Have you been tossing around the idea of starting a writing career, but you have NO IDEA how to become a freelance writer?
Almost every writer starts where you are, unless they are born into a writing family (ahem, Bond Halbert, ahem). But even if you are born into a writer family, you still need to put in the work, and it doesn’t guarantee you will be any good at it.
In 2018, I was much like you are. I was surfing the web on my phone trying to figure out how to become a freelance writer for hire. I really wanted to leave my office job (with no window) and become a writer, but I had no idea how to get started. I knew it was possible, but I didn’t know the ins and outs of the industry.
At the time, It was a pipe dream. It was something I never actually thought would happen. I spent a lot of time daydreaming about it, wondering if it could be a real thing, and reading blog post after blog post about people who went from making almost nothing to 6 figures as copywriters or making $1000 here and $1200 there per blog post part time as a content writer.
Thinking back, I just couldn’t even imagine this lifestyle being a reality.
And I’m guessing that’s exactly how you’re feeling at this very moment.
Today, I’m glad to report that as I sit here typing this blog post, I’m living the life I never thought was was possible. I’m sitting outside on a sunny day with my dog sleeping under my chair in my backyard while I work.
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*This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through my link, I am paid a commission for the referral at no extra cost to you. I make recommendations if i’ve paid my own money for the product, service, or course and think it’s worth the every penny.
How to Start a Freelance Writing Career in Less Than 6 Months
First of all, it definitely IS possible to start a freelance writing business, and quickly. But I will warn you in advance. Just like ANY new business, it is not for the faint of heart. It takes REAL work and won’t just fall in your lap.
If you aren’t ready to put in some work, then feel free to jump ship and find a blog that will lie and tell you it’s super easy.
Okay, if you’re still here, that tells me you’re serious about learning how to become a freelance writer and you’re ready to put in the work.
The Easiest Way to Get Started As a Freelance Writer
The easiest way to become a freelance writer is to write content. This is how I started.
What this means is writing blog posts, and in some cases social media posts.
In this digital age, every business needs blog content. They may not know they need it, and those clients are harder to sell. The ones that are easier to sell on your services are the ones who already have blogs or know they need a blog.
Skip past the painful learning curve of trying to figure it all out and start the same way I started. I made back my entire investment with my first client, plus some – and it helped me skip forward in my career and start earning faster. ✨Check the course I took to get me started >>>here<<<
What Do You Want to Write About?
Often, newbies will look at where the money is and decide that’s where they want to focus. That’s not always the best way to approach your writing.
There are niches and subniches in every industry. For instance, you could be a health writer, but within health writing, you could write for yoga teachers, supplement companies, dentists, mental health experts, and the list goes on and on.
In MOST of the content you will read, people will tell you to niche down. This is good advice, BUT, it’s REALLY hard to niche down when you have no idea what you like writing about.
I recommend picking 3 topics that you think might be fun to write about. You are not married to these niches, you can pivot at any time.
When I started writing, I wrote in the automotive sector. I didn’t even have samples in this niche. I never did really niche down because I enjoy learning about all types of different topics. Everyone of my clients are vastly different than the last. But if I had listened to all the gurus telling me to niche down, I would not have gotten this far because I would have been paralyzed by fear.
That being said, I would have gotten a lot further a lot faster if I did niche down.
I do agree that you should niche down, but if you just can’t bring yourself to chose, don’t let that stop you from getting started.
How Do You Actually Start a Freelance Writing Career?
Regardless of the type of writing you want to do, you’ll need samples. No one is going to hire you if you don’t have any samples. This is also one of the reasons they say to niche down in the beginning. If you don’t know who you are writing for, your head will spin trying to think of what to write.
If you aren’t sure which niche to choose, write out all of your ideas on pieces of paper and put them in a bowl. Then pick three. It’s that simple. If you chose one you don’t want to work at, you’ll know and can pick another topic.
Don’t overthink this. This is the number one thing that stops people from starting their career as a freelance writer.
Once you chose your three topics, make 3 samples for each niche. Start with one niche, write three samples, and start pitching right away with those (keep reading for how to find clients). While you’re waiting to get responses, you can keep writing samples for your other niches.
While you’re waiting, get into the habit of writing every day. Make it a habit and start writing consistently to hone your skills. You may want to start a blog to showcase your skills.
Do You Need a Website to Start a Freelance Writing Career?
It helps…but you don’t NEED a website.
I DO recommend having an online presence. Keep it simple and use LinkedIn.
Where Do You Find Clients?
So you know you need 3 samples for each niche, and you know you need some type of online presence (well you don’t NEED it, but it’s highly recommended).
Now you can start trying to find clients.
Even if you decide to set up a website of your own, I still recommend updating or creating your LinkedIn profile. It’s sort of your online resume and people can find you organically.
Here are proven (by myself or writers I know) ways you can find clients:
Update your Facebook profile to show you are a writer for hire and start engaging with people. It can be that simple. This does NOT mean start telling everyone you’re a writer and you are looking for work. This is spammy. Don’t start messaging people telling them you’re a writer. This isn’t well received and will give you a bad reputation.
Go into groups and participate authentically. Answer questions. Think of it as every time you comment, it’s a reason for someone to go to your profile and see what you do. It’s the online version of networking.
Make sure you’re profile says you’re a writer for hire and what kind of writing you do. Comment with hearty, authentic comments on the profiles of your ideal client. This is similar to Facebook. You may want to keep track of where you’re commenting and circle back to comment again and again. Watch their stories and respond to their polls or just comment on whatever they are posting – but not too aggressively. One to three times per week is good. Like their posts, answer their polls, and just be a human.
Find companies you want to work for and interact with their content. Share it, like it, comment, and genuinely engage.
Pitching is a great way to find new clients, but there is a way to do it right. Don’t send the same message to 100 people. You will become white noise to these people.
Take a minute to customize your message. Focus your message on how it benefits them. Don’t make the mistake of talking all about yourself. They don’t care. They want to know that you’re good, and you’ll be worth the money they pay. They don’t care about much else.
Make it short and sweet, and include some samples or a link to your portfolio.
I’m putting this on the list because I have heard some people have made money this way. I have never had a job from a job board and when I first started, I applied to a LOT of jobs. The ones that responded were either people who wanted free content or were literally paying a penny per word. I abandoned job boards early on. This doesn’t mean you can’t find work, but I wouldn’t rely solely on job boards.
How to Become a Freelance Writer for Hire – FAST
If you’re serious…and I’m betting you are if you made it this far…than I HIGHLY encourage you to treat this like a business, invest in your future and take a course.
I took Elna Cain’s Write to 1K course in early 2019. By August, I left my full-time job and now (May 2020) I’m a full-time writer. And I didn’t even do everything right. If I had done everything she said right off the hop, I would have been making more money way faster. Elna knows is a successful freelance writer, gives tons of extra training and support, and often posts jobs in the private Facebook group.
Get the course for yourself and skip past the uncomfortable growing pains that make you want to rip your hair out. Sign up and within a few months, you’ll be able to call yourself a writer…a WELL PAID writer!
I can’t thank Elna enough for offering such a high quality course for such a low price.