Updated in September 2020 to remain up to date and accurate.
To understand how to become a freelance writer, we need to look at a brief history of freelance writing.
Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and Sean started Location Rebel, the easiest way to get into freelance writing was via something called SEO writing.
It was writing short 300-500 word articles that had a keyword in it for some company that was hoping to rank for that keyword. Hence the name, SEO (search engine optimization) writing.
But, Google got smart to that and decided that just blasting the interwebs with heaps of mediocre writing wasn’t the best way to go about things.
So, over the years, SEO writing has petered out. Yes, you can certainly still find people offering jobs for it on sites like UpWork, but for the most part, this isn’t the best way to get paid for freelance writing anymore.
Today, if you want to be a freelance writer and succeed at it, you’re going to be better off taking a different approach. This one doesn’t have to you stuck in low paying SEO writing jobs until the end of time.
Instead, you can start earning a real living wage writing about topics you like for clients you enjoy.
In this post, we’re going to tell you how to work as a freelance writer right now, in 2021.
So grab a snack and get ready to dig in.
How to Become a Freelance Writer in 2021 and Beyond
Understanding the Types of Freelance Writing
Once you start looking into how to become a freelance writer, one of the first things you’ll probably notice just how many types of freelance writing there are out there.
Tons of stuff falls under the idea of ‘freelance writing.’
I know it can be a bit much, right?
Let’s clear that up first.
As a beginner, you’re going to see all sorts of examples of freelance writing, including:
- SEO writing
- Technical writing
- B2B writing
And that’s just the start.
The cool thing about freelance writing is there are so many possibilities for you to get started. That’s not only because there are so many different styles of writing, but there are so many niches to write in too.
Let’s cover each of these real quick, beyond SEO writing, which we touched on above. If you are still interested, you can learn more about SEO writing.
What is Blogging?
This is sort of the standard-issue freelance writing, also known as content writing or content marketing writing, of the web.
When you think of writing for a blog, this one (hello!) could come to mind, or your favorite marketing blog or the comic book review blog you love to read after a new issue of Thor comes out.
All of those are blogs, and many blogs pay writers to create content for them.
So as someone starting, blogging is a great opportunity — no blogging is not dead. That’s where I began once I left SEO writing, and it’s most of what I do now.
The confusing thing about writing for blogs is that it covers a massive swath of sites. You can blog for Location Rebel or QuickSprout or Farmers Insurance or Disney.
Your nana might have a blog, but big multi-national corporations have blogs too. And the pay difference between nana’s blog and Disney’s is going to be pretty big.
No offense, nana.
So when you get started, you can pick where you want to dive into blogging based on your experience, work history, skill sets, and writing chops.
More on that later.
What is Copywriting?
Copywriting is another popular form of freelance writing. This typically pays more because it’s closer to where the money is, i.e., people buying.
That’s a pretty good rule of thumb when it comes to freelance writing, by the way. The closer your writing is to getting someone to buy a product or service, the more you’re likely to get paid for it.
Copywriting also takes more practice than blogging. It involves sales skills and a more specialized type of persuasive writing, so that’s worth more money as well.
Beginners can get into copywriting. Your immediate success will depend on how naturally it comes to you and your desire to learn. So it might take a bit longer.
More Copywriting Resources:
- What is Copywriting and How to Become a Copywriter – A great overview if you’re just getting started.
- 5 Weird Ways to Land Copywriting Jobs (that actually work!) – Learning how to get creative with your marketing is one of the hallmarks of being a successful freelance copywriter, these tips will help.
- How Copywriting Made Me a Million Dollars: 5 Copywriting Tips – These are the 5 aspects of copywriting that helped Sean to make over a million dollars in my career directly from copywriting.
What is Technical Writing?
Technical writing is all about documenting processes. You’ll see a lot of technical writing in engineering and IT. It used to be very heavy on writing out things like user manuals for equipment, systems, and parts.
Yea, it doesn’t exactly sound sexy. BUT it’s a specialty of writing that is growing, and if you can do it, you’re going to be in pretty good shape.
Today, technical writing is a bit broader; it can cover reports and summaries and white papers, for example. And it can also hit on a lot of other topics like software and social media too. So if you’re someone with a bit of technical experience and very good at details, it might be something to explore.
What is B2B Writing?
