Are you passionate about writing? Do you want to learn how to become a freelance writer?
If you do, you are probably considering having a more flexible schedule and working from home.
I don’t blame you if you do. Not having a boss, working during your most productive hours and not wasting valuable time commuting are enticing.
Besides, not having a limit on your monthly income and the possibility of building a 6-figure freelance writing business is something to consider.
Our economy is rapidly shifting towards a gig economy and companies are in much need of freelancers to collaborate with, making it a perfect time to learn how to become a freelance writer.
Things You Need to Know Before you Become a Freelance Writer
While the situation currently is not helping, what you need to know before starting your freelance writing journey is that this is not a get rich quick scheme.
Becoming a freelance writer requires skills, experience (which you can build. I will talk about this later in this article), dedication and patience.
I know that most of us lack patience, but trust me, if you have the means to invest in this and you can afford to wait until you build a solid business foundation as a freelance writer, it will be all worth it.
If you don’t have the means to invest or wait until you build a network of clients, you can always look for freelance writing jobs.
This can help you get more experience until you learn how to become a full-time freelance writer.
It will also allow you to have a steady monthly income so that you can focus on your goals, without being stressed financially.
I will go through job portals dedicated to writing jobs and gigs later in the article.
How to Become a Freelance Writer?
Being a freelance writer is a good alternative if you are one of those who want to work according to your own time. While a freelance writer is out of the bound of the office norms, he/she still have to follow some of the instructions and requirement of the client they are going to write for. Let’s find out what you need to do to become a freelance writer.
How do I Start as a Freelance Writer?
One of the most important steps you need to take in learning how to become a freelance writer is deciding what type of writer you’d like to become.
For this, you need to take into consideration your writing type, what you are good at writing about, and also what the market needs the most.
Freelance writing types
Article writing: this type of freelance writing is very common as most magazines, newspapers, online platforms that publish a lot of content, work with freelance writers.
Article writing is a great way to start your freelance writing career as there are thousands of companies looking to outsource writers.
Also, becoming an article writer is fairly easy and, depending on the outlet, you don’t need extensive experience.
It usually requires knowledge on a certain topic.
For example, if you have worked as a Human Resource professional, you can contribute with articles to career websites or blogs, even if you don’t have a career in writing.
Copywriting: copywriting requires more experience as it usually involves working with brands and making sure that whatever content you create it aligns with their brand and messaging,
This type of freelance writing requires some marketing knowledge and previous experience.
Copywriters usually create content for websites, marketing materials, social media, press releases, etc.
While this type of freelance writing requires more time to develop skills and a portfolio of clients, it can be very lucrative, with some freelance writers making $200k yearly.
Technical writing: technical writing requires a certain level of seniority as it involves taking a complicated topic and writing about it in an easy way.
Instruction manuals, policy manuals, user manuals, summaries of reports, all fall under technical writing.
After going through the above writing types, you should have an idea about where you are standing in terms of what type of freelance writer you could become.
Another aspect that I mentioned is taking into consideration the market need before becoming a freelance writer.
How to research market need for freelance writers?
This is actually the easy part, although it might sound complicated. Take 3 job boards, for example LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed and search for freelance writer in the title description box when you are job searching and read the job descriptions to see what type of writers are in most need.
I will be discussing later in the article about job boards specialized for freelance writers, so you can research there as well.
Pick a Niche
One of the biggest mistakes some freelance writers make is not picking a writing niche.
This is important because having settled on a niche, allows you to become an authority in that niche and potential clients that might not necessarily know you, will come to you because of the niche.
Let me explain.
If you write about all things under the sun, that’s great, but it will take you a long time to build a solid network of clients.
For example you will get contacted by a company who needs an article about a software for video editing.
You’ve never written an article about softwares, so the company is not sure you will be able to deliver, although you wrote hundreds of articles about other things and you actually have good knowledge about video editing softwares.
On the other hand, there is your competitor, let’s call him George, who only writes about video editing softwares.
Although he only wrote 10 articles until now for other companies, unlike you who wrote 100s, who do you think this company will choose?
I hope this example makes sense and you understand the importance of picking a niche if you want to become a freelance writer.
Another thing that I need to make clear, is that a niche is a specialized segment of the market for a particular service or product, according to the dictionary.
This means that you have to be specialized in something very narrow.
Let’s take an easy example. You might think that “travel” is a niche. Travel is a topic. Examples of niches in travel are: Luxury hotels in South East Asia, Budget Airlines in Europe, Hiking trails in Nepal, etc. You get the picture.
In order to find your niche, keep narrowing down until you reach a place where you can’t narrow anymore.
Invest in Yourself
As I mentioned above, building a freelance writing business is not an overnight thing.
It requires patience and it also requires some level of investment in order to develop your skills, learn from the best and get access to the best freelance writing opportunities out there, that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
With so much information available online nowadays, sure, you can learn everything for free, however, it will take you much longer and you will have to connect the dots between hundreds of articles, each talking about a different thing.
Take it from me.
When I started this website, I said I will read everything available out there for free and I will make it.
I did read everything and it was helpful to expand my knowledge, however I was not able to find actionable tips and free insights from professionals on how to make money with a website.
I eventually had to pay for courses, which enabled me to finally start making money, however this stubbornness only delayed me in making money by several months.
Going back to investing in yourself, if you are serious about building a career as a freelance writer, I recommend Freelance Writers Den.
Freelance Writer’s Den
Freelance Writer’s Den was founded by Carol Tice, a longtime six-figure freelance writer and Make a Living Writing blog.
The Den is the ultimate fulfillment of her mission to help as many writers as possible to quickly learn how to make money writing. Carol has so far helped nearly 12,000 writers grow their income in the Den.
Freelance Writer’s Den is the premier online resource for writers looking to launch and build a lucrative freelance writing careers.
How to find clients as a freelance writer?
If you’re not yet ready to sign up with Writer’s Den, and you just want to prospect the market and see what it offers, there are several portals that offer writing jobs and gigs for freelancers.
The best ones that offer legitimate opportunities are:
FlexJobs (subscription based)
FlexJobs is the leading job service for remote jobs, work from home jobs, flexible jobs, offering full-time, part-time and contract opportunities to job seekers and freelancers.
What makes FlexJobs stand out from the other websites for remote jobs is the fact that all the jobs on their website are hand-screened.
The team at FlexJobs screens every single job before posting it on the portal, so you can be assured that you won’t encounter any spam or illegitimate job.
On top of having access to hundreds of freelance writing jobs, you will also find resources about checklists, award-winning career content from top writers and more than 170 expert skills tests to better assess and promote your skills.
If you want to know more about FlexJobs, check out this article.
Here is a list of other websites that offer writing opportunities for both freelancers and job seekers:
While this article covered the main steps that you need to take towards becoming a freelance writer, there is so much more that needs to be covered on this topic.
The resources that I have shared above can guide you every step of the way in order to ensure your success.
On a final note, building a successful freelance writing career takes time and, most importantly, you need to look at it as a business from day one if you want to be successful.