How To Become A Freelance Writer (And Actually Make Money!)

 I will share with you how to become a contract writer and make a full-time income writing at home in your PJs or on a beach in Bali: you pick!

Do you love writing? Want to learn how to become a contract writer?

If you do, the idea of getting paid to write and work from home may sound too good to be true.

Trust me. It’s not.

Making a living as a contract author is work, and it’s going to require time, effort, and an funding in your self to get started. But I can guarantee you, this profession path will provide the flexibility and freedom you are longing for!

Think about it:

You’ll be able to work from the consolation of your home and set your personal schedule! Or you’ll be able to work from anywhere inside the world! This is ideal for moms, students, or anybody that doesn’t want to be confined by the level restraints of a 9-5 job. 

If you like to journey like me, you can freelance from anywhere since all you want is your computer and an web connection.

The best part?

You don’t want a fancy diploma or a ton of coaching if you wish to learn how to become a worthwhile freelance writer. Research shows that freelance writers could make over $70,000 on common annually.

And when you create your personal constant base of clients that love you, you could earn even more!

The Difference Between Freelance and Employee

Before I transfer on, I simply desired to be clear and level out that freelance writers are not employees, which is why you get a lot flexibility.

As a freelancer, you’ll basically have your personal freelance writing business, and also you could make as little or as a lot as you want. However, because you don’t have an employer, you’ll be accountable for paying your personal taxes and covering advantages like well being insurance, paid time off, and your retirement plan.

It’s a tradeoff, however it’s well worth it if you would like extra freedom. If you’re able to become a 6-figure author or earn sufficient to meet all of your monetary goals, you probably won’t thoughts paying taxes and covering your personal bills and benefits.

Okay, so nonetheless with me?

Table of contents

How to become a contract writer

If you’re prepared to begin your personal writing business, I have an eight step-by-step course of that will assist you not solely to get began however additionally to make cash quickly.

1. Decide what type of author you want to be

This is such an important first step. There are different types of writers, all of which can be classified under the general freelance author umbrella.

The most common types of freelance writing are:

  • Article/feature writing: This might be the most common type of writing that involves thoughts when people take into consideration freelancing. You’ll be writing for magazines and newspapers both on-line or for the printed version.
  • Blogging: You could make cash by both having your personal weblog or writing weblog posts for different bloggers.
  • Copywriting: As a contract copywriter, you’ll write creative copy to assist companies set up and promote their brand, engage with clients, and market merchandise and services.
  • Social Media Content: With social media becoming an important aspect of everyone’s life, as a social media content material writer, you’ll assist manufacturers planning, writing and scheduling social media posts throughout a number of platforms.
  • Technical writing: The idea of technical writing is to take an overly complicated idea in a particular field and current it in an easy-to-understand method to the general public. You’re going to want an existing in-depth knowledge of the industry you want to work in if you wish to succeed on this type of writing.

Think about which projects sound most interesting to you, collectively with what you think you’d be good at. For example, you may not discover it interesting to write technical instructions. Still, you may enjoy writing a native enterprise feature or discussing your top parenting tips on a mother blog.

In that case, you’d probably prefer to write for blogs, small businesses, or rising websites. The choice is as a lot as you. If you enjoy technical writing, by all means, go for it!

The course of of becoming a contract author is pretty similar it doesn't matter what type of author you want to be. 

Case study 1: How Laura from Legal SEO Writer makes over $15k a month!

Laura began her full-time freelancing profession in June 2012. Since then, she managed to scale her one-woman enterprise to a multi-six-figure level!

“I determined to begin a contract writing profession because I was bored to death in my workplace job at an insurance coverage company. I wanted a enterprise the place I could decide who to work with and who to show down.

I’ve had months as excessive as $28k as a one-woman shop, however I usually hover between $15-20k.

My best tips would be to begin small and don’t give up your day job yet.

I stayed in my day job for a year whereas I constructed up my clientele and had a year of income reports to show to myself that it was steady. Taking the leap to go full-time was scary however additionally amazing because my enterprise grew so much, and I am worlds happier than I was in my day job.

Also, know that you'll hear the phrase “no” or get no response dozens and even hundreds of times. Don’t expect to land your first freelance writing client in 5 minutes- make investments the time to write a nice pitch or samples after which begin pitching.

During the time I’ve been freelancing, we have moved six times (and I’m currently packing for transfer #7) for my husband’s military career. Being able to pick up and keep enterprise as usual in a brand new metropolis is an enormous assist to me.”

2. Narrow down your niche

Now that you know what type of author you want to be, it’s time to narrow down your niche. The best and most worthwhile freelance writers specialize in a particular niche. That’s how potential clients discover them and match them with projects.

