What is freelance writing?
Freelance writing is the act of writing for other people, organizations, agencies while working on your own terms. As a freelance writer, you are self-employed: You get to decide who to work for, where to work from as well as when to work.
What do you need to be a freelance writer?
Let me guess- you are saying to yourself; I don’t have a college degree in writing or journalism?
To tell you the truth, degree is irrelevant. As long as you can understand and write clear, concise, and grammatically error free content, then you are good to go. That is the basic minimum.
What if can’t do all that? Well, there are a lot of free online courses on grammar, and also on content writing. As long as you have the passion to do it, there is always a way. So, head over to Edx, Coursera, Khan academy, or Udemy and search for free writing courses. I’m pretty sure you will be spoilt of choice.
Apart from that, these are the most critical things you require as a freelance writer.
As a freelance writer, you need a computer to enable you to create the content. You need to be proficient in using computer applications like Microsoft office, google documents, one note, and google drive. Just for a start, invest in a good desktop or laptop.
- Internet connectivity
To succeed in freelancing, internet connectivity is a must. This is to enable you to source for clients and writing jobs, connect with clients, research on your areas as well as help you improve your freelance writing skills.
To emphasize, without internet connectivity, freelancing will be difficult. This means that you invest in a good internet connectivity plan.
- Good working environment
As a freelance writer, you will be spent most of the time seated. It’s advisable to invest in a comfortable chair and table to increase your productivity. A conducive environment- free from destruction is a must. You don’t want to keep on halting your work just to handle petty things.
Ensure you find the perfect environment for you to work in.
As a freelance writer, communication is essential. You need to get yourself an email account, a Skype account, and probably a Slack account. All this will ensure that you can easily communicate through video or emails with your clients.
- Payment method
You have already found your first client; how will he pay you? There a numerous ways of transferring money from one person to another. The most common are PayPal, Payoneer, Skrill, Netteller, and TransferWise.
Ensure that you have at least 2 to make it easier for clients to pay you after completion of projects.
2. Personality traits and skills
To succeed in freelance writing, you need to learn to motivate yourself. This is a business with no cheerleaders to provide the motivation.
- Organizational skills
Client information, project deadlines, billing, pitches are all important. This means that you should have the organizational skills to keep track of all writing projects.
Still, with all those, you will need to develop a writing plan for your projects and blogs. Certain mobile apps can help you put everything in order.
This is the most essential character trait you require. How do you expect to get freelance writing jobs with no confidence?
Pitching requires a lot of it, and as a beginner, having confidence can make you stand out. So how do you kill the fear of pitching? One simple way- learn to take no as an answer. Train yourself to adapt to rejections. If they reject you once, apply to 10 more jobs.
In plain language, just do it. Even if they don’t accept your submission or pitch.
Does training mean going back to class? Hell, no! as a newbie, there are important things you need to k ow. From how to craft engaging content, how to pitch, where to get clients, how to market you freelance business, how to choose your writing niche etc.
As a beginner freelance writer, training is key to success. There are two ways:
This involves you finding resources online on writing and implementing the same. The resources can either be YouTube videos, or documents on freelance writing. This is a slow way and may take months to learn anything meaningful.
- Enrolled in a freelance writing course
Most of the successful freelance writers have courses for training newbies. Other freelance writers provide mentoring to newbies. Find a course or a mentor to teach you how to freelance. This is the best way since it accelerates the chances of earning through freelance writing.
What are the different types of content for freelance writers?
- Blogposts / Website article
A blog post is an entry written on a blog or website. It may contain content in form of videos, infographics text, and photos.
- Magazine articles
These are articles written for the print media. Their structure and format are totally different from blog posts and articles.
An eBook is used to entice readers to subscribe to newsletters.
Companies, institutions, and organizations usually need reports. These can be performance reports, financial reports, etc. they are usually in long form.
This is a small book or magazine containing pictures and information about a service or product.
- Product reviews
These articles about products listed on eCommerce sites like Amazon, eBay, and Shopify. They are aimed at enticing a customer to purchase the products.
- Grant writing
This involves writing proposals for individuals or entities wishing to apply for grants from government and non-governmental organizations.
- Proposal writing
This is a form of persuasive writing aimed at convincing a recipient to act in a certain manner. Examples include business proposals, development proposals, and expression of interest forms
- Technical writing
This involves documenting processes such as appliance manuals, software manuals, or instructional materials.
This involves writing the text for the purpose of advertising or as a form of marketing.
It can either be in form of articles, newsletters, or marketing emails.
