Do you love writing? Interested to learn how to become a freelance writer? and, you finally decided to become a freelance writer
but you have not idea about how to get started It’s a great way to earn extra cash and actually make a living from it
Learning how to become a freelance writer is work and it’s going to require time, effort, and an investment in yourself to get started. But I can assure you, this career path will give you the flexibility and freedom you are longing for!
case study #1 Protima Tiwary
29-year-old Protima Tiwary started freelancing in early 2013 right after she’d just quit her full-time job at an agency and was genuinely looking for a break. Five years hence, she has completely immersed herself into the freelance life – that is both erratic and exciting. “I enjoy writing about food (especially desserts!), travel and fitness. 60% of my projects fall under this category in the form of social media branding projects, while the rest is a mixture of business blogging, social media and entrepreneurship essays, website projects for various genres and sometimes even blogs on education,” she says.
As someone who was always interested in working with new brands and trying new things, this life of a digital nomad has been convenient for her as she gets to travel, work, and workout all at her own convenience and leisure from any part of the world. When asked about the importance of financial health as a freelance writer she says, “In the beginning of my career I had a part-time consultancy job for a couple of years because I needed that fixed amount in my bank every month, especially when I started investing.”
Like most freelance writers out there, Protima is a big fan of her flexible work hours but still struggles with finding clients who will pay well. “Important advice: Sign a contract to ensure proper payments. Build your network – both online and offline. Attend relevant events and, talk about your work – it isn’t showing off”, she signs off.
Think about it:
You’ll be able to work from the comfort of your home and set your own schedule! Or you’ll be able to work from anywhere in the world! This is perfect for moms, students, or anyone that doesn’t want to be confined by the time restraints of a 9-5 job.
If you love to travel like me, you can freelance from anywhere since all you need is your computer and an internet connection.
CASE STUDY#2 Sanket Jain
Currently based out of Ichalkaranji (a small town in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra), 22-year-old Sanket Jain began his tryst with freelancing right after college. You can start off as a freelancer and still do amazing stories”,.
, he says, it’s important for one to be sure of the niche they want to cover. “Find what you love covering and then spend a lot of time on the field, talking to people, and eventually you will start becoming an expert in a particular area,” he advises.
As someone who works remotely, a huge part of Sanket’s work involves understanding what a publication is looking for and then pitching to the editor effectively. “As a freelancer, you have to learn to deal with rejections. Get ready for it. Sometimes it’s just that the editor doesn’t understand what you are trying to cover. Never lose heart when your ideas are rejected,” he signs off.
The Difference Between Freelance and Employee
Before I move on, I just wanted to be transparent and point out that freelance writers are not employees – which is the reason you get so much flexibility.
As a freelancer, you’ll basically have your own business and you can make as little or as much as you want. However, since you don’t have an employer, you’ll be responsible for paying your own taxes and covering benefits like health insurance, paid time off, and your retirement plan.
It’s a tradeoff but it’s well worth it if you would like more freedom. If you’re able to become a 6-figure writer or earn enough to meet all your financial goals, you probably won’t mind paying taxes and covering your own expenses and benefits.
Okay so still with me?
How to become a freelance writer:
7 easy steps to earn money!
If you’re ready to learn how to become a freelance writer, here’s a proven step-by-step process to get you started and make money quickly.
1. Decide what type of writer you want to be
This is such an important first step. There are different types of writers, all of which can be classified under the general freelance writer umbrella.
The most common types of freelance writing are:
- Article/feature writing: this is probably the most common type of writing that comes to mind when people think about freelancing. You’ll be writing for magazines and newspapers either online or for the printed version.
- Blogging: you can make money by either having your own blog or by writing blog posts for other bloggers.
- Copywriting: as a freelance copywriter, you’ll write creative copy to help businesses establish and promote their brand, engage clients, and market products and services.
- Social Media Content: with social media becoming an important aspect of everyone’s life, as a social media content writer you’ll help brands planning, writing and scheduling social media posts across a variety of platforms.
