Welcome to the world of freelance writing! If you’ve been dreaming of turning your passion for writing into a rewarding career, you’re in the right place. I understand the challenges you may face, as I was once in the same situation. I loved writing and honed my skills, but I lived with the daily fear of not knowing where my first writing job would come from. Those were tough days, but as the saying goes, “Tough times never last, but tough people do”. I don’t want you to go through what I did, and if you’re currently facing these challenges, I’m here to provide you with solutions.

This is the second blog post in a series on “everything about excelling and making six figures as a freelancer, and the first blog post is Getting Started as a Freelance Writer: Skills, Tips, and Resources. You should check the link after reading this to get all the full insights. In this practical blog post, we’ll explain the essential steps to help you land your first freelance writing job. 

Who is a freelance writer, and what do they do?

A freelance writer is someone who develops different forms of content for a wide range of clients across several industries. While some freelance writers specialise in a single niche or a variety of categories, the choice is ultimately yours. Whether you decide to diversify or focus on a lucrative niche, like health and wellness, or take on any work that comes your way, both approaches have their merits.

Related: 

What’s the pay like?

The average salary for a freelance writer in the United States is $22.65 per hour. 

Generally, the pay trajectory varies:

  • Freelance Writer: $52,813 per year
  • Senior Writer: $94,933 per year
  • Lead Writer: $89,724 per year

What you need to get started:

1. Develop your writing skills:

Delving into the world of writing and on a freelance journey, it’s very important that you refine and develop your writing skills so that you can build a brand that everyone is shouting after. 

To become a good writer, you need to practice regularly, edit and proofread your work, and have good research skills. You also need to understand SEO and be self-disciplined. Understanding the meanings of these terms is a major step in achieving success in the writing industry and freelance work. Our first blog post covered everything we discussed above Getting Started as a Freelance Writer: Skills, Tips, and Resources.

Related: 

 2. Select Your Niche

When starting out as a freelance writer, it’s important to make good decisions to succeed. One of the first steps is to specialise in a profitable niche. This alone can provide you six figures on a steady. Also set you apart from the competition and help you command higher rates. 

  • Check online job boards, freelance marketplaces, and industry reports to see where the demand is high. While passion is key, ensure that there is a market for it. For instance, if you’re passionate about tech or health, confirm that businesses in these fields are actively looking for freelance writers. 
  • Conduct a competitor analysis to understand what is effective and what is not effective. Look at successful freelance writers in your potential niche. Based on your research, choose one or a few niches that you are passionate about and knowledgeable in, such as health and wellness, personal finance, business and freelancing, technology, travel, marketing, parenting, dating and relationships, food, higher education, and fashion and lifestyle.

Related: Profitable freelance writing niches

3) Own a blog:

If you aspire to become an expert or a guru in the writing space, owning a blog is one of the best ways to showcase your writing talents, grow your skills, position yourself to get paid, and build your portfolio. A blog serves as a personal platform where you can share your thoughts, insights, and expertise with the world. By consistently creating valuable content, you not only attract readers but also potential clients.

However, if you’re not ready to invest in a personal blog yet, there are other options. Free platforms like Medium and Substack allow you to publish your work and gain firsthand experience of what works and what doesn’t in the writing space. These platforms have built-in audiences, which can help you get your work noticed without having to drive traffic to your own site.

Resources and Tools for Blogging:

4. Have a website.

As a beginner, the cost of having and running a website might be too costly for you, but there are other free website options where you get to create a one-page website to showcase your work, social media links, portfolio websites, and your copies. This will help strengthen your chances of getting paid overtime.

 5. Create a Portfolio:

Your portfolio should showcase your best writing samples. If you lack published work, consider starting a blog and posting articles in your chosen niche. Use platforms like WordPress, Wix, or portfolio-specific sites such as Contently or Clippings.me to display your work. Canva is also a great tool to organise and design your portfolio with templates that make it easy to add your information.