Believe it or not, marketing your self as a general freelance author may backfire. If you select to become a Jack or Jill of all trades, people will assume you’re not specialised sufficient and simply not what they’re looking for.

Plus, selecting a distinct segment permits you to get higher at covering a particular topic so that you can eventually become an authority on that topic. Brainstorm the topics that appear extra interesting to you and that you have some expertise in. You may even create sub-niches out of your main area of interest to permit extra diversity.

For example, if you enjoy writing about private finance, you can additionally cowl particular topics like paying off debt, saving for retirement, and credit.

Here are a few of the best and most worthwhile niches for freelance writers to consider:

  • Travel
  • Personal Finance
  • Parenting
  • Marketing
  • Tech
  • Dating and Relationships
  • Food
  • Fitness
  • Business/Freelancing
  • Higher Education
  • Fashion
Case study 2: How Leslie from Blurban Planner makes $4-10k a month by working in a distinct segment she is aware of well.

Leslie began an organization to create multilingual content material for luxurious resorts, hotels, and actual estate.

“I realized a few years in the past that my dead-end 7-4 job was not fulfilling. I wasn’t happy, and wanderlust was starting to pressure-cook below my surface. But I knew I loved writing and had expertise with SEO development for actual property companies and resorts (I live in a bungalow on the beach in Virginia).

I determined to take a trip to Paris for 2 weeks, returned to my job, and put my two weeks’ discover in with my supervisor. During these two weeks, I teamed up with different bilingual writers to form a content material writing company, incorporated my firm, and haven’t looked again since.

Fast-forward to now, and we proudly write for a lot of large luxurious manufacturers locally and abroad. I get to journey the world and meet with clients globally. I completely love the life I live and the profession I created for myself.

My best tips for somebody getting began in writing?

Read. A lot. Absorb content material on whichever style pursuits you and learn writing styles and what will bring worth to your potential clients. Read first, write subsequent and by no means cease learning.”

3. Invest in yourself

Be open to investing in your self and your writing skills so that you can be successful. If you want to enhance your writing, you might want to make investments in a course or some coaching to enhance this skill set.

Another factor you can learn is SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization. If you’re going to be a weblog or article writer, realize that most clients have an interest in working with writers who perceive how search engines work and can write SEO-friendly articles.

You ought to additionally consider investing inside the proper equipment, whether or not that means upgrading your laptop computer or setting up a house workplace so that you can work efficiently. Here are some useful instruments that you could be want to take into consideration utilizing as a contract writer.

  • Grammarly – To assist check grammar and spelling for your work (there is a free and paid versions).
  • Hemingway App – Free grammar editor that may assist you rating your writing level and assess your overall sentence structure.
  • Wave – Can assist you ship invoices to clients and track your payments. The best part? It’s completely free!
  • SEO courses – I LOVE this one, however when budget is an issue, you want to take a look at Brian’s free resources on copywriting on backlinko.

Learn from the experts

Starting to work as a contract author can be overwhelming on the beginning. When I began my blog, I knew the one way to fast-track my success what to make investments some cash and learn from the best inside the business. And the identical goes for each freelance profession out there!

Can you make cash studying everything for free?

Sure you can! But how lengthy will that take you?

If you want to be certain to make a full-time income as a contract author inside the subsequent 6 months to a year, I think one of many best issues you are able to do for your self is to learn from somebody who has done it earlier than you.

Holly began her enterprise as a contract author in 2011 whereas nonetheless working full-time. Within a year, she was incomes over $40,000 and quit her job to become a full-time freelance writer. three years after that, Holly was incomes $180k, and now she constantly makes over $200k a year!

Holly has created an amazing course to share with everybody how she became so worthwhile at discovering high-paying freelance gigs. And with the course, you’ll get entry to a private Facebook group the place Holly will reply your questions. Several people inside the group earn over $10,000 a month thanks to what Holly teaches.

I recommend you to do your personal research, however each time I ask somebody who's a contract writer, I hear them raving about Holly’s course over and over again!

4. Do I want a blog?

I think it’s important for freelance writers to have their very personal blog, particularly if you are simply starting out! Having a weblog can be a nice way to showcase your work if you’re attempting to make cash writing articles however don’t have a ton of experience.

You can weblog about no matter you want and use your weblog posts as writing samples to assist you get clients. Yes, starting a blog prices a little money, however it’s one other way to make investments in yourself, and it pays off. Most writers I talk to even have a weblog and have used it to assist them land qualify freelancing gigs.

Let’s additionally not forget that starting a weblog can be a tremendous worthwhile and versatile way to make money as well.

While it takes time to make cash blogging, freelance writing provides a faster path, however you are able to do each to diversify your income. Freelancers have a tendency to have a fluctuating income, so your weblog can be the perfect way to even out your earnings and function an income backup plan as well.