- Technical writing: the idea of technical writing is to take an overly complicated idea in a specific field and present it in an easy to understand manner to the general public. You’re going to need an existing in-depth knowledge of the industry you want to work in if you want to be successful in this type of writing.
Think about which projects sound most interesting to you along with what you think you’d be good at. For example, you may not find it interesting to write technical instructions, but you may enjoy writing a feature on a local business or discussing your top parenting tips on a mom blog.
In that case, you’d probably prefer to write for blogs, small businesses, or growing websites. The choice is up to you. If you enjoy technical writing, by all means, go for it!
The process to become a freelance writer is pretty similar no matter what type of writer you want to be.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Learn how to save money, make money, live a healthy life, travel in luxury without spending a fortune & live the life of your dreams!
case study #3 Chandni Doulatramani
Armed with a prestigious degree in Television journalism, Bangalore-based Chandni enthusiastically ventured into the industry in 2011. For the next five years, she jumped from one job to another but nothing held her interest for more than a few months. So she took a year off, moved back to her parents’ house in Calcutta, and randomly started writing about topics that intrigued her. “I practically dived into freelance journalism without giving it much thought – I’ve always been pretty impulsive with all my decisions in life but this is the one I’ve been most happy about”, she says. Chandni has written for publications like National Geographic, The Caravan, VICE, and Mint Lounge.
As someone who started freelancing without any real savings from her previous jobs, Chandni was glad to have the support of her family and boyfriend initially until she was able to get back on her feet. Even now Chandni, like all freelance writers, struggles with the financial realities of this field, “As a precaution, I keep aside a portion of all my earnings no matter how little I get paid.”
Even though working independently means one is free to utilize their time the way they want, Chandni admits that there are some traditional ways of being motivated that are missing from her present life. “I struggle a lot with keeping myself motivated and driven on a daily basis. I also miss having an editor/mentor to brainstorm with so I usually pester my journalist friends and boyfriend and thankfully they oblige. Also, writing is a very lonely job and freelancing can make it lonelier – I’m sometimes tempted to go back to a regular job just for the sake of interacting with colleagues even if they’re mean and bitchy, but then I remind myself of how much I love what I’m currently doing”, she tells us.
2. Narrow down your niche
Now that you know what type of writer you want to be, it’s time to narrow down your niche. The best and most profitable freelance writers specialize in a particular niche. That’s how clients know how to find them and match them with projects.
Believe it or not, marketing yourself as a general freelance writer may backfire. If you choose to become a Jack or Jill of all trades, people will assume you’re not specialized enough and just not what they’re looking for.
Plus, choosing a niche allows you to get better at covering a particular subject so you can eventually become an expert on that topic. Brainstorm the topics that seem more interesting to you and that you have some experience in. You can even create sub-niches from your main niche to allow more diversity.
For example, if you enjoy writing about personal finance, you can also cover specific topics like paying off debt, saving for retirement, and credit.
Here are some of the best and most profitable niches for freelance writers to consider:
- Personal Finance
- Dating and Relationships
- Higher Education
My best tips for someone getting started in writing?
Read. A lot. Absorb content on whichever genre interests you and learn writing styles and what will bring value to your potential clients. Read first, write next and never stop learning.”
3. Invest in yourself
Be open to investing in yourself and your skills so you can be successful. If you want to improve your writing, you may want to invest in a book I want to recommend the best ever book Copywriting: The Definitive Beginner’s Guide: by Adam Richards check hare in Amazon
or some training that will help you improve this skill set. or some training that will help you improve this skill set. Another thing you can learn is SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization. If you’re going to be a blog or article writer, realize that most clients are interested in working with writers who understand how search engines work and can write SEO-friendly articles.
You should also consider investing in the right equipment whether that means upgrading your laptop or setting up a home office so you can work efficiently. Here are some helpful tools that you may want to consider using as a freelance writer.
- Grammarly – to help check grammar and spelling for your work (there are free and paid versions)
- Hemingway App – free grammar editor that can help you score the level of your writing and assess your overall sentence structure
- Wave – can help you send invoices to clients and track your payments. The best part? It’s completely free!
