Does working from home on your own schedule sound like a dream come true?
For most parents, this is an ideal situation. You can save on daycare costs and have more time to spend with your children.
A couple of years ago I thought this would have been impossible. However, I am now a full-time freelance writer and I get to make a living doing what I love.
However, it’s not a career you can just quit your full-time job and jump into. Building your income takes some time but it’s certainly something you can do during your spare time.
Spare time? As a parent? I know that may seem impossible but, if you’re truly passionate about writing and making a living at home, you’ll find the time.
As a single mother, I did.
So if freelance writing is something you are interested in doing but don’t know where to start, I’m here to answer all of your questions:
What is a Freelance Writer?
Freelancing refers to a situation in which an individual is self-employed and works on a project-by-project basis.
Basically, you are not part of any company or staff and you can write for more than one client. Freelancers are paid per assignment or batch of assignments.
Freelance writing involves creating articles, blog posts and other written content for clients.
For example, as a freelance writer, you can offer your services as an editor, ghostwriter (the content isn’t posted under your name) or copywriter (press releases, sales pages, etc.).
When it comes to the types of content you can write, this can include blog posts, magazine articles, about pages, product pages and eBooks.
The possibilities are endless!
If it can be written for the internet, businesses will pay writers to do it.
What Skills Do I Need to Become a Freelance Writer?
The beautiful thing about freelance writing is that you need no formal education or training!
However, you do need a particular set of skills in order to land clients and get paid for assignments.
To be a freelance writer, you have to have a good grasp of the following:
That’s not to say that you won’t make mistakes but you have to have a good understanding of these three things.
(Luckily, programs like Grammarly are available to catch the mistakes you do make!)
Knowing how to spell and punctuate is not enough, though. Written content for the web is a special beast and far different from the essays you had to write in high school.
Writing Readable Web Content
We were all taught in school that a good paragraph has 3-5 sentences and conveys an entire thought or idea.
When it comes to writing for the web, how the content looks is just as important as what it says.
People who read blogs and articles on the internet spend very little time doing so and are more likely to skim the content to glean its overall flavor.
So, when you have an article containing long paragraphs, their eyes are likely to glaze over and they won’t move on.
Why does this matter as a freelance writer? Because clients want to pay you for readable content. If readers aren’t reading, then clients are paying.
All that being said, here are some tips for writing good web content:
Break up your paragraphs. Sometimes one or two sentences can be a paragraph as long as it conveys a clear message.
Use clear and concise language. Avoid “big word energy” and stick to basic language that is easy to understand.
Organize your content. Use headings to organize your content into sections.
Break up content with bullet points. Bullet points are a great visual tool to space out content for readers.
If you look at these four points, then look over this article, you’ll see how I use all of these tips when writing blog content (so meta).
How Can I Build My Portfolio?
Just like when you apply for any job, you need to show examples of your experience and skills.
Freelance writers don’t always use resumes. Instead, we use a portfolio to showcase our work and give potential clients an idea of what we can do.
This can particularly tricky if you’ve never written web content before. But fear not! You can create a portfolio without any paid freelance writing experience.
First, you need to choose how you want to display your portfolio.
You can create your own website and house your portfolio there, using the blog as a place to display your examples.
You can also use a free site such as Contently to create a portfolio.
Once you’ve decided where you want to set up your portfolio, you can approach creating content in one of two ways:
Writing sample pieces for specific clients you wish to work with.
Writing sample pieces based on your niche.
When you write sample pieces for potential clients, you are looking at their site or job post and writing something in line with what they are looking for.
When you write sample pieces based on your niche (i.e., area of expertise), you are building a portfolio you can then take to businesses and sites within that niche.
Over time, you want to have a portfolio with some really strong writing pieces – and, if you can add in articles you end up writing for clients, that’s even better!
How Do I Find Clients as a Freelance Writer?
The most important aspect of making money as a freelance writer is finding people who want to pay you!
Here are four ways that you can find clients as a freelance writer:
Job boards. Job boards specifically geared toward freelance writers are a great way to find one-off clients and gain experience.
Networking. Using LinkedIn, and even Facebook, to let people you are connected to know that you are freelance writing may land you some paying jobs.
Cold pitches. Instead of responding to job ads, you can approach businesses and offer your services as a freelance writer with a cold pitch.
Marketing. If you can put together a great website and portfolio, you are more likely to attract clients to you instead of chasing them down!
As a new freelance writer, your best bet in finding clients is to hit the job boards and gain some writing experience!
From there, you can start cold-pitching and marketing yourself to land higher-paying clients.
Earn an Income as a Freelance Writer!
Freelance writing is not something you are going to find success with overnight. It takes some legwork and time to build experience and start finding good clients to work with.
However, it’s entirely doable and the more work you put into it, the more you will get out of it.
So if you want to try your hand at freelance writing, give it a try! The only thing you have to lose is a little bit of spare time.
And what you can gain is a whole new way of living.