How to Start Your Freelance Writing Career (A Quick Guide)

Are you a passionate writer?  Do you have a desire for independence in your work-life?  Do you think you would make a good freelancer?  If so, a freelance writing career might be right for you.  

You might be ready to go ahead and dive right in. 

However, it can be daunting to switch careers.  It can be even more daunting when you are switching from a permanent full-time position to a freelance position. 

It can be hard to know where to get started.  You need to know what to do.  

Luckily, this guide can help.  It is possible for you to become a freelance writer.  You just need to get started.  

What are Freelance Writing Jobs?

Freelance writing jobs are completed by self-employed writers who may or may not work from multiple companies or organizations as a contractor.  They are contracted to produce whatever pieces of writing are needed by their clients and many of these writers work at home.  

Freelance writers can work in a variety of industries and may work for a variety of clients.  They may write articles, blog posts, or ad copy.  They may be contributors to magazines or newspaper articles.  They may help businesses looking to sell goods or services.  They may produce white papers or other informational documents.  They may also help a company write social media content.   Basically, a company may hire a freelance writer to write whatever sort of content they may need.  That is where you can come in!

Freelance writers may be generalists who produce a variety of content types and work in a variety of industries and niches.  However, some freelancers do choose to specialize.  If a freelancer is seen as an expert in their chosen niche, they can command a higher rater which can be lucrative. You may choose to work in a niche such as personal finance, technology, or marketing.  If you have previous experience working in another field, it can be a big advantage when you are applying for freelancing jobs.  You could also choose to write about a hobby that you are interested in and knowledgable about such as travel. 

A freelancer can also choose to specialize in specific types of content such as ghostwriting, e-books, or ultimate guides.  

Whatever you decide to do, the beauty of a freelance writing career is that you can decide which jobs you want to take and which clients you want to work for.  This allows you to craft your career in the way that you want.  

How to Start Your Freelance Writing Career

After you decide what type of writing you want to do and if you want to specialize or not, you can get started.  

One of the first things that you should do is create an online presence.   This is an important part of marketing yourself and building your brand as a writer.  You can start by building an online presence by starting a website or a blog. A blog allows you to share your work and receive feedback.  If you chose to maintain your own website, it gives you a space to blog and showcases your own work as a portfolio.  You can get your website started using a service such as WordPress or Wix.  

Another way to increase your online presence is to write as a guest writer for blogs or online magazines.  You can also post on online publications such as Medium.  When you do decide to pitch your work to your potential clients, you can use this sample work that you already have published online to increase your chances of getting the client’s business. 

Once your portfolio is ready to go and you have sample pieces ready for clients to see, you can start applying for jobs.  It does take perseverance, and you will have to learn how to market yourself as a writer, but your next step is beginning to apply for jobs. 

Where Can You Find Remote Freelance Writing Jobs?

There are endless places where you can potentially find remote freelance writing jobs.  For example, you can contact companies directly and offer your services as a freelancer to produce content for either their blog or a company-sponsored post on yours.  You can also pitch directly to magazines or other online publications.  

Some other options for places to find freelance writing jobs include:

  • Networking: You can join groups either online or in-person where you can meet other freelance writers.  Through these groups, you can learn about new job opportunities which may be shared through these groups.  
  • Social Media: Social media websites like LinkedIn can be useful to showcase your work to potential new clients who may be looking to hire writers.  
  • Freelance Job Boards: Freelance job boards such as Fiverr and Upwork can also be useful places to find potential clients who are ready to hire.  Other potential places to look for work include Problogger and Mediabistro.

Other Tips

Some more tips for how to get your freelance writing career started include:

  • Start slowly:  It can be tempting to dive right into your freelance career; however, it may be best to keep your day job for a while.  It can take time for you to start landing clients and getting the hang of freelancing.  Once you have more clients coming in, you can transition to making freelancing your primary career.  
  • Always be on the lookout for new clients:  As a freelancer, you are your own boss and you are in charge of finding your own work.  This can be a great thing.  However, there is the risk that there may be a lull in between clients and projects.  To keep the income coming in, you need to be on the lookout for new clients and opportunities.  
  • Make sure you have quality work:  It can be tempting to pump out the work as quickly as possible.  However, quality outweighs quantity in freelance writing.  You need to make sure that you proofread your work and do not leave any grammatical errors in your submitted work.  
  • Don’t take feedback personally:  You may be an awesome writer; however, not everyone may like your work.  Some clients may request revisions or need you to change the tone of your writing to match their brand.  You will need to learn to take their feedback in stride.  
  • Develop a pitch: You should always be ready to pitch your work when you meet a potential client.  Have your “elevator pitch” ready.  

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that it does take time and effort to start your freelance writing career.  However, with some perseverance (and a great portfolio), you can find clients and get your new career as a freelance writer started.