- Case study
This is an in-depth study of an individual, group or event. This involves a lot of research techniques, interviewing, using questionnaires etc. most businesses require case studies to map out new markets.
These are professional articles used by small businesses to generate leads.
Which is the best to begin with?
Depending on your expertise, you can choose any of the above. I always focus on blog writing. Why? It’s content for easier to write and has a simple structure. It is can either be short (500-1500 words) or long (2000-4000) words.
Apart from blog writing, what else can a freelance writer do?
As a freelance writer, you shouldn’t limit yourself to writing blogs only. These are some of the related jobs any freelancer can offer
- Editing and proofreading – you work as an editor for a website, proofreading all posts for grammatical errors
- Ghostwriting – this involves writing blog posts, articles, or eBooks for clients without taking credit when published
- Social media marketing– your job is to manage, publish content on social media accounts on the client’s behalf.
Where to get freelance writing jobs as a beginner?
1. Content mills
This is a website or company that pays low rates to writers in return for cheap website content. A look at reviews for content mills will discourage you. A lot of professional writers will advise you to avoid them as a plague. The reason being their poor pay.
But, do you have the finances to pay for an editor? Probably not.
A number of times I fail to realize mistakes in my articles, even after following my ideal procedure of proofreading and editing. So, this is where an editor comes in. A lot can be learned from these content mills in terms of editing.
As a beginner freelance writer, working for content mills to increase your editing skills is good for your career.
Some of the most popular content mills are
- Text broker
- Crowd content
2. Job boards
Job boards are websites where employers post for writing jobs. Writers can view and apply for the same jobs. The most popular job boards are
- Pro blogger
- Freelance writing
- All freelance writing
3. Freelance markets
These are websites where clients upload their jobs or freelance writers create gigs to offer freelance services.
The most popular are:
4. Social media sites
These are goldmines when it comes to freelance writing jobs.
To find jobs, just enter freelance writing jobs on the search box. Join some of the groups and from those groups, you can easily find clients and remote writing jobs.
As a writer, you need to share useful stuff about your writing niches. To find work use hashtags with target keywords.
Use subreddits targeting writing jobs. For example, you can use writing jobs, freelance writing, and writing gigs.
5. Search engines
Search engines play a key role in finding writing jobs. All you have to do is write a search query on the search bar.
6. Cold pitching
Find contacts for websites in your niche, call or email them about your interest to work for them.
7. Ask friends and family
Friend and family can be a source of writing jobs. Some of them work in companies or institutions that have websites. Others have their own blogs and websites, thus they can either offer you writing opportunities or provide leads to where you can find writing jobs
8. Network with freelancers
Fellow freelancers can be a source of writing jobs. Offer to help them when they have extra work. They can also offer leads to where to get writing jobs.
What do you need to get online jobs?
To get online freelance writing jobs, you need a portfolio. This is a list of all your previous work. To create one, you need to samples.
How do you get samples?
- Start a blog
- Start guest posting
- Write them yourself and publish on Medium or LinkedIn
Now you have the samples, how do you create a portfolio?
If you don’t have a writer’s website, then you can head to contently and create your portfolio there.
How to market your freelance writing services (even if you have no experience)
- Dot writer
This is a site where you can publish you work. Any interested client can buy your work.
A very popular site for anyone looking to boost the readership of their content. As a beginner, medium can be a good starting point to publish your work. You can sign up for the medium partner program to earn money from your published articles.
An excellent site to market yourself. At LinkedIn, you have the opportunity to showcase your best work by publishing and having your potential clients view it.
- Start a blog
Starting a blog is the easiest way to publish your work. As a beginner, a blog gives you the opportunity to grow as you learn the art of writing. Most of the blogging platforms offer free blogs. You can start with one if you don’t want to buy a domain name
Some of the most popular blogging platforms are;
- Start guest posting on websites and blogs
Guest posting is a sure way to market your services. Find websites and blogs in your niche and request to have your name on the published article.
How much does a freelance writer earn?
As a freelance writer, the amount of money yearned depends on you. Some of the factors that will affect your earnings are the prices.
For example, working for content mills can earn you as low as $0.007 per word. If you write a 1000-word article, that is $7.
The same article can fetch more than $50 on different websites, with some clients willing to pay as much as $400 for the same.
My advice is, price your freelance writing services appropriately.
Writing for yourself is a great way to learn about your craft and begin telling the stories that compel you. Writing is an art, and artists need to practice their craft frequently in order to improve. Freelance writing allows you to hone your writing skills and grow as an author, but it also requires a great deal of discipline.
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