Almost everyone wishes they could leave the 9 to 5 behind and be their own boss. A lot of people dream it, fewer plan for it and only a tiny fraction of them actually go ahead and do it. Writing is a skill set that is one of the easiest to monetize online. If you are confused about how you can start your freelance writing career online, I’ve listed the key steps you need to take to get started.
- Find a niche: Before you put pen to paper, you need to figure out what you are interested in or qualified to write about. Make a list of your hobbies and interests. Everybody has something that they find absolutely fascinating. Chances are that if you find something interesting, then there are others out there who are looking for information on the same. You can add your own perspective, experience and point of view to the subject matter. If you have a degree, you can leverage it. Don’t worry if you are not exactly qualified in your selected niche. You don’t have to be an absolute expert in crocheting to write informative articles about it. As long you are interested in a subject and your research skills are up to par, you can write about anything you set your mind to. Unless you are writing high stakes medical or engineering content, you can adopt the perspective of a learner or enthusiast. In fact, this way, your audience will relate to your writing more because they will see you as just like them.
- Build a Portfolio: To convince a client to pay you, first, you have to build a portfolio of writing samples. This can be a blog or a website. If you are short on cash, then you can start with free blogging sites like Medium and Wordpress. Once you have picked a niche, come up with a list of topics that can appeal to an average reader and write a 500 to 1000 word article on it. Once you have around 10 to 20 articles in your selected niche, you can start reaching out to potential clients by marketing yourself.
- Market yourself. This is a very important step and the one most ignored by most freelancers. You have the talent, you have the time, and you have the gumption to work. All of that is wasted if the clients can’t find you. Here are your options:
a. Upwork, Freelancer, Reddit, Forums: You can get started on these sites, finding your first few clients. The pay is very low but the experience will be very valuable. If you are just starting freelancing, jumping into the deep end of the pool with these sites will give you the necessary battle scars needed to survive in the freelancing world.
b. Cold Emailing Clients: Once you have built up a portfolio and have the experience, start marketing yourself by reaching out to blogs and organizations in your field who may have writing jobs. Cold emailing may seem like a waste but you’ll be surprised to find out how many of them need solid reliable freelancers. They are willing to pay well. You should price yourself what you are worth and not undercut yourself because at this stage charging low will give the appearance of poor quality.
c. Networking and Socializing: Once you go through the trenches and see yourself as a business, jump into the big leagues by reaching out to actual people in real life. Attend local meetups. Hand out business cards. Attend business and trade conferences in your niche. You are your brand at this point. The sky is the limit!
If you follow the template above you should find your first few clients soon and get started on the road to entrepreneurship. Best of luck!
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