Want to become a freelance writer? Great! You’ve come to the right place. Freelance writing has many great aspects. You technically are you’re own boss/business owner. There is a ton of flexibility as you work on your own terms. Finally you have complete autonomy over your career and your success. So how does one get started? Here are a few pointers on how to get your start in this business.
- Do Your Research
Starting out, I read (and still do) up on successful freelancers and mirrored the things that made them great at their craft. After all, why reinvent the wheel. My favorite writer, Carol Tice, provides super in depth and relevant material for freelance writers of all types. I like her specifically as she gives realistic and tangible advice that anyone can follow. It’s important to stress that freelancing is not a “get rich quick” profession. Yes, you can do very well for yourself, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
- What’s Your Niche?
There are a ton of sectors/avenues that one can take in terms of freelancing. You can write for magazines/publication, businesses, marketing firms, nonprofit organization, or a little bit of everything. In addition, there are many different types of Industries that need writers. Of course, you don’t have to be married to one type of writing or one industry. That said, for me personally, I’ve found my home in the HR/HR Tech realm of things. When I’m not writing for clients, I spend a ton of time researching the trends and news surrounding my industry so I can stay relevant and am able to write on the topics my clients/publications are tapped into. Find something that interests you or you have a decent amount of knowledge in to start off. Once you’ve gotten the hang of things in that space, you can branch off into different industries. Of course there are of freelancers out there that work all over the place and are successful. Do what feels right for you and the rest will come.
- Get Some Writing Samples
You’re probably wondering how to get experience when you have no experience. My advice: find a few sites/publications that are in the niche you want to write in and do some pro bono work. Sure writing for free seems odd, however, if you can procure a byline from the article, it helps you secure more writing gigs down the line. Articles that are well written are worth more than money as they help you build authority as a writer. Case in point: some of my first articles I wrote pro bono, helped me secure a project that appeared in Forbes. So don’t write off writing for free just yet. However don’t write for free too long.
- Create a Site/Portfolio
After you’ve written a couple of articles, it’s time to put up a site. It doesn’t have to be super elaborate– it just has to showcase your profile, your writing samples, and contact information. Marketing is a HUGE aspect of the business. It’s undoubtedly more important that writing itself. Think of it this way– you can’t write for clients if they don’t know you exist.
That’s how to begin the process of getting into freelance writing. It does sound pretty simple, however the psychological aspect of it is what trips up a lot of writers. A lot of people are very intimidated by the prospect of contacting people to write for them. Sure it can be a bit scary, but it’s worth the endeavor if this is what you really want to do.