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How to Start Your Freelance Writing Career

If you have a talent for spinning words and the desire to go into business for yourself, working as a freelance writer is a natural choice.

The good news is that as quality content becomes an increasingly important part of modern marketing, the demand for talented freelance writers will only continue to grow.

If you’re ready to start your career as a freelance writer, follow these steps and tips to ensure that you get off to a successful start.

Develop an Online Presence

In order to succeed at finding clients, you are going to have to develop a solid online presence. Start by creating profiles on popular sites that connect freelancers with clients, and be sure to be thorough in the profiles you create.

Write an intriguing bio, detail your past work history, and provide samples of your work.

Remember that, as a writer, you’re being judged on everything you write, so take the time to create profiles that are a reflection of your writing abilities in and of themselves.

From there, you may want to create social media profiles for your business, especially on professional sites such as LinkedIn. Some freelance writers even create their own websites that they are able to direct clients to. Whatever resources you use to develop an online presence, make sure it is as professional and broad as possible.

Freelance Writing Jobs Online

When you first start your freelance writing career, the number of writing blog jobs and projects you have available to apply for may almost be overwhelming. No matter what the topic is, chances are there is someone out there who is willing to pay someone to write about it.

Of course, some topics are more popular than others, but the fact remains that the range of freelance writing projects posted online is vast.

So how do you choose which jobs you should apply for? Especially at the start of your freelancing career, you should try to focus on your expertise. Apply to writing projects that deal with topics that you are already experienced in.

Starting out, one of the biggest challenges for freelance writers is getting up the confidence to take on a project and write an article about it. If you start by sticking with what you know, though, this confidence will be easier to come by. Later on, you can begin picking up projects that are a little less familiar and require a little more research. For now, though, focus on your expertise.

Freelance Writing Jobs For Beginners

Once you’ve found a job you want to apply for, it’s time to send in your application, otherwise known as your pitch. Often times, it is your pitch that will earn you more jobs than any other tool you have at your disposal.

You’ll want to spend a little time crafting a basic format for your pitch that you can use for each project you apply for. For example, you may start with an introduction, followed by a description of your experience, followed by an explanation of why you are a good fit for the client’s project.

Beyond following the same basic format for each pitch, though, you’ll be better served if you customize your pitch to each project and client. Clients can most often see through copy and paste pitches and don’t normally find them nearly as impressive as a writer who takes the time to create a customized pitch.

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Starting out, it’s a good idea to test different styles, approaches, and formats for your pitches to see which ones perform best. This way you can eventually hone your pitch to one that will give you the best chance at landing the projects you apply for.

Brush Up on Content Marketing

Freelance writing and content marketing aren’t exactly the same, but they are similar enough that you’ll have a hard time excelling at one without being extremely comfortable with the other.

Content marketing is the practice of using written content as a marketing tool. To become a great content marketer, you need to learn how to create content that sells. Not only does your writing need to sound good, be informative, and be mistake-free, it also needs to engage readers and inspire them to perform whatever action the client who hired you wants them to perform (i.e. buy a product, sign up for a service, and so on).

On top of this, your content also needs to incorporate good search engine optimization (SEO) practices so that it will be useful in helping clients get their website closer to the top of the search results.

Keep in mind that clients almost always pay for content in the hopes that the content will eventually earn them more money than they paid for it. In order to succeed as a freelance writer, you need to learn how to create content that is able to accomplish this purpose.

Hustle Hard and Aim to Please

Freelance writing may seem like a career that is built on inspiration, but when you are starting out, perspiration is often the bigger key to success. Finding quality clients always takes a lot of hustle, but this is especially the case when you are just beginning your career.

Apply for everything that catches your eye, and put effort into those applications. Constantly hone your pitch, your profile, your methods of searching for jobs, and more.

At the beginning of your career, you’ll likely want to take any job you can get even if the pay is lower than you’d like. These types of jobs are often a form of low-hanging fruit for new writers to use to build up a reputation and reviews, and once you have just a few projects and reviews under your belt you’ll have a much easier time finding jobs that pay better.

Speaking of reviews, once you are selected to work on a project you should always go above and beyond expectations in every way you can. There’s no overstating the value of good reviews, and doing whatever it takes to please your clients is a great way to ensure that you get them.

Conclusion

Working as a freelance writer is a rewarding career full of exciting opportunities. Best of all, you don’t need a ton of education or expensive equipment to get started. Anyone with a talent for writing and a laptop can start picking up freelance writing jobs and quite possibly turn it into a well-paying career. By following the steps and tips in this guide, you will be well on your way to starting a successful career as a freelance writer.

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22 comments on “How to Start Your Freelance Writing Career”

  1. Hi Sue,

    Developing an online presence is incredibly important. Folks pitch me all the time; I ignore every single one because if you're pitching, you have no online presence. Skilled, successful freelancers field business.

    I have never pitched anyone and even though my freelance business was never a focal point I still landed clients - and still do today - all through attraction marketing. Never pitched a single client. But I did build an online presence through blog commenting, guest posting, promoting other bloggers and posting to my blog.

