Updated: Dec 9, 2021
Freelance writing can be a great part-time or full-time job if you’re a current student or recent graduate. Working for yourself offers the flexibility of time and location and can be pretty lucrative once you get the hang of it.
There are endless possibilities for what area of writing to focus on, so the first step is finding what suits you best. Then you can train and begin finding clients for your first pieces. Check out these tips to get you started.
Discover Your Niche
Not only do you need to determine what type of writing you want to do, but you also should decide if you want to specialize in a specific subject. Do you want to write articles for publications and blogs, or would you rather be a copywriter? Would you like to ghostwrite books for clients, or does being an editor sound appealing?
If there are particular topics you love, build your portfolio around them. For instance, if you love beauty and health, prepare samples focused on those subjects and submit them to blogs or magazines calling for that type of content. If you’re more interested in fiction, write and publish short stories or poems. Play around with different types of writing and find what you like best by trial and error.
Gain Extra Skills
Once you’ve narrowed down the type of writing and focus you're interested in, you can learn extra skills to help you do the job well. Having proper training on your resume is also helpful for landing gigs, especially for jobs that require hard skills, such as search engine optimization. Some websites, like Google, offer free SEO courses as well as other technical writing classes.
As the specialized writing job market grows, you need credentials and skills to set you apart from the competition. You may try to find courses in content marketing or social media management, as well as in subjects related to your niche or your clients' needs. Whatever you choose, be sure to update your portfolio with your credentials.
Find Clients and Start Your Business
Now that you’re prepared to take your first job, it's time to attract clients. Websites like Fiverr and Contenta connect you directly with jobs and allow you to pick and choose how to work.
You can also work as an independent contractor for a content company with a steady stream of employment, or take a more direct approach by setting up a website complete with your portfolio, resume, and information about your background. Then you can reach out to publications looking for writers who align with their subject matter.
As you establish your freelance career, consider setting up a limited liability company, which can benefit you and your business in several ways. Not only will your personal liability be lower, but you also receive tax advantages and have less paperwork to file.
Because different states have different rules for business formations, make sure you understand any local regulations before going ahead. To save yourself the effort and expense of going through a lawyer, you can use a formation service to do it for you.
Make Your Place in the Freelance Market
Freelance writing is a growing market and a fantastic career for anyone with a bent for words. The best part is that you can start as slowly as you need to and train before diving in completely.
Easing into it helps you make money while you learn and prevents you from getting overwhelmed. By following the tips above, you can be on your way to successful self-employment.
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This piece is a guest contribution from Janet Lovelace, the Marketing & Customer Service Automation Expert from Work Can Wait. For more of her work, you can visit her site here.