5. Build your portfolio (yes, write for free)

I talked about all of the cash you can earn from freelancing earlier, so a few of you may wonder why she is now telling us to write for free?

If you’re attempting to determine how to become a contract author with no experience, that is it. Writing samples are so important, and it’s difficult to get employed with out them.

Would you rent a canine sitter who has no experience? Probably not. You’d likely want to see reviews and testimonials from previous clients to guarantee you that they know what they’re doing when it involves caring for your dog. It’s the identical with freelance writing.

Potential clients want to see that you’ve written content material before, and they additionally use samples out of your portfolio to get a really feel for your writing.

If you don’t have any samples in your portfolio, you may have to write for free a few times, so that you have some work to showcase. You don’t have to do that long-term. Just attempt to land 3-4 solid visitor article spots on different websites and ship your best work.

This is the way you do it:

  1. Search for web websites inside your area of interest that settle for articles from visitor writers.
  2. Put collectively a list of your preferred blogs with articles about what you would like to become an authority on.
  3. Reach out to them to see in the event that they would be willing to have you ever write a trial article that may be published on their blog. The best approach is to ship them an email, inform them why you love their website, and provides them a proposal for a few visitor post articles you could offer them for free.

A few tips when you attain out to write your first articles:

  • Keep it short, simple, and to the point.
  • Explain in a brief paragraph who you are and why you’re an authority in that particular niche.
  • Pitch your article with a catchy title and a brief description of what it will be about.

From there, you can use these samples to pitch different clients for paid work (we’ll talk about pitching soon).

6. Build a network

Don’t underestimate the energy of a solid network. Consider becoming a member of a few freelance author teams on Facebook. This will allow you to attach with different writers, ask questions and get feedback.

Most freelance writers in these teams are pleasant and greater than willing to assist different members out. There is loads of labor for everyone, so that you probably won’t really feel a way of competitors and ought to really feel extra like you’re a half of a community.

Below are a few of the best Facebook teams for freelance writers to join on the moment:

  • The Write Life Community
  • Binders
  • 1…2…Freelance: A Community For Creative Freelancers
  • No Fluff Freelance Writing Group
  • Freelance Writing Jobs

Remember that networking shouldn’t be one-sided. If you join a Facebook group and even join with different writers via email or in person, be certain to give again and contribute simply as a lot as you receive.

Who knows, you may even be able to share leads with your community when you attain your capability with clients.

It can occur sooner than you think!

Case study 3: How Greg started writing for love and now makes $4-8k a month

Greg adopted romance and taught himself how to become a contract writer, utilizing the support of a community to assist him grow.

“I’ve been working as a contract author for 5 years now and got my begin due to romance. I met a Chinese woman whereas we were each touring in Guatemala. At the time, I was working hands-on in agriculture, conservation, and community development… not writing!

But, romance took me to China, which opened up a world of language-related work. I went from editor to transcriber to author to content material supervisor to small enterprise proprietor to ghostwriter. Five years later, and I nonetheless do a little little bit of everything as a distant freelancer and small enterprise proprietor because we split our life between the US and China.

My biggest piece of recommendation is to by no means cease prospecting – even when you’re completely full to the gills. That’s when you begin pitching 10%-20% higher charges to new prospects – for
every one you land, you can replace that least favorite/paying client!

My second piece of advice: join a supportive community. For me, that’s The Content Marketing Lounge on Facebook. This nice group of professionals is willing to reply your questions, and the place I got my #1 piece of advice!”

Don’t ignore your running a blog friends…

Another enjoyable way to community is to leverage your weblog to get different visitor post opportunities. If you discover a weblog that you actually like and admire, pitch a visitor post concept that you think would be valuable to their readers.

Deliver your best work, then afterward level out that you’re a contract author for rent and would appreciate any leads they ship your way.

This, my friend, is the way you get amazing referrals.

It’s important to realize that networking is all about relationships, and relationships require nurturing.

Don’t expect a ton of favors on the primary interplay with someone. Instead, focus on attending to know them and understanding their wants and goals. Build up some rapport and see if you are able to do something to assist them rather than simply flat-out asking for a favor all of the time.

7. Start pitching: how to get your first freelance writing client

You may very well land your first client by the level you get to this step, thanks to networking and constructing your portfolio via visitor posts.

However, it’s nonetheless essential that you know how to define freelance writing work. One easy way is to look at job boards. Job boards are sometimes filled with freelance writing jobs for clients who're keen to hire. This is what makes it a nice place to begin your search.

Some of the best freelance writing job boards include:

  • ProBlogger Job Board
  • Contena
  • Freelance Writing Gigs
  • Freelance Writer’s Den (paid membership)
  • Media Bistro

The main caveat to utilizing job boards is that they are sometimes aggressive since anybody can entry the leads.

