The world of freelance writing can be a daunting one and to start out can be confusing. You often have no idea what steps you should take, how you should be spending your time or if you’re even doing the right thing. Well, here’s some great news, it doesn’t need to be this way! Finding a freelance writing job is easy when you are equipped with the know-how to do so.
What is freelance writing?
The job of a freelance writer does what it says on the tin: you are writing for a living. You exchange your time or words for money, regardless of the niche you specialise in. You provide writing services to a client based on needs, which will typically be published on a job description, or you’ll work them out in advance in a brief agreed with the client. You are not a typical ’employee’, rather you are an equal partner to your client and will most likely be self-employed.
How to get a freelance writing job: checklist
First things first, you need to have a few things in place before you can get a freelance writing job.
1. Computer: This is simply so you have somewhere to do and save your work.
2. Internet connection: The chances are that if you are reading this, then you’ve got access to the internet. If you’re on the go, consider obtaining a “dongle” for portable internet connection.
3. Email address: Don’t use the email address that you made when you were thirteen years old. The chances are it’s embarrassing, but it’s also unprofessional. Create a new one that showcases your professionalism – usually just your name or your trading name is fine but you might also like to pay to have it linked to your domain.
4. Writing software: You can write on Google Docs, Microsoft Office, or any other online writing platforms available. Just ensure you have something to complete your work on.
5. A portfolio: When you trying to get a freelance writing job, it’s important to have some experience at hand as this is often required to prove you can actually write. You can create a portfolio in the form of an online document with links to your best work, or use an online portfolio template. Alternatively, make use of a free WordPress blog to upload your best samples and to practice your writing as you progress.
6. A PayPal account: Freelance writing jobs are often paid via PayPal, and it doesn’t cost a penny to create an account.
7. A desire to write: You shouldn’t do a job you don’t enjoy. So make sure you actually enjoy writing before you attempt to get a freelance writing job.
8. A decent dictionary and thesaurus: The way you produce content might be new but the foundations of great writing remain the same. Online dictionaries are fine, just choose a reputable one like Oxford Dictionaries, and a tool like Grammarly can help you pick up on any typos and grammatical errors.
Next comes the effort. You need to search for work, but fortunately, there are plenty of platforms that offer you opportunities to find work.
How to get a freelance writing job: where to look
1. Search freelance writing job boards
These are often mid-range paid jobs with established clients, and as long as you are a good writer, then you’ve got a fair chance of finding a freelance writing job. Different freelance writing job boards include:
You can even sign up for alerts on jobs in your favourite writing niches. This means the type of writing jobs you enjoy will come to your inbox so you can check them out from there.
2. Opt into content sites
Content sites like Copify are a perfect training ground for those who are just starting out and attempting to get a freelance writing job for the first time. You can gain lots of experience, and get paid for it due to the sheer volume of jobs available. And of course, you can take on as little or as much as you wish.
You can often find that work is categorised on these websites into topics and niches such as “Travel”, “Beauty”, “Health” and so on, which gives you the opportunity to gain experience in your favourite areas so that you aren’t too out of your depth.
Some of the best content sites available include:
3. Try the classic cold call
People are often too scared to cold call due to the fear of rejection, or they simply can’t be bothered. However, this is one smart way to get a freelance writing job and build up a client relationship. There are thousands upon thousands of businesses on the internet who need your freelance writing skills, they just don’t know it yet.
Firstly, choose your writing niche and work with that. Some people think that when you choose a specific writing niche that you are locking yourself off from other writing opportunities. That is a misconception, you are actually making yourself more desirable, especially when that’s the niche you will be targeting.
Dive deeply into your chosen niches and find all of the options of companies that will need writing in some form, then simply write an email pitch to them, showcasing your skills and offering your services with a handful of examples of the kinds of topics you could write on. Not everyone will want you to write for them, and not everyone will even open the email. But when you put enough work into your research, then eventually a client who needs you will respond.
Once you’ve negotiated a rate and proved your skills, you are on the road to having your own personal client and gaining a recurring freelance writing job. If all goes well, then you’ve got yourself a reference for future potential clients. The key to this strategy is not to give up. It’s the freelance writers that are persistent and work hard that get a freelance writing job quicker and are better paid than others.
4. Search for guest post opportunities
As we know, in order to get a freelance writing job we need experience and some form of a portfolio behind us to prove our abilities. Guest posting is the perfect way to achieve that. You may think that writing for free is a waste of your time, but it certainly is not! Not only will you gain valuable experience, but you’ve made a new connection in the writing world and raised your profile that little bit more.
It’s also possible that if the person you are writing for enjoys your work, they may offer you a paid writing opportunity in the future. It’s a lot easier to find guest post opportunities than you may have thought. Google can save the day! You can do a simple Google search, “niche + write for us” and see what opportunities arise.
Now that you have gained a better insight on how to get a freelance writing job, your success will be based on one main condition: your perseverance. It’s a competitive world and the work of a freelance writer can be hard to find, so you need to remain determined to succeed in a world of budding freelance writers.
Main image credit: Tim Gouw
Image credits: Burst, Pixabay, bruce mars