I’ve written a long post on how to get into B2B writing specifically, so I won’t go too deep here. But B2B writing is more business-oriented. This sort of writing revolves around businesses talking to other companies.
Location Rebel’s blog is a B2C, business to consumer site. We are the business, and you are the consumer. Whereas Xerox (or any of your favorite office supply brands) will have a division that writes content that speaks to other businesses who are their customers and buy their products for their offices.
You can start with any of these types of writing, and frankly, a lot blend into each other. You can be a B2B blogger or B2B copywriter just as you can blog for a technical software company too.
As another resource, I’d also check out Jennifer Gregory’s blog on writing. Beyond this site, it’s my personal favorite. (You can learn a bunch from her book too, which I’ve recommended on a number of LRA Office Hours calls).
Alright, you’re here because you want to know how to do freelance writing, so let’s get started.
Why You Should Consider Freelance Writing
With so many different types of online businesses out there, why do we believe freelance writing is truly the best way to go?
How to Get Started as a Freelance Writer
Woah, you didn’t think I was going to tell you to hop on UpWork and go for it, did you?
It’s like you don’t know me at all. Because if you do know one thing about me, it’s that I LOVE researching before I start anything.
Research is what got me to the level of making good money each month as a freelance writer. Not doing research and just applying to any and every writing job online got me about three years of wanting to smash my head against a wall — and not a ton of money either.
My advice to start is going to be similar to what you’ll see in our B2B writing post, but we’ll dig a bit more into the weeds here.
Step 1: Take Inventory of Your Current Skills
We get a lot of people in LRA, especially when they first join, who like to ignore all those excellent skills they’ve already built before they thought about jumping out on their own.
I did this too.
Don’t do this.
The easiest way to start is by tapping into a topic or skill set you already know.
My work experience before I did my own thing was in corporate finance. I worked in mutual funds and hedge funds, doing pricing, accounting, and risk management. In college, I also did an extended three year internship with a financial advisor, so I knew about the market, retirement investment, and asset allocation.
The smart Liz of today would say, “whew girl, with that experience, you should start by looking at financial writing.” (When the non-smart Liz of 5 years ago was thinking about becoming a freelance writer she did not do that, so let’s ignore her).
Sounds like a good plan, smart Liz, let’s do it.
So think about what you know. Use your life, work, software, or tools you know how to use, educational experience, your volunteer experiences, your hobbies, make a big list, and see what pops up.
Here are some other places you can look to get the juices flowing.
Action step: make this list. To start, it’s ok to include everything and anything that comes to mind.
Then, start to narrow things down a bit.
- Where do you have the most experience?
- Where do you have the most expertise?
- Do you enjoy anything on the list?
- Can this industry pay? (some industries pay better than others)
- If I had to pick one thing to write 1,000 words on today, what would it be?
Before you start to panic, you are not picking a life partner here.
You are just picking something to get started, and it’s a lot easier to start with something you have experience. As you build up your business, it’s fine to tweak your niche and direction. I tweak all the time.
If you are a wiz at QuickBooks but you want to write about crypto, that’s ok. You can dive into writing about how to use QuickBooks and on the side, learn about crypto, then make a switch.
The key here is to start getting focused on a few areas where you can succeed early.
With all of that said, if you don’t have a specific expertise, it’s 100% ok to start out as a generalist.
Step 2: Choose a Freelance Writing Niche
In my experience, the earlier you can get into a niche, the better. And if you can ‘own’ your category down the road, well it’s even better than that.
I’ll admit that I haven’t even done a great job of niching down enough, that’s ok for now, but it’s something I’m working on as I cover more topics in finance.
Sean offers advice I like on this, which is to find an industry first and then a niche within a niche in that industry.
It looks like this:
Here are some examples:
Financial services –>B2B –>I write for SaaS budgeting tools
Health –> Sleep –> I write for sleep technology brands
Movies –> Movie reviews –> I write movie reviews about animated superhero movies
When you step back and look at things through a wide lens as a freelance writer, it helps to keep what your ideal customer is looking for in mind.
This is important to think about, so actually do this.
A company that sells workers’ comp insurance is going to want a writer in that industry or who knows about it. They are not interested in the person who writes about comic books or sleep technology.
