Have you dreamed about being a freelance writer? The perks are obvious: You can work at your own pace remotely, choose clients, and earn a respectable living while doing what you love. It is a great choice for working parents and can be done full-time or part-time. Some freelance gigs are also temporary, so there are also opportunities for taking on more work during the holidays and slowing things down in the summer. The big question focuses on finding work as a beginner – how can you do this and become a successful freelance writer?
Finding Work as a Beginner
To attract clients, you are going to have to actively sell your services; it is unlikely that creating a website and sitting back to wait will get you any nibbles. Elna Cain discusses “cold pitching,” whether it be to companies, small businesses or bloggers. You could search for businesses that don’t have blogs and deliver them a pitch. This should include who you are, how you learned about them and how your writing can help them. And don’t just look on websites; there are many leads to be found on social media as well.
There are also freelance writing job boards, which have lists of job opportunities posted by businesses and entrepreneurs. Many of the posts have starting rates, while others request that the writers provide their rates. Many of these boards are free, so you don’t even have to pay anything to use them. Cain likes All Freelance Writing Job Board, Blogging Pro and Problogger. Twitter is also a great place for finding work as a beginner.
Volunteering your services will not result in a paycheck, but it can help forge strong connections with potential clients. The company you volunteer your freelance writing for could decide to hire you later on; your posts will also be visible to (hopefully) larger audiences. Seek out companies that you would like to write for someday, and make your pitch – they may be very open to using you as a guest blogger. Also build yourself up to family members, friends, and anyone else who could put in a good wood for you. You can seek out business networking groups too, and it isn’t a bad idea to print out some business cards to take with you to meetings.
Other Tips for New Freelance Writers
The Daily Campus has even more recommendations for nabbing new clients; they mention the Upwork job platform and stress the importance of having a writing portfolio. If you’re just starting out, try to accumulate some freelance writing experience, or include writing you have done for a previous employer. You can also create your own portfolio website, and submit it when applying for work. Don’t know how to create this kind of website? Look for a local WordPress Meetup group, and ask for help.
You can also search for freelancer blogs that talk about ways to find new work. Look on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter and you will have no problems finding people who are happy to share their advice. There are also many forums where you can ask questions about freelancing opportunities. For example, freelance blogs are a great source of information for freelancers about how to get started. Remember to be professional at all times, even if they are condescending or impolite. It is just like applying for a regular job, and not everyone you reach out to will be responsive or helpful.
Are There Cons to Being a Freelance Writer?
Before you plunge into this way of working, take a few moments to consider some of the cons of being a freelance writer. The Write Life points out that even if you can get a few long-term clients, they can stop sending you work without any warning. Freelance writing is not the most stable occupation, since you can be overloaded with work one month and have almost nothing the next. This means that you might not have a steady paycheck, so don’t spend your money as fast as you earn it.
Freelance writers are usually hired as independent contractors, so they are not eligible to receive healthcare benefits or 401(k) plans in most cases. Paid vacation and sick days are also not part of the picture, but you may be able to make the time up by working nights and weekends. That is another con by the way unless you don’t mind working outside of the normal 9 to 5 workday.
Freelance writers also deal with deadlines, which can be as short as 24 hours in some cases. If you don’t think you can handle that, look for other clients. Different kinds of work come with longer deadlines, so you won’t have all that pressure on your shoulders. Remember, once you get some experience you will be able to pick and choose your clients much easier. Once your freelance writing business takes off, you can hire someone to help you with your bookkeeping too! Good luck!