Another way to discover writing work is by sending a chilly pitch. If you discover a weblog or web site that you’d like to write for, discover out who the editor is and ship them an email.

They may or may not be hiring on the time, however there are some issues you are able to do to make sure your pitch results in new client work.

Tips to begin pitching:

  1. See if there are different writers on the site. If you see different authors on the blog, it’s a good indication that this client hires freelance writers. Some websites even have a team web page the place they may include bios for his or her current writers or the head editor.
  2. Make sure the content material is up-to-date. Don’t waste time pitching a dead weblog or website. Seeing fresh content material signifies that this potential client actually cares about the writing and finds it valuable.
  3. Follow instructions. If there’s a web page on the site that highlights a contract writing opening, be certain to follow the directions precisely when you ship your pitch.
  4. Connect on social media. A nice way to heat up your pitch is to attach with the client on Twitter or LinkedIn to construct up some rapport.
  5. Send article titles and samples. Never ship a contract writing pitch with out attaching some writing samples. You can additionally get creative and ship them a few customized article titles that you think would work well for his or her site. This shows them that you’ve taken a whereas to learn through existing content material and learn extra about their audience.

8. One final tip: don’t undervalue yourself

It’s unfortunate, however most freelance writers actually undervalue their work and don’t cost sufficient money.

I get it. It’s tough to ask for extra cash sometimes, to not level out barely awkward. Still, you have to do it if you wish to be paid pretty and earn sufficient to support yourself.

Remember, freelance writing is real work and requires a lot of skills and consideration to detail. You ought to be compensated well for the work you do. Plus, you have to cowl your personal expenses, pay taxes and well being insurance coverage in addition to save for your personal retirement.

To top it off, you may not receives a commission to do admin duties that keep your enterprise running, like checking and responding to emails, doing research, editing your personal work, and sending invoices.

Factor in that level and people extra prices into your ideal rate. When a client asks you how a lot you charge, by no means reply with a general quote. Every client is different of their very personal way, so your prices ought to vary.

Take into consideration factors like:

  • How lengthy will it take you to write, research, and edit (Pro tip: Time your self when you do free trial work and write visitor posts to construct your portfolio, so that you have a good suggestion of how a lot effort and time goes into writing).
  • Whether you'll be given a topic and description or might want to come up with that yourself.
  • Whether you’ll be writing under your personal name or byline or as a ghostwriter.

NOTE: Most writers cost per-project or per word.

Set an income goal and speak to a tax skilled about how a lot you ought to save out of your freelance writing income so that you can pay quarterly taxes. Factor that quantity into your rate.

For example, if you cost $75 per weblog post however are at a 25% tax bracket, that means $18.75 of that cash ought to go on to taxes.

Finally, ask your self if you really feel completely assured inside the speed earlier than you ship it to a prospect. If you secretly really feel such as you sold your self short, don’t ship it or raise the price.

You will benefit from the work and most likely do a greater job when you really feel like you’re pretty compensated.

Don’t be afraid to pass on some clients in case your rate doesn’t work out. You want it to be a mutually beneficial partnership for each you and the client so respect the truth that they've a budget too. You don’t want them stretching their budget both to afford to pay you because there may not be longevity in that.

Case study 4: How Samantha makes use of freelance writing to have a regular income whereas constructing her business, Monsoon Blooms, and makes $3-8k a month

Samantha has labored for big publications like Lonely Planet, the Huffington Post, and many more. She is now constructing her how enterprise and makes use of freelance writing to diversify her income.

“I studied Marketing at University and quickly found workplace life wasn’t for me and went hunting for a profession path in journey that offered extra flexibility.

After spending a lot of time engaged on my portfolio by writing free articles in my spare time, I took the plunge to go freelance… I additionally used the change as an opportunity to maneuver to Bali, the place the price of living was lower, and I could extra simply handle various paychecks. Copywriting has proved far extra financially viable than editorial for me, so I always recommend discovering your voice throughout various industries and writing styles.

I additionally tracked down mentors inside the industry and did everything I could to perceive how they paved their path. Last however certainly not least, I think it’s important to separate the weather of writing and discover your strengths and weaknesses inside the skill. I realized that my grasp of the English language is common when it involves spelling and grammar, however I can put phrases in nice order and know how to evoke emotion. By figuring this out, I was able to scrub up on what I lacked and progress a little additional than I had ever imagined.”

Ready to make cash as a contract writer?

You can learn how to become a contract author even when you have no experience! 

Laura, Leslie, Greg, Samantha, and many others have modified their lives and are now doing what they love.

Follow these eight steps, and you’ll be well in your way to becoming a worthwhile freelance author and discovering your first writing job. Freelance writing can be a nice way to extend or diversify your income whereas merely doing one factor you enjoy. 


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