Here are a few good niches to think about:
- Financial services: let’s face it, there’s money in money, and you can cover a ton of different topics ranging from personal finance to cryptocurrencies
- Insurance: here’s another one that has money floating around and there are many different areas to get into
- Technology: add tech to any niche, and you’re going to find lots of opportunities — sleep tech, pet tech (yes this is a thing), hospitality tech, health tech, fintech, insurtech, you name it
- Hospitality: This goes beyond travel blogs (though keep those on the list too) hotels, rental cars, apps, tourist boards, airlines, travel insurance, luggage, are all involved here also
- Health: There are about a million ways you can dig into health from the medical side, I know quite a few former nurses who make good money freelancing, to fitness, diet, training products, and more
Think outside the box.
I find most people all focus on the same few industries and ignore a ton of potential possibilities.
I just highlighted this inside the Location Rebel Academy forums recently. Here’s a sneak peek, don’t tell Sean I let you see the good stuff.
And here are our six favorite freelance writing job boards for finding high-quality work.
Step 3: Research Your Niche
Once you start settling into a niche, start researching.
Here’s how to do it.
Go to Google and type in a niche + writer and see what pops up.
See what brands, stories, and blogs are out there already. Also, see who is writing for these niches.
This is a straightforward way to get a feel of what’s happening in the niche you’re interested in.
PS I told you there was such a thing as PetTech!
If you find a niche where there are a bunch of writers, this is good news; it means the industry is paying.
Action step: Make a big list of places and people in your niche.
This is where you are going to start pulling your potential client base from as you get started.
So make your life easier now and add whatever you find to a spreadsheet as you come across them. You can always cut later.
How to Think About Your Freelance Writing Clients
As you dig into your niche, you also want to start thinking about your potential clients too. Here’s how to approach figuring out what clients you want to work with.
Step 4: Create a Target Client
When I say target client (or buyer persona or ideal client), I mean the ideal person or brand you want to work with.
If you’re feeling stuck, ask yourself these questions about them:
- Who are they?
- What do they do?
- What problems do they need help solving?
Here’s what it looks like in action.
You can use the above image to fill in information about your ideal target audience. This works for both B2C and B2B.
Let’s use an example:
You want to write about smart homes.
Who is your ideal client?
- Someone who has a bit of expendable income and loves the technology they are what’s considered early adopters. They want to be connected at all times to their homes through their smartwatch or phone. They love using voice technology to get answers to questions or help when they are cooking.
Ok, so what types of products do they use?
- Smart home speakers (Google Home, Alexa, etc. )
Where do they get information online?
- Smart home forums
- Wired magazine, Cnet, TechHive
- Chatting with friends
- Tech events
What problems do they need help solving?
- What’s the best product out there?
- What works with the operating systems/configurations I already have?
- What has cool features that will impress my friends?
Where can I write about this?
- Product blogs
- Trade magazines
- Industry sites
What type of writing can I do for this?
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Thought pieces (these can often be ghostwritten for the CEO or other executives)
- Guides on how to use the products
- Product descriptions
- Website copy
- Sales emails
- Facebook ads
- Video scripts
These are all examples; if you were into smart homes and that tech, you could probably write at least 5-10 bullet points for each.
Action step: Start building an ideal customer persona.
Do you see how you can start niching in multiple ways here?
You can niche within an industry, a product, and even a medium.
That can turn you into someone who says, “I write about tech.” to someone who says, “I write video scripts that sell smart home speakers.”
Now, if you were a company looking to hire someone to help sell more speakers, who sound like the person you’d want to hire?
The point of this exercise is to help you not only figure out who you want to write for but who isn’t a good fit.
I’ve learned over time that it’s just as important to say no to the wrong clients as it is to say yes to the right clients.
The wrong clients (and when I say wrong, I don’t mean bad, I mean not in your target audience or niche) can lead you astray. You want to build a stair step to success and making good money, and for every client not in your targeted focus, you lose a step.
Over time, as I’ve gotten more focused on my niche, I’ve been able to say no to clients that I would have gobbled up in the past.
So now, armed with your ideal target audience, let’s start digging into how to work as a freelance writer.
How to Get Work as a Freelance Writer
Ok, now we’re getting to the meat of things.
If potential clients can’t find you, then they can’t hire you.
So let’s get found.
Step 5: Create a Freelance Writer Website
First, you want to get a website up and running. Here’s how to do that.
Your freelance writing website is going to be your home base. You want to use it as a way for potential clients to find out a little bit more about you, check out your writing samples, and hire you.
