When you research freelancing for beginners all sorts of tips and tricks pop up.
It’s a bit overwhelming, I know.
You wonder how people get started, how it works and if it’s possible to make a living writing.
Want to work from home as a freelance writer?
Freelancing for beginners
I landed my first freelance gig by accident. I had blogged for a while, for fun, and one day I received an email asking if I would help promote a movie by writing a preview on my blog. It paid $35.
By the way, if you’re curious what that looked like, here’s one of my first paid posts.
Because I didn’t understand, well, anything about freelance writing and didn’t know anyone who was freelancing I continued blogging for fun and taking freelance writing gigs as they came to me.
Over the years I became savvier and joined professional associations I thought would help me figure things out.
It has taken a while but the pieces are falling into place and I believe there are more opportunities than ever for people who want to get started freelance writing.
Don’t Let Technology Hold You Back
These days you can launch a blog or website in an afternoon, get YouTube famous with a couple viral hits and apply for remote gigs from your smartphone. So why not give it a shot?
Launching a successful freelance business is an entrepreneurial venture like any other, and requires a good deal of hard work, focus and discipline.
When you’re there, navigate to the freelancing category and download the “Freelancer Positioning Worksheet.”
Here are a few quick tips for getting started.
Four tips | Freelancing for beginners
1. Create a writing portfolio
When you don’t have experience it’s tough for potential clients to take a chance on you.
Writing samples are the freelance writing industry’s version of education and/or experience. In lieu of samples, consider writing blog posts and using those to demonstrate your skill until you build your portfolio.
Here are a few other ideas for getting writing samples for your portfolio.
- Offer to write for local charities
- Guest post on other websites
- Submit letters to your local newspaper
Anything that shows that you’re a capable writer is worth displaying in your writing portfolio.
Extra credit: As you gain experience, collect testimonials from clients. This will help build trust with future prospects.
2. Market yourself as a freelancer
Even if you land a retainer client on your first at-bat, consistently marketing your freelance business is one of the best things you can do.
When you’re just getting started, your marketing will be more outbound than inbound.
Think outreach, pitches, cold calls/emails, etc.
As you build your brand and establish yourself in your niche your marketing will be more inbound than outbound.
Think books, podcasts, interviews, referrals, etc.
Extra credit: I believe in the power of marketing to transform people’s careers and businesses. Here are three marketing ideas for writers who hate marketing.
3. Set up a website and optimize it for search engines
While you can certainly get started freelancing without having a website, this is an excellent way to put yourself out there.
Having a website also sets you up for inbound marketing, which is vital if you ever want to scale your business.
If you take time to optimize your website for specific keywords, you’ll increase your chances of prospective clients finding you.
If you’re looking for some SEO help, here are 6 simple steps to ranking well on Google.
Although it’s not mandatory to have a website before you can land a paying client, having even a simple site with your name and contact information on it will go a long way to giving you credibility and status.
Extra credit: Wondering what goes on your website? Here are essential freelance writer website elements.
Freelancing for beginners | Final tip
4. Turn up each day, and do the work, whether you feel like it or not
As writing can be seen as a creative job, people sometimes leave their work until inspiration strikes.
However, freelance writing is a job, not a creative exercise.
It’s important to turn up each day and do the work, whether you feel like it or not. In no time you’ll be on your way.
Extra credit: Setting goals and dreaming big is well and good but figuring out how to be productive even when you don’t feel like it is key to a thriving freelance business.
One more thing. You may be interested in 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.