A freelance writer is someone who takes on individual assignments to write content for clients. Freelance writers may work on a variety of topics, ranging from marketing copy to magazine articles and everything in between. They typically don’t have the same level of job security as those employed by companies or organizations, but they are often in high demand.
However, freelance writing isn’t just what you think…
As a professional writer, I’ll share some industry secrets that only the most successful writers know about.
How I Became A Successful Freelance Writer
The written word has always been my preference for communication. Talking was always a struggle. From short stories to poems, writing served as a form of personal expression. I always believed that doing what you love for a living would beat out any 9-5.
Shortly after high school, I decided to pursue writing as a career and launched my own blog. That failed. Without understanding SEO and marketing, my blog was a flop. My writing skills needed improvement. So, I decided to read some books, study the craft, and learn about writing for the web.
After months of hard work and dedication, I learned about an online marketplace that would send me free traffic just for listing my writing gigs. Soon after signing up, I was able to get some paying clients. That’s when things started to change for me. Now, I’m a full-time freelance writer helping clients with SEO articles, website content, blog posts, newsletters, and more!
Freelance writing work came easy to me as marketing and sales were something I had an affinity for and my writing skills continued to improve.
As a freelancer, I have the flexibility of setting my own hours and working from anywhere so long as I have internet access. Thanks to technology, I was able to connect with clients all around the world.
If you are looking to become a freelance writer and avoid the mistakes that I made along the way, here are some tips:
3 Freelance Writing Tips
First of all, there are many other freelancers. It can feel overwhelming and intimidating, but remember that you have something unique to offer. Reverse engineer your success by researching what others are doing and see how you can add your own unique value propositions.
Tip #1 – Have Writing Samples Ready
If you are an aspiring freelance writer and are having trouble landing your first client, take some time to write a few samples. This will show potential clients that you are serious about the job and give them an idea of your writing style.
Tip #2 – Use Client Testimonials
Social proof is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Include testimonials from previous clients in your gig descriptions and portfolio to demonstrate that you have done quality work in the past.
Tip #3 – Define Your Target Audience
Finding your writing niche can help you land more gigs. It is important to define your target audience as this will help you find the right clients with ease.
For example, I selected crypto and finance as my target audience and that has enabled me to write for other clients in the same space. Choosing a topic that you are interested in and also has high demand can help you land more writing gigs and makes the process much more enjoyable.
Tip #4 – Learn Sales Skills
To make good money as with your freelancing business, you need to have strong sales skills. It is important to understand how to market yourself, build relationships with clients, and close deals. Learning these skills can help improve your overall success as a freelancer.
Tip #5 – You Don’t Have To Work With Every Paying Client
You can be selective in who you choose to work with and focus on high-quality clients that pay well and value your services. Establishing a good relationship with these clients can result in long-term success as they will come back to you for future projects and even refer their own contacts.
Tip #6 – Customize Proposals
When submitting proposals, be sure to customize each one for the specific client. Take some time to research the company, understand its needs, and craft a proposal that addresses its requirements. This will show potential clients that you took the time to understand their project and will help increase your chances of being hired.
Do You Need A Portfolio Website To Get Paying Clients?
No, you don’t need a personal website to get paying clients. You can find writing opportunities on sites such as Fiverr. With this free traffic source, you could start landing work without a website.
However, having your own portfolio website can increase your chances of success as it gives potential clients an idea of your writing style and past work.
Requirements Needed For A Freelance Writing Career
Freelance writers don’t necessarily need to have a college degree, but they do need to be comfortable with the writing process and able to craft compelling stories and content.
Good freelance writers should also have excellent research skills so that they can understand their client’s needs and create content that resonates with their target audience.
On top of that, having a basic understanding of SEO can help you identify keywords and optimize your content for search engine rankings. This isn’t needed but can be useful if you want to increase your chances of getting noticed by potential clients.
