Becoming a full-time freelance writer is proving to be an increasingly popular career choice for people all around the globe and, at least from the outside, it can look like a pretty cosy job to have. But, in reality, many people fail to succeed or give up along the way because of the difficulty in finding freelance writing opportunities for beginners.
With so much competition for work, it can be difficult to make yourself stand out and to secure clients that are willing to pay you what you know yourself to be worth. Well, the good thing is that plenty of people do succeed and that there is an abundance of opportunities available for budding freelancers looking to gain greater independence and pursue their passions. To overcome those initial first steps and to get your career off to a strong start, here are 6 of the best ways to find freelance writing opportunities as a beginner.
1. Guest post
There’s a reason that guest posting appears first on this list and it’s certainly not because it will start paying your bills from the outset. In actual fact, guest posting is something that you should actively seek and be willing to do for free – even when you’ve ‘made it’ as a full-time writer.
Though it doesn’t bring in money straight away, it offers you the chance to hone your skills as a writer and to get your name and work out in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. In turn, being a popular guest writer gives you more things to add to your portfolio and allows you to reach more potential clients than you can in other ways.
2. Speak to friends and relatives
Unless your inner circle of friends work for major publications, it’s unlikely they will land you the dream writing job you desire. However, you may be able to pick up some smaller pieces of work to keep you going. Also, by letting everyone know that you are looking for writing work, they can recommend you to their friends and anyone they feel might need your services.
At the start, try and be open-minded and take on even minor writing roles, such as freshening up someone’s CV or a covering letter for a job they are applying for.
3. Join a copywriting service
Many businesses want to find top quality copywriters but don’t have the time or patience to post endless job requirements or sift through resumes. In turn, they use popular copywriting services like Copify.
To join, you don’t necessarily need the greatest amount of experience, but you do need to pass some test articles to make sure your writing skills are to the right standard. If you do get accepted, you get the chance to write about a wide number of topics that excite you and give you a breadth of real-world copywriting experience.
4. Join job boards and freelance marketplaces
Another popular route for businesses to find copywriters is by posting job listings on job boards or in freelance marketplaces.
In recent years these have become quite overcrowded and it can be hard to make yourself stand out. But, if you’re willing to work for low amounts to start and to then build up reviews, they may prove a great way to find opportunities that are available and find long-term clients.
Here are some places to get started:
Note that many of these services aren’t free or may require you to pay a monthly subscription to apply to any more than just a few postings each month.
5. The freelancing community
To be successful from the outset, you need to become a part of the freelancing community. For starters, there is a wealth of information available helping you to become a better writer. Beyond that, it’s a great way to find new and intriguing ways to find jobs and to even have work referred to you.
Say, for example, you build great relations with a writer who is in the marketing industry who receives a request from a client to produce some work relating to health and fitness. If they really have no idea on the topic but know that you do, or if they are flooded with jobs, it is likely they could refer your services instead.
6. Cold pitching
Of course, the ideal freelance writing opportunity for beginners is getting your own long-term clients on board. Finding clients that have a need for a writer is one of the hardest parts and that’s why many turn to jobs boards. But to really exploit all opportunities, you should start cold pitching potential clients.
Cold pitching is by no means easy and most people simply give up after sending out 1,000 emails to various businesses and not getting any feedback in return. The problem isn’t that businesses aren’t looking for writers, the problem lies in how writers choose to approach them. Here are some rules to follow:
- Don’t send out a mass blanket email to as many email addresses as you can get your hands on. Instead, send emails only targeted to businesses that actually centre around your chosen topic.
- Don’t send the same email to all of your chosen businesses. An email that has simply been copied and pasted is easy to spot and will rarely get a response; instead, make each email personalised in some way.
- Don’t go straight in for the sell. In your first email, try to gauge their interest and highlight what you offer and why it could benefit them specifically.
- Don’t pitch the wrong stuff. Make sure you scan their website to check out what kind of content they publish, see if they have writer guidelines and how they like submissions to be made. Many websites and publications also post calls for submissions on their blog and social media profiles so be sure to follow them – even if just to familiarise yourself with their content and tone of voice.
Cold pitching will take effort and will require you to be patient and not let the “no’s” get to you. However, have a strategy to make it easier. Decide how many and what publications you are going to target over a specific time period and with what ideas to make it easier to track. You’ll also know which ones to follow up on if you haven’t heard back.
Never underestimate the importance of planning and perseverance
As stated throughout this article, finding the ideal freelance writing opportunities for beginners is not an easy process nor is it something that can be achieved overnight. Instead, invest time into planning out a few strategic avenues, focus on achieving small goals and set yourself regular deadlines. Over time, you should start to see results, and if not, then employ more tactics and techniques, such as building one-to-one conversations with key influencers and developing a skill or knowledge in a niche area of copywriting, until you get the results you need.