What is Freelance Writing? Freelance Writing For Beginners
You’ve decided to start a career as a freelance writer, but have no experience? Don’t fret. You can get dozens of clients, even if you’re a beginning freelance writer just uttering the “what is freelance writing?” question.
Landing the perfect job as a beginner takes some learning and patience, but you can absolutely be successful and earn your first freelance writing pay.
Why Become a Freelance Writer?
If you’re looking to become a freelance writer, there is no better time than now to go down this path. With so many millions of websites needing fresh, new content, there will be no shortage of the best freelance writing jobs online to go around.
Follow these tips to get started, and you’ll eventually blossom into a skilled writer with the experience to match.
Building an Online Presence
As a budding freelance writer, building an online presence will help you appear effective and professional, and will help you land a few dream writing jobs. Building a website to show off your writing skills is one of the most effective marketing tools a writer has.
In today’s writing world, your website is often a client’s first impression or the second after you deliver a resume. There are two ways to do this:
- Build your own: Although some writers find building a website expensive and ineffective, in many cases, this is because it is not user-friendly. It doesn’t invite prospective clients in the right way.
- Find a template or service: Online services such as Clippings.me, Contently.com, and even About.me are good examples of services that you can use to make a portfolio website easily and inexpensively (most are free), and appear professional.
What is a Freelance Writer Without Writing Samples?
Once you have your portfolio or writer’s website set up, you’ll want to produce some freelance article writing samples to fill it if you don’t already have some.
An empty portfolio does no good. While you might have a nice design, prospective clients visit your website to get a taste of what they can expect from you if they offer you writing jobs online. If you have a website that has nothing on it, they have no way to tell if you are the freelance article writer they want to hire.
If you are learning to specialize in a specific genre or as a subject matter expert, then you’ll want to concentrate on writing samples in this topical area. Show off your best work – writing that you as a freelance writer would be proud to show off. If you’re learning to write in a more general manner, then you’ll want to cover a variety of topics that interest you.
Remember that while freelance writing and writing online is a business, it also has to be fun or it really won’t have you producing good writing. By writing about things you enjoy or know really well, you can keep the fresh feeling alive while working to meet your income needs.
Also keep in mind that when you’re starting out, you’ll want to show off your knowledge of various writing styles. Don’t just write SEO articles for your portfolio if you can also write press releases, news articles, and resumes.
Get Freelance Writing Gigs At Content Mills
Some budding beginning freelancers, before they even get their first client, want to test out their skills. Content mills that produce a ton of content at low prices are often one of the first stops that freelancers make. Doing creative writing jobs for a content mill can earn you some “street cred” and build your writing chops almost instantly.
Once you get into a content mill, you will work with many clients, editors, and other writers. The mill acts as a broker so you never have to deal with the clients directly, even though you get instructions from the client.
Writing for content mills isn’t for everyone, though. You will need to write well, and write often just to make a decent paycheck. Some freelancers complain of the low pay. Others complain editors are too strict. The fact is, if you can handle a bit of feedback, writing for content mills could easily help you improve as a writer much faster than if you learned on your own.
This is because editors will always go over and critique your work. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable because nobody likes getting critiqued. Since it will help raise the standard of your writing, try to take it in and learn from it.
What is Freelance Writing Without Realistic Goals?
Setting goals and disciplining yourself to follow through with them is another big part of freelance writing. Many writers wonder why they haven’t been successful. Little did they know that they likely sabotaged themselves from the beginning by not setting some short- and long-term goals for themselves.
One good program for goal setting is SMART goals, which consists of:
- Specific: What you want to achieve. Be specific. Also “simple, sensible, and significant.”
- Measurable: How you can measure your goal. Share count, views, number of words written or pages written per day, etc. Also “meaningful, motivating.”
- Attainable: Don’t set your hopes too high – the higher and more unattainable your goal, the more likely it will be that you come up short, and this can crush a budding freelance writer. Also “agreed, achievable.”
- Relevant: Make sure the goals you set are actually relevant to your profession, otherwise, your goal could be a time-waster. Also “reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based.”
- Time-bound: Set a timetable for what you want to achieve when. A week, a month, six months, etc. Also “time-based, time-limited, time and cost limited, timely or time sensitive.”
Once you’re done with creating your goals, and working to stick with them, you’ll find yourself following them naturally. As you achieve each goal, just check it off your list and reward yourself even if it’s taking a walk to your favorite coffee place to relax for an hour.
Build Your Confidence as a Budding Freelance Article Writer
Aside from not setting goals not having confidence can be a massive career killer. Confidence boosting is a huge part of a freelancer’s success. Each time you complete a project, get good feedback, or a great recommendation from a satisfied client, you know that you did your job, and did it well. You can take confidence knowing that.
You must prepare yourself to get that one critique that kills your soul – it will come at some point in your career, and it will make you want to quit. The trick to getting around this is to know that you simply cannot please everyone all of the time. Some clients are difficult to work with. Some editors can be nitpicky. It’s a fact of every freelance writer’s life.
You must build yourself up so that you can get around what could be even the most devastating, confidence-killing critique. Every writer does this differently.
Some converse with other writers, or with career coaches. Some have motivational sayings on their wall in front of them. Some even go so far as to take confidence-building classes or see motivational speakers. The trick to building confidence as a freelance writer is to figure out what works for you – not other people.
Then, take this confidence and funnel it into a resume or job bid. When you feel confident, you project confidence, your prospective clients can feel it. If they see you as a confident, accomplished writer,you’re more likely to win that job.
Ultimately, becoming a freelance writer takes a lot of discipline, hard work, learning, and patience. If as a beginning freelance writer, you can manage to accomplish at very least