How to start a career as a freelance writer

All the tips and tricks you need to become a successful, self-employed writer.

How to start a career as a freelance writer
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Do you have a deep affinity for writing and dream of embarking on an independent career? Copywriting is one of the most rewarding paths for those passionate about words.
Not only does it give you flexibility and creative control, but it also has countless possibilities to collaborate with people around the globe. But getting your foot in the door can be difficult if you need help knowing where to start.
This blog post compiles advice on how to get ahead as an independent copywriter: evolve your abilities, create a professional (or just clear) portfolio, track down clients, promote yourself, and more!
Whether you want to expand your current business — this guide offers all the advice you need to become a successful freelancer. Let's begin!

Why freelance writing is lucrative and rewarding

Remote writing is a lucrative and rewarding career for many reasons. It offers great flexibility in terms of where you work when you work, and who you work with. Remote freelance copywriters can earn a good income by charging clients per project or word.
Moreover, freelance writing allows people to pursue their passions and interests while getting paid for doing what they love.
Writing about markets and topics that excite them can help freelancers stay motivated and engaged in their work.
Also, freelancing allows artists to build meaningful relationships with clients worldwide, enhancing personal growth and professional development.

How to become a freelancer

Learn about different types of writing and niches to determine what interests you. Then, practice and develop your skills.
Create a portfolio showcasing your best work and any relevant education or experience. Once you have samples to show your abilities, begin seeking out paying clients through job boards and networking.
Remember to market yourself effectively and always deliver high-quality work to establish a strong reputation in the field.

1. Research the freelance writing industry

Before diving into the freelance and remote writing world, it's important to research the industry thoroughly. Discover what writing services are in demand and which niches pay well.
Find out what clients want and how much they spend on job boards and freelance websites.
Additionally, familiarize yourself with standard rates for different types of projects so you can price your services competitively.
Researching the industry will help determine if freelancing is right for you and give you a good foundation as you build your career.

2. Build writing skills and tools

You must build your writing skills and tools to become a successful freelance artist. Writing skills cannot be learned in one day; it requires patience and practice. You must hone your grammar, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, and style.
One way of improving your writing skill is by taking online courses or workshops on grammar, business writing, creative writing, or copywriting. Invest in books about writing techniques as well.
Once you have developed the right set of skills for freelance writing success, take some time to invest in the proper tools, such as a device with an internet connection and software programs like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, that will aid you during research and content product stages.

3. Create a writing portfolio

As a freelance writer, you must develop a portfolio showcasing your work to potential clients and demonstrating your skills. Start with five to ten of your strongest pieces representing your writing style and interests.
Ensure your portfolio includes various formats, such as blog posts, articles, web copy, or product descriptions. You can also add testimonials from previous clients if you have them.
A well-crafted writing portfolio helps establish trust with potential clients and sets you apart from other writers who may still need one.

4. Find your first paying client

Finding your very first paying client can be daunting as a new freelancer. The good news is that there are several ways to land your initial gig.
First, look for job postings on freelance sites or social media groups. Another option is to reach out directly to businesses and offer your services. You can also consider guest posting on established blogs to get exposure and build credibility.
Remember, building relationships with clients takes time and effort. Keep applying for writing jobs regularly, and keep going if you face rejections initially. With persistence and hard work, you will eventually secure your first paid freelance writing project!

5. Market your writing

It's time to market your writing services once you have compiled your artist portfolio and found your first paying client. Inform your clients about your writing services by displaying your writing samples on your blog or website.
To connect with potential clients, use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Additionally, reach out to businesses in industries that interest you and pitch them how your writing skills can benefit their company. Attend networking events or conferences related to those industries to meet new contacts and expand your network.
Remember that consistency is key when marketing yourself as a freelancer. Stay active online and continue pitching potential clients regularly.

