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How to start freelance writing Copify 2

How to start freelance writing – in a nutshell

Freelance writing can be a great way to supplement your income or to start your own business, and it’s easier than you think. Whether you want to start writing as a second job or launch your own copywriting business, freelance writing is the ideal option.

Despite the lucrative opportunities associated with freelance writing, many people are unsure how to start freelance writing and how to launch themselves into such a fast-paced industry. Fortunately, we can help you find out how to begin. Follow our simple guide and you’ll be generating income from freelance writing before you know it.

Promote yourself and your writing

How to start freelance writing Copify 4 Freelance writing doesn’t just involve putting pen to paper, or fingers to a keyboard! In order to gain clients, you’ll need to promote yourself and push your services. Think about your professional experience, qualifications and previous jobs and come up with a list of your very own selling points.

Do you have extensive knowledge of a particular industry or sector? Have you worked in the journalism or copywriting industry before? Can you turn mundane corporate information into punchy copy?

Whatever your attributes, make a note of them so you can highlight them to clients later on. As well as promoting your own services, this will give you a great chance to identify the areas you want to focus on. If you’d like to write copy for a specific type of client or industry, you can advertise your services as a specialist within this niche, and you may even be able to use your expertise to bring in extra revenue!

Create an online presence

People who want to know how to start freelance writing often overlook the need to create an online presence. The rise of the internet has been revolutionary for the freelance writing industry and liaising with clients is now easier than ever before. Of course, clients need to be able to find you in order to commission work so you may want to build your own online presence. Some people choose to have their own website tailored to their freelance writing career, whilst others prefer to register with writing agencies and build a profile on the agency’s site.

However, there’s no need to limit yourself to just one option. Having your own website, professional social media accounts and agency profiles should increase the reach of your content and will ensure a greater number of clients will see your work. As a result, you could land more clients and more commissions, leading to more income and more prestige.

What can you earn?

How to start freelance writing Copify 3When you’re learning how to start freelance writing, it’s essential you know how much income is available. Before you start writing on behalf of clients, you may want to get an idea of what you can expect to earn. Fortunately, freelance writing can be a great career and, with some experience, you’ll be able to add to your existing income or create a full-time role out of your new venture.

Of course, it’s important to be realistic about your earning potential, particularly when you’re starting off. In some cases, new freelancers pitch too low for jobs and can end up undervaluing their services. Eager to secure their first client, new writers may offer to complete work for far less than the industry average. Whilst this may ensure you get your client, it could result in you working for very little money.

Instead of setting your price points too low, take a look around to see what other freelance writing professionals are charging. Get an idea of what you can expect to earn, either hourly or per project, and decide how to value your work.

Fortunately, working with freelance writing agencies can be a great way to ensure your earnings are fair when you’re starting out. As most agencies offer set fees for commissions, you can be sure that you’re earning the right amount, regardless of how long you’ve been writing for. Furthermore, established agencies can be extremely helpful when you’re finding out how to start freelance writing, and many of them will be willing to provide you with handy tips as you gain experience.

Understanding payment terms

When you first start freelance writing, you may be so eager to get started that you forget to discuss payment terms with your client. Although you might know how much you’re due to be paid, you may not have specified the method of payment or the payment date. If you forget to clarify these details with clients before you start writing, it can cost you in the long-term.

If a client chooses to pay you in a method which takes a lot of commission, for example, this could lead to you getting a reduced payment for the work. Similarly, standard invoice times are usually around 30 days, so you shouldn’t expect to get paid within 24 hours of completing the work.

If you’re unsure how to create your own invoices or set your own payment terms, download this free copywriting invoice template. If you’d rather not bother with all that, writing agencies can be a great place to start. In most cases, you’ll be able to request payment from clients via the agency’s online system and your income can then be forwarded to you. As well as being a secure way of generating income, you can double-check the agency’s terms and conditions at any time. This means you’ll be able to focus on your freelance writing and leave the admin to someone else.

Setting yourself up as a freelance writer

How to start freelance writing Copify 1One of the advantages of being a freelance writer is being able to work from wherever you choose. Mobile devices and wireless internet mean you can contact clients from anywhere in the world and undertake work from any climate.

However, there are some legal matters you’ll need to get sorted before you start working. Depending on where you reside, you may need to register with the relevant tax body. For UK residents, you’ll need to notify HMRC when you start freelance writing as you’ll be considered self-employed. Even if you still have a full-time job as well as your writing career, you’ll still need to be registered with HMRC for tax purposes.

Failing to register as self-employed can be a costly mistake but it’s very easy to do and certainly shouldn’t put you off freelance writing. In fact, you can register within minutes online so you won’t need to delay the launch of your new career in order to meet the requirements of your new role.

With your admin all sorted, your online profiles built and your membership to writing agencies secured, you’ll be ready to start freelance writing whenever you choose. With a varied pool of clients looking for freelancers and an unlimited source of revenue available, there’s no time to waste!


Main image credit: bruce mars
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Kate Hannon

A law graduate who is also qualified in digital marketing, Kate has over eleven years’ experience in copywriting, helping to launch the digital strategies of the many clients she has worked with. She provides specialist marketing services to businesses in the legal and financial sectors on a freelance basis and joined Copify in 2013.

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