Last Updated on October 17, 2022
So you want to be a freelance writer? It’s a great career choice, and there are plenty of opportunities out there for talented writers.
But how do you get started? What do you need to know? Do you need a degree or experience? You know, it’s not as easy as just sitting down at your computer and starting to type.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the basics of becoming a freelance writer. We will cover topics such as finding work, setting rates, and building your portfolio. If you are ready to start your career as a freelance writer, read on!
What Is Freelance Writing?
Freelance writing is a type of work where you are not employed by a single company, but rather work for yourself. You may be hired to write articles, blog posts, web copy, or even marketing materials. As a freelance writer, you can work from anywhere in the world, and set your own hours.
This type of work is perfect for people who enjoy writing and have a passion for a particular subject or topic. If you are a good writer and have a strong understanding of grammar and punctuation, you may be well-suited for freelance writing.
Why Become a Freelance Writer?
There are many reasons why someone would want to become a freelance writer. Perhaps you are looking for a flexible job that allows you to work from home, or maybe you want to be your own boss and set your own hours.
Whatever the reason, freelance writing can be a great career choice for those who enjoy writing and are good at it. As a freelance writer, you can choose to work on a variety of topics, and can even get paid to write about something that aligns with your passions.
How to Make Money as a Freelance Writer
Now that we’ve discussed what freelance writing is, and why you might want to pursue a career in this field, let’s talk about how to get started and make money freelancing.
1. Pick your freelance writing niche
The first step to making money as a freelance writer is to determine what type of writing you’d like to do. Various types of freelance writing jobs are available online. Do you want to write blog posts? Web copies? E-books?
Here are some things to consider when it comes to finding your writing niche online:
- Expertise: What are you knowledgeable about? When you’re choosing a niche, it’s important to consider your areas of expertise. This approach will make your work easier as you’ll only provide accurate information even without doing a lot of research.
- Passion: What topics excite you and can you also enjoy writing about them? If you’re passionate about something, you’re less likely to get tired of writing about it.
- Profitability: Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential niches, it’s time to research how much money you can realistically expect to make writing about each one. Some niches can be more profitable than others because they have more jobs and also pay well.
- Market gaps: Another thing to consider is how much competition exists in each niche. If you choose a niche with a lot of other freelance writers competing for jobs, it can be more difficult to find work. But if you choose a less popular niche with a decent amount of opportunities, you may have an easier time getting jobs and also charge more for your services since there’s less competition.
While you can write about several topics, focusing on one or a few that are related helps you to grow faster. For instance, you can pair business with marketing and finances, parenting with marriage, or health with fitness and yoga.
Once you know what type of writing you want to do, you can begin to build your portfolio and look for gigs that match your skill set.
2. Know the skills and tools you need as a freelance writer
Now that you know what type of writing you want to do and have chosen your niche, it’s time to identify the skills as well as tools for being successful.
Here are some skills and tools you need as a freelance writer:
- A strong understanding of grammar and punctuation: This is a must for any type of writing job. If you don’t have a strong understanding of grammar and punctuation, you likely won’t be able to get many jobs or will have to charge less for your services.
- The ability to research topics: When you’re writing about something, it’s important to be able to back up what you’re saying with evidence. This means being able to do research and find information about your topic.
- Great communication: You need to be able to communicate effectively with clients in order to understand their needs and deliver what they’re looking for.
- Time management: As a freelance writer, you’ll likely have multiple projects that you’re working on at any given time. This means you need to be able to manage your time well in order to meet deadlines and keep clients happy.
- Business skills: You have to treat freelance writing as a business right when starting. Identify your goals, make a plan, and find the right strategy to achieve them. You need to be good at negotiation, problem-solving, networking, and marketing, among others. You can teach yourself all these along the way.
As for the tools, no one has to mention that a computer and a reliable Internet connection are must-haves. You may also need things like a grammar checker and plagiarism detector.
These are just but some tools to confirm the quality and originality of your writing. Many writing assistants, like Grammarly and Jasper, have several features to improve your written documents.
3. Work on your freelance writing portfolio
If you are interested in becoming a freelance writer, it’s essential to start building your portfolio. Some freelancers will want to jump right into jobs. This might work for them.
But a strong portfolio makes it much easier to land clients while starting out. It shows off your skills and even experience as a writer.
To build your portfolio, you can start by writing articles for free. There are many sites that allow you to submit articles on a variety of topics. As you build your portfolio, be sure to showcase your best work. Choose articles that are well-written and showcase your knowledge and expertise on the topic. If you have some pieces on publications that are particularly well-known or respected, be sure to include those as well.
Another great way to build your portfolio is to create a blog and use it to showcase your writing skills. You can write about any topic you want, and this will give potential clients a sample of your work. You can also use your blog to attract readers and followers, which can eventually lead to paid opportunities.
Once you have a few articles published, you can then begin to apply for gigs and approach companies and individuals who may be interested in hiring you to write for them.
4. Set your freelance writing rates
One of the most important things to consider when freelance writing is how much you should charge for your services. This can be a difficult decision, especially when starting out. Just to be upfront, experienced and well-established freelancers earn more than their new counterparts.
So, you’ll want to consider how much experience you have, how in-demand your skills are, how much time you’ll need to complete the project, and how much the client is willing to pay. When you have a few projects under your belt, you’ll have a better idea of how much you can realistically charge for your services.
There are a few different ways to set your rates as a freelance writer. You can charge by the hour, by the project, or by the word count.
The best way to determine how to set your rates is by considering how much you need to earn per hour in order to make a livable wage. From there, you can determine how many projects you’ll need to complete within specified hours to reach your income goal.
