Today, I explore proven steps that can help you get started as a freelance writer. The world of writing is wide and continuously expanding therefore trying to make it as a freelancer may seem a gigantic task. Don’t fret though, this only means you need to have a plan and know what you are doing.
Straight to it then! The following are 5 steps you can take to get started, compiled from established freelance writers.
- Decide What To Write
- Build A Portfolio
- Practice Writing And Pursue Continuous Improvement
- Learn The Art Of the Pitch and Start Pitching
1. Decide What to Write
To start out as a freelance writer, picking what you want to write about is an obvious first step but this does not necessarily mean you should have a niche pinned down immediately.
If you do have a niche especially one you are enthusiastic about, it would save you spending a lot of time on research, and your energy would shine through your work. Alternatively, if you are just starting out you may find choosing a niche to be a bit of a snag, don’t let this be an excuse to give up.
On the contrary embrace the ability it gives you to explore different fields of writing and find what works for you. You can then start toning down gradually, so feel free to combine multiple niches if you like.
Examples of niches you can select or combine include (but are not limited to):
- Food and beverage
- Personal finance
- Finance and Diet
- Financial Services
- Leadership and Careers
- Crafting, knitting and other creative hobbies
Remember this is just to get you started; you can always tweak your niche as you go. No pressure.
2. Build a Portfolio
For your next step, you need to have samples of your work ready –a portfolio- to show your potential clients that you really do write and you do it well.
Many writers prefer to use a blog as a portfolio; this is because owning a blog establishes your online presence while showing your prospects what to expect from your work. You can create a free blog on WordPress or Wix.
Asides from that you can also seek out sites that you post only samples to like clippings and contently or any similar portfolio sites. An equally powerful tool you could use is to seek out blogs accepting contributors and do a guest post. To do this just google “Your writing niche + write for us”
For more credibility, share your work with your family and friends and have them give comments (feedbacks) and when you eventually get clients, ask them to leave a testimonial on your page -this helps a lot.
3. Practice Writing and Pursue Continuous Improvement
In other to be a successful writer, you have to be a good one you don’t have to be the best but you must be willing to constantly improve your skills and practice whether you are getting paid or not.
Write! it’s the best way to improve as a writer, added to that you can read books, blogs in your niche or combine some of these tips.
4. Learn the Art of the Pitch and Start Pitching
Many beginning writers consider pitching to be the hardest part about freelance writing because it makes you vulnerable –open to rejection.
Fear is not necessarily a bad thing, instead, you can use it to motivate yourself to conduct more research on how to pitch- the right way, learn about your potential clients, ensure that you have the right email address and if you can, try to find out who is at the other end, their role in the institution and finally remember to be brief.
These steps would greatly improve your confidence and even if you get rejected you are better equipped to handle it gracefully and refine your strategy with your experiences.
To start with, you can source for writing jobs to pitch for on the following sites:
- Pro Blogger
- Freelance Writing
- Linked in
- Blogging Pro
- The Writer Finder
- Media Bistro
Contently and Skyword are great if you prefer not to talk directly to clients, you’ll get an editor who does this. But the downside is that you have to wait to be found which could take a long time.
Asides from visiting websites where jobs are listed, as a freelance writer you have a lot to gain by reaching out to other websites owners and writers. The more people you know, the more jobs you learn about, you’ll also get first-hand information and industry secrets.
You want people to know you and know that you write, to do this you could:
- Get on social media – Twitter, Linked-in, Facebook(especially pages and groups), Quora
- Guest posts – Guest posts not only help build your portfolio but also puts you out there, you get an author’s bio for every post you write, with link backs to your site.
Great Job! Making it to the end of this article, feel free to undertake more research to equip you in your journey but know that you can always start before you are ready; in fact, Marie Forleo says that’s the key to success. I wish you the very best.
On the flip side, if you already work as a freelance writer I would like to hear what your experience has been. Feel free to comment!