Customer service skills are also essential for freelance writers, as you will be working with clients regularly and need to ensure that all their needs are met.
Learning how to manage multiple clients at once and how to remain organized will help you succeed as a freelance writer.
Should You Become A Freelance Writer?
Becoming a freelance writer isn’t the best path for most creatives. It takes dedication, hard work, and a lot of research to make it in the world of freelance writing.
However, if you have the skills and resources to make it work, then a freelance writing career can be extremely rewarding. Self-awareness is key in understanding if this is for you.
Benefits of Freelance Writing
The most obvious benefit is that you get to choose who you work with and when you work, making it an ideal career choice for those that have other obligations such as children or a full-time job.
Plus, being able to work from home and avoid the daily commute can be a real blessing for many individuals. Not having a boss breathing down your neck and having the freedom to choose when and where you work can also make freelance writing a great career choice.
Finally, freelance writing is a great way to make money from your passion. If you love writing and have the skills to craft stories that captivate readers, then it can be a great way to make your living.
Disadvantages of Freelance Writing
The biggest downside to freelance writing is the inconsistency in income. You may get a lot of work in one month and then have nothing for months at a time. This can be difficult to manage for those that need to maintain a certain income level.
In addition, the competition in freelance writing is fierce and it can be hard to stand out in a crowded marketplace. It also takes time to build up your reputation and land-paying clients, so you need to be prepared for a period of low or no income.
Finally, it can be difficult to manage customer expectations and remain organized when dealing with multiple clients at once. As such, it is important to have a system in place that helps you keep track of your deadlines and manage client expectations. I use Notion for this.
How To Find Freelance Writing Jobs
To find freelance writing gigs Fiverr is the go-to site for many writers as it allows you to list your services and connect with clients.
Without any past connections or experience, I was able to get my first few paying clients within the first month. Shortly after that, I was fully booked and had to start building a team to handle the workload.
If you want to give it a try, it doesn’t hurt to list your services and see who is interested. You may be surprised at the opportunities that come your way.
The Step-By-Step Process For Finding Freelance Work As A Writer
There are various ways to get started as an aspiring writer. You can create your own website and attempt content marketing, but it would take a few months to gain some organic traffic and a potential client. Instead, I’d recommend going down the path of becoming a freelance content writer through Fiverr.
Fiverr is an online marketplace that connects service sellers with buyers. As a freelance writer that doesn’t have a client list already, this is the best path to take because the platform provides you with free traffic.
There is a 20% seller’s fee, but with the amount of organic traffic Fiverr provides you’re likely to make more money than you would find elsewhere with little effort.
Step #1 – Create An Account
Once you’ve created a Fiverr account it’s time to create your profile. Make sure you include an engaging profile picture and write a professional bio that introduces yourself and your skills. (show yourself off!)
Step #2 – Add Your Writing Services
After setting up your profile, you’ll need to add your services. There are a variety of writing categories you can select from, so make sure you select the ones that best match your skills and experience. If you prefer writing blog posts, that can be an option.
Step #3 – Price Your Services
Pricing is one of the most important aspects of your Fiverr profile. You want to make sure you don’t underprice yourself, but also keep in mind that Fiverr is a competitive marketplace.
Look at other sellers and see what the average rate is per word count. You may need to undercut the average price just to get some reviews going.
You can adjust your pricing based on the type of project and client you’re working with. This is done through custom orders that can be sent via the inbox.
Step #4 – Write Your Gigs
Your gigs are what will draw potential buyers in. When writing your gigs make sure you explain the benefits of working with you and the quality they can expect from your services.
Sell your services. Use scarcity, social proof, and other marketing tactics to ensure that you stand out from the crowd. Think about what it is exactly people want out of this type of service.
Step #5 – Promote Your Gigs
Once you’ve created and published your gigs, it’s time to start promoting them. You can do this through social media posts, blog posts, email campaigns, and more. Letting people know that you are offering this service outside of the platform can be helpful, but it’s not entirely necessary.
