Becoming a freelance writer was a no-brainer for me. I’ve always loved to write, and after taking on multiple online editorial internships in Grad School, I knew it was the path I wanted to take. I also knew that I wanted to work for myself and build a creative business doing something I love. If you’re on the same page as me, and interested in how to become a freelance writer, read on, my friend!
Being a full-time freelance writer gives you the opportunity to create your own schedule, work remotely, travel, and wake up every morning to do what you love. But it’s hard work. You have to constantly come up with new ideas, pitch to new clients, and create content to keep your business running.
No one is going to do the work for you, but if you have a passion for writing, and would love to take on freelancing as a side or full-time business, there are a few things you should know.
What is a Freelance Writer?
A freelance writer is a writer who works remotely and writes for multiple publications. You are self-employed, and create content for others. You can write for print or digital magazines, blogs, marketing companies, social media brands, the list goes on. You may have a monthly or weekly column for a magazine, or you may write a few one-off pieces. Every contract is different.
You can write about anything from fashion to automobiles to coffee to entrepreneurship. Whatever you love to write about, there is likely a freelance writing position available for you. In today’s age, every business needs a website, and most websites need a blog, or at least content for their site. Freelance writers are needed now more than ever.
All you need to start off is a few great samples for your portfolio, excellent grammar, and the drive to kick start and run your own business. You will juggle multiple clients, deadlines, and writing styles, and what I love most is that it keeps you on your toes! Not everyone client will be a fit, but you’ll also come across amazing people you absolutely love to work with and report to!
As someone who started her freelance writing career just over a year ago, I have a number of tips for how to become a freelance writer in 30 days (or less!).
1. Take a course
My number one tip is to invest in yourself from the very beginning. When I first got started with freelance writing, I took a course by Gina Horkey of The Horkey Handbook.
Gina offers two courses on freelance writing, Kickstart Your Freelance Writing Biz, a FREE, 5 lesson course to dip your toe and 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success, a comprehensive 9 module (and almost 50 lesson) course to help you start and grow a new freelance writing business from scratch.
While her premium course only opens up for enrollment once a quarter, you can get started with the free option right now! And since she covers everything from deciding what to write about to where to look for clients, it’s sure to keep you plenty busy and help you decide if freelance writing is for you!
I highly recommend Gina’s course. She knows what she’s talking about and has grown an incredibly successful freelance writing career from the ground up! She was the one who inspired me to become a freelance writer, and now I have been featured on her website twice! Funny how things work out.
2. Choose a niche/focus
When you start out, it’s important to know which area you want to focus on for your freelance writing gigs. Do you want to write about lifestyle? Sports? Travel? Choosing a focus helps secure you as an expert in that area. It also assures that you build up your portfolio with pieces you can use as you move forward.
If your ultimate goal is writing for Vogue magazine, for example, you’ll likely want to focus your freelance writing on fashion and beauty from the very beginning. You also want to enjoy what you’re writing about on a day to day basis, so it’s important to choose a niche you love!
Think about these three main things: What do you have some knowledge in? What do you love to write about and want to get paid to write about? Can you see yourself writing about it for a long time to come?
Answering these questions will help you hone in on your niche.
3. Find a mentor/coach
One of the best ways to learn about a new business venture is to learn from someone who has done it before you. They have learned what works and what doesn’t, and they can lead you in the right direction. Even going for coffee with an established freelance writer to pick their brain and get some tips as someone just starting out can be an enormous help.
If you’re interested in making some good money from freelance writing, I would recommend hiring a coach. They will help you set and achieve goals, keep you accountable, and make sure you’re not underselling your services. It’s helpful to have someone leading you through the process, especially when you’re just starting out.
4. Guest post
Before you become a paid freelance writer, you may want to accumulate some samples to send off to potential clients. Guest posting on blogs and websites is a great way to get experience, land samples and get your name out there. Most guest posts aren’t paid, but you will get a byline, which helps to beef up your writing portfolio.
5. Start pitching
The best way to get into freelance writing is to just start! As long as you have knowledge in a subject that you are passionate about and good writing skills, you can become a successful freelance writer! Search freelance writing boards, check websites and blogs for “Write For Us” pages, and start pitching! It’s not always easy, and not every gig is a fit, but you never know until you try!
If you’ve dabbled in the thought of freelance writing, there’s no better time than the present! Get started with Gina’s awesome course and learn how to become a successful freelance writer from the start!
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