Are you a non-writing writer?
If yes, perhaps you didn’t know becoming a freelance writer is the best way to get the most out of your skill and make money online.
But how to become a freelance writer?
To begin with, a laptop, a stable internet connection and a passion for writing are all you need to get started.
We’ll uncover more on the topic below.
What Is Freelance Writing?
Before we discuss how to become a freelance writer, it is essential to know who a freelancer is in the first place.
A freelancer simply refers to a self-employed person who sells their services to companies or individuals on a contract basis. These contracts can be long or short-term.
Simply put, a freelancer is his or her own boss, has almost unlimited earning potential and can work from the comfort of home.
A freelance writer is someone who writes for an individual client, company, or agency. Due to flexible work hours, you can manage it as a side hustle or as a full-time career – however you prefer.
If you want to get started with your freelance writing business, we’ll explain the nitty-gritty of the process below.
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Freelance Writer?
Freelance writing is like managing your own small business.
You won’t only be writing but also coping with tons of other things, from proofreading and editing to networking, content marketing, and of course, managing payments. In other words, it requires a solid skill-set to succeed as a freelance writer.
Yes, it may sound a little overwhelming, but success doesn’t come easy after all. Nonetheless, if you stay dedicated, consistent and passionate, success isn’t a far-fetched dream either.
So, before you communicate with your first client, make sure you have these skills:
Sound Writing Skills
If your basic grammar and sentence structure is good, congratulations! You’re a few steps away from becoming a successful freelance writer.
You do not necessarily have to have exemplary writing skills to excel in the field. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t be a terrible writer either. If you have general writing ability, you can gain competence gradually by improving your writing skills and selling your work.
If you’re a beginner, you can use an online tool like Grammarly to check your writing for grammatical errors and punctuation mistakes.
Besides, make sure you do your research well; wrong information in your written work can be a huge turn-off for your client.
Editing and Proofreading
As beginners, many writers overlook the importance of editing and proofreading.
When you’re typing, you can easily blunder sentence structure, spelling and punctuation.
Editing and proofreading are often used interchangeably, but there’s a fine line between both.
When editing, you work on sentence construction and correct errors with language clarity. On the flip side, proofreading requires you to check your work for missed or incorrect punctuation, misspellings, typos and grammar.
To ensure you do both well, step away from your work for a while.
Proofreading and editing cannot be done with an exhausted mind, and you might not spot your mistakes just after you’ve completed a long, tiresome article.
Read your work with a fresh, objective mind. Also try reading it out loud, and the errors will jump out at you.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
With sound writing, editing and proofreading skills, you might make the best first impression on your client, but if your work isn’t optimized for search engines, people may not find your quality content.
I agree you might be a good writer for print, but with no SEO skills, you won’t be a good FREELANCE writer for online publications and websites.
SEO incorporates the most commonly searched terms in your content.
You have to optimize your content to rank in the search engines. If your client is serious about his or her website or blog, perhaps they’d want their site to rank in SERPs. Simply put, they expect you to optimize your quality content accordingly.
Besides searching for the most-searched keywords, keep your content readable and scannable – split those long paragraphs from hell!
Additionally, create internal links, add images, and keep your headings intriguing.
Handling Feedback, Criticism and Rejections
You might be proud of the writing piece you compiled, but your client may need some tweaks.
As long as their feedback is constructive, don’t let it hurt your pride. Instead, take it as a learning opportunity to improve your writing skills.
Feedback promotes personal and professional growth and helps you take constructive steps toward developing as a writer.
But, again, you should be able to discern between positive and negative criticism; if a client is rude and disrespectful for no apparent reason, it’s best to part ways with them.
Nothing is more important than your emotional and mental health, and if a client is draining it, they are probably not for you or anyone for that matter.
However, if you committed a serious error with a long-term, loyal, and otherwise decent client, you better not take their rudeness personally. Instead, stay calm, avoid reacting, listen and apologize for your mistake.
Besides criticism, you’d also deal with rejections in the world of freelancing.
You’ll reach out to dozens of clients regularly; some may refuse to work with you, and others might not respond at all.
But don’t let these rejections get to you. Remember, we talked about consistency earlier; you have to reach out to clients consistently, and in the process of winning clients, you’ll also face rejections.
If you’re unorganized and wondering how to become a freelance writer, I highly doubt the sincerity of your question.
Yes, you have the freedom to set your working hours, but don’t let this privilege get in the way of your success.
The blogs or articles you’ll work on as a freelance writer have a deadline. Running out of the given time frame can cause you to lose clients, and if you aren’t organized enough, perhaps you’ll struggle to meet the deadlines.
Make sure you set specific working hours, avoid distractions, and work from the same place every day – a coffee shop, a public park, your bedroom, a library, or anywhere around your house.
This will help you stay more organized. Besides, be realistic when committing to your client. Tell them how much work you can crank out in a given time, and stick to it!
Strong Communication Skills
Lee Brown, an American businessman, politician and criminologist says, “Your ability to communicate is an important tool in the pursuit of your goals, whether it is with your family, your co-workers or your clients and customers.”
Hypothetically speaking, your client asks you to discuss a writing project over a phone call.
