Freelance writing can be a great way to make money outside of a job, regardless of whether you’re doing it part-time or full-time.
While freelance writing is nothing new, the opportunity may be more enticing today than it’s ever been. With millions of American’s being furloughed or laid off from their jobs, and with health concerns about going to work, being able to work from home is more appealing than it has ever been.
This is a very flexibility opportunity that can be anything you want it to be. Freelance writing is one of the best weekend jobs if you’re just looking for a way to make some extra money, or you could scale up and earn a full-time income from it.
If you’re considering working has a freelancer writer, here are some practical steps that you can follow to land your first client and start building your business.
Step 1: Choose Your Area of Specialization
Although you have the option to take a wide variety of gigs and write about many different topics, the highest-paid freelance writers tend to specialize in a particular subject. Your area of specialization could be travel, family and parenting, health and fitness, business, marketing, finance, fashion, or any number of different things.
Ideally, you’ll have some existing experience in the area of your specialization, so think about your skills and your background to decide what might be a good fit.
Step 2: Set Up Your Own Blog
Having your own blog can help you to land clients. When you’re first getting started, you may need to use writing samples from your blog when you apply to jobs. And even after you’re more established, potential clients may find you and contact you through your blog.
If you’re looking to keep costs to a minimum, you can create a free blog with WordPress.com or Wix. If you have some money that you’re willing to spend (less than $ 100 to get started), you can purchase a domain name and web hosting to have a more professional appearance.
Step 3: Gather Your Writing Samples
Before you can start applying for work, you need to have writing samples that you can use to demonstrate your quality of work. If you already have writing samples that you can use, that’s great, but otherwise, you should write a few articles and publish them at your blog.
Your writing samples will have a big influence on whether you’re hired or not, so be sure that you’re taking the necessary time to do your best work.
Step 4: Determine Your Rates
Some writing gigs that you apply to will have set rates, but most of the time you will be asked about your rates, so you need to know how you’ll answer.
Determining your rates can be one of the biggest challenges as a new freelancer. Rates for freelance writers can vary wildly, so you’ll have to do your best to determine a fair rate for your work. Keep in mind that this may be a work in progress and you may need to adjust (either up or down) depending on success at securing work.
It’s hard to say what rate you should aim for as a new freelancer because the rates vary so much from one industry and one gig to another.
Projects can also be priced in a few different ways. Pricing per word is common, but sometimes you’ll be paid a flat rate for an article.
In general, someone around $ 0.10 per word may be a good starting point. Some of the lower-paid work may be around $ 0.03 per word, and some high-paying gigs may go up to $ 1 per word or more.
Try to think about how much time it will take you to complete an article and calculate your hourly rate. For example, if it will take you two hours to complete a 1,000-word article and your rate is $ 0.10 per word, you’ll earn $ 100 for the article and $ 50 per hour.
Step 5: Search Jobs Boards for Opportunities
There are a number of job boards that you can use when you’re looking for freelance writing work. Some jobs boards focus elusively on freelance writing and others may include a wide variety of freelance gigs and remote jobs.
Some of the job boards that you can use are:
Of course, there are other job boards as well, but that’s a good starting point. The opportunities listed on job boards tend to get a lot of applicants, so be sure to take your time and put your best foot forward.
Be sure to follow any instructions in the job listing and provide all of the requested information. If you don’t, you probably won’t even be considered. Make sure that you’re sending writing samples that are not only high quality, but relevant to the topic. For example, if you’re applying to write for a finance blog, you don’t want to send writing samples of articles about cleaning a swimming pool.
Step 6: Apply to Entry-Level Jobs (if Needed)
If you’re able to find some clients through job boards, that’s great. But there are also a number of freelance writing jobs for beginners that may be easier to get at first. These jobs will generally pay less, but you can gain some valuable experience (and some writing samples) that may help you to land higher-paying gigs in the near future.
The goal of these entry-level jobs is simply to get some experience and help you on your way up. You won’t want to stay with these jobs long-term because they don’t pay enough.
Step 7: Identify Potential Opportunities On Your Own
While job boards can be ideal for finding opportunities, you definitely have other options as well. One one of the best things you can do is scout blogs in your area of focus. If you’re a travel writer, browse through a lot of travel blogs and see which ones are publishing content from a lot of different writers. Most likely, the writers are freelancers.
You can reach out to the blogs that seem to be hiring freelance writers and ask if they are hiring writers. Pitch your services and express an interest in writing for them.
This approach can take some time, but this can be a great way to land work, and some of the best opportunities can be found this way.
Step 8: Prioritize Ongoing Work
Clients that provide you with ongoing work will be extremely valuable, because once you have a few of these clients, you may not need to dedicate time to finding work. That means you’ll be able to spend all of your time writing and actually making money.
Bloggers and blog editors can be excellent clients because they tend to provide ongoing work. You might be assigned a set number of articles each week or each month.
Step 9: Build Your Network
As you go, you’ll want to prioritize building your professional network. Your network should include other freelance writers in your niche, blog owners, blog editors, and other professionals. You never know what opportunities will come your way as a result of your network.
It will take some time to grow your network, but if you’re taking a long-term approach with your business, the payoff can be huge. Focus on the quality of your connections more than the quantity.
The combination of excellent earning potential, flexibility to set your own hours, the option to work part-time or full-time, and the possibility of using your existing experience to get paid make this an opportunity that you should consider. Even if you don’t have experience getting paid to write, don’t worry. Freelance writing doesn’t require specific experience, making it one of the best entry-level work from home jobs.
If you’re interested in making money as a freelance writer, follow these steps to get started. Hopefully, within a few weeks you’ll find your first client and begin to grow your business.