How to Become a Freelance Writer

how to become a freelance writer

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So you want to become a freelance writer and work from home (or anywhere)? Read on to learn the steps you need to take to learn how to become a freelance writer in 2022!

I get tons of messages from people every day asking how I got started as a blogger and freelance writer. Honestly, I kind of fell into it! I knew when I was pregnant with my first child that the 60+ hour work weeks I was currently rocking weren’t going to cut it anymore. I wanted to explore what working from home might look like instead.

However, working from home isn’t a one size fits all approach. In fact, it can be difficult to narrow down what you want to do from home! Some people might love a job where they can jump on the phone, while if you have kids or loud pets those same types of jobs might be out. Becoming a freelance writer is a really good option for many people!

This tutorial is going to show you how to become a freelance writer. The good news is that contrary to popular belief, you do not need to have any experience with freelance writing or be a professional writer to become a freelance writer. 

It’s a great opportunity to earn extra cash in your spare time and actually make a living from it. Whether you’re a new freelance writer looking to land your first client or find new clients, read on for my guide on the best way to help new freelance writers jumpstart their business.

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Note: Some links may be affiliate links. That means I may make a commission if you use my links to purchase, at no extra added cost to you! I only recommend products that I personally love and believe in. Full disclosure here.

What is Freelance Writing?

A freelance writer is someone who contracts work for others who need your skills. Unlike working as an employee for one company, freelance writers are 1099 contractors, allowing for many people a lot more freedom and flexibility (which is one of the best things about it).

You will most likely have more than one client. In fact, it’s good business practice to have more than one client. A successful freelance writer career can be as simple as writing a few product descriptions here and there, to ghost writing on websites, covering major news articles and even launching your own writing business!

How to Become a Freelance Writer

Brush Up On Your Writing Skills 

Your first step in becoming a freelance writer is to brush up on your writing skills. Take a freelance writing course, write an article that interests you, inquire about guest posting on a website you enjoy reading or just study up on grammar rules. Download Copyscape and Grammarly to help you write the best content possible for your clients. 

Blogging is also a great way to improve your writing skills (even if your mom is the only person who reads it). It allows you to build habits and develop a voice that will make you a stronger freelance writer. Having an online presence also gives potential clients more resources to look at when you apply to work with them.

Set Your Schedule 

While you don’t need to have a set schedule, it’s always so nice to set a schedule. Freelance writing is meant to be flexible, which means you can take time off as needed or work whenever you want.

You may find that working in the morning works best for you. You may also find that working at night is when you work best. Feel free to switch things up as you like. 

Choose a Niche

If you’re going to be a freelance writer, you can’t write everything. It’s best to narrow down what you want to write about. It’s also okay to take some time to figure out what you want to be in your niche.  A few niche ideas for freelance writing include – 

  • Blog writing
  • Website content writing
  • Social media content writing
  • Technology writing 
  • Ghostwriting 
  • Copywriting
  • Sales copy

And yes, those ideas break down even more! If you write blog posts, you can focus on topics from education to parenting. On this website “blog writing” is further broken down into family finance topics. The options are endless! Deciding what kind of topics you want to write about should be the first thing you decide to do before looking for gigs.

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Start Looking for Jobs

Once you decide what kind of writing you want to do, the next step is to start looking for jobs. There are so many places in which you can start looking for freelance writing jobs and potential clients. You can work with anyone anywhere in the world. A few platforms that connect freelancers with people who need a writer at Upwork and Guru

There are also Facebook groups that are full of writing jobs. These groups are full of businesses and individuals looking for writers just like you. 

Build a Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of writing samples that show potential clients your range and abilities as a writer. When you’re first starting out, every published work should go towards building this resource!

If you haven’t landed a paying gig yet, don’t worry. You can put together a portfolio of writing you’ve done for your own website, a hypothetical client etc.

Applying to Writing Jobs

When you start applying to writing jobs, you will find that you do need some things. You can complete a few writing samples to hand to prospective clients for guest posts, to nest in an online portfolio, or share on social media.

You can also create a resume and include any experience you think would help land you a job. Also, starting a LinkedIn can help you connect with potential writing jobs.  