You may be an eloquent writer, but if you fail to communicate efficiently, your client will regret choosing you in the first place.
So, before you disappoint the client with horrible communication, make sure you polish your communication skills.
Listen to your client, let the information sink in, be brief and direct, and think twice before speaking.
Good communication skills will improve relationships with existing clients and help you win new projects.
Business Management and Accounting
To make your finances and income less complicated, you must be strategic about managing your business.
Otherwise, you’ll soon lose grip on things and might find yourself mismanaging business big time and out of your depth.
To avoid running into such situations, try keeping precise records of all the payments and invoices. Besides, understand and calculate taxes you have to pay as a freelancer. You can find more on the topic here.
What Are the Types of Freelance Writers?
Do you have a burning desire to write about a particular topic ? If so, this one’s for you.
A beat writer or reporter dives deep into a topic that intrigues him or her. A beat writer can publish articles in newspapers, magazines, websites and email newsletters.
It takes time to build a reputation and a network of reliable sources as a beat writer before you can make enough money from this niche. As a beginner, you might find yourself battling to make your way down the road.
Therefore, it’s best to take up other sorts of writing gigs, especially if your goal is to earn money.
The goal of copywriting is to sell the target audience your brand.
In other words, copywriting is meant to persuade the reader, through ads, landing page content, slogans, scripts for YouTube or Tiktok commercials and any other media platforms..
Web Content Writer
Web content writers aim to attract the target audience to your website via SEO. They dedicate hours of research to produce engaging and relevant content that helps build a brand’s reputation and connects with relevant customers. .
Most writing pieces center around marketing services and products, but not always. A few also inform and educate the readers.
If you write content that gets published under someone else’s name, you’re a ghostwriter.
Ghostwriting isn’t limited to one form. You could be writing blogs, a series of books, or autobiographies as a ghostwriter.
Several celebrities hire ghostwriters to write their autobiographies.
What Is the Average Salary for a Freelance Writer?
Your average salary as a freelance writer depends on a number of factors: The type of content you produce, the platform you’re working on and your expertise.
A content writer who consistently produces content might earn more than a feature writer who only writes occasionally.
Similarly, the price rates can also vary depending on your skill level. As a beginner, perhaps you’ll charge less. A skilled writer will demand a lot more.
Upwork, Linkedin, and Freelancer.com are a few popular freelancing platforms to find long or short-term clients.
An average salary of a writer on Upwork is between $30-$40 per hour and around $42,000 annually.
If you’re just starting on your freelance journey, keep your rates less than top-rated writers – you would need to do some homework in this regard.
However, don’t keep them lower than the average rates of that particular platform.
Clients may doubt your skill level and hesitate to reach out to you if your rates are too low. Plus, after you land a few clients and strengthen your skills, you’ll want to avoid selling them cheaply.
How to Get Your First Job as a Freelance Writer?
If you’re scratching your head, wondering how to land your first job as a freelance writer, here are some popular and killer ways to make your way into the freelance market.
Join Social Media
Are you truly serious about looking for online work but aren’t on social media?
Social media is a goldmine for landing jobs. Be it Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter, you cannot get enough of these platforms.
There are plenty of freelance writing groups on Facebook. Make sure you join the most popular and trusted Facebook groups and apply to the job postings like The Freelance Content Marketing Writer group, Copywriter Cafe, or The Content Marketing Lounge
Additionally, build a profile on Linkedin and reach out to clients there. Did you know 87% of recruiters regularly use Linkedin?
That means the recruiters are out there, looking for you. Do your best to reach out to them!
Build a Website
A professional-looking website is a great way to attract high-paying clients.
Try building a personal blog in your spare time. Later, you can reach out to your clients or use your blog as a portfolio.
Your website will enhance your credibility as a professional writer. Even if you can’t afford hosting when you’re starting out, there are free blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger or Wix.
A writing portfolio is your chance to display the work you’re proud of. While you can always upload writing samples of your previous work, it’s best to write a sample that aligns with a client’s needs. For instance, if a client is looking for someone to write diet articles for them, perhaps the pet article in your portfolio won’t work for them.
Ideally, it’s best to write a sample similar to what the client wants. For instance, you can write a short 400-500 word article, “5 keto breakfast ideas,” and upload it to your portfolio.
When clients see you have experience in a similar niche, they’ll be more likely to hire you.
Once you make your way into the freelancing business, you can revamp your website and invest in quality hosting.
Write Guest Blog Posts
You can write content for your website, but the number of people visiting your site will perhaps be lower than those visiting a popular site.
Here’s when guest posting comes into play.
Also referred to as guest blogging, it involves writing content for another company’s site.
The two-way traffic offers benefits to both the guest blogger and the website owner.
Make sure you go for a relevant niche because the goal is to attract people back to your website.
Here’s how guest posting may help you as a freelance writer:
- It can serve as your writing portfolio if you do not have any writing samples to show to your clients.
- Though all bloggers won’t allow you to do so, you can create at least one link to your site. This will compensate for your hard work because even a single backlink from a credible website can benefit your SEO.
- It will allow you to build authority in your particular niche.
