There are so many compelling reasons to become a freelance writer. Perhaps most significantly, it gives you the opportunity to be your own boss, free to decide your own working hours and the amount of work you take on.
You can wake up whenever you like, work from the comfort of your own home, and even travel the world at the same time if you so desire.
As long as you maintain a healthy client base and are able to write articulate and compelling content, then you shouldn’t struggle to find enough work to keep you going. When you’re a complete beginner, it can be difficult to make a name for yourself in the industry, but once you’re through these early stages, you can make an excellent career from your writing skills.
So if you want to set yourself up for success as a freelance writer, there are some crucial steps you’ll need to follow. Here are some of the things you’ll need to think about in order to get started.
Decide your niche
The term freelance writer covers a huge range of different things. You could be a sports journalist, a film critic, a fashion blogger, or you could specialize in technical subjects like cryptocurrency or insurance. It is possible to write more generally about a huge range of different topics, and this will give you a broad portfolio to show off to potential clients. However it does mean you’ll spend some time researching and writing about subjects that don’t interest you. Focusing on a particular niche allows you to focus on the topics you are passionate about, and use your expertise and interest to inform and enhance your writing. So before you get started on your freelance career, decide whether you want to be a jack of all trades or a master of one.
Set a goal
What do you want to achieve from your freelance writing career? Do you simply want to earn a living? Or do you have aspirations of writing for your favourite publication, perhaps National Geographic or NME? Maybe you’d like to write a book someday or interview famous people for a respected newspaper. Whatever your hopes and dreams, it is a good idea to articulate them at the start of your journey. This will help to keep you focused on what you want to achieve and will inform all your big decisions from here on out.
Since the rise of the internet and online blogs, there is a glut of content out there. Some of it is of high quality, while some is practically illegible, but this does mean you have to be a great writer if you want to stand out above the competition. The best way to become an expert at any skill is to practice constantly, and writing is no different. In order to become a talented writer, writing needs to become your life. Make it a regular part of your daytime routine. This could mean regularly maintaining your own personal blog, or simply writing your thoughts into your journal before bed. The content doesn’t matter so much as the consistency. Over time, you will define and settle into your own unique writing style.
Another sure-fire way to improve your writing abilities is to read more. Read anything and everything from online blogs to novels, to longform news articles. Consuming a wide range of different content will not only help you to absorb linguistic and grammatical techniques but will also make you more knowledgeable and well rounded.
Create a website
Any freelance writer needs a website to promote their services to potential clients as well as showing off examples of their writing. If you aren’t technologically minded and the prospect of building web pages strikes fear into your heart, then don’t panic. It is relatively simple to create your own site with the help of services like WordPress and Wix. These platforms provide templates that you can simply populate with your own content and adjust the design to fit with your branding and values. They offer a managed service, so if your website goes down or suffers a malfunction then you can simply contact the WordPress Maintenance Service who will get it up and running again. Your website should tell your audience what kind of services you provide, and it is crucial that you include a portfolio to showcase your best work.
Get some experience
Before you’ve had any of your own work published, it can be difficult to find freelance writing opportunities. Most clients who need freelance writers tend to look at a writer’s portfolio to inform their decision, so if you have no work to display then you will struggle. For this reason, you should try and get some writing experience so you have something to show for your hard work. Contact publications and news sites to pitch articles, or get in touch with bloggers to ask if you can write a guest post. Your early content may be unpaid, but once you land your first paid writing job you will be on a clear path to building your career.
Take a course
There is no such thing as a perfect writer. Good writing is a skill that you develop over time, and it is something you can always be better at. Language is constantly evolving, so you need to be challenging yourself and expanding your mind at every opportunity. Taking a course is a great way to keep your skills current and to learn new tricks and techniques that could improve your writing. There are plenty of copywriting courses and workshops out there, as well as classes that cater to more niche subjects.
In conclusion, becoming a freelance writer is a fantastic way to earn a living. It might take some time to get yourself up and running, but once you land that first paid job and start to build a client base, you will never look back. Just remember to keep practicing your skills through reading and writing, and always look to enhance your knowledge. This will enhance your career and make you a better writer at the same time.