I have every post I’ve ever written on this blog. If you go and read the first few posts I wrote and compare them to now, you’ll notice an improvement. It’s without question that writing every day will improve your writing.
Develop a writing process to improve your odds of long-term writing success.
Freelance writers with an established writing routine tend to be more productive than those taking an ‘I write whenever I feel like it’ approach to content creation. Business owners don’t just open their shop whenever they feel like. If you want to build a long list of happy writing clients, developing your writing process is essential.
You need to be specific about the time you will commit to writing. When are you most productive? After breakfast, or in the evening? Once you know this, you can plan your days more effectively, setting aside time for family, rest, and recreation.
You might want to work hard, but you shouldn’t run yourself into the ground. Set aside time for small breaks and a more extended lunch break. If the weather’s nice, go for a ten-minute walk. Finding time to relax is vital for keeping your mind fresh.
Freelance Writing for Beginners
As a beginner, it can be hard to know where to get started in the freelance writing world. You know that you’ll write for a number of clients and publications, but you aren’t sure how to start that process.
Step 3: Register your business: You can either register your business as an LLC and open a business bank account to protect your assets, or you can opt to receive 1099s from companies and work from your personal bank account.
Step 5: Pitch potential clients: Now it’s time to get to the grind. Look at job boards or contact the companies directly. Either way, you should send several pitches a day to get started.
Freelance writing isn’t always an easy and glamorous job like the Facebook ads make it seem. It requires a lot of hard work, organization, and persistence. However, if you stay on the grind, and work with the end game in mind — like those long walks on the Saint Tropez beaches — you can eventually build a brand where companies are coming directly to you and willing to pay you what you’re worth.
7 Tips for New Freelance Writers
If this is you, then I want you to know that I was in your shoes once. Not too long ago – a little over a year ago – I was at a place where I was reading soo much about freelance writing, that I didn’t know what to believe.
To get you started, I’ve come up with seven tips to help you out. This all requires taking action on your part, however. If you don’t just do it and get out there, you’ll never know how much you can potentially succeed as a pro writer.
Keep On Hustling
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About The Author
Hi I’m Elna and I’m a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.
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Thanks for sharing your experience and skills needed for growth and success in life. I love writing and editing but I finding it hard to start. I am highly motivated and inspired by your write-up. You’re a plus to our generation.Reply to Edosa
I’m a teacher of English Language & Literature. I recently started blogging about education. It’s so exciting and interesting. I’m good at it and I thought, “Why don’t I become a freelance writer?” But I had a big fear, I didn’t know how and where to start, and your article just helped me to cope with everything. Now I have found my clients and start writing for them. For the same beginners as me I want to advise not to be afraid to try yourself in this matter, if you try your best, you will succeed! I also would like to advise useful freelancer tools, such as https://www.hubspot.com/blog-topic-generator – which will help you when you are short on post ideas and Uncheck.com – great plagiarism checker helps to be sure of the originality of your content. All the best!Reply to Nancy
“Make A Pitch Everyday” ! If I could impart one piece of advice to freelance writers it would be this. To make it you need to market every single day. A freelance writer without clients is just a hobbyist. Marketing on social media, query letters, sample content, your website, networking — all of these methods are necessary. Jon PenningtonReply to Jon
Elna, I wish I had found your blog earlier…like almost a year earlier. I probably wouldn’t have had to go back to my corporate job if I’d found you earlier. That’s one of my mistakes and I hope others don’t make the same one. Thank you for this post and your blog!Reply to Lisa
May be you forgot to included all freelnce writers must included guaranteed for reevision. I always did it so the client get what they want. if they are dislike with my job, there is always revision option.Reply to Shiq4
Great post as usual, Elna! The first tip is absolutely essential, and I’m glad you listed it at the top of the list! I’ve had a few different newer freelancers ask me why they aren’t getting any responses, and what they are doing wrong with their pitches. They had a few issues with their approaches, but the main problem was how little they were pitching. Generally, they would send out 1 to 2 pitches a day, and then not do anymore marketing work. They sat there, waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Needless to say, they needed to pitch MORE! Again, great post!Reply to Alexia
Hi Elna, Thanks for these tips. I’m just starting out as a freelance writer and I have my own blog, but it’s quite intimidating being out in the big wide world of the Internet. But with these tips I feel like I have more of a plan and will just keep pushing on and see what happens. Cheers, DianaReply to Diana
Thank you for the information. I’m a new author and still learning the ropes. Instead if working on my next novel I’m trying to keep my blog afloat by posting three times a week. the blog is new and just this last weekend I made the decision what I truly want to write about. I have a book signing event coming up and I’ve been reading and researching the proper way to wrote a press release. Day number two and I’m completely overwhelmed. Not only am I trying to promote my own boom but my husbands as well. Does it get any easier? Loom through your list there are several things I need to work on. Thank you again for posting this.Reply to Charity
Hi Charity! That’s great you are on track. I’m not an author but I know a few freelance writers that are authors! It may seem overwhelming but just take it one step at a time! It does get easier once you understand the process and expectations! Good luck.Reply to Elna
Hi Elna! Great post. I’m struggling with a few of these actually. I definitely need to work on #1 and #5. I enjoy interacting with fellow freelance writers when I get the chance but don’t always get the time to be an active part of the community. I’m always grateful for your shares and shoutouts on social! It’s been inspiring to watch your journey over the last 6 months (when I first found your blog!). This has been queued up in my Buffer btw 🙂Reply to Jennee
Freelance writing tips
It might be safe or comfortable to do what you have always done, or to do what all others have done before you, but if you are going to leap ahead of the herd and feast on greener grasses, you’re going to have to break some eggs, shake a tail feather, go for the golden ring! In a nutshell, these mixed metaphors are trying to tell you that you need to do what hasn’t been done or do what has been done DIFFERENTLY.
