As the internet has become more and more accessible, and freelancers have more tools at their disposal, freelance writing has grown in popularity as a career choice. However, the very idea of someone sitting behind their laptop each day simply writing words and getting paid money to do so may sound absurd to many.
How do freelance writers even find work? Who pays them? How much do they get paid? And how do I get involved? These are all very natural questions to have about the life of a freelance writer. So this post should hopefully clear up most of your questions if you’ve been wondering how does freelance writing work.
Firstly, what even is freelance writing?
In its most basic state, freelance writing is somebody getting paid to write money for a client who needs some words written. That is it. A freelance writer does not necessarily have to be in any location or write about anything specific. As long as somebody is happy to pay them for their words, then they are a freelance writer. They will have a direct relationship between themselves and the client they are writing for.
What sorts of things to freelance writers write about?
Generally speaking, freelance writers could write about absolutely anything. However, the types of writing that freelancers generally perform falls into the following categories:
- Blog posts
- Web page content
- Sales pages
- Product descriptions
- Press releases
- Email marketing
- How-to guides
These categories are not necessarily all-inclusive but probably cover most of the work freelance writers do. This article from Makeaivingwriting.com recently looked into top freelance writers’ predictions for 2018. It appears that 2018 will be an exciting year for the industry as new types of content are becoming desirable. Such as the “position zero” content and writing for voice search results.
Now, if you want to know what sorts of topics freelance writers cover, then this article simply won’t be long enough. Within the category of product descriptions alone, everything is sold online nowadays from garden equipment to mortgages and from cakes to intercontinental missiles.
However, what you generally find is that freelance writers will find themselves a few niches and then become experts on those topics. Clients looking for work then know that certain writers are good to hire because they are dedicated to and knowledgable about those industries.
How does the payment process of freelance writing work?
Freelance writers are effectively self-employed, just like any other small business owner. Except that their business is their writing ability and their office is wherever they choose. As such, they need to handle payments themselves and in whatever way is most suitable for them. Online money transfers directly to a bank account or to a PayPal account are popular choices.
Because there is no exchange of a physical product or tangible service, the payment process can be different to other jobs. In much the same way a builder doesn’t want to spend weeks building a house only to then not get paid, a freelance writer does not want to sacrifice hours of their time only to then not get paid either. Many freelance writers will, therefore, expect payment before work commences or at certain milestones throughout a project.
How do freelance writers and clients find each other?
As the internet has grown, more online resources and marketplaces have become available. As such, the market for freelance writing has begun to thrive. This makes the internet the most common place where clients and writers find each other. Much the same as how customers initiate any sort of purchase, it all begins with a Google search.
Freelance writers will usually have an online profile which allows them to showcase their talents and their work. Alternatively, clients themselves will post work on job boards, where writers then find the sort of work that they’d like to do and create a proposal for the client. Copify is just one example of a writing marketplace that brings passionate freelance writers together with clients who are looking for their services.
Other than this, freelance writers and clients can also find each other without the help of the internet as well. Referrals within the copywriting industry are common, as clients like to choose writers who come recommended from others.
How much do freelance writers get paid?
As the old saying goes, “how long is a piece of string?” How much a freelance writer gets paid will depend on a number of factors that include the following:
- How much experience do they have?
- Where is their work being published?
- Are they writing for wealthy businesses and clients?
- How hard do they work?
- Does their writing lead to proven sales?
- Do they have a strong and happy base of client reviews?
Freelance writers normally get paid on a per word basis. Starting rates can be anywhere from 1 pence a word right up to £1 or even £10 a word. It ultimately depends on their experience, their reputation, and whether or not their writing is unique and desirable. If a writer can craft product descriptions that help a business sell 10 times more than their rivals, then that writer would be in very high demand and their rates would reflect that.
What is needed to become a freelance writer?
Because there is so much room to specialise within the freelance writing industry, becoming a freelance writer is a job that doesn’t require a specific set of skills. Yes, you will, of course, need a firm grasp of English grammar and a passion for writing, but you don’t need any exact qualifications or experience per se. Many writers who have stumbled into their career have done so by chance rather than due to a career they have long dreamt of as a child.
To get started you should first assess what sorts of passions you have and what you would be most interested in writing about each day. Once you have decided on this, you can create yourself a basic website or portfolio.This doesn’t even need to be work that has been published somewhere but could be a set of articles you have written about your chosen topic and which demonstrate your writing style and your industry knowledge.
Afterwards, you can start approaching clients via job boards such as Contena. You can also talk to friends and relatives to see if they have any work or to see if anyone they know needs any work done. With enough perseverance and time, you can start to build up a list of clients who like your work and are happy to hire you on a recurring basis. There is no clear path to success, but it will require you to keep fighting through and making your name known.
If you are an aspiring writer and are interested in starting a new career, then Copify could be a great place for you to start. Our writers are first fully vetted to check they are up to the correct standard of writing. Afterwards, however, they gain access to a whole host of exciting projects that allow them to develop their skills and write for a diverse array of clients. If you are interested, then you can find out more here or check out the rest of our blog.