Fiverr also offers a built-in promotional tool for sellers. This is a paid service but can be worth it to get some momentum going. If you have the funds, give it a try!
Step #6 – Connect Your Bank Account or PayPal
Fiverr lets you withdraw your earnings two weeks after the order is confirmed by the client (level 1 and level 2 sellers, top-rated sellers can withdraw within one week). Connect a banking account or PayPal for the funds to be deposited.
These steps should help you get started on your journey as a freelance writer. Just remember to stay organized, keep track of your deadlines, and manage clients’ expectations. If you can complete orders without any penalties or late deliveries, your gig will be pushed to the top of Fiverr’s search results. Good luck!
How Can Freelance Writers Improve Their Writing Skills?
Practicing with your own blog, experimenting with different styles of writing, and reading good books are all great ways to improve your writing skills. It takes time to study the craft.
Learning how to structure an article, develop a storyline, and craft compelling copy are all important aspects of writing that you should practice to become a better freelance writer.
Like building a house with a foundation, building out the structure of an article, and filling it in will help with productivity and the quality of your work. This helps to segment your thoughts rather than writing from pure creativity.
Make sure to also research topics thoroughly, find accurate and reliable sources, and keep up with the news so that you can offer a unique and informed perspective. That’s why it’s important to select specific writing topics that you are passionate about, as your enthusiasm will come through in your writing.
You should also focus on improving your grammar, punctuation, spelling, and voice so that your writing can be more effective. Although there are tools such as Grammarly that can help you, the best way to improve these skills is to practice them yourself.
Make sure your work is properly revised and edited before you submit it to a client. This will ensure your written work is impeccable, clear, concise, and error-free.
When you have a good revision and editing process in place, your work will be more successful and client satisfaction is sure to follow. Attention to detail should not be ignored.
Finally, time management skills are also important for improving technical writing. Devote enough time to research, write, and edit your pieces so that you can deliver quality work on time. Leave distracts out of the room when its time to improve.
Freelance Writing Career vs Freelance Writing Business
Becoming a business owner makes sense over freelance writing for several reasons.
Qualities of A Freelance Writing Career
- Serves as a day job or side hustle.
- Focus on content writing.
- Responsible for job board listings
- Strong time management skills.
- Can work with many different clients
Qualities of A Freelance Writing Business
- Outsource work to other writers or employees.
- Focus on client satisfaction and finding the right clients for your business.
- Requires leadership and management abilities.
- Responsible for legal and tax compliances associated with having your own small business.
How Can A Freelance Writing Business Market Their Services Better?
When it comes to selling writing services, digital marketing best practices still apply. Knowing what makes people buy and understanding their needs can help you craft better marketing messages and increase sales.
Reading some marketing books such as Robert Cialdini’s Influence The Psychology of Persuasion will give you insights into how to market your services better.
If you are listing on Fiverr, make sure to go through their best practices. By doing so, you can increase the visibility of your gigs. For example, a strong thumbnail image, the right keyword groupings, and a well-written sales pitch can make a huge difference.
Mistakes That Most Freelance Writers Make
Falling into the following traps when you start freelance writing can lead to a lot of headaches and problems.
Not Setting Boundaries For Your Clients: It’s important to know when to say no and when to be flexible with clients. Setting boundaries will make it easier for you to protect your time and energy.
Not Researching Clients Before Accepting a Job: Always research who you are writing for, so you can make sure they are legitimate and not out to scam you. Know who you’re dealing with…
Utilizing The Same Framework For Everyone: Different clients will have different expectations and needs. You need to be flexible and make sure you tailor each job offer according to the client’s requirements.
Some clients may require professional-toned writing while others may prefer a more conversational style. Not adapting to the client’s expectations can lead to conflicts and revisions down the line.