It’s also important to consider the value you’re providing to the client. If you’re writing high-quality content that will help the client achieve their goals, you can charge more than if you’re simply writing basic blog posts.
Be sure to also look at how much time you’ll need to complete the project and how much research will be involved. If a project is going to take a significant amount of time, you’ll need to charge more to make it worth your while.
Once you have a general idea of how much you should be charging, you can begin to negotiate rates with clients. Remember that you don’t have to accept every gig that comes your way. If a client is offering a rate that is significantly lower than your usual rate, you can politely decline and continue to look for better-paying opportunities.
5. Find well-paying freelance writing jobs online
Now that you have a portfolio of work to show potential clients and have identified your rates, it’s time to start looking for paid opportunities. The Internet has plenty of them and you just need to locate and take your shot with them.
Here are some ways to find freelance writing jobs online:
- Online job boards: These are websites where companies and individuals post job openings for writers. Some job boards are specific to writing, while others include writing gigs among other types of jobs.
- Freelance writing websites: These are websites that connect writers with clients. They usually have a database of clients looking for writers and also allow writers to submit proposals for projects they’re interested in. An example is Fiverr.
- Social media: Social media can be a great place to find writing gigs. Many companies and individuals use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to post about their writing needs. You can also use social media to connect with potential clients and create relationships that could lead to work.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a social network that stands out from the rest. It’s a place where professionals network to get things done. You can create a LinkedIn profile for free and list your services, work experience, and achievements.
- Discussion sites: Not many people use discussion sites for finding jobs. But you can if you know the right ones that can work for you, Quora and Reddit being two good examples. When people ask questions related to freelance writing, you give them relevant answers. Many will check your bio and you can also promote yourself in your answers.
- Cold pitching: This involves reaching out to companies or individuals you’d like to work with and pitching them your services as a writer. This can be done by email, or through social media or LinkedIn.
- Your website or blog: If you want to work under your own terms, having a website is also a viable option. You simply write about your chosen topics and list your services in the content or add a “services” page.
As you can see, there are many ways to find writing gigs online. And with a little effort and perseverance, you should be able to find work that suits your skills and interests.
6. Market your freelance writing services
Marketing yourself is what will land you more jobs as a freelance writer. You don’t stop when you get a gig or two. You need to continuously put yourself out there.
Blogging is one of the best ways to promote your services and get hired while boosting your portfolio. Publish high-quality posts that potential clients will want to hire you after reading.
You can also market yourself on social media. Test one or two social media platforms to know which one works best for you. While it’s great to focus on and establish an online presence on one online network, you’re free to use a couple of them.
Share ideas with your audience and be consistent in posting. More people in need of freelance writing services can hire you if they find out you’re actually social and not just a ghost online.
7. Gather reviews and recommendations from clients
The best way to get more clients is by getting great reviews and recommendations from your previous ones. This can help attract new clients and also give you some social proof that you’re good at what you do.
To get started, you can ask your past clients if they’d be willing to write a positive review on the freelancing marketplace you use. You can also post testimonials on your website or blog to show potential clients what others have said about your work.
When it comes to getting recommendations, you need to finish a project on time and not compromise on quality. If you did a great job and the client was happy with your work, they’ll automatically provide you with a positive review or recommendation.
8. Keep learning and improving your skills
As a freelance writer, it’s important to continuously learn and improve your skills. This will make you more marketable and also enable you to command higher rates for your services.
One way to do this is by taking online courses related to writing or copywriting. You can also read books on the craft, listen to podcasts, and attend webinars or conferences.
It’s also important to keep up with the latest trends in your chosen niche. This way, you can produce content that’s relevant and useful to your target audience. By continuously learning and improving your skills, you can position yourself as an expert in your field and attract more high-paying clients.
Freelance Writing FAQs
How can I start freelance writing?
You can begin your freelance writing journey by choosing a writing niche, publishing samples of your work, and looking for clients online. The good thing about freelance writing is that you mostly need your writing skills. You can easily learn the rest as you go even if you’re a beginner.
How do I become a freelance writer with no experience?
Many freelance writers start out without previous experience. If you can write about a topic and people like it, you’re good to start.
So, pick your area of writing, work on establishing your online presence, and offer high-quality work when hired. You’ll get more jobs and thus become more experienced as time goes on.
What skills do freelance writers need?
Your writing skills matter a lot. You need to be good at grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Other skills you need are good communication, time management, and business knowledge.
So, it helps to consistently work on bettering these skills to increase your value. You’ll get paid more this way.
How much do freelance writers make?
This will vary based on numerous factors. For instance, your expertise and experience, your income goals as a writer online, and what the client is offering.
As a new freelance writer can make, expect to earn 2 to around 10 cents a word. This would come to $20 to $100 per 1,000-word piece of writing.
Such a number of words is something you can write in an hour, so the hourly rate would start from 20 dollars. According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly earnings for freelance writing jobs is around $30.
When more experienced you can even earn $100 quickly or more per hour. Many good clients can tip you for your great work too.
Can you make a living as a freelance writer?
It’s possible to make a decent living as a freelance writer. Freelance writing pays well because there are many websites online that need content on a daily basis.
You may not make as much in your first few weeks. But after getting some jobs within several months or a year, you’ll understand how to get the ones that pay better and earn more money for your services.
Wrapping It up
And so, these are some of the things you need to know if you want to become a freelance writer even without a degree or experience. Just remember that it takes time and effort to build a successful freelance writing business.
Start marketing yourself today and keep learning and improving your skills. Soon, you’ll be on your way to earning a great income as a freelance writer.
Related: How to Become a VA