New To Freelance Writing? Know These Tips
Are you looking for how to start your freelance writing journey or you have probably begun but are still at a crossroads on what exactly you should do? Maybe you have been thinking it is time to put your writing experience into profitable use, but your challenge has been not knowing how to start? Freelance writing would go a long way
In this article, we will look at:
- Pros of freelance writing
- Cons of freelance writing
- Types of freelance writers
- Skills and experiences required to be a freelance writer
- What freelance writers pay
- Find job/writing clients
- Succeed as a freelance writer
Writing is a profession that adapts especially to people who want flexibility in where, how and when they work to adapt to their lifestyle goals. This is because most types of writing require only a computer, an Internet connection and word processing software.
The Internet is a source of information and entertainment, and although much of that is offered visually, as through a video, the written word is still the dominant method for delivering online content. As a result, there is a great demand for freelance writers.
Pros Of Freelance Writing
- Work from home or from any place that has an internet connection and computer.
- Flexible schedule.
- A wide variety of writing types are available, including article writing and more.
- A wide variety of topics to cover, which means you can avoid getting bored.
- Low overhead to start. In fact, you can start for free.
Cons Of Freelance Writing
- Takes time to find a constant flow of customers
- Some forms of writing do not pay very well
- Income may be inconsistent
- The competition is fierce, especially for writing jobs with high salaries
- It’s lonely work
Types Of Freelance Writers
There are many types of writing in demand. You can concentrate on one type of writing, such as web content, or focus on several types. In addition, you can specialize in a particular topic or industry (niching down), or be a generalist, covering many topics and industries. Here are some areas to consider:
- Article writing (print): Printing magazines, newspapers and articles may be one of the most difficult types of writing to find but often pays better than online counterparts. While some journals hire writers, freelance writers release ideas for articles that a magazine accepts or rejects. You get paid when the magazine accepts (or prints) your article.
- Web content writing: All sites need good content for SEO, to grow traffic and provide useful and entertaining information to readers. Because marketing is often a component of web content, you must have a basic knowledge of search engine optimization or be willing to learn. Some writers are hired to provide regular content (that is, 2 articles a week), while others work on per need basis where they have to pitch their content idea to be accepted.
- Medical writing: Pharmaceutical companies need technical writers who have a lot of knowledge about medications and FDA requirements.
- Technical writing: If you like computers and software, if you have engineering experience, or even if you like to take things apart and put them together again, this could be a great field for you.
- Marketing and Advertising Editor: Advertising writing or copywriting involves the development of sales letters, announcements, product descriptions and other promotional materials. Unlike other forms of writing, this writing requires an understanding of what attracts people to respond to promotional materials. If you understand the psychology of sales and can write persuasively, advertising writing is one of the most lucrative forms of writing. There are some excellent books and courses on how to write a copy.
- Blogging: Like content writers, blog writers create articles for bloggers based on the theme of the blog. You can blog for yourself, but in this case, a freelance writer creates content for someone else’s blog.
- Resume Writing: If you can create a good resume, many people looking for work need your services. As in copywriting, resume writing requires a special understanding of how to present an applicant for employment in a way that attracts an employer.
- Business plan writer: If you have the business knowledge and can write a clear plan, you can also offer your services by writing business plans.
- Ghostwriting: A ghostwriter writes articles, books or other materials for another person who gets attributes for the writing. Ghostwriting can be a difficult job to get because most people want to hire ghostwriters who have a history of success, and a knowledge of the publishing industry or the media. While this pays well, a ghostwriter needs to feel comfortable that someone else will take the credit and most of the income (if the book or article does well) of the content.
Skills And Experiences Required To Be A Freelance Writer
Interestingly, you don’t need a degree in journalism or English to be a successful freelance writer. You don’t even necessarily need to have a lot of experience in writing. What you need is the ability to write well. Other skills or experiences you should have include:
- Good grammar
- Ability to correct and edit your work.
- Research skills
- Knowledge of writing styles, such as the Chicago Style Manual.
- Ability to promote yourself as a writer.
For online writing work, you must:
- Understand search engine optimization
- Have experience in networks and marketing using social networks.
- Understand the subtle difference between print and web writing.
- Feel comfortable using online publishing platforms, such as WordPress.
