Anyone can be a freelance writer. You don’t need any experience or degree.
So, you want to dive into freelance writing?
I get a lot of emails and DMs (on Instagram) from people asking me how to successfully start a career in freelance writing.
With the fact that there are tons of wrong advice out there ranging from excuses like the need for formal training to owning a website or blog, I thought to share my experience and sales strategies on this platform!
Here’s one thing though! If you think that you can’t begin a career in freelance writing as a result of no experience; well, it’s about damn time someone told you that: IT IS POSSIBLE!
It’s been almost four years since I became a freelance writer.
When I first learned how to become a freelance writer, I made the mistake of thinking that I needed a blog or website. I also thought that the only way to get gigs was to sign up on freelancing sites such as Upwork, Fiverr, Guru, etc.
Content mills provide cheap content jobs and they usually batch orders. Their goal is to get a lot of content for cheap. After a series of unsuccessful attempts to sign up on these platforms, I gave up.
Then, I switched to scouting for gigs on Nairaland. Most of them paid peanuts. Three years down the line earning little to nothing, I realized that this wasn’t for me!
I was worth more than that! I felt like giving up!
But, I didn’t. I re-grouped and started afresh. I signed up for training, pitched for freelance writing jobs; and gradually began to land high-paying clients. The rest, they say, is history!
If you want that for yourself, here are the steps on how to become a freelance writer you need to get started.
1. Research About Freelance Writing
When I first started, I did a lot of research. I found other freelance writers, read their blogs and learning as much as I could about this business.
While I had some clues about how to write blog posts, I didn’t know the kinds of jobs for freelance writers.
2. Become Familiar With the Writing Skills and Tools Required
While I’ve mentioned that you can start a career in freelance writing with absolutely no experience, you can increase the odds of success by learning a few skills and tools.
Some skills you should definitely have for freelance writing include:
> Organizational Skills
Having a system in place for your projects is key to growing your business. You don’t want to make a mistake or forget to do something.
I use my calendar to keep track of events, Evernote or my phone’s memo to jot down ideas and a list of things I want to do.
> Writing Skills
Writing for an online audience is different than writing in your diary or texting a friend. Know how to captivate readers with your blog topic and introduction.
You need to be able to create insightful, entertaining and educating posts.
Putting yourself out there and trying to land writing gigs is tough. You’ll get rejected, turned down or you may have a client walk all over you.
To become a successful freelance writer, you need to be confident and overcome your fear of pitching (I can’t begin to count how many clients I’ve landed via cold-pitching!)
> Graphics & Design skills
There is no excuse for ugly photos, therefore this skill is very important to have. My favorite image editing app is Canva.
While I offer proofreading services as well, it doesn’t hurt to use Grammarly or Hemingway app to give that document a final polish before it gets sent to your client.
3. Practice Writing
While you don’t have to be the best writer to become successful, you need to be able to write sentences and get your message across.
Improving your writing will not only help you become a better writer, but it will also help you market your freelance writing business because it makes you more credible as a professional writer.
4. Create a Portfolio of Your Work
Most job ads you’ll apply for will ask to see your work. They want to see samples of published work. If you’re new, you won’t have any published work – unless you already have a blog.
So, how do you show prospects you can actually write? Besides starting a blog, you can create samples.
Draft up a few pieces and either upload them as a Google Doc or publish them on Medium, LinkedIn or Quora.
Another alternative is to guest post. Search for blogs or websites in the niche you’d like to write about and pitch your blog idea to them.
Don’t think it’s possible? What do you think I’m doing here? Guest posting on She Leads Africa, of course!
5. Start Pitching to clients
Now it’s time to actively search for freelance writing jobs. But where do you go and how do you do it?
Go check out job sites like NG Careers, Jobberman, MyJobMag, etc for content writing positions.
When you find a job you are interested in the important thing to remember is to be one of the first few to apply and make sure your pitch stands out.
Are there other ways to find freelance writing jobs? Yes, there are tons of ways!
6. Hustle Queen!
Being a freelancer means you gotta hustle for work. But, this doesn’t mean you ALWAYS have to hustle. The goal is for clients to come to you.
However, when you’re new in the business, you have to get your name out there.
Get on social media and network. Guest posting not only to builds your portfolio but attracts potential clients as well.
7. Stay Learning!
The best thing you can do as a new freelance writer is to continue to learn. Whether it’s writing tips, business tips or pitching tips, hone your skills by learning from those who have done it before.
Are you interested in freelance writing? Connect with me on Instagram via my business page TheCopyWritingChick.
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