Advertising Your Services 

Applying to jobs and advertising your services are completely different. While you are applying for jobs, you want to put your name and services out there. Some ways to advertise your services include …

  • Start an Instagram or Facebook page for your writing business
  • Build an inexpensive website to advertise your writing services 
  • Guest post on other blogs to help get the word out that you are a freelance writer. 

Freelance Job Boards to Use

There are websites out there, mostly dedicated to freelance writers. Here are a few freelance job boards that you may want to check out.

  1. Flexjobs
  2. Freelancer 
  3. Upwork
  4. Problogger 

Go ahead and check out these websites to start looking for and finding jobs. 

Start Your Own Blog

A freelance writing career was the last thing I thought was going to happen when I became a blogger. Starting a blog was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and has become our family’s main source of income in just a short period of time. 

Learn how to start a blog in 5 easy steps in this step-by-step guide to discover the tactics I used to start and grow my blog into a full-time income. 

Other Tips to Consider for Freelance Writing

Learning how to become a freelance writer is easy! Use these extra tips to help you get started. 

  • Cold email businesses to offer your services. 
  • Look for jobs posted on Twitter and Facebook. 
  • Contact local media agencies in your town, they may be hiring a freelance writer. 
  • Look closely at Facebook page groups to see what jobs you can find. 
  • Create a PayPal or Venmo account to use, so that your clients can pay you for your services. 

How to Be Successful as a Freelance Writer

Although this career has a lot of plus sides, like any other job it still takes dedication and commitment to be successful. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

  1. Do good work. Check your writing for typos and grammatical errors. Make sure that your links are added correctly, and that the outline fits the flow of the client you are working for. Never, ever plagiarize. You WILL get caught, and that client won’t work with you again.
  2. Meet your deadlines. Editors and other clients ask for work by a certain date for a reason. If you don’t meet your deadlines, there’s a good chance they won’t want to work with you again in the future.
  3. Communicate. Whether you’re checking in for additional details, or letting your client know that something has come up that will impact your ability to meet your deadline, communication is key.
  4. Begin developing a relationship with the clients you work with over and over again. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated or tough! Ask them how things are going in their world, if they had a nice weekend or if anything exciting is coming up on their schedule. Writers who develop a good rapport with clients tend to be booked more often.

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Freelance Writer

If you’re considering a freelance career, you might still have some questions. Here are a few of the most common questions and answers about this career path.

How do freelance writers get paid?

Freelance writers are 1099 contractor, meaning that they are self-employed. Freelance writers are paid in a variety of ways, depending on the client and where they live. Ways that freelance writers get paid include:

  • Check
  • PayPal
  • Direct Deposit
  • Venmo
  • Zelle
  • Cash

Contractors are responsible for paying their own taxes, and it’s incredible important that you keep track of both your income and expenses. For more information about being a 1099 contractor, contact a local CPA or accountant who can guide you.

Can you become a freelance writer with no experience?

Yes, you absolutely can become a freelance writer without freelance writing experience! You also don’t need to have a relevant degree or formal education to excel at freelance career.

How long does it take to become a freelance writer?

The amount of time it takes to become a freelance writer varies greatly. On average, people are able to make this into a full-time job in 2-4 years. However, many people are able to land consistent freelance writing work in just a few months.

Do you need qualifications to be a freelance writer?

You don’t need any special qualifications to be a freelance writer. Anyone can do it! Whether you’re a blogger looking to make additional money, a stay at a home mom looking for additional income, or someone who is searching for more freedom and flexibility than their 9-to-5 job currently offers, anyone can become a full-time freelance writer.

You might also enjoy these articles:

Easy Side Hustles to Consider in 2022

20 Creative Ways to Save Money Right Now

Final Thoughts on Becoming a Freelance Writer

Hopefully, these tips help you with learning how to become a freelance writer. There are many paths that you can take to become a freelance writer; you just have to take the path that’s right for you. 

One of my favorite things about this career (and in my opinion, the best part) is that I get to write on my own schedule and be my own boss. In just my spare time hours after working my day job, I’ve been able to grow a successful career and become a small-business owner.

If you want to be successful, the most important thing is to set goals, meet your deadlines and create high quality work. Once you start doing this, you’ll create a positive reputation for yourself and more clients will want to work with you.

Are you considering becoming a freelance writer? Let us know in the comments below! And if you enjoyed this article, please share it to help us reach more people who could benefit from this information.

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