Creative liberties may be encouraged by some clients. However, it’s important to stay within the confines of the brief. This will help you build trust and credibility with your client.
Not Fact-Checking Your Work: Accuracy is one of the most important elements of freelance writing. Make sure you double-check every piece of work you submit, to ensure it is error-free.
Not Taking Breaks: Working too much can lead to burnout, so make sure to take regular breaks to stay productive. Your creativity and motivation will be restored if you take the time to relax and recharge. Take some time to make sure that you are in the correct state of mind before you start writing.
Not Delivering On Time: Deadlines are important and should be treated as such. Make sure you communicate with your clients to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and deadlines are met.
If a project is running late, let your client know as soon as possible. Doing this will keep everyone updated and help maintain trust and loyalty.
Not Taking Reviews Seriously: reviews are a great way to gauge how your writing is received, and what changes you can make to be more successful. Make sure to take reviews seriously and use them as an opportunity to learn and grow as a writer.
Not Being Honest With Yourself: It can be difficult to take criticism as a writer, but it’s important to remain honest with yourself. This will help you determine how to improve and become better at what you do.
Neglecting Repeat Order Opportunities: Turning a writing assignment into a long-term project with a recurring order is one of the quickest ways to increase your income. Instead of focusing on finding new clients, aim to build relationships with your existing ones to create more repeat orders.
Not Having Upsell Options and Add-On Packages: Offer extra services on top of your writing service, such as adding images or SEO audits. This will help you increase the value of each job and make more money in the long run.
Not Asking For Reviews And Tips: Some freelance writing clients are happy to give positive reviews or even tips on how to improve your work. Ask them for feedback, and you may be surprised at the insights they provide.
How Can A Professional Writer Earn More?
Learning skills such as search engine optimization can help you earn more money because it can drive more traffic to your website. You can also sell this service as an add-on upsell service to clients who are already buying your writing services.
If a client is looking to publish online articles, they will likely hire writers that have some background understanding of search engine optimization because it can help their articles attract organic traffic. If it’s an informational article, this search traffic can learn from the website and label them an authority in that space.
Freelance writing gigs can also be bundled into bulk orders or subscriptions. This will line you up for more job opportunities with clients you are already familiar with.
The total volume of freelance writing jobs can also be increased by asking for referrals. This will serve as word-of-mouth marketing and can help you start writing for a more diverse client base.
How To Become A Freelance Writer (Final Thoughts)
Becoming a freelance writer can be an incredibly rewarding career. You have the freedom to choose your own projects and work with clients you feel passionate about helping. All while still having the flexibility of where and when you work.
Practice, research, and improve your marketing abilities. That way you can build your freelancing business into something that is both profitable and fulfilling. Trust me, it’s possible.
Ready to become a freelance writer? Start writing samples and create your account on Fiverr to get started. Don’t let procrastination and fear of failure hold you back.
Successful writers are persistent and take risks, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and give it a try. You’ll be getting writing jobs before you know it!
Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget to Network
Networking with other writers, editors, and potential clients can really boost your freelance writing career. You never know when you might find an opportunity for collaboration that could help jumpstart your business.
If you are looking for more tips on how to become a freelance writer, don’t hesitate to contact me as I am happy to answer any questions and provide advice 🙂
Is Being A Freelance Writer Worth It?
Now that you know how to become an online freelance writer, you might be wondering if it’s worth all that effort. It can be a lucrative career path, especially when you are experienced and have taken the steps to build a strong portfolio and client base.
However, it’s not worth it if you despise working with others. Freelancing is service-based, so having strong communication and negotiation skills are essential if you want to succeed.
If you’d rather just write whatever you’d like, starting a blog or writing your own novels may be more satisfying for you. We have many additional articles to help you decide if other writing paths are better suited for you.
Finally, check out some of our other articles on freelance writing tools. They can help with your writing career and make the endeavor much more worth it. And this article on how to set up a writer’s office can help with overall productivity.
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