I get many emails asking “how to become a freelance writer,” and this is my response.
Freelance writing is for anyone who has their way with words. If you always seem to nail those reports or have received compliments about a piece of writing, this might be for you. Imagine having unlimited income potential, being your own boss, and working from home. For me, that means being a better parent to my kids and countless family vacations. I couldn’t ask for more.
So, what does it take to become a freelance writer?
Let’s face it; nobody is going to hire a newbie for a high end copywriting gig. You must start small and work your way up the freelance writing ladder. And that usually means starting with SEO writing. Most of the content written here is for link building, and the quality requirements are not stringent. That gives new writers a space to learn on the job, which is always a welcome idea
A basic article contains a headline, introduction, subheadings, and a conclusion. You might also have to throw in a few links into the mix, but that depends on the brief. The idea is to find content mills that offer free training to get your feet wet. That’s what I did.
When working with content mills, I got work from various industries and clients. And that meant writing a lot about topics I knew nothing about. Most of the time goes to researching these articles, which increases the time spent on every piece. And that’s why niching out is a great idea.
Finding a niche makes your work simpler. You’ll be writing about topics you know about, making it possible to create amazing pieces in record time. For example, I choose to go with the finance niche. Now I only accept finance-related articles, which makes things so much easier on me.
Once you feel confident about your writing, it’s time to build a portfolio. Think of it as your online resume that you can show to potential clients.
The best part?
You can set it up for free. I went with clippings.me that allows free signups. The only catch here is the domain name. You cannot customize it on the free version. But the subscription fee is nothing compared to the benefit of having a portfolio.
You can also choose to build a website from scratch. That gives you control over the domain name and gives you space to share and get feedback for your work.
A portfolio is only as good as the samples on it. That’s why I put extra effort when writing these essential pieces. You need to have an editor go through the work just to be sure it’s high quality.
Remember that clients will judge you depending on how good those samples look. There is no room for error.
Once the samples go live, share your articles with relevant people on social media. It is an easy way to get eyeballs on your content for free and attract the right clients.
Once you have readership on your portfolio website, start pitching. And this is the hard part. Most clients will never reply to your messages, and others will ask for free guest posts. The idea is to ask for a byline for the free pieces and charge standard rates for interested clients. I also include a small editor fee in my pricing so I can deliver quality articles every time.