Many people are wondering how to be a freelance writer, especially fresh graduates who are always excited about trying something new and are passionate when it comes to writing. I, myself, started as a freelance writer when I was a fresh graduate.
Like everyone else, I did not begin as an expert as a freelance writer. However, through my experiences, I believe I can still be able to share some advice or tips on how to become one.
Here are some advice and tips mostly needed for starting a career as a freelance writer.
Things you don’t need to be a freelance writer
A College Degree
A college degree is not a requirement to be a freelance writer. Everyone has the potential to be a writer even you do not have proper training.
I, for example, was part of the school newspaper when I was younger but didn’t pursue it as my chosen degree in college. The experience in writing did help me improve throughout my stay in newspaper organizations, but it’s not as technical and properly taught as when if I enroll a degree related to English or Communications.
It is not a necessity, but it does help you to be better at it.
Things you need to be a freelance writer
I once heard this phrase, “You want to be a writer but you don’t practice writing”, this phrase helps me motivate myself. Of course, you need to invest some time to practice your writing skills in a method comfortable for you. Some of these would be making diary entries or writing articles on topics you are passionate about, etc.
After which, you can either ask a mentor, teacher or friend to read it and have an honest assessment of your work so that you can evaluate yourself if you are good enough to compete as a freelance writer. Just keep writing to improve yourself in this career.
Practice makes perfect.
Learn more on becoming a good editor
The editor plays a big role in writing. After all, he is the one in charge of reviews the work of writers. They make sure to check your grammar, spelling, usage, etc, before is would be publicly released.
As a freelance writer, It is also your responsibility to send your work to a client with error-free. Yes, as we are our own boss, no one would check our work before reaching the client but ourselves. We are our own editor and proofreader of our outputs.
This is important in order to gain client trust when it comes to the quality of your work, which would then reflect to your business or freelancing career.
Write your work quickly as much as possible
This is a very helpful skill. Many clients do require a deadline and it is important that we are able to submit our outputs on time. This will affect our performance delivery aside from the quality of our work which would effect our client’s opinion on us.
Upon reading the statement above, you might feel worried as you know that you’re still slow in writing. However, do not fret. Again, writing becomes better through practice and so does your writing speed too!
While you’re still starting out and learning, however, make sure that you properly estimated the time you spend writing to keep up with the deadlines.
It also helps to find more clients since most clients want a short period of time in every task. This skill will also be added to your competence as a freelance writer.
You must love writing
Many freelance writers are passionate about writing. You’ll realize in the long run that it would be so hard to produce outputs if you don’t like what you are doing.
A freelance writer I know has a background as a writer. Before that, he used to be an editor in school; just writing a story after story andfor fun. Eventually he was able to use it as a career and is now one of the lucky people who are able to do what they love and earn from it!
Writing can be a repetitive thing, so if you aren’t as passionate as you think you are, better think things through before deciding on working full-time.
Becoming a freelancer takes time
People have a different set of skills, hobbies, and lifestyle they enjoy and are passionate about. You should know for yourself that you are really capable to write and are sure in pursuing this type of job.
If you are hesitating, you should think about it because time might come that it feels like you’re going to throw up if you write one more sentence. If you are pursuing this job, then I suggest you should follow the proper way to become a freelance writer.
What is the proper way to become a freelancer anyways? Let me give you some quick tips regarding this and provide you the things that you need to begin your career as a freelance writer.
Steps to Becoming a Freelance Writer
Step 1: Research and ask for help
When I am was beginning my career, I did my research on how to be a freelance writer, and everything related to freelance writing. Nowadays, with the use of the internet, researching is easy as ABC. Just a simple google search will help you to obtain information about freelance writing.
Books also a good reference for research. You just need to be patient and read a lot. If you aren’t sure what to right about but have a background in a particular field, you can always start from there. It could be sports, lifestyle, fashion, whatever you could think of!
After all, it’s something you already have experience on and would be able to write a lot about it.
You can also try to find someone who’s already a freelance writer. In social media, you might find some forums or groups that discuss freelance writing. You can ask for their help or advice like, how they started, where they can get a client, etc. But at least offer them for a cup of coffee or free lunch so that you can discuss with them professionally.
When I have started this career, a coworker of mine and I were just having a normal conversation who has already been freelance writing. She encouraged me to try and even helped me get my first gig. Seeking out help to the person with experience is the way to learn more about freelance writing.
Step 2: Build a portfolio
No one would dictate when you want to become a freelance writer except you. And as soon as you decided to be one, it will start to become official the moment you get your first client.
However, there’s this one huge roadblock start ups usually face. Clients don’t usually prefer you as a freelance writer since you don’t have any experience. They don’t have a guarantee that you can do the job well.
Companies and individuals don’t want to hire or pay a first-timer writer but many of them won’t turn down individuals that want to do the work with low paying or for free. You can start off from this just so you can gain experience and after some time, you can demand a higher salary or get a high paying client.
This low paying or voluntarily work is a great experience in building your portfolio. You can search in your area a non-profit work that helps you reach your goals. Aside from that, you can also search small local businesses in your area and pitch yourself that you can help them with their content like emails, social media posts, press releases, articles, etc.
This is a great starter for your career. Tell them that you are an aspiring writer that can help them to boost their business using your skills.
If you’re still in college, an organization of students is one way to practice your skills. You can join them and volunteer to do the work related to writing, like letters, flyers, social media posts, etc. When you have a lot of trials or practice, review some of your previous work because these might help you in the future.
If your experience is not enough, you can go back to research. Make your own work, for example, if your friend is selling products. You can research on your own how to make a press release and figure it out yourself. Then offer it to your friend even without pay.
You can also do blogs like when you are traveling or outing, review of restaurants, shops, and products. The goal is to make your content for your portfolio.
The last thing to do is compile all your work and build your portfolio. You can now start to advertise or promote it with the client.
Step 3: Find clients with charge
With your portfolio and knowledge in freelancing as a writer. You can now find a client and charge them with your work.
Clients look for a writer not just in their portfolio or experience but also in the rate. Since you just got started in this career, you must put your rate in low paying spectrum relevant to the current experience and skills that you have. Start small and demand a higher rate, time after time.
Finding a client is similar to looking for an employer. Most writers use freelance websites to get a client but it could be exhausting because of competition. Some freelance writers also reach clients on social media as this is also a good way in finding a client.
There are so many businesses around you. You could list your top companies or organization and send your portfolio to them directly. There might be a slim chance for them to reply to you, but it won’t hurt to try and see if your experience are good enough for them to notice.
It might take a while, but all things will be worth it in the end. Plan, strategize, and continuously put it to action and until you find your first client.
Step 4: Choose your niche
As time passes by, you eventually earn more experience and clients. However, this is not the end of the process, you have to sort down your work. Which field do you always work on? What work are you familiar with the most? What work has been given the best feedback from your client? And what work are you enjoying?
Now, it’s time to be specific on the type of work you’re going to accept. When searching for clients, you should have a specific work that is close to your ideal profile. It is time to be picky to build your expertise. When you have the expertise, this helps you to raise your rate and get a client easily and repeatedly.
Step 5: Success does not come with just one night
Based on my experience, patience is a real deal. When I started with this career, many of my work isn’t as satisfying as I want it to be. It could give you a hard time at first, trying to learn everything, gaining experience and looking for new clients all at the same time, but in the end, it will be all worth it.
Continue to set a goal for yourself self to keep improving. Sometimes, things does not go in our way but we should keep moving forward. We have to do our best and success will come sooner.
Using the tips and steps in this article will help you become a successful freelance writer. All it takes is to believe in yourself and hustle. Hard work is the key to your success.