- SEO courses–, you need to check out Brian’s free resources on copywriting on backlinko
Lean from the experts
Starting to work as a freelance writer can be overwhelming at the beginning. When I started my blog, I knew the only way to fast track my success what to invest some money and learn from the best in the business. And the same goes for every freelance career out there!
Can you make money learning everything for free?
Sure you can! But how long will that take you?
If you want to be sure to make a full-time income as a freelance writer in the next 6 months to a year, I think one of the best things you can do for yourself is to learn from someone who has done it before you.
4. Do I need a blog?
I think it’s essential for freelance writers to have their own blog, especially if you are just starting out! Having a blog can be a great way to showcase your work if you’re trying to make money writing articles but don’t have a ton of experience.
you can blog about whatever you want and use your blog posts as writing samples to help you get clients. Yes, starting a blog costs a little money, but it’s another way to invest in yourself and it pays off. Most writers I talk to also have a blog and have used it to help them land qualify freelancing gigs.
Let’s also not forget that starting a blog can be a super profitable and flexible way to make money as well.
While it takes time to make money blogging, freelance writing provides a quicker path but you can do both to diversify your income. Freelancers tend to have a fluctuating income so your blog can be the perfect way to even out your earnings and serve as an income backup plan as well.
Read also – 7-reasons-to-start-blogging-today
5. Build your portfolio (yes, write for free)
I talked about all the money you can earn from freelancing earlier so some of you may be wondering – why is she now telling us to write for free?
If you’re trying to figure out how to become a freelance writer with no experience, this is it. Writing samples are so important and it’s difficult to get hired without them.
Would you hire a dog sitter who has no experience? Probably not. You’d likely want to see reviews and testimonials from past clients to assure you that they know what they’re doing when it comes to caring for your dog. It’s the same with freelance writing.
Clients want to see that you’ve written content before and they also use samples from your portfolio to get a feel for your writing.
If you don’t have any samples in your portfolio, you may have to write for free a few times so you have some work to showcase. You don’t have to do this long-term. Just try to land 3-4 solid guest article spots on other sites and deliver your best work.
This is how you do it:
- Search for websites within your niche that accept articles from guest writers.
- Put together a list of your preferred blogs that have articles about what you would like to become an expert on.
- Reach out to them to see if they would be willing to have you write a trial article that can be published on their blog. The best approach is to send them an email, tell them why you love their website, and give them a proposal for a few guest post articles you could offer them for free.
A few tips when you reach out to write your first articles:
- Keep it short, simple, and to the point.
- Explain in a brief paragraph who you are and why you’re an expert in that particular niche.
- Pitch your article with a catchy title and a short description of what it will be about.
From there, you can use those samples to pitch other clients for paid work (we’ll talk about pitching soon).
6. Build a network
Don’t underestimate the power of a solid network. pay attention to joining a few freelance writer groups on Facebook. This will allow you to connect with other writers, ask questions and get feedback.
Most freelance writers in these groups are friendly and more than willing to help other members out. There is plenty of work for everyone so you probably won’t feel a sense of competition and should feel more like you’re apart of a community.
Below are some of the best Facebook groups for freelance writers to join at the moment:
- The Write Life Community
- 1…2…Freelance: A Community For Creative Freelancers
- No Fluff Freelance Writing Group
- Freelance Writing Jobs
Remember that networking shouldn’t be one-sided. If you join a Facebook group or even connect with other writers via email or in person, be sure to give back and contribute just as much as you receive.
Who knows, you may even be able to share leads with your network once you reach your capacity with clients.
It can happen sooner than you think!
Don’t Forget About Your Blogging Friends…
Another fun way to network is to leverage your blog to get other guest post opportunities. If you find a blog that you really like and admire, pitch a guest post idea that you think would be valuable to their readers.
Deliver your best work, then afterward mention that you’re a freelance writer for hire and would appreciate any leads they send your way.
