So you want financial freedom. Perhaps freedom to choose who you work for and how many hours you work. Maybe you want to take it a step further and creatively grow your career. Well, you’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 150,000 “writers and authors” in the U.S. — and for good reason. Freelance writing is an excellent way for poets and writers to pay the bills!
With many industries still struggling in this post-COVID era, people nationwide are turning to freelance or ghostwriting as a way to make a little extra income — or perhaps even give up the traditional 9 to 5 forever. But getting started can be overwhelming. That’s why Content Cat Creations walks you through the essential step-by-step guide to becoming a freelance writer today (from scratch).
Understand The Profession
You’d think all freelance writers do is, well, write. But most professional writers cover a wide range of content in providing for varying clients. That’s the beauty of a career in writing.
There are so many opportunities to work across different industries and with different scopes. As a freelance writer, you may end up writing content such as:
● Press releases
● Website landing pages and copy
● Social media posts
And with topics on anything under the sun, you’ll have the freedom to explore without boredom setting in. Additionally, web content creation often involves image manipulation as well as writing. It’s useful to have a free image background remover handy to aid in image editing. As you expand your craft, you’ll develop a collection of bookmarks for tools like this.
Develop Your Skills
While an English or related degree always helps, your writing is all you need to make it in the field. You also need to have a good understanding of grammar, sentence structure, words, and paragraphs to put together good writing.
And don’t forget the personality and creativity unique writing requires too! You will also need stellar research skills, working knowledge of SEO or search engine optimization, and information about standard style guides like APA, MLA, and Chicago.
If you need a little more help in the writing department, it’s okay to ask for help. Every freelancer needs to start from somewhere, and to get far in the industry; you’ll need a solid writing portfolio. To add great pieces of content to your portfolio, seek the help of writing courses or diplomas online.
Finding work in the freelance world is a catch-22. It would help if you had great writing samples or recommendations to get writing, but you can’t get either until you get your first job.
The good news is that finding your first writing gig is the hardest part of the journey. Look up freelancing writing sites like Upwork, ProBlogger, and Fiverr. Applying for your first few positions is a numbers game – so keep at it, and something is sure to land (with time).
With writing, your work speaks for you more than a resume or experience. Once you have a couple of great work samples from your first gig, you’ll be able to hit the ground running and apply for other jobs to broaden your writing scope.
Another great way to attract clients is to keep recommendations handy so that they know past clients have found your work valuable. And a bonus tip for budding freelance writers: get the word out that you’re available for hire!
Whether through social media or word of mouth, let everyone know what you’re doing – you never know when one of your contacts may need a writer.
Find A Niche
As Goodman Creatives explains, every entrepreneur needs a niche. Writing content for that industry may be a great way to get started if you have prior experience (or a degree) in a specific field.
For example, why not write about coding or create recipes if you’re a computer programmer or baker? The ability to break down complex information for a specialized industry is a much-needed skill (and it pays too).
Whether you know it or not, you’re likely an expert in some field or niche. You may also naturally develop a niche if you gravitate towards specific topics over others.
Just work with what you know and keep growing your expertise. And don’t forget to write about what you think is interesting – readers can tell when authors have a personal take on subjects they’ve written about!
Well, you could continue developing your incredibly fulfilling and freeing writing career. But if a change is calling you, writing sets you up with many avenues to explore.
You could channel your social media content into becoming a social media manager or exploring a career inadvertising. You could also become an author and write for yourself. Other options include becoming an editor, screenwriter, speechwriter, or communications specialist.
You may not know everything about the freelance field; you may not even be the best writer — but that’s okay. As long as you have an affinity for words and the willingness to put in the work, you can go far in this career.
Writing as a professional writer means your craft will evolve and develop with time — so allow yourself the space to refine your work and create a unique voice over time.
Elena made the jump from a corporate job she wasn’t entirely happy with, to running her own business that gives her the financial freedom and flexible lifestyle she’s always wanted. As a life coach, she now gets the happiness of helping others get to the places that might seem out of reach. www.elenastewart.com