Do you want to write for a living and dream of having the freedom to work from your laptop and to your own schedule? The digital age we now live in means that freelance writers are needed more than ever before! If this is something you’re interested in, then here are my tips on how to become a successful freelance writer:
Freelance writing can be lucrative, rewarding, and fun – but it can also mean long hours, writer’s block, and tight deadlines. Be prepared for some clients to love your work, while others will hate it and send it back for amendments or reject it completely. You need to be thick-skinned and able to handle rejection and critical feedback if you want to become a successful freelance writer.
You won’t become a professional writer or secure high paid jobs overnight. You will find it hard to get your foot in the door. Listen, ask questions, and offer writing samples and references. One of the best things you can do is get advice from experienced writers. This will help you achieve your goals quicker and stay focused on your business plan.
Be prepared to write for free
You have to start from the beginning if you want to become a freelance writer. Having a writing related degree or background in journalism won’t necessarily help you find work straight away. You need to build a reputation online before anyone will actually pay you to write. Offering free trial pieces is the best way to showcase the quality of our work, build relationships, get references, and hopefully secure paid work.
Potential clients will also want to see how you write – the way you structure your content, your style ect. It is therefore essential to have a few samples ready to show. Prepare at least 3-5 articles that represent your skills. Make sure that these articles are high quality and reflect your expertise and style.
Have an online presence
Having your own website is a great way to increase your online presence. It makes you appear professional and credible to potential clients, and provides a platform to showcase your writing. Always include links to your professional social media accounts, your regularly updated blog and a few testimonials.
You won’t land any clients if you just sit around waiting for them to come to you. This won’t happen straight away, and it takes time to build your reputation to a point where businesses will approach you direct.
31% of freelancers say that they can find a job online in less than 24 hours. You have to be prepared to search for jobs and able to impress potential clients with well-written pitches. Alway research the business before you submit a proposal and tailor your pitch to them. Never simply copy and paste the same proposal and send it to multiple businesses. It is always a good idea to follow up on your proposal with a polite email. Even if you have been unsuccessful, getting constructive feedback is a great way to improve future pitches.
Factor in your research time
Most freelance writing jobs pay by the word or a flat fee. When you accept a job or submit a proposal, make sure that you factor in the time you will need to research your topic. You won’t get paid for the research time and attempting to write about something totally foreign to you could end up costing you more in research time than the job itself pays.
Be willing to give it your all
It’s often the case that people want to get into freelance writing but only spend an hour or so a week actually writing or working on their business. These people probably work full time, and so understandably can’t dedicate much time to this. It’s okay to dip your toes into freelance writing to see whether it’s for you. However you won’t be able to build a successful business and online reputation if you aren’t prepared to focus everything and fully immerse yourself into your online freelance writing business. It’s important to have a plan and set smart goals to help you get to where you want to be.
To summarise – Start by writing some top-notch articles that reflect your skills and writing style. Create a website and professional social media accounts where you can showcase your experience and writing samples. Offer free trial pieces as a way of demonstrating the quality of your work and getting references. Approach potential clients with tailored strong proposals and land your first writing job!
It’s possible for even fairly inexperienced writers to become successful freelancers. However, you need to have ambition, patience and invest quite a bit of time. It’s not a career that makes you rich overnight. But with the right strategy and a professional approach, there is no reason why you can’t make it and become a successful writer.