Getting Started as a Freelance Writer: Skills, Tips, and Resources 

During a conversation with a fictional author, I learned about the lucrative nature of the writing profession and how she was able to achieve a six-figure income. Despite my young age and lack of professional publishing experience, I found myself envisioning a career as a freelance writer. While I knew that writing was something I enjoyed, I lacked access to valuable information that could provide guidance on how to get started.

Are you deeply passionate about writing and aspire to pursue a career that offers flexibility and creative expression? A career in freelance writing could be an ideal fit for you. As the demand for high-quality written content continues to rise in the digital age, establishing a reliable source of income becomes increasingly important. Freelance writing presents itself as a viable employment option. However, where does one begin? What essential skills are required, and how can one thrive in this competitive field? This guide aims to elucidate the vital skills, learning necessities, and the steps to initiate a successful freelance writing career from the ground up.

Who is a Freelancer and a Freelance Writer?

A freelancer is a person who works independently and is readily available to provide short-term contract services to businesses, people, and corporate and non-corporate brands.

A freelance writer offers their writing services on a contract basis to clients who request them. You might create publications, articles, contract writing, guest posts, blog posts, magazines, etc. People combine this income stream with their daily 9-5, while freelance writing is their full-time job for some. Either one you choose works best for both and has its merits

Some types of freelancing

Freelance Content Writer: Those who write or produce content on the internet with the intent to inform, educate, entertain, or advertise are known as freelance content writers. Although this demands a wide range of versatility in content creation tools and knowledge, it also necessitates knowledge of SEO (search engine optimisation), white papers, blogs, articles, scripts for videos, screenplays, content scripts, e-books, captions, and many more. 

Freelance Copywriter: A copywriter has a high skill of persuasion and develops content and copies to sell and convince the reader to take the call to action, which could be the purchase of goods or services. A copywriter’s work is distinct from that of a content writer.

Search engines, social media trends and tags, social media ads, e-mail marketing techniques, website landing page copy, product pages, sales pages, marketing campaigns, and other factors are frequently considered when they write.

Freelance Communist: Communist freelancers write for particular media, such as newspapers and magazines. The small sections and articles you read in newspapers about sports, politics, and economics are written by freelancers.

Freelance Transcriber: Freelance transcribers offer their services for hire to convert audio and video materials into textual form, adhering to the client’s requirements.

Freelancer Academic Writer:  Receive contracts for academic writing to create formal research projects, journals, project papers, and websites, among others. Considering the unique research requirements and the writing structure and referencing, This academic work can be analytical, descriptive, persuasive, or critical. It calls for a high level of grammar review expertise and facts backed.

Section 1: Market Research

The first step to starting a profitable freelance writer career is gathering all the necessary information about the market, industry, and niche you are delving into.

Decide on the niche:

Explore different niches, analyze trends, and identify areas where your skills align with demand. Use platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or LinkedIn to find high-demand niches with potential profitability. Look for growing industries or topics with steady demand. Consider factors like competition, target audience, and potential clients within each niche to refine your choice.

Study existing freelance writers in your desired niche to gain insights into market dynamics, pay, and what sets successful freelancers apart. Analyze their social media marketing strategies to promote your services effectively. Use keyword research tools like Ahrefs or Moz to discover high-demand topics.

There are three types of freelance writing markets:

  • Content Form: such as e-book writing, articles, e-mail marketing, and landing pages.
  • Business Type: such as finance, branding, companies, e-commerce, agriculture, fashion, and education.
  • Industry Type: such as digital marketing, travel, healthcare, politics, and real estate.

Section 2: Gather the Necessary Skills

Once you’ve decided on your interests and what to do, it is time to work smart and focus your energy on acquiring the knowledge you need to succeed and the skills that will set you apart from the competition. Learn:

Writing Proficiency

When it comes to freelance writing, your words are your currency. A strong command of the English language is a core skill, which includes; good grammar, punctuation, and the ability to write engaging, error-free content. 

Here is what you should do: 

Consider enrolling in writing courses, such as freelance writing courses offered by platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and YouTube, some of which are free. Also, consider courses in copywriting, grant writing, cold pitching, and social media marketing.

Research Skills

Freelance writers require deep research skills to provide well-informed content, efficiently gather information from reliable sources, organise findings, and cite references correctly—Utilise resources like Google Scholar and libraries for valuable research.

Time Management

Freelance writing requires discipline and effective time management to manage multiple projects and deadlines, ensuring a healthy work-life balance. Tools like Trello and Asana help efficiently organise tasks and deadlines.

Section 3: Learn Professionalism 

Apart from upskilling as a freelance writer, it would help if you also learned the business aspect of freelancing.

