How To Launch Your Freelance Writing Career
There is lots of content out there about what a great career freelance writing is. And they make it look so easy. You just hook up with an agency, take gigs from job boards, sign up on “bid to write” sites, and life becomes wonderful – you can sit on the beach, just write, and make boatloads of money.
If this is what you think launching a freelance writing career is all about, then you may be looking in the wrong career direction.
Granted, freelance writing is in high demand, has a low barrier to entry and is suitable as a side gig for students or 9-to-5 workers. But, becoming a successful freelance writer and making good moneyinvolves lots of work and some lean times before you achieve a good income. Here are six strategies you can use that will build your business steadily.
1. Choose the right niche
If you’re thinking of spreading your net and writing about everything a client requests, ditch the idea. You can’t write about everything or you’ll find yourself spending more time on research than writing, and clients don’t pay for research. They pay for the final product.
Identify a niche in which you have some expertise. Yes, you will gain more as you write more, but right now you want to identify one, maybe two, topic areas. And be certain that they are of interest to you, in demand, and current.
2. Get a website
You don’t have to be a techie and you don’t have to hire an expensive designer. Use WordPress and your time. Look at the sites of other freelancers and take your lead from them. You want to showcase your talent, of course, but you are also setting up a business here.
Design a site that speaks to your writing niche, explains your background and showcases your portfolio, even if it is stuff you haven’t written for a client.
Don’t set pricing. That is something you will negotiate based on your skills, overall goals and what other freelancers are charging (and not those on bidding sites).
3. Write killer samples
If your niche is real estate, then your samples will be directly related. You should put them on your portfolio page of course, but think of other places too. LinkedIn Pulse and Medium are two places I can highly recommend. You can also submit them to other blogs as guest posts.
It’s always nice to be able to link to your writing that is out there – it lends credibility to your talents/skills.
4. Start pitching – everywhere
There are several things you can do here:
- Send out personal emails to individuals and companies related to your niche: Do the research and find out who in the company the email should go to. Tell them what you write about, link to a great post you have published somewhere and to your website, and ask for a reply – you do not get what you don’t ask for. Prepare yourself for rejections or no replies at all. J.K. Rowling got over 200 rejections before a publisher took a chance on Harry Potter.
- Develop an elevator pitch: This is a 30-second verbal blurb about you and what you do. Don’t just say, “I am a content writer in the real estate niche.” Say, “I make real estate websites shine with great blog posts that their visitors love.” Whether you are at a party, a happy hour, a wedding reception or in the grocery line, when someone asks you what you do, you have your pitch and a business card to boot.
- Get a LinkedIn account and write an amazing profile:Join groups in your niche and start networking.
- Join a local networking group or a niche-related organization and get to every meeting: Ask members if you can send them a sample of your writing to review.