The idea of working as a freelance writer sure sounds alluring. You have the freedom to set your own schedule, work your own hours, select your own clients and write about the topics you know and love from the comfort of your own lounge chair. What’s not to like? However the thought of becoming a freelance writer can be extremely daunting if you’re not sure where to begin. How do you get your name out there? Where do you find your first job? How will you ensure you make a profit? We’ve put together a few simple tips to help set you in the right direction and kick-start your freelancing career.
Find your Niche
As a writer, you’ll undoubtedly have a certain topic or genre you enjoy writing about the most. It’s the same for freelancer writers, who often specialise in writing within a chosen niche. To start formulating you own niche, select a few topics you’re interested in or have prior of knowledge on that’ll you’ll feel confident to write about. There’s no pressure to choose the ‘right’ topics straight up – you’ll find that your niche will naturally refine and develop as your freelance career progresses. The key is to simply you choose a starting point.
Create Sample Pieces
Freelancers need to pitch themselves for job advertisements or to prospective employers in order to source work. Just like any creative role, these employers will want to see evidence of your writing ability and/or experience if you are to land the job. If you’re completely to new to freelance writing and don’t have any prior work to include in your portfolio, here’s a few ways to create some winning sample pieces;
- Create a Blog: The easiest way to create samples is to write a few blogs posts within the niche you’d like to work. Blogs are also easily to link to when it comes to submitting applications or pitching for jobs.
- Personal Projects: If you don’t have any experience writing about a certain topic or for a desired format, why not create your own? Say you’d eventually like to write travel pieces for magazine – set yourself the task of road tripping to a town or national park you’re yet to visit and get writing!
- Guest Post: Offering to guest post on other blogs within your niche is a fantastic way to start creating a name and reputation for yourself. All you need to do is find a blog that sources guest contributors and pitch your post idea.
Create an online presence
In today’s digital age, maintaining an online presence is key in order to succeed in any freelance industry. This online presence should showcase your portfolio of work, explain your services, and provide an avenue for prospective clients to find and hire you. Thankfully, there are plenty of options available including social media sites like LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter as well as blog hosting sites such as Tumblr or WordPress. You can even go as far as creating your own website with platforms such as Wix and Squarespace allowing those without any coding experience to build their own. Be sure to include your title (i.e. what type of writer are you?) to clearly identify what you do and visibly display your contact information.
Network with other freelance writers
Other freelance writers can be a fantastic resource if you have any questions or are looking for extra advice. Social media makes reaching out to these writers easy – all you need to do is comment on a blog or Facebook post to spark conversation.
Send a few cold pitches
Have a dream company you’d love to write for? Even if they’re not advertising for writers, you can still take the initiative to send them your work and pitch your brilliant ideas. You never know, they might just call on you when they’re next in need of new writer.
Invest in a Course
When you’re new to something, learning from an expert can be extremely helpful, especially if they were once in your position. If you’re looking for an insider’s guide to freelance writing and how to you can combine this career avenue with your other commitments (like study or a full time job), come along to our ‘Sustaining Yourself as a Part-Time Writer’ seminar on Jan 20.
Finally, best of luck with your freelance endeavours! The writing world is truly your oyster.