The freelance writing industry is booming, but I must acknowledge it may only be true in the circles I frequent. I frequently see people who want to pursue a freelancing job but are unsure of where or how to begin.
I frequently offer the same few pieces of advise to individuals, but when unexpected inquiries come up at a time when I'm not alert enough to respond, I almost always forget a few excellent bits of advice that I've learned along the road.
In order to overcome my amnesia issue and assist all the prospective writers out there, I decided to develop a straightforward, no-frills guide on how to launch a freelance writing business from beginning.
A few quick cautions
I wanted to provide a few warnings before I began this fascinating guide:
The path you take as a freelancer will be unique from everyone else's. While this opinion is frequently expressed online, it's simple to overlook when reading about other people's experiences or reading guidelines like this one.
I've always been a writer, even though I had to start my freelance writing profession from scratch. Prior to starting my present projects, I was a writer for national and multinational companies' corporate marketing departments (among other things). As a result, my CV might differ slightly from yours.
None of my advice is set in stone. It's possible that what worked for me or someone else won't work for you. That doesn't imply you shouldn't do it, but you might need to adapt them to your circumstances.
Freelance writing is not an easy career to pursue. Not everyone will enjoy it. I don't say this to frighten you off; if it's the right vocation for you, it's fantastic. However, there is a lot of material out there and Instagram accounts that portray a carefree existence spent working while sipping mai tais on the beach. Certainly not the case in reality.
Interested in learning more about my personal journey?
Set some beginning objectives.
If you're not going anyplace in particular, completing anything is a difficult task. Instead of blindly flailing about while attempting to establish a new job, setting goals gives you something to aim for. They guide you in the right path and award you a victory point.
Without objectives, we are helpless, so let's make some!
Your early ambitions for your freelance writing career should be modest and doable. Avoid setting a goal of becoming a millionaire in a year; while it is possible, it is not likely. Setting lofty objectives will only serve to sap your motivation when you fail to meet them.
SMART goals are the most effective since they are time-bound, relevant, specified, measurable, and reachable. These objectives are doable for you to accomplish while still inspiring.
When starting a freelancing job from beginning, having goals centred on finding clients and work, marketing yourself, creating a portfolio, and networking are all excellent choices.
I would focus on goals that are relevant to your bottom-line salary, or how much money you really must generate to pay your bills, at this point in your freelancing career.
By setting your objectives too high and failing to accomplish them, you run the risk of undoing any progress you have made by demotivating yourself. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to fantasise of replacing your income.
Initial examples of freelance goals
Not sure where to begin with your goals for freelancing? Here are some of the objectives I set for myself when I first started my freelance career:
After 30 days
- find my first customer
- Create my website
- Write three portfolio pieces and publish them.
After 90 days
- Secure my entire monthly salary
- Establish a presence online
Contextually speaking, I was leaving a posh corporate position when I started my freelance career. That meant that I could only pursue my freelance dream during the nights and weekends.
Do you have a topic in mind?
It's time to decide what you want to do as a freelance writer once your goals are established. Do you have a topic in mind?
Many of the websites that I visited when I first started out advised me to choose one specialty and stick with it. I disagree, especially if you're trying to figure things out and aren't a writer by trade.
When trying to decide what to write about, you should concentrate on two things: what you can write about right now and what you believe you want to write about.
What topics are you now able to write about?
Even if you are unaware of it, there is undoubtedly something you have to say right now based on your own experience. You must assess your knowledge when you are just beginning your freelance writing profession.
I was immediately aware of my area of competence when I initially started writing for clients. Marketing, public relations, and corporate communication were all on my list because I have a degree in communication and have worked in marketing my whole career.
But I also have some other areas of skill. I have a wealth of professional expertise in the legal, governmental, political, and accounting fields, and I have held in-house positions with a variety of professional service companies. Public relations and professional services marketing were suddenly my areas of competence!
Look at your prior work if you are unsure of where to begin with your areas of expertise for freelance writing. Have you been working in retail lately? You probably have a lot of experience in customer service. Are you a student or recent graduate? Then you could definitely discuss about student life.
Or look at your hobbies; are you a big admirer of scary movies? Do you actually participate in your community? Maybe you hike in the mountains on a regular basis.
There are probably many excellent areas for you to start once you begin looking.
What do you intend to write about, in your opinion?
