Throughout the United States, there are over 56.7 million people who work as freelancers. Of all the different freelance gigs out there, freelance writing jobs are some of the most popular. Are you thinking about taking up freelance writing? Do you have questions about how to get started?
If so, keep reading. Listed below are some tips that will help you launch your career today.
Types of Freelances Writing Gigs
What is freelance writing? What do freelance writers do?
There are lots of different types of freelance writing jobs out there. The following are some of the most popular types of gigs freelancers are picking up right now:
- Copywriting: Copywriting involves writing persuasive, promotional, search-engine-optimized content, including website landing pages, blog posts, advertisements, social media posts, and emails
- Article/Feature writing: Some freelancers work on a per article basis and write articles or special features for news websites or blogs
- Ghostwriting: Some people have ideas for a memoir or novel but don’t have the skills to write it themselves, so they hire ghostwriters to do the actual writing for them
It’s not technically a writing job, but many freelancers also do editing and proofreading work. Writers or business owners hire them to ensure their projects are clean and easily readable.
How to Become a Freelance Writer
Do any of these writing gigs sound appealing to you? Here are some steps that will help you learn how to start freelance writing:
Consider Your Temperament
Before you quit your 9-5 job and become a full-time freelance writer, you must take a step back and think about your temperament.
It takes a lot of discipline to earn a living as a freelancer. After all, you don’t have a manager or supervisor looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re staying on task.
There are other traits and skills that good freelancers possess, too, including these:
- Time management skills
- Organizational skills
- Ability to stay self-motivated
- Professional communication skills
Successful freelancers are also good at managing their money. As a freelancer, it’s up to you to handle things like paying quarterly taxes. If you struggle to budget and set money aside every time you get paid, you might have a hard time working as a freelancer, at least in the beginning.
Hone Your Writing Skills
If you want to work as a freelance writer, you need to work on sharpening your writing skills. If you know there are aspects of writing that are difficult for you, such as grammar, spelling, brevity, etc., practice writing different types of pieces to strengthen those skills.
Read different types of content, too. If you want to be a copywriter, for example, pay attention to the content on different websites. Take note of what businesses are looking for so you can tailor your writing to meet those needs.
Create a Portfolio
When you apply for freelance writing jobs, it’s typical for potential clients to ask to see your portfolio. Start building this now so you have something to show when people ask for it.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to create an online portfolio. There are digital portfolio sites that allow you to upload your work, or you can make your own website and include a “Portfolio” or “Samples” tab that showcases your writing.
Look for Writing Jobs
When you’re confident in your writing and have a portfolio ready to go, the next step is to look for writing jobs.
Start by checking out job search websites or classified sites where people can post ads explaining the type of writer they’re looking for. Pay attention to the types of job posts people are publishing and look for options that align with your writing style and your experience level.
When you’re searching for jobs, be sure to watch out for scams, too. If someone requires you to pay them before you can start writing, that’s a red flag. The same goes for job postings that promise “exposure” only and don’t include any payment information.
Send Out Pitches
Often, you’ll need to write a pitch when you’re vying for a freelance writing job. Writing pitches can be intimidating at first, but these tips will help you to feel more confident:
- Remember that you’re writing to a human being
- Look through the website or publication to see what kind of writing is on their site already
- Read pitch instructions carefully to ensure you don’t miss any requirements (word count, tone, subject matter, etc.)
Remember to proofread your pitch, too. Look over it carefully before you send it out to increase your chances of getting accepted.
Be a Good “Employee”
If you get hired to write for someone on a freelance basis, make sure you’re a good employee.
Even if you’re a freelancer and not technically an employee of the company, treat this job just like you would any other. This includes sending in projects on time, responding to emails and other messages promptly, and following instructions.
Ask for References
When you’ve completed a project and had it accepted, ask the client for a reference or positive review on your website. This will make it easier for you to land other gigs in the future.
Network with Other Writers
Finally, make sure you’re networking with other writers regularly. Up to 80 percent of jobs are filled through networking, and this is particularly true in the freelance world.
If you have connections with other writers, it’ll be easier for you to learn about potential gigs. You’ll also have people you can reach out to when you’re struggling with typical freelance writer problems, such as writers’ block or figuring out the best way to write about a particular topic.
Start Writing Freelance Today
Now that you know more about what goes into making freelance writing a career, are you ready to dive in? Follow the steps listed above so you can start connecting with clients, building a portfolio, and making a name for yourself!
If you’re looking for work as a freelance writer, we’re happy to help you get your start at iWriter. Contact us today to start the application process.