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Start A Freelance Writing Career Today
If you’ve ever wanted the freedom and flexibility to work from home and set your own hours, you are not alone. Unfortunately, a large number of the gigs you see advertised around the web are scams, phishing expeditions, or worse yet require you to pay exorbitant startup costs.
The great thing about starting a career as a freelance journalist is that there is actual money to be made and embarking on a writing career will cost you nothing more than your time!
To take some of the guesswork out of getting your feet wet and steering your career, I have put together seven easy to follow steps that will help you begin your own freelance writing career. Read on for my top tips and be sure to let me know what you would add in the comments section below!
- 1 Identify Your Areas of Interest and Knowledge
- 2 Build a Work Sample and Don’t be Afraid to Work for Free (at First)
- 3 Don’t be Picky
- 4 Try Fiverr or Similar Job Board Sites
- 5 Stay Disciplined and Always be Pitching
- 6 Always be Networking = More Cash
- 7 Be Active on Social Media
- 8 Subscribe to get the free Money Master Course!
- 9 You have Successfully Subscribed!
Identify Your Areas of Interest and Knowledge
When you are getting started, it is crucial to not only consider what interests you but also what you are knowledgeable about. The intersection of what you know and what you are passionate about is a great place to start. Focusing your efforts there will ensure that your writing is authoritative and informative. Keep in mind that you can’t always work exclusively within your interest set if you want to make money. But there is no better place to start than with that you know.
Build a Work Sample and Don’t be Afraid to Work for Free (at First)
Once you have identified a topic you are knowledgeable and passionate about, it’s time to get to writing. Starting a blog is a must. You need experience to secure jobs and without a writing sample, you will stand nearly no chance of getting hired. If you can’t demonstrate what you are capable of, very few people are likely to take your word for it. You can get a free WordPress.Com domain or a custom domain starting at less than $20 a year.
Think of your blog as your portfolio. When you submit for work, this is what you will show your prospective employer. Put your best foot forward. Make sure that your post titles are captivating and the body of your articles informative. This should go without saying, but your blog posts should be free of spelling and grammatical errors.
Update your website as consistently as possible. This will help with your search engine rankings (Google loves fresh content) and will also show prospective employers that you are dedicated and driven.
Don’t be Picky
After you have established your work sample (your blog) you can begin to seek out additional writing opportunities). The idea is slow and steady progress. Just writing for a site that isn’t your own is growth and gives you the opportunity to branch out and network. A great place to start is with writing guest posts.
Authoring a guest post for a fellow blogger’s website may not get you paid right away but it will provide exposure, help to expand your work sample, and give you an opportunity to link back to your blog in the ‘author bio’ section.
Backlinks are a major factor in Google’s search algorithm. The more (quality) sites that are linking to yours, the more authoritative search engines will consider your content to be. This will be helpful in bringing new readers on board and also attracting potential new clients.
When you start putting yourself out there for freelance work opportunities, don’t be exclusionary. Just because you aren’t an expert on the subject matter doesn’t mean that you can’t become one through research. Broadening your horizons is a key to working consistently.
Once you have a solid work sample by way of your website and some guest posts, you can begin to command payment for your work on a consistent basis.
Try Fiverr or Similar Job Board Sites
I think Fiverr is a great place to start. You can name your price (start low to attract potential clients) and post ads for your services, as well as respond to ads from employers seeking services from writers like you. Most people starting out command $5 or $10 per article but as you grow your work sample, that number can increase exponentially.
Stay Disciplined and Always be Pitching
After you have begun to establish a client base, you should be regularly following up in search of repeat business. Use the expanding work sample you have created via your blog and freelance assignments to pitch yourself to new prospective clients. Nearly every website that relies on freelance contributors has a contact button. Compose a form letter to save time and then tailor the inquiry to each prospective outlet you would like to pitch.
Freelance work is sometimes feast or famine, so it is of the utmost importance to always be pitching. The more you put yourself out there, the higher your probability of finding consistent work.
Once you have made a name for yourself online, you can also try your hand at print work. Magazines almost always publish their editor’s email address in the first few pages of each issue. Start small. Niche publications are more likely to respond to writers with less experience. From there, the sky is the limit. Leverage each opportunity and try to parlay it into another.
Always be Networking = More Cash
Great writers are only as good as their ability to self-promote and make their voice heard. Leverage whatever connections you have made to help make new ones. But keep in mind that reciprocity is key: Don’t expect your contacts to share theirs if you aren’t willing to do the same in return. That leads directly into my final tip, which is an extension of the importance of networking.
Be Active on Social Media
We live in the age of social media and social media influencers. It’s commonplace for prospective clients to check your social media profiles before signing on to work with you. People want to know that you have an audience and that you are regularly interacting with that audience. You should have profiles on the big three (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) at a bare minimum. Daily posts are ideal. The more you post, the more your followers will interact with your content.
Social media is also a great place to network with likeminded people and meet prospective clients.
Do not underestimate the importance of an active social media presence. If you aren’t utilizing social media, prospective clients are likely to go with someone else that is.
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