Blog Four Steps To Start Your Freelance Writing Career

Four Steps To Start Your Freelance Writing Career

Aug 26, 2018, 01.34 AM

When you get tired of the boring 9-to-5 work or decide to increase your income, freelance writing might be the best choice for you. Unlike other freelance occupations, writing does not require specific skills or years of experience. If you are good with words and can spare enough time for research and some self-education, you can quickly make a name for yourself. To help you along, we offer four pieces of advice any novice freelance writer should follow.

Generalize or Specialize

There so many websites, magazines, and companies online! And each of them requires quality content you can provide. It is extremely tempting to agree to every job offer you get and write about anything, from wine tasting to plumbing advice. However, if you wish to make a good income, you need to decide from the get go what your preferred niches will be. Specialization will help you get a deeper understanding of certain subjects, making you a sought-after expert. Moreover, you will be able to write quality content with increased speed. You can, of course, choose to be a general writer working on all possible subjects. This approach is better suited for those who seek to earn extra without losing their day jobs.

Personal experience: When I first started my copywriting career, I had to write ATV reviews and related articles, even though I have never seen these monstrosities in real life. I took me a couple of months to get acquainted with technical terms. And in six months I could complete my research and write a long article in three to four hours. Later I had to give up this line of work, but I still remember it fondly.

Create a Killer Portfolio

You must have created at least one CV to get a job, but freelance writing requires another document a portfolio. It can take on a form of a website, a PDF or a list of links. It should contain the best examples of your writing, either created for clients or written on a whim. Structure your portfolio in a logical and concise manner. You can divide your works by topics or by the type of work done: copywriting, rewriting, SEO writing, etc. If your works have never been published before, you can either post them on your own blog, send them to the websites like Medium, or store them in a cloud.

Personal experience: After you start your freelance writing career, your portfolio will change. I tend to review it every six months to delete obsolete entries and add new samples of my work that make me especially proud. Right now my portfolio does not contain a single piece created in my first year as a copywriter. As time goes by, my writing evolves and those samples no longer reflect my style and the quality of my work.

Pitch Yourself Everywhere

After the preliminary work is done, you need to find yourself a paying customer. You could go to freelance-friendly websites, like Freelancer, WriteDom, and Upwork. You can also publish your resume and portfolio at job boards in your region. Send personal emails to magazine editors, join LinkedIn and Facebook groups for freelance writers. Spread the word among your friends and relatives. You never know who might require your services.

Personal experience: A friend called me once, asking if I was still into copywriting. He had a friend in desperate need of an IT writer, a totally strange and unknown subject for me. I still went to a Skype interview, talked to the HR and got myself and new client. There were so many clients in my freelancing career, and some of them came from the most bizarre places.

Collect Clients’ Testimonials

When you see an app with a 4.5-star rating, you will definitely prefer it over the one with feeble 3 stars. Leverage the human herd mentality in your favor. Ask your happy clients to write a couple of lines about your work or send out a simple survey. This will help you to build a better relationship with your customers, who will feel that you care about their needs and opinions. All the while, you will be gathering invaluable feedback to boost your writing career. The more positive feedback you get, the easier it will be for you to find new and better-paying orders.

Personal experience: I have never tried to ask my clients to write a testimonial for me. I have always known it is a good idea, but never had the guts to do anything about it. However, my writing speaks for itself, and my clients gladly refer their partners and colleagues to me, so I think that is no worse than having a dozen of glowing reviews.

Don’t think of this list as an all-encompassing guide, but a mere list of friendly suggestions for anyone new to the freelance writing world. Use it to your advantage to give your new career a boost.

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