- Thousands of people landing on a website get to see your writing skills. Simply put, some of the readers could be your potential clients.
- You get to create and strengthen networks with professionals in a similar niche as yours. This helps you learn more about the relevant industry.
Pitch to a Job Board Ad
A job board refers to a website where employers advertise their jobs. You can join similar websites and pitch job ads. If you do it consistently, you’ll end up landing some freelancing jobs.
Most novice writers use this method to find constant work.
Platforms like Upwork offer you a chance to pitch jobs using job boards. You’ll come across plenty of recruiters finding people for long and short-term contracts. All you need to do is write an outstanding cover letter proving your worth and skill as a writer and pitch to jobs.
Since the platforms have thousands of other applicants seeking jobs, you’ll face fierce competition, of course. However, don’t let it stop you from chasing your dreams.
Be consistent, and you’ll eventually find work.
Create an Online Freelance Writer Profile
Regardless of what platform you choose to join, you’d need a sound profile to attract clients.
Because your profile is the first thing your potential client sees, you’d need to invest some time building it. Here are a few basics most freelancing platforms – including Upwork – require.
Make sure you upload a professional-looking picture. Keep your shoulders at a slight angle when facing the camera, and do not forget to smile.
A smiling face makes you seem like an easy-to-talk-to and trustworthy person. So avoid uploading an uninviting, grim picture.
The title is generally a line or two describing who you are or what services you offer. Keep it simple, concise, and direct. Do not forget to add value to it.
Instead of writing, “I’m a freelance copywriter,” try something unique like, “Sale-focused copywriter with creative writing credentials.”
Your goal is to use language that’ll instantly click your potential clients, and they’d prefer you over others in the business.
The description is your chance to prove your worth as a freelance writer. How are you better than others, and what skills do you have to fulfill client needs and demands?
The overview should offer a solution to your client’s problems. For that purpose, it’s best to do some homework about your potential clients. Later, discuss their pain points and explain how your skills can benefit them.
You know how to write quality content, but do you have anything to back your claim? Here’s when testimonials come in handy.
A testimonial is a formal statement that further supports your qualifications. If you’ve worked with someone previously, ask them to write one for you. Here’s an example of how a testimonial looks:
“Charles did a wonderful job on this project. His creativity added value to my project. Besides, he met the target deadlines and was easy to communicate with. Would love to work with him again!”
This will leave an excellent impression on your potential clients, and they might likely trust your words written in the overview.
Price Your Writing Services
You do not have to set a price out of nowhere. Instead, try to search for relevant profiles of people working in a similar niche.
A seasoned freelance writer will have higher rates. However, that doesn’t imply you have to set lower rates.
Ideally, it’s best to go with average rates on a particular platform in a specific niche. Gradually, as you earn some loyal, long-term clients and do more work in the field, you can increase your rates.
Note: Do not set low rates in the hopes of getting work faster because you’re a beginner. Generally, platforms like Upwork have professional recruiters from across the globe seeking talent. Lower rates will make potential clients dubious about your skills, and they may reject you right away.
Improve Your Skills By Taking Freelance Writing Courses
You’re all set now: you have an attractive profile, a compelling portfolio and testimonials. Simply put, you have all the essentials to begin your freelancing journey. Now is the perfect time to hone your writing skills.
There is no such thing as perfect writing, and even the most skilled writers are not perfect.
However, you can always make your writing better, if not perfect. For that purpose, consider taking a writing course.
FAQs on How to Become a Freelance Writer?
We’ve rounded up some frequently asked questions regarding freelance writing.
How Do I Get Started as a Freelance Writer?
Before you join a platform like Upwork and start applying for jobs, it’s best to hone your skills as a writer.
To get started, begin with improving your writing, editing, proofreading and SEO skills on a free blogging platform like WordPress, Blogger, or Wix.
Polish your communication skills and be prepared to handle criticism.
Once you’ve made up your mind to set off on your freelancing journey, join a freelance platform, write an intriguing overview, add testimonials, upload a portfolio and begin applying for jobs.
Refer to the sections “What Skills Do You Need to Become a Freelance Writer” and “What Are the Types of Freelance Writing?” to learn more.
How Do I Become a Freelance Writer With No Experience?
Every experienced professional was once a beginner. So, if you do not have any experience but are passionate about freelance writing, consistency, patience and hard work are all you need to proceed.
As a rule of thumb, begin by gaining some writing experience. You can always apply for jobs later on; there are plenty of platforms for that purpose. But first, you must know how to WRITE.
Refer to the sections “What Skills Do You Need to Become a Freelance Writer” and “How to Get Your First Job as a Freelance Writer” for more information.
Is It Easy to Become a Freelance Writer?
Freelance writing has its pros: you work from your comfort zone and have flexible working hours. Do you think it all works magically and out of nowhere?
Realistically speaking, you need to put a lot of effort into building your skills and staying consistent to become a freelance writer.
It would be wrong to consider this journey a walk in the park, but it’s not daunting enough to discourage newbies.
Nothing in the world comes easy, and freelance writing is no exception. If you have general writing skills and the ability to stay focused and determined, you’ll eventually be a successful freelance writer.
Go slow, and don’t give up!