A lot of people who are trying to get started in freelance writing get stuck at this step. They make the website way more complicated than it needs to be, and that derails them from going anywhere.
Don’t let this happen to you.
It’s ok for your site to be basic at first; in fact, it’s better. It’s also ok to use a blog as a way to create some samples if you’re starting from scratch. Anything you put on your website today can be fixed tomorrow.
I schedule time in my calendar to update my website every quarter. Sometimes, I’ll add a few sentences, and occasionally I’ll re-write the entire time. As I’ve gotten better clients and more focused on my niche, I make updates.
Pep talk over. Learn how to think about a freelance portfolio right here.
Action step: Start building your freelance writing website.
If you don’t have the funds to get a website up right now or you know you’re going to get lost and frustrated, a simple, quick fix is to set up an online portfolio.
The following sites let you put up free portfolios (some of them will limit the number of pieces you can put up for free):
Each of these is a quick fix to get to show your work professionally.
And looking for a good checklist of everything to include on your portfolio website? Here you go:
Reading more your thing? Here’s our 17 Point Freelance Portfolio Site Checklist.
Step 6: Sign up for Professional Content Sites
There are some content sites out there that do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. You can sign up to them for free, post your pieces, and if your profile dings the special algorithm, then you get matched with a potential client.
I’ve written quite a bit about Contently; you can read more about it here.
These sites are great for beginners because you don’t have to do very much at all in the way of marketing. The clients are connected with you. And you’ll typically have an editor who will be the person that is the connection between you and the client.
Keep in mind; these aren’t the only places to start.
Here’s a massive list of the best freelance platforms to check out. It should only take a few minutes to go down this list, identify the platforms that will be a good fit for you, and start signing up for them. Remember, the more places you get signed up, the better your chances of getting freelance writing work.
I’ve worked on a bunch of projects on Contently, and one on Skyword, and only in one case did I work directly with the client. For the rest, my editor (who is awesome, which helps) serves as the main point of contact.
The negative with these sites is you have to wait to be found. There is no feature for you to go in and search for available jobs. You have to post your content, make sure you’re hitting the right keywords in your profile and descriptions.
So fire up your Marvel Movies re-watch and see how many movies it takes (you have over 21 to go) until you get picked by a client.
Step 7: Contact Marketing Agencies
Another way to go through a middleman is to work directly with agencies. In this case, they do most of the marketing and finding the client and leave you to do the writing.
You won’t get a full fee like you do if you’re out on your own, but for a lot of people, the tradeoff is worth it.
Here are some more prominent agencies that work with freelance writers:
Once you apply to those hop on Google and do a search for agencies and send them some cold emails — follow this checklist before you click submit.
I like to start with local agencies, that gives you a bit of an automatic connection.
You can use an email just like this one:
I recently moved to Portland and wanted to connect with some local agencies. I’ve written for brands primarily in the finance and insurance industries, including Company 1, Company 2, and Company 3.
I saw on your site that you do work with freelancers, so here I am! I’m happy to work on a per-project basis, and my rates are $xxx/hr.
You can find my portfolio here.
With my approach, it’s not so much a pitch but an introduction. If you’re not new to an area, that’s fine; just tweak it and make it work for you.
And then for the follow-up, I will do something like this:
- 1 <– Link to a new article
Simple and to the point.
PS You can use emails just like this as your cold intros to potential clients too.
Once you have contacted the agencies in your city or town, spread out to your region, and then the country.
Beyond Google, check out big lists like these and go through the agencies one by one:
- Clutch.co Agency List
- Themanifest.com Agency List
- Digitalagencynetwork.com Agency List
- Upcity.com Agency List
There are tens of thousands of agencies in those lists. So you have no excuse to say you can’t find places to start sending emails.
Step 8: Use Social Media Effectively
I love Twitter, but I am terrible at using it for business.
I post far too many gifs and yell about the Real Housewives or the NBA or who should NOT die in Game of Thrones (answer: Brienne of Tarth) to be able to use it to network with potential clients.
Probably something I should work on?
On the other hand, I do know quite a few writers who see a ton of success on Twitter. This is especially true of writers who focus on writing for magazines, trade publications, and other similar sites.
If this is the type of freelance writing you want to do, be on the lookout for posts like this:
Lots of freelancers can tap into social media and use it to connect directly with editors, so that is probably something you might want to explore too.