It is easy to believe you can’t make any money writing, because with writing, everyone is doing it…blogging, microblogging, and self-publishing. So the first thing you have to do is BELIEVE that you can make money writing. The second thing you need to do is BELIEVE your writing is worth money, a lot of money, because it is uniquely yours. But you still have to build your career as a paid freelance writer brick by brick, just like a house.
There are freelance writers without websites and social media pages, but more and more DO have their own websites. I build websites for individuals and they are older professionals who already have been published in print or on other outlets. They have been told by their agent or their publishing company that they have to have a website. You need to at least go to WordPress or Tumblr or Blogger and start a free site. Start blogging. Get yourself comfortable online.
I’m sorry, but sometimes you have to start from 0, and that means self-publishing on your lonesome on your little-known website, and then from there, find websites that allow you to contribute for little or no compensation. I’ve found some just from dumb luck, like Engaged Marriage and here on Lifehack, but I also found websites that need freelance writers by following where other writers publish their works.
And if you want to get paid, says Professor Rich Martin of Illinois University, a professor and freelance writer, you must remember everyone has opinions and opinions are free, so doing something more akin to reporting on a subject with market value is the way to go. Before you pitch a story, you must understand the value of the pitch to the outlet itself, adds Professor Mike Taylor of Henderson State University. So find some outlets that pay you to contribute, but don’t underestimate. You are still applying for a job. Respect that. You have to be able to point to previously published work, or what can be called an online clip file or portfolio. The more outlets that have published you independently (even if they didn’t pay you), the more help you’ll get to land jobs that will pay.
If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, you’ll need all the practice you can get. Starting your own blog is a great way to demonstrate your skills and improve your writing at the same time. If you’re new to the profession it’s likely you don’t have many samples under your belt, but blogging is an easy and quick way to create samples you can include in a pitch.
There are no limitations on what you can write about on your own blog, but if you’re looking to specialise in a certain niche, it’s a good idea to showcase your knowledge of the subject as much as possible. If you’re promoting your content well on social media and you’re consistent with posting, you’ll also find blogging regularly could help you land clients.
Youness Bermime, a professional content writer and owner of WritersDo, says: “Your blog (if managed well) can attract visitors, who, in turn, can become clients. It is a win-win situation for you: you show your skills and gain more popularity.”
Set up Google alerts on keywords and topics you want to write about.
Find a specific topic that interests you and follow experts and brands in that field on social media and in news stories when you. I frequently write about sleep, so I like to see which brands are coming out with new products, learn about the latest research and see which outlets are publishing content in this niche in my Google alerts. I also sign up to receive alerts on freelance writing tips, side hustle and freelance topics! Part of freelance writing for beginners is knowing what other writers are producing as well. This is a great way to stay on top of trends and learn a freelance niche as well as additional freelance writing tips.
Make sure you have a designated area you’ll start freelance writing for beginners in, use good lighting and have a door you can close so you won’t be disturbed by family members and roommates. While I first started freelance writing at a kitchen table in my tiny studio apartment, now I have a designated home office space with a desk, a large monitor, two laptops, a standing desk and a comfortable chair. Get work from home tips on how to be more productive as a beginner freelancer here.
Freelance writing tips
When you think like a business, you start to run your shit like a business. And that means getting a focus, attracting the right clients in that area, and getting them to pay you real dollars (not $.03 a word) for the content you create.