- Other skills that might be useful include:
- Photography experience could be an added advantage.
- Knowledge of graphic design or desktop publishing programs.
What Freelance Writers Are Paid
Because of the relative ease of entry, very low initial costs and a better-than-average opportunity to work from home, writing is a highly competitive business. In addition, because the market is full, it has reduced payment for many types of writing, especially in online writing.
What you get paid for freelance writing will depend on several factors, including:
- Type of writing you do
- Length and amount of work that goes into writing.
- Level of knowledge required to do the writing.
- Who do you write for
Payscale reports that the average writer is paid between $10.67 and $51.77 per hour with an average income of $36,781 per year. If you visit independent websites, you are likely to find writing jobs with lower wages. Many bloggers offer low payment too. In fact, some article payment is so low that it is not worth spending time (that is, $5 or $10 per article).
Advertising copywriting is usually the most lucrative paid job and sometimes even pays royalties depending on how well your marketing does.
If you have a set of special skills or knowledge, you can earn more. For example, many health and wellness resources want nutritionists or other certified professionals to write for them. Because certification is a requirement for these types of work, they often pay more.
It is useful to know how much you are comfortable with and determine your hourly rate before agreeing to do any writing work. For example, if it takes an hour to write a 600-word article for $50, but two hours to write a 1500-word article for $75, the shorter option of $50 is better ($50 per hour versus $37.50 per hour for the longest article).
If you are just getting started, you may have to settle for a lower payment at first, but once you have experience and references, you can increase your rates or look for a higher paying writing job.
How To Find Freelance Writing Jobs
There are several ways to find clients as a freelance writer. Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to get those first tasks when you are starting. Before you start looking for work, there are some independent writing tasks that you must do first:
- Define the type of writer you will be. Will you write articles online or create marketing materials? Will you specialize in a subject (i.e. technology) or industry (i.e. real estate)?
- Make a list of the topics you know. It will be easier to enter as a writer if you start with topics you are familiar with. Also, make a list of your credentials that can often lead to higher pay. For example, if you have a master’s degree or are certified as a specialist.
- Determine your price. While some jobs will have a flat rate, sometimes, you can negotiate your payment.
- Write some sample pieces related to the type of writing and the topic you want to do. Or if you have already been paid to write, collect these clips so you can send them as a sample of your writing ability.
- Consider setting up a LinkedIn profile or website to send potential customers so they can learn more about you. Having a resume and an online profile will be crucial to being hired.
Once you are ready to promote yourself as a writer, your next step is to find work. Here are some ideas:
- Freelance writing work sites: There are a lot of excellent resources for freelance writing jobs, such as MediaBistro.com, WritersWeekly.com and JournalismJobs.com. LinkedIn is a great place to network, but it also has lists of freelance writing jobs.
- Writer’s Market Resources: If you are looking to release print articles or online magazines, the writer’s market resources provide presentation guidelines for thousands of markets. The Writer’s Market by Writers Digest is the best-known source, but there are also resources that you can consult. WritersWeekly and AllFreelanceWriting have a large database of the market.
- Social Network: Many freelancers find work through Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks.
- Independent websites: Many independent websites, such as Upwork and Freelancer, have written job listings. You can see our article on creating an Upwork profile here.
- Referral: Don’t forget to ask your current customers for references. The most successful freelancers build most of their businesses through referrals.
How To Succeed As A Freelance Writer
Because you will have to market and juggle several clients at once, the organization and workflow systems will be useful to ensure you have a constant job done on time.
Here are some ideas to help you build a successful career as a freelance writer:
- Having a portfolio. While LinkedIn is an excellent resource for storing your resume and accomplishments, having your own blog or website will establish you as a professional and will be an excellent place to organize your writing portfolio.
- Develop a system to request references. Some of the most successful freelancers get most of their work through referrals.
- Set up your billing system and accounts receivable immediately. It’s easy to get stuck in writing and forget about sending an invoice or keeping track of someone who hasn’t paid.
- Deliver your best work before the deadline. If something comes up that will affect the work, always contact your client and work to find a solution (that is, outsource another person) that will have the least impact on the client.
I hope this has been helpful and that you will use the information gathered here to start your freelance writing journey. I’m rooting for your success.