Tapping into LinkedIn
However, there is one social media site I really love for
stalking finding potential clients, and that’s LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is my go-to social media channel for prospecting for new freelance writing clients. Here’s how to get started with LinkedIn.
Once you’ve created a LinkedIn profile, you can follow how I use it:
- Find a company I think would be a good target in my niche.
- Check out their blog and website.
- I pop over to LinkedIn and then click on ‘jobs.’ Sometimes you’ll get lucky, and they might be looking for a freelancer if not…
- Click ‘people.’ This gives you a list of all the people who work at that company
- Do a quick scan for anyone who has marketing or content in their title
- I click to connect, and then in the note, I send an introduction
🚨 Now here’s where things can go off the rails. 🚨
Do NOT use LinkedIn to pitch yourself off the bat.
We talk a lot, I mean endlessly, about bad pitches and the things you should not do. You can apply all that stuff to LinkedIn and social media in general, too.
Here is an exact example of an introduction I sent recently to the content manager of a site I think is great and falls right in my target niche:
Hi X, I was reading the “Company name” blog and came across your name. Would love to connect, I’m a freelance writer and have been working with some finance and insurance brands like Client 1, Client 2, and Client 3. I thought I’d reach out and say hello. Have a great weekend. – Liz [If you have space here add your email or website URL to make it really easy to connect]
That is it.
Note I did not ask for a job or go on about myself.
I wanted to connect because this person is a good writer on both this blog and a few others I found while I was internet stalking them. And lucky for me, now they are in charge of content for a good company in my niche. So in life, I’d like to connect if it leads to a writing assignment, even better.
Action step: Create a LinkedIn profile.
See how my note looks suspiciously similar to those emails I shared above?
If you’ve been thinking that after sending dozens of different types of these emails, I’ve hit on a couple of winning formulas that work better than others, you would be right.
When I take this approach and not slide into their messages all thirsty for work, I get a far better response rate. Part of that, of course, is because I put in the time to research on the front end.
How to be a Paid Freelance Writer
When it comes to getting found online, some of the best advice I can give you is to think from your prospective client’s point of view.
So that means think about what they are looking for when they want to hire a writer (i.e., someone who knows this subject, can deliver solid work on time, and isn’t a huge PITA).
It also means you need to think about what they are typing into search boxes on Google and LinkedIn and other places. What key terms are they looking for? Make sure you highlight those in all of your profiles.
Search engine optimization isn’t just for search engines anymore!
Step 9: Marketing Your Freelance Writing Business
Dun, dun, dun….this is the part of freelancing that people don’t like.
When I used to see “marketing” on the top of my to-do list, I usually reacted similar to this:
So I feel where you are right now. For a lot of people, this sort of thing just doesn’t come naturally.
A lot of that is confidence.
But that doesn’t let you off the hook!
You can learn how to embrace marketing. I know, because I’ve done it. Now when I see marketing on my to-do list I’m all:
Keep reading, and I’m going to turn you from Ellaria Sand watching the Mountain squish Oberyn’s eyeballs out of his head scared to Maverick is ready to buzz the tower cool as a cucumber marketer.
Here are the straight facts: marketing consistently is vital to your success as a freelance writer.
Because guess what?
When you work for yourself, you are in the sales business. You have to sell yourself and your skills all the damn time at the start. Then, hopefully, you’ll start getting more people who come to you through referrals and word of mouth, and you won’t have to sell quite as much.
But at the end of the day remember this: no one and I mean this, no one is going to market for you. You have to do it yourself.
Building Your Marketing Mix
Ed Gandia has a great concept that I use a modified version of which is called a Marketing Mix.
Ed lists a bunch of tasks that fall under marketing including:
- Cold emails
- Follow up emails
- Letters of introduction
- Updating website/portfolio
- Updating LinkedIn
- Tapping into your network
- Connecting with other freelancers
- Content marketing
- Going to conferences/meetups
- Connecting with agencies
What he then suggests is to do a couple of these each week as a Marketing Mix.
In my life, I block out a couple of times a week to do marketing. I used to do one big blog, and that was a hot mess for me, so now I break it down into 3-4 blocks of about an hour every week.
That way, it doesn’t feel overwhelming, and you can get into the habit of doing a little bit every day, so it becomes just a part of your schedule and doesn’t feel like it’s hanging over you.
So as you start creating lists of potential clients to target or sites you want to write for, build a list. Then when it’s time to start doing your marketing tasks, you can work off of that.