Pricing and negotiation

Determining your price can be a stressful task, especially as a beginner. Research industry standards, consider experience, and remain competitive. Don’t undersell yourself, but stay competitive. When negotiating with clients, be professional and assertive, and always strive for a fair deal.

SEO and content marketing

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a vital aspect of online content. Learn the basics of SEO, including keyword usage and on-page optimisation. Understanding how to create content that ranks well on search engines can attract more clients.

Section 4: Building Your Portfolio

freelance writer working on a document

Practicalise what you have learned: 

As a beginner, you want to practise as you learn. It would help if you created your profile on job boards, freelance writing marketplaces, and social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can share your journey, milestones, lessons, and mistakes, include your offer in your content, and strategically position yourself for jobs.

Create Sample Work

As a beginner, you might still need to get a portfolio. Create sample articles in your chosen niche to showcase your writing skills. Platforms like Medium or personal blogs can serve as outlets to publish your work for free. Ask your friends and small business owners around you; you can subsidise the price in return for referrals, testimonials, and feedback.

Networking and collaboration

Building relationships within the writing community can open doors to opportunities. Join writing forums, attend webinars, and reach out to fellow writers and potential clients. Collaboration can lead to guest posting and co-authoring opportunities, enhancing your portfolio.

Have a mentor

As a freelancer still trying to find their path, it’s good to have someone knowledgeable in your field and easily approachable. That way, such a person can provide you with feedback and link you up with opportunities in the future.

Section 5: Finding Freelance Writing Opportunities

Freelance Platforms

Several freelance platforms, like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr, connect writers with clients. Create a compelling profile highlighting your skills and expertise. Start with smaller projects to build your reputation and gradually reach higher-paying clients.

Content mills vs. private clients

Content mills offer a quick way to find writing gigs, but the pay may be lower. As you gain experience and confidence, transition to private clients. Private clients often offer better pay and more stable work.

Proposal writing and cold pitching

Have you seen a potential client for whom you might be able to provide your services? Then, research their needs and how your services can address them, find their website, contact details, and social media accounts, and submit your proposal. 

You should check out this link for further information on what not to include in your freelance writing proposal.

Section 6: Managing Your Freelance Writing Career

Freelancer Working from Home

Client Relationships

Your relationship with clients can significantly impact your success as a freelance writer. Clear and prompt communication is essential. Respond to emails and inquiries, and ensure you understand the client’s expectations. Building trust and delivering quality work can lead to repeat business and positive referrals.

Self-Promotion

While freelance platforms can connect you with clients, building your brand is will do you greater good. Create a professional website or blog showcasing your portfolio and expertise. Active social media profiles, especially on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, can help you network and promote your services. Regularly share your insights and engage with your audience to establish credibility.

Section 7: Additional Resources

Books on Freelance Writing

1. “The Freelancer’s Bible” by Sara Horowitz

2. “The Well-Fed Writer” by Peter Bowerman

3. “You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins

Online courses and platforms

1. Coursera: Offers various writing courses from top universities.

2. Udemy: Features a wide range of writing and freelancing courses.

3. ProBlogger: Provides a job board and resources for freelance writers.

4. Copyblogger: Offers valuable content marketing and writing tips.

5. Grammarly: A helpful tool for grammar and style checks

Blogs and websites

1. Freelance Writing: A Blog by Carol Tice, a Renowned Freelance Writer

2. The Write Life: A valuable resource for freelance writers, including job listings

3. Make a Living Writing: Written by freelancer Carol Tice, it’s packed with advice for freelance writers.

Blog Articles: 

Writing Tools

1. Grammarly: Helps with grammar, spelling, and style.

2. Hemingway Editor: Simplifies and improves your writing style.

3. Google Docs: collaborative writing tool with built-in grammar-checking

P.S. Stay tuned for our next blog posts, where we’ll discuss “Freelance Writing Tools to Boost Your Productivity” and “How to Land Your First Freelance Writing Gig“. Sign up for our email list to get notified of new posts and receive other vital information to help you build a profitable career and business.

We really hope this guide has given you a strong foundation for your freelance writing career. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need further assistance. Wishing you the best of luck in all your freelance writing endeavors!

Always remember that building a successful freelance writing career takes time and effort. Even if you don’t land your first gig right away, keep at it. Keep improving your skills, connecting with other writers, and seeking out new opportunities. With persistence and dedication, you’ll be well on your way to a profitable and fulfilling career as a freelance writer.

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1 Comment

  1. A great resource for aspiring freelance writers! Packed with essential skills, practical tips, and useful resources to kickstart your writing career. Perfect for those looking to turn their passion into profit.Best Entrepreneurship Courses

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