So you’ve decided to look for freelance jobs and you hope it will be for writing. And you’d like these gigs to pay well.
While much of my advice is aimed at writers who are already freelancing, or entrepreneurs who need content marketing to advance their business, I know many people also wonder how on earth they could get paid to write.
I get this question a lot!
Case in point: “This is a loaded question, but how does one start freelance writing?”
I received this text a few weeks back from a teacher who’s thinking about starting a freelance writing side hustle. I thought I’d unpack my answer here.
Instead of focusing on how to start a freelance business, I’m going talk about how to find and land high-paying freelance jobs.
By the way, I was interviewed about this topic for the Publishing for Profit podcast.
If you’d like to see the video version it’s pretty much aligned with what I say below, although we meander a bit more.
Transcript: Robyn Roste | How to Become A Freelance Writer
Getting started: freelance jobs
You want to become a freelance writer? It all comes down to positioning.
- Figure out who you serve
- Nail down what you want to write
- Learn where your ideal clients are hanging out
- Find a way to meet these people—or get your work in front of them—so you can show them how you can solve their unique problem
A lot of people start their freelancing career by making a profile on marketplace sites like Upwork, Contently, Fiverr, etc.
Then they bid on jobs that are listed. If they get one they share their fee with that service.
While some people make a decent income from these sites I don’t like the model for a few reasons.
- It’s super competitive
- Fees are low
- It’s hard to make a name for yourself
- You don’t get all the money
How I started freelancing
I got my start from people coming to me and asking me to write for their sites or post on my blog about a certain product/company for money.
While this was flattering and fun, I didn’t have much control over anything because the company had recruited me and I was at the mercy of being discovered.
I had to write about what they wanted.
When I decided I wanted to up level my blog (and writing career) I realized that my online presence was super inconsistent.
My website was difficult to pitch to other companies for collaborations because it was random and for multiple industries. No niche, no focus, no point.
Once I got serious about being a freelance writer I got my assets into shape (website, blog, social media channels, everything) and started becoming the person I wanted others to see me as.
If you want to learn more about my story and how I figured out my positioning, read Branding Yourself: Choosing a Niche
The best way I’ve know how to make decent money as a freelancer is to go beyond general writing, choose a particular style/industry and go all in on that.
- Choose a specialty and then get a lot of clips (writing samples) in that area
- Instead of waiting for people to come to you or bidding on posted gigs, approach companies directly
- Make sure the companies you approach are industry-specific and have healthy marketing budgets for freelancers!
Want freelance jobs? Learn how to approach your target clients rather than wait for them to come to you
The writers I know who make a full-time living from freelancing? They aren’t successful because they wished to be a writer. They got clear on their positioning: who they write for and what they write.
Then they figured out where those people hang out and presented their message to them in a way that made it obvious it was a perfect match for what they were looking for.
This approach is a challenge but it’s better and there is less competition.
If you haven’t figured out your positioning and you’re prospecting, you likely won’t be finding much success. Why? Because you haven’t put your marketing message in front of the right people. How could you? You don’t know who they are or what they need.
Want freelance jobs? Figure out your positioning
Becoming a successful freelance writer comes from getting clear on who you serve, what you do and how you can solve your ideal client’s problem.
A tough pill to swallow, but if you want to make it as a freelancer in this crowded space, this is how you stand out.
This is how you transform from someone who wishes they were a paid professional to someone who gets paid a living wage to write.
It’s possible and realistic to become a successful freelance writer. You just need to put in the work (but maybe not the work you thought).
Other Freelance Writing Articles
- How to Find Great Freelance Writing Jobs
- How to Find Clients on LinkedIn
- Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Your Freelance Writing Business
One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.
This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.