email for clients when reaching them and let them know how you can help them. Don’t send cold emails which sound like copied and pasted crap you sent to all the other clients. Include a call-to-action at the end of email using which the clients can call or reply easily.
Other than reaching clients through emails, you should follow more marketing techniques to increase your chances of generating more leads. To attract more clients easily, use search engine optimized (SEO) keywords and other techniques to rank high on search engine.
Interact with other freelance writers, and establish your presence on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. For many freelance writers, the LinkedIn has been the most helpful medium to generate leads. Publish optimized posts on LinkedIn, and send personalized connection requests.
Is being a freelance writer worth it?
The freelance writing sounds a cool and calm method to earn money, as there is freedom of working from anywhere and anytime. But there are a lot of uncertainties about when will the next assignment come, and more such things. It is different from regular jobs where you are paid on a monthly or weekly basis.
Despite this indifference, more people are opting for freelance writing over full time work. But is the freelance writing worth it?
One of the challenging aspect of freelance writing is the lack of financial safety. How much you earn depends on how much you work. But these kind of challenges make the job rewarding. You write what you are good at, and learn something new every day. The more you write, the more your writing skills get improved.
With time, you establish yourself at a better position and chances of generating leads increases. You develop a network of clients and connections which expands your reach. Many people have been working as freelance writers for years now and love what they do.
There are several opportunities in both online media and print media. To address the challenges, keep sharpening the style of your writing by reading more, attending seminars or webinars related to your niche. Stay up to date with the trends in the niche, especially when you write about technology and fashion. Update your portfolio on a regular basis to enhance it, and learn from the feedback of clients.
Always keep in mind to take the freelance writing seriously, and perceive it as a business. Keep yourself always ready as a modern-day entrepreneur. Because you will have to be one-man army. You will handle the sales, marketing, customer relationship management, and every single thing, which demands devotion and determination.
There are a lot of platforms that provide freelance writing projects like Upwork, Freelance, goLance, and more, which helps you find the projects in case you don’t find leads through your website effectively.
With freelance writing, you don’t have to wake up on the sound of an alarm early in the morning. You don’t have to pre-schedule your lunch breaks, or wait for that two-day weekend whole week.
Also, the freelance writing around the world is on the rise. According to some estimates, over 64% of workforce in US will work as freelancers by 2020. In 2016, 54 million freelancers in US contributed around $1.4 billion to US economy.
This is due to the fact that nowadays more companies are trying to outsource their workloads to cuts the costs. The outsourcing of work saves the costs for companies as they don’t have to provide an office, equipment, air-conditioning facilities and more things.
If you have decided to begin your career as a freelance writer, then this guide will surely help you make progress. The best thing when making money is to earn by doing something you really like. You are now all set for your freelance writing career. The first client of your career will be a major milestone on the path. It is something to be really proud of, to celebrate and be excited about.