8 Tips for New Freelance Writers
Becoming a freelance writer means many things. It means hard work, independent income, pursuing your passion, and constantly developing your skills. There’s a lot to it, but there’s no reason to fear it. You’ll be delighted at the opportunities that will show up for you once you get started as a freelance writer and find your writing niche. But first, you need to make sure you know how to get started on the path to success. To help you set a plan in place, we’ve put together some of our best advice for new freelance writers.
The first step to becoming a truly successful freelance writer is managing your time. There are several ways to do this, and the steps you take will vary depending on your personality. However, there are a few basic things you should keep in mind:
- Make lists – The Type-A person knows them well, but even if that’s not your style, in this case, it’s probably a good idea. Making a list of each writing job you need to finish, the research you must accomplish, and the other daily tasks that you can’t ignore should be top of the list for what you need to be a successful freelance writer.
- Don’t multitask – We’ve all done it, but scientists have proven that multitasking can actually cause you to lose up to 40% of the time you could be productive. In reality, our brains can only focus on one thing at a time, so multitasking is ultimately hours of our brains starting and stopping. In the long run, this usually causes more problems instead of increasing productivity.
- Track your time – With a time tracker or other similar program, you can keep track of deadlines, how much you work, and what you’ve accomplished. This is an essential step to making every second count in your freelance business.
2. Research the Industry
Some people have the advantage of a degree or certificate that introduced them to the ins and outs of freelance writing. I came out of university with a Theatre Degree. But thanks to the Internet, there is a flurry of information already available online and websites ready to help you get started. I spent an entire winter just researching what it meant to be a freelance writer, what kind of outlets existed for my writing, and what the process was for getting published. I met with the only freelance writer I knew to learn how she got started. As it turns out, the path she took (ie. writing for newspapers) had no appeal to me, but at least I learned this was an option.
Learning about the infamous “query letter” was my first big “aha!” moment when I was researching how to enter the freelance market. Most publications, especially those that pay for material, don’t want to receive a complete, unsolicited article. Instead, they want you to pitch your idea in the form of a query letter.
Editors are busy and likely won’t read a full article, but they can make time to browse through a well-written query. If an editor likes your idea, this also gives him or her some space to suggest possible angles and fulfill the current needs of the magazine. See this piece on How to Write a Query Letter for the specifics. Keep track of your queries so that you know where and when you submitted them.
How to be a Paid Freelance Writer
It also means you need to think about what they are typing into search boxes on Google and LinkedIn and other places. What key terms are they looking for? Make sure you highlight those in all of your profiles.
Step 9: Marketing Your Freelance Writing Business
When you work for yourself, you are in the sales business. You have to sell yourself and your skills all the damn time at the start. Then, hopefully, you’ll start getting more people who come to you through referrals and word of mouth, and you won’t have to sell quite as much.
Building Your Marketing Mix
So when I say marketing, here’s what I do (and maybe you should too):
Action step: Set time aside each week, put it in your calendar, and devote it to marketing yourself until it becomes second nature and just what you do.
I try to focus during my marketing block on stuff that is going to result in getting clients. Reading a blog post about how you should be marketing does not count as marketing outreach. You actually have to do stuff.
Step 10: Figuring Out Your Freelance Writing Rates
In my experience, two big problems give people anxiety when it comes to pricing:
The main thing out of that list that I’d highlight is having a baseline floor rate. Even though I don’t charge by the word but by the project, I’ve figured out essentially what my bottom line per word rate is to make a project work.
Action step: Figure out your baseline writing rate (and stick to it).
I have this number written down on a post-it note that sits on my desk. Anytime I get an offer to write, I compare the rate to my post-it note number. If it’s below that, I counter offer at a higher price. If they say no, I walk away and find the next opportunity.
I spent a lot of time when I was first writing undercharging myself. I honestly didn’t realize people could get hundreds or thousands of dollars for freelance writing work until I started connecting with higher-level writers who did.
Step 11: Consider Additional Beneficial Skills You Can Learn
So if you develop SEO skills to go along with your writing, you’re making yourself more valuable to your client. And you’re making it easier to get work and charge more money because of your increased skillset.
How to Become a Freelance Writer in 2022: Final Thoughts
Check out our 6 day FREE COURSE on starting a freelance writing business.
This page contains affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and buy one of the products on this page, I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you!) This doesn’t affect our opinions or reviews. Everything we do is to benefit you as the reader, so all of our reviews are as honest and unbiased as possible.
Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he’s not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he’s probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn’t belong.
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