What you already know, however, is not the end-all be-all of a freelance writing job. What you intend to write about should be the second thing you think about. I say "consider" because there are many subjects in which you might be interested before you start writing for practise.
The truth is that you can write about whatever you want as long as you're prepared to learn about it and become an expert in it.
One of the things I really wanted to write when I first started out was travel-related content. I haven't travelled extensively yet in my life, but I knew I wanted to write about it. And today, travel writing accounts for a sizable portion of my work.
How did I do that? I made an effort, and someone decided to trust me. Someone took a chance on me after I submitted some sample work and job applications. Now, I regularly write for them and a few other clients who have travel-related needs.
What exactly are you planning to write about?
Create a portfolio.
Once you've decided what you want to write about, you'll need to compile a portfolio of examples of your work to demonstrate your abilities to potential clients. The Catch-22 of freelance writing arises in this situation. Jobs cannot be obtained without published samples, but published samples cannot be obtained without employment. Maybe you can?
You can distribute your work in one of three ways without having a real client or job:
- Creating a blog of your own
- Using a profit-sharing platform like Medium to publish
- Posting as a volunteer as a guest on another blog
Creating a blog of your own
My preferred method for developing a portfolio is to start your own blog because it kills two birds with one stone if your long-term goal is to earn money through blogging.
I love blogs despite the fact that they can be a lot of effort since they give me a place to publish any articles I wish to write expressly for a new job. I won't have to wait for someone else to review my work this way.
Volunteers guest posting
Guest posting on another person's blog or publication is the final approach to get your work published to develop a portfolio when you're beginning your freelance writing career.
Although I haven't actively used it, this is how several of the writers I know have begun to develop their portfolios. I have not written any free guest posts, save from one one I wrote for a website that reviews books.
I've refrained from taking this move because doing so would require me to wait for someone person to publish my work. In specifically when it comes to creating anything like a portfolio, I've never been a patient guy.
Having said that, there are many blogs out there who are open to guest articles so you can showcase your work. Asking is frequently all that is necessary. I have two legal marketing blogs called The Udyam Registration Form and many more, and I'm always delighted to let new writers post a piece there if you're searching for a place to have your work published.
Create an internet presence.
You must be a marketer if you want to work as a freelance writer or own any kind of business. The internet serves as your workspace for the majority of independent authors. Therefore, you must begin developing your web presence.
If you already have an internet presence, you're doing great. However, if you don't, right now would be a fantastic moment to start.
However, there's no need to overextend oneself as a new freelancer. I advise starting small by creating a website and a social media presence.
The online presence of your freelance writing firm is your website. You do, in fact, need a website. Yes, you can get by without one, but in the very cutthroat world of freelance writing, it will disadvantage your business.
As long as your website is professional, you may make it seem anyway you like (and professional DOES NOT mean boring).
Leveraging social media
You should proceed cautiously while creating a social media presence. Everyone appears to believe that creating a social media presence entails starting and maintaining one of each, but you will struggle to be effective with it.
Work goes into social media extensively. If you're just getting started, it's advisable to create one profile slowly before going on to the next. But if you're determined to take on every one of them, you should definitely invest in a social media scheduling tool so you can publish consistently.
It's time to start looking for clients once you have everything set up, including a portfolio and an online presence. Although networking and recommendations are the greatest ways to gain clients, everyone must start somewhere, which is why there are online job boards.
In addition to job listings, you can get in touch with businesses you'd like to write for. Check out freelancer and writer job boards. Alternatively, you can network using your current contacts. Each person finds their first job in a unique way; for me, it was through a local job board.
Decide on a price.
Pricing should be the last element of this post, but I pondered whether it should come before. If you already know how much you want to charge, go ahead and introduce your price structure. However, if you've never worked on writing projects before or have little expertise, you might want to wait a little longer.
Although freelancing is a fantastic career, it can be difficult to get started. The most crucial thing for you to realise is that it won't take place immediately.
Giving up before beginning is one of the major errors I observe in beginning writers. They create a few works for their portfolio and submit a few Indeed applications, but become dissatisfied when nothing happens after a few weeks.
It won't take place immediately. I wrote letters every day over the first few months to numerous postings. I submitted applications to between 30 and 50 writing jobs per week, depending on the week.
So before you give up, give yourself a genuine chance and make sure you keep writing!