So when I say marketing, here’s what I do (and maybe you should too):
- Create a spreadsheet for my marketing tasks; I track it all using Airtable
- Schedule time in your calendar that is devoted to just marketing
- Send out whatever combo of the marketing mix you’re working on that day and note it in your spreadsheet
- Look at previous tasks (you might want to check your email for this) and send follow-ups to all prior pitches and contacts
- Send new story ideas to current clients
So that’s the active stuff.
Then at the end of every week, I have another spreadsheet where I track the outcomes of all my outreach activities.
I see what cold emails got responses and what pitches to current clients got accepted and how much money I made from them.
That way, I can see what’s working and double down on that and where there are easy ways to fix gaps in what I’m doing.
Action step: Set time aside each week, put it in your calendar, and devote it to marketing yourself until it becomes second nature and just what you do.
I try to focus during my marketing block on stuff that is going to result in getting clients, so reading stuff does not count, but sliding into an editor’s DMs and introducing myself does.
You can also work on your own content as a part of marketing too (BUT don’t do that to avoid outreach) as well as getting on podcasts, being interviewed, writing stuff in a regional business journal to build your local profile, and so on.
Step 10: Figuring Out Your Freelance Writing Rates
Ok, so let’s say you followed all the advice up above and holy guacamole, it worked!
You have a potential client who came back to you. They are in your niche, they want to work together, and they asked you what your rates are to write for them.
Except, this is the part where a lot of people start stage two of freaking out.
In my experience, two big problems give people anxiety when it comes to pricing:
- There is no ‘standard’ rate system
- They are worried about overcharging when they are undercharging consistently
Setting rates is a very personal thing.
The rates that work for me might not work for you, and that’s because there are just a ton of factors involved.
It depends on your expenses, experience, cost of living, and all sorts of things that make it hard for me to say, ok, charge $250 for that 1,000 word post.
In this post, I cover a really basic and easy way to figure out your freelance writing rates.
It’s not perfect, but it’s a good way to start.
Here are some additional tips you need to keep in mind as you start getting more freelance writing clients:
- Have a baseline rate that you won’t go below
- Continually raise your prices as you get new clients
- You’re probably undercharging in most cases
- It’s ok to turn down clients who aren’t willing to pay your rate
- Be confident in your skills and expertise
The main thing out of that list that I’d highlight is having a baseline floor rate. Even though I don’t charge by the word but by the project, I’ve figured out essentially what my bottom line per word rate is to make a project work.
Action step: Figure out your baseline writing rate (and stick to it).
I have this number written down on a post-it note that sits on my desk. Anytime I get an offer to write, I compare the rate to my post-it note number. If it’s below that, I counter offer at a higher price. If they say no, I walk away and find the next opportunity.
I spent a lot of time when I was first writing undercharging myself. I honestly didn’t realize people could get hundreds or thousands of dollars for freelance writing work until I started connecting with higher level writers who did.
Fast forward to today, where I’ve gotten over $1,500 a pop for a single post. And I’m not talking about epic 5,000-10,000 word posts here just standard issue long-form stuff (much shorter than this post, for example).
That’s a long way from my first client, who paid me $10 for 500 word posts.
Step 11: Consider Additional Beneficial Skills You Can Learn
Obviously knowing how to write is the most important component to becoming a successful freelance writer.
But what many people fail to realize, is how beneficial it can be to learn other complimentary skill sets.
A great example is search engine optimization.
If you know the fundamentals of SEO, and can make your content search engine friendly – that will give you a huge leg up over your writing competition.
Think about it, what is the point of most online content these days?
It’s to generate search traffic.
So if you develop SEO skills to go along with your writing, not only are you making yourself more valuable to your client, but you’re also making it easier to get work and charge more money because of your increased skillset.
See more about why learning SEO as a freelance writer can be so beneficial.
Why You Need to Think Like a Business
It took me a long time to get into the right mindset about running a business. I’m still working on it, and I pay a bunch of my hard earned freelancer dollars to an excellent business coach who helps me get out of my head and take action.
This is what you need to do, too — except you don’t have to pay me anything (except maybe your eternal gratitude when you become a freelance writer).
One of the biggest keys to success in growing your business is to stop thinking of yourself as ‘just’ a blogger and instead as a small business owner.