6. Scale your freelance writing business

Once you have established your contract copywriting business and built a strong client base, it's time to consider scaling up. Scaling means increasing the size or scope of your business, which can lead to higher profits and more opportunities.
To scale your small writing business, consider expanding your services beyond writing. For instance, you could offer editing or proofreading services, create content for social media channels, or even provide SEO consulting.
Another option is to hire other writers to work with you on larger projects. By expanding your offerings and teaming up with others in the industry, you can take on more clients and increase revenue while maintaining the quality and speed of your work.

Tips and strategies for freelance writers

As an outsourced writer, you need tips to help you succeed. One of the key tactics is to specialize in a niche and build expertise in it. This enables you to stand out from the crowd and makes it easier for potential clients to source you.
Another important strategy is organizing and managing tasks effectively. You should set clear goals, prioritize tasks based on urgency, and stick to deadlines. Networking with other solo writers or collaborating on projects can provide valuable insights into industry trends while enhancing your skills.
Honing SEO skills like keyword research and meta tags writing are crucial for making your content visible online and optimizing clients' work too!

Specializing in your writing niche

By choosing a specific niche to focus on, you can develop expertise and offer more value to clients as a freelance writer.
To find your niche, consider your interests, experience, and skills. This could be anything from travel writing to technical writing or social media content creation. Once you've found your niche, make sure that you keep up with industry trends and developments so that you stay relevant and in demand as a contract writer.

Organizing and managing your tasks

Managing multiple projects at once can be challenging as an independent solo writer. That's why organizing and managing your tasks is crucial for staying on top of deadlines and maintaining a good reputation with clients.
To start, list all the tasks you must complete in order of priority. Use tools like Trello or Asana to keep track of your progress and set reminders for upcoming due dates. It's also important to schedule breaks throughout the day to avoid burnout and maintain productivity.
By implementing these simple strategies, you can effectively manage your workload as a self-employed writer

Networking and collaboration

Building relationships with fellow freelancers, professionals in your writing niche, and potential clients is crucial for aspiring copywriters.
To network successfully as a freelancer, attend industry events (virtual or in-person), join online communities or forums related to your writing niche, and engage on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
Collaboration is also an excellent way to build connections while expanding your portfolio. Consider partnering with other writers or professionals for co-authoring projects or ghostwriting contracts.
Collaborating provides the chance to learn from others' experiences while increasing exposure within the industry.

Enhancing SEO skills for freelance writing

As a freelance writer, mastering SEO skills can give you an edge in the competitive world of solo content writing.
Start by understanding your main audience and researching keywords to identify the most relevant search terms. Incorporate these keywords naturally throughout your report while keeping in mind readability and flow.
Optimizing meta descriptions, headers, and formatting can improve your content's visibility on search engines. Stay up-to-date with industry changes and invest time in learning about backlinking strategies to boost domain authority.
Enhancing your SEO skills as a non-staff writer can increase your chances of being discovered by potential clients looking for high-quality content that ranks well on search engines.

Misconceptions about freelance writing

It is common for beginners to be discouraged from pursuing a career as an independent writer due to several misconceptions about them. One of the most prevalent myths is that outsourced writers cannot earn a decent income, which is untrue. Many freelance copywriters make more than their office-bound counterparts do.
Another myth is that freelancers have an unstable income and no job security. While it's true that there may be fluctuations in income, freelancers who build long-term relationships with clients and diversify their income streams can enjoy stable and predictable earnings.
Additionally, many employers are embracing remote work arrangements, making freelancing a viable option for those seeking job security outside of traditional office environments.

Common challenges and how to overcome them

Freelance copywriting has its challenges. One common issue that freelance writers encounter is writer's block, which can be caused by various factors such as stress, lack of motivation, or inspiration.
To overcome this challenge, take breaks and engage in activities that inspire creativity, like reading or listening to music. Additionally, set realistic deadlines and worked on multiple projects simultaneously to avoid burnout.
To overcome this challenge, research the market rates for your writing niche and pitch your services accordingly. Establishing a network of contacts through social media platforms and sites can also help you find new clients regularly.
Delivering high-quality work that exceeds expectations is important so that satisfied clients refer you to others.

Written by

Ivan Burban
Ivan Burban

Onigiri Co-Founder