Freelance writing can be a lucrative career. In today’s digital world, practically everyone needs written content. Businesses use written content for a myriad of purposes; website text, blogs, social media posts and email campaigns for example.
If you can get your name out there, and build your reputation, you can easily obtain a consistent stream of writing work. Many people have made a career from this job and thrive from the opportunities freelance writing provides. If you are starting out in the world of freelance writing, we have provided a comprehensive guide and tips – enjoy and good luck!
Where to look for your first writing jobs?
So you have decided to try your hand at freelance writing, there is one problem…. Where do you find work? You realize that you don’t actually know where you can advertise or look for jobs! Don’t worry – there are many avenues of work for new freelance writers. The following is the best way you can find starting gigs:
Freelance platforms – This is the place to start. UpWork, Freelancer, SimplyHired, People Per Hour – these are all freelance platforms. You can sign up to these platforms and search for work. Remember to create a standout profile that promotes your skills. Moreover, remember that you will be competing against hundreds of other freelancers – your first few jobs may have to be taken at a lower rate than you would usually expect. The key is to successfully complete a couple of jobs to gain positive feedback – this will give you more clout when applying for future jobs.
What tools can you use to improve your writing?
Even the most experienced writers still require a reliable set of tools. When freelance, writing, you must do whatever you can to make the process efficient and streamlined.
As luck has it, there is a myriad of online tools you can use to help but are two essential tools to start with:
This is an absolute must-have for any aspiring writer: Grammarly is an online spelling and grammar checker. Moreover, the premium version also looks at the misuse of tone and things such as wordy sentences.
When writing on a consistent basis, it can often be difficult to think of new words to use. Writers can sometimes find themselves repeating the same words over and over. By using this online thesaurus, you can broaden your vocabulary.
Create an application template
During the initial months of freelance writing, you will have to apply for a huge number of jobs. Your initial success rate may be low until you build your brand and reputation. This means that you can often spend too much time writing out lengthy application proposals – time you could spend actually writing or looking for more work.
To help, you should create an application template. The initial part of the template should be written from scratch each time – this is the part that is specific to the job you are applying for. The second part, however, can be a set template. In this second part, you simply list your skills and generic information. If you use a full generic template, some interviewers will disregard your application. This is why the first part should be a couple of sentences that relate to the job you are applying for!
Don’t be afraid to discuss the job with your client
Many new freelancers’ writers will simply start a job regardless of if they are comfortable writing it or not. It’s understandable – they want to get stuck in and get a positive review! Never do this! If you have any questions about the writing work – ask! If you don’t ask, you could waste valuable time writing an article that is completely wrong! Always ensure you are 100% clear about what your client is requesting.
Moreover, if they haven’t stated things explicitly – ask. For example, have they stated what language to use? Have they stated if it should be first or third person? Should the language be purely factual or can you inject humor? Ask questions and clarify the job to avoid costly mistakes!
Don’t limit yourself to a niche
When freelance writing, you could be tempted to limit yourself to a single niche – travel for example. Whilst this will improve your skill on that particular subject, it will also mean you miss out on many opportunities.
During the initial stages of your freelance career, you cannot afford to be picky. Write about anything and everything. As a freelance writer, you must be flexible. If you can write confidently about any number of subjects, your business will flourish. If you are not comfortable writing about anything – consider choosing a handful of niches. For example, you could pick travel, geography, and photography – these are all interlinked and would give you a broader range of jobs to apply for.
Create a clear and organized working space
Working from home can present problems for a freelancer. Let’s say you are working on your laptop in the living room – what’s stopping you from switching the TV on? Working from home can bring many distractions. This is why it is important to create a clear, defined and organized workspace.
If you have a spare room – turn it into an office. If you do not have a spare room, at least consider purchasing a desk. If you have a dedicated workspace, you will be less tempted by distractions. Furthermore, you can keep your work organized. This will help your productivity and ensure that you work effectively.
Practice makes perfect
Writing is a skill that you can develop. How can you hope to develop this skill without writing on a regular basis? Hone your skills. Consider creating a personal blog. Choose a subject and write a test article. Keep writing and developing new techniques – your freelance business will improve as a result.
If you follow these tips and heed our advice, you can jump into freelance writing with confidence. There is no denying that to succeed in this industry requires hard work and dedication. There is also no reason however why you cannot turn your literary skills into a brighter future!
By Bonnie Skott
who is a creative writer who left her full-time job at a publishing company to pursue her freelance carrier. Currently she helps a photography software company Skylum to manage their blog.