When you think like a business, you start to run your shit like a business. And that means getting a focus, attracting the right clients in that area, and getting them to pay you real dollars (not $.10 a word) for the content you create.
In reality, becoming a paid freelance writer is not rocket science. It just takes focus and consistency.
Once you start making money from freelance writing, it helps you shift your mindset.
The me who was making $.05 a word and the me who makes $1 a word are in two very different mental places. A big part of that hinged on building the confidence that I could be a writer and make real money. To do that, I had to bust out of my shell, get focused, and start marketing myself as a serious business owner.
To make it in this business, you need to do the same.
A Few More Pieces of Advice (Things I’ve Learned from 5 Years of Being a Freelance Writer)
This post gave you the general outlines of how to get started with freelance writing. But I’ve learned a thing or two about how to make a site a success early on.
These are a collection of posts I’d recommend reading to help you with the dig even deeper. Read these, and you’ll learn more about how to get your freelance writing business up and running.
Learn How to Write
- The EXACT 10 Steps You Need to Learn How to Become a Writer – A big part of being a freelance writer is uh, writing. Use this post to learn how to write.
- The Best Writing Tools For Becoming a Freelance Writer – We’ve got all the tools you need to help you start up a writing practice and make sure your writing is pretty good too.
- How to Write Every Day – Speaking of learning how to write every day, here’s what you need to do.
Different Types of Freelance Writing
- Want To Be A B2B Writer? Here’s Everything You Need To Start – If you’re going to focus more on B2B writing, this is an in-depth post that covers exactly how to do it.
- How To Make $150+ Per Hour as a Freelance Blogger (And Why That’s Not Good Enough) – As I said, blogging is a great way to get into freelance writing, this post covers a lot on blogging.
- How to Make $3,000 in Two Months with SEO Writing – Some people still dig SEO writing as an easy way to bring in some money each month; if that’s you check out this post.
Here’s More on How to Make a Freelance Writing Site
- The ONE Thing Your Freelance Writing Website MUST Have to Get Clients – You want more clients? Then make sure you do this with your freelance writing website.
- How to Start a Blog in 2021 (Step by Step Guide) – This post shows you how to get a site up and running step by step.
- 17 Point Checklist for Your Freelance Services Website – Think your site is looking good? Check out this checklist, and you can make sure you get all the essential stuff that matters.
- How to Build an Online Portfolio That Actually Gets You Work – Having a quality portfolio is a key part of freelance writing, this post shows you how to display your work.
- Contently Review: A Killer Portfolio Tool for Freelance Writers – If you can’t get your website going, Contently is a great (free) option to start.
- Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners: 10 solid strategies for landing your very first client.
How to Become a Freelance Writer (That Gets PAID)
- Freelance Writing Jobs Online: Over 100 Places to Find Writing Work – Ready to start looking for freelance writing work? Start right here.
- How to Figure Out Your Freelance Writing Rates – This post will give you a simple way to figure out how much you should get paid for your work.
- 12 Strategies to Find More Freelance Work – Need to find more clients? This post has a bunch of strategies to help you.
- How to Find More Freelance Writing Clients: 10 Things You Must Do – Do these ten things, and you’re going to get more clients.
- How to Get Your FIRST Freelance Client: 10 Easy Strategies – Still looking to land that very first client? This post walks you through exactly how to do that.
- 10 Tips for the New Freelancer – Basic things to remember as you’re getting started in your new freelancing journey.
How to Build Good Marketing Habits
- Freelancing Advice: 15 Valuable Lessons You Should Learn – Want some of my biggest lessons from years of freelance writing? Check out this post.
- How to Send a Cold Pitch Email (And Why Most People are TERRIBLE at it) – You need to get good at sending emails; this is where you can start to learn how.
- The Ultimate Cold Email Checklist – Once you’ve got your cold emails set, run them through this checklist.
- Want to Start a New Habit? Here are 5 Easy Ways to Build Habits – A big part of marketing is making it a habit; this is how you can start slowly and build up.
- Is it Worth Building an Email List as a Freelance Writer? – The answer might surprise you.
Final Thoughts on Getting Started Freelance Writing
Alright, you made it!
Yes, that was a lot of information, but if you’ve gotten this far, you should have an excellent idea of how to become a freelance writer. And you can start right now.
Go through each of the steps and follow the tips and advice. You’re going to be able to get your freelance writing business up and running in no time.
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