    Simple and powerful points here. Thanks Sue.

    Ryan

  2. We freelance writers need to build our knowledge around certain niches and expertise in writing variety of content to serve different type of clients. Having a good freelance writing career takes lot of hard work, knowledge and consistency. Keep on guiding freelancers by writing such posts.

  3. Hey Sue!

    Becoming a freelancer could be the first step to becoming your own boss and eventually build your own business online.

    You have some great points here and very helpful advice to go with all that. I think the most important tips would be to build a strong and solid online presence in your field and also work hard on increasing the quality of your work. These two alone can take you far. When you are just that good, and you are building up your presence and reach, you can make a pretty good living from there.

    Thank you for sharing this!

    Best regards! 😀

  4. Hi Sue,

    Very effective and practical advice here. Most people would have trouble figuring out where and how to begin. You gave a very good solution to that- Develop an Online Presence.

    Once the beginning is right and the initial steps have been taken, the rest should not so difficult to figure out but that does not mean one will not have to focus on developing and honing ones skill.

    Thanks for sharing these great insights with us. Have a great day!

    -Naveen

  5. Before becoming professional blogger i was an freelance content writer for part time. At start i had so many rejected contents because it was hard for me to write content which i no noting about it. But after years of learning now i am successful writing contents for my blogs. Your kickstart tips for starting freelance content writer is absolutely amazing. I am so glad to left comment on this. This has been a so interesting ..I appreciate your effort

  6. Hey Sue,

    I cannot stress enough the importance of having an online presence.

    Quick tip: if you're into the travel niche, home or gardening and other similar domains which require you publish photo-rich posts, go with Pinterest, a major platform for photos and info-graphics.

  7. Several years ago freelance writing was a big part of what allowed me to leave a full-time job and start my journey into self employment. I wanted to make money from my own websites and blogs, but freelance writing allowed me to make a decent income while working on my own sites and giving them the time to grow. I haven't done much freelance writing the past few years, but it's always one of my first recommendations to someone who wants to make money online. There are so many websites and blogs looking for content that you can find work in just about any industry. For me, the biggest thing was finding some good ongoing gigs. I had several clients that I wrote for every week or every month, and that meant that I didn't have to spend time looking for new work.

  8. Hi, Sue,

    Freelance Writing is very amazing as long as you're interested in. I have been thinking to become a full-time freelancer but cannot manage it with my other businesses.

    BTW,

    Thanks a lot for the awesome Writing!

    Yasar,

  9. These are great ideas on how to hone in on your skill sets and start with what you know best and have a good knowledge base in freelance writing or content creation.

  10. Great resource here for freelance writers and bloggers.

    I delved into freelance writing in the beginning phase of 2017, and it’s been an incredible journey. I see it as a side gig business, and it has helped me in settling some debts.

    Sharing the ProBlogger and Freelance Writing Jobs as your starting point is something great. I’d look out for the opportunity over there.

    Bookmarked this piece to read and study later because I enjoyed it. Thanks for the writing simplicity and the ability to share this, Sue.

    I appreciate lots ?

    – Manish.

  11. For the longest time, I didn't know the [suble] difference between freelance writing and content marketing. I'm learning more about the latter.

  12. Hey Sue,

    Great post as usual. Freelancing is not easy as most people think. You have to hustle every single day especially when you’re starting out. Hustle pays off. Those who can’t hustle hard can’t succeed at freelancing or any other field in that case.

    I think what works better for successful freelancing is the ability to sell without sounding like a sales guy. Make sure to position yourself as an expert instead of offering your services at cheap rates. The better you position yourself the higher rates you can ask. Getting high paying clients is only possible when you offer more.

    When you’re offering freelance writing services, don’t position yourself as a writer. Instead position yourself as a SEO copywriter or content marketing strategist. That way you’ll be able to attract high paying clients who are interested in actually getting results, not just content.

    As you said, creating an online presence is a MUST. Without branding yourself, you can’t attract people to even check out your portfolio. Offering your services for free in return of testimonials (when you’re starting out) can work like a charm in growing your freelancing business.

    Keep rocking and keep sharing such useful content Sue.

  13. Amazing resource! Super in-depth and really helpful for those of us just getting started with freelance writing. Thanks for this! Will definitely be following through with guide to supplement my income.

  14. Wow! Worth reading & encouraging !!

    I really wanted to get into freelance writing, but I am not exactly sure where to start with. I found many of my queries answered in your writing,

    Thank You.

    1. You are so welcome! To start freelance writing, read blogs by writers like Bryan at BecomeWriterToday.com.

      Sue

  15. Hi..thanks for the wonderful tips on how to start freelancing career.I agree with you initially it is very difficult to get clients for a new free lancer without any references. He has no choice but to accept any job coming in his way and even lower pay.Once he has a work history and few references it becomes easy for him to get good clients and good fee for free lancing.Till then he has to work with a lot of patience.

  16. Thank you Sue for expressing your opinion in a detailed format. A lot of us actually know how to write or spin but often we are not sure where to start or where we can get value for our writing.

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