Want to Be a Freelance Writer? Here’s Where to Start

Fancy becoming a freelance writer? If you’re not sure where to start, here are our best tips for beginners.

If you love to write, then getting paid to be a full-time freelance writer sounds like the ultimate dream job, doesn’t it?

With a boom in content marketing, today the internet is saturated with opportunities for freelance writers and good writers can expect a decent salary if they’re willing to put in the work.

However, it can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to dipping your toes in the world of freelance writing.

We’re here to help. If you want to become a freelance writer, here’s where to start.

Create a Kick-Ass Portfolio

Before you even think about searching for freelance writing jobs, you’ll need to put together a portfolio. After all, companies won’t feel compelled to hire you if you don’t have any previous writing experience to show them.

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If you haven’t yet written any professional pieces of writing for a company, take the time to craft a few pieces to use for your portfolio. Write articles on topics of your expertise, or subjects you hope to write on professionally in the future.

The best way to showcase your writing is on a website or blog, so if you haven’t yet created one we suggest you do so. Alternatively, you can display your work on an online portfolio website such as Contently or you can upload your pieces online via Google Docs. Clients are more likely to find a website more impressive and easier to navigate, however.

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Some companies will prefer you to send over examples of your writing as samples, so make sure to create a few PDF copies of your best work that you can whizz over once they’re requested.

Scan Freelance Job Boards

Once you’ve created your kick-ass writing portfolio, it’s time to hunt for freelance writing jobs!

Many websites advertise thousands of freelance writing jobs every day, many of which are ideal for beginners. Some of our favorites include Upwork and Problogger. LinkedIn also advertises quality freelance jobs, simply search ‘freelance writer’ into the jobs tab.

Many freelance sites will need you to create a profile, which can be annoying but is relatively straightforward. Some will require an application fee which is usually a small price to try and prevent spammers and people that aren’t genuine writers from joining.

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When you create such profiles, make sure to include your area of expertise, any writing accomplishment’s you’ve made, and any professional writing qualifications you may have so you have a good shot at securing well-paid jobs.

If you’re a psychiatrist, for example, you can seek high-paid writing work in the field of psychology as you have the experience to write informative work on the subject.

Work out Payment

When you’re hired by a company, usually your pay goes straight into your bank account monthly. However, as a freelance writer hired by several different clients, you’ll need to be more proactive about receiving payment.

Most of the time you’ll need to provide an invoice including directions on how to pay you. Many writers use PayPal for payment, as it’s easy to use for both the client and the writer. You’ll also need to record your payments for tax purposes.

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Once you feel confident that freelancing is the job for you, it makes sense to use software that creates invoices for you and helps you track payments.

Expect the Unexpected

When it comes to freelance writing, expect the unexpected! As you know, it’s a whole different ball game in comparison to being hired by a company.

Instead of receiving a set paycheck every month, instead your income will fluctuate and some weeks you’ll make a lot more or less than you’re used to – so prepare for this.

You’ll need to possess a high level of determination and self-discipline. After all, the more work you put in, the more you’ll get paid! Give yourself some structure and stick to it, so you can create a routine.

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Ready to Become a Freelancer?

Understand that especially in the beginning, when you haven’t secured a certain number of long-clients, freelancing may be tough, and you’ll need to put in the extra time and effort. Like many of the best things in life, the journey may not be the easiest, but the reward makes it one worth taking!

If you currently have a full-time job, a great way to ease into the freelance lifestyle is to start freelancing as a side to your job. If you start by spending a couple of hours a week writing part-time, you can build your clientele until you establish yourself as a writer. Then, going full-time freelance won’t feel as daunting and you’ll have a couple of clients up your sleeve.

Want more advice on becoming a freelance writer? Here are ten must-have finance tips every freelancer must know.

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