This my friend, is how you get amazing referrals.
It’s important to realize that networking is all about relationships and relationships require nurturing.
Don’t expect a ton of favors on the first interaction with someone. Instead, focus on getting to know them and understanding their needs and goals. Build up some rapport and see if you can do anything to help them instead of just flat out asking for a favor all the time.
7. Start pitching: how to get your first freelance writing client
You may actually land your first client by the time you get to this step thanks for networking and building your portfolio via guest posts.
However, it’s still crucial that you know how to find clients. One easy way is to look at job boards. Job boards are often filled with freelance writing jobs for clients who are eager to hire. This is what makes it a great place to start your search.
Some of the best freelance writing job boards include:
The main caveat to using job boards is that they can be competitive since anyone can access the leads.
Another way to find clients is by sending a cold pitch. If you find a blog or website that you’d like to write for, find out who the editor is and send them an email.
They may or may not be hiring at the time, but there are a few things you can do to make sure your pitch leads to new client work.
Tips to start pitching:
- See if there are other writers on the site. If you see different authors on the blog it’s a good indication that this client hires freelance writers. Some sites even have a team page where they may include bios for their current writers or the head editor.
- Make sure the content is up-to-date. Don’t waste time pitching a dead blog or website. Seeing fresh content indicates that this prospective client actually cares about the writing and finds it valuable.
- Follow instructions. If there’s a page on the site that highlights a freelance writing opening, be sure to follow the instructions exactly when you send your pitch.
- Connect on social media. A great way to warm up your pitch is to connect with the client on Twitter or LinkedIn to build up some rapport.
- Send article titles and samples. Never send a freelance writing pitch without attaching some writing samples. You can also get creative and send them a few custom article titles that you think would work well for their site. This shows them that you’ve taken some time to read through existing content and learn more about their audience.
One last tip: don’t undervalue yourself
It’s unfortunate but most freelance writers actually undervalue their work and don’t charge enough money.
I get it. It’s tough to ask for more money sometimes not to mention slightly awkward. Still, you have to do it if you want to be paid fairly and earn enough to support yourself.
Remember freelance writing is real work and requires a lot of skill and attention to detail. You should be compensated well for the work you do. Plus, you have to cover your own expenses, pay taxes and health insurance as well as save for your own retirement.
To top it off, you may not get paid to do admin tasks that keep your business running like checking and responding to emails, doing research, editing your own work, and sending invoices.
Factor in that time and those extra costs into your ideal rate. When a client asks you how much you charge, never answer with a general quote. Every client is different in their own way so your prices should vary.
Take into consideration factors like:
- How long it will take you to write, research, and edit (Pro tip: Time yourself when you do free trial work and write guest posts to build your portfolio so you have a good idea of how much time and effort goes into writing).
- Whether you will be given a topic and outline or will need to come up with that yourself.
- Whether you’ll be writing under your own name or byline or as a ghostwriter.
NOTE: Most writers charge per-project or per word.
Set an income goal and speak to a tax professional about how much you should save from your freelance writing income so you can pay quarterly taxes. Factor that amounts into your rate.
For example, if you charge $75 per blog post but are at a 25% tax bracket, that means $18.75 of that money should go directly to taxes.
Finally, ask yourself if you feel completely confident in the rate before you send it to a prospect. If you secretly feel like you sold yourself short, don’t send it or raise the price.
You will enjoy the work and most likely do a better job when you feel like you’re being fairly compensated.
Don’t be afraid to pass on some clients if your rate doesn’t work out. You want it to be a mutually beneficial partnership for both you and the client so respect the fact that they have a budget too. You don’t want them stretching their budget either to afford to pay you because there may not be longevity in that.
Ready to make money as a freelance writer?
You can learn how to become a freelance writer even if you have no experience!
Laura, Leslie, Greg, Samantha and many others have changed their lives and are now doing what they love.
Follow these 7 steps and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful freelance writer. Freelance writing can be a great way to increase or diversify your income while simply doing something you enjoy