For each sample, include a brief description of the project, your role, and the outcomes achieved. If you’ve worked with clients, ask for testimonials to bolster your credibility. Include links to your social media profiles and contact information and basically promote your portfolio on social media, freelance platforms, and in your email signature. 

Valuable Books, Resources, and Videos:

To further enhance your skills and knowledge as a freelance writer, here are some valuable resources:

Books:

Online Courses:

Websites and Blogs:

Videos and YouTube Channels:

Podcasts:

6. Build your online presence:

We all know how social media is such an advantage in our business world. As a freelancer, you should own a space in the digital world where your social profiles and work imprints can easily be accessible online. Aside from that, you get to be a part of communities and groups, and when there is an opportunity, they can refer you for one.

 How to Make Money:

  • Join freelance writing groups on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • Pitch your writing services to brands and businesses on social media platforms: 

For instance, you can pitch a fashion brand on Instagram and tell them you want to help create an extra stream of income for them. Compile an e-book with the topic “Everything you need to know about marketing your fashion brand”, the client will provide you with pictures where necessary, clarifications, and firsthand experience, and lastly, pay you good money for your service. That’s what we’re talking about. As a writer, you need to think like a marketer, looking for several ways to make money with your writing. Remember, “Passion without income will frustrate your efforts”.

  • Join writing forums and communities like Reddit’s r/HireAWriter to find job postings and network with potential clients.

Related: Freelance networking places

 7. Pitching and Proposals:

When applying for jobs, personalise your pitches and proposals for each client. Pitch freelance articles to editors, magazines, newspapers, online blogs, and companies. 

  • Study how to write compelling headlines and dedicate time to creating excellent headlines for your guest posts. Proposing two or three different topic ideas at the same time increases your chances of receiving a positive response.
  • Give a hint about your area of expertise, previous projects, and how you can benefit their brand without fully disclosing your intended topic. This safeguards your ideas and ensures that you receive credit or compensation if they choose to move forward with your proposal.

Related: 

 8. Job Platforms:

Once you’ve honed your writing skills, the next step is to begin searching for freelance opportunities. Various platforms exist to connect freelancers with potential clients, serving as a gateway to new opportunities.

Upwork, Freelancer.com, Fiverr, Problogger Job Board, Constant Content, Contently, Textbroker, Guru, WriterAccess, FreelanceWriting.com, BloggingPro Job Board, LinkedIn. Create an engaging profile highlighting your skills and niche expertise. Then, start bidding on the relevant jobs you see and be patient as you await responses.

9. Personal Connections:

As a beginner freelancer, it’s good to leverage your personal network. Ask friends, family, or acquaintances who own small businesses. Also, local businesses around or neighbours, and all, if they need content written or if they know someone who does. They might most likely overlook you, but you can do the writing and send it to them, or send them your plans and flyers to help them scale up; this will show that you are really serious and an expert

10. Deliver quality work:

Once you secure a project, focus on delivering high-quality work on time. Your reputation as a reliable writer is invaluable. Remember “happy clients are more likely to offer repeat business and refer you to others.”

11. Compliance and Contracts:

Understand the legal side of freelancing. Familiarise yourself with contracts, tax obligations, and invoicing. It’s essential to protect your rights and ensure smooth client relationships.

12.  Manage Finances:

Keep your freelance finances organised. Consider setting up a separate bank account for your earnings and tracking your expenses. This is a crucial aspect of running your freelance business.

Learn How to Transition From a 9-5 Career To Freelancing With Our Step-By-Step Guide

 Conclusion:

Congrats! You have an all-in-one blog post guide to help you earn your first freelance writing gig. Share your tips in the comments. It’s a journey with ups and downs, but persistence, patience, and a willingness to learn to pay off. Keep applying and improving. What else do you want to learn about getting your first freelance writing gig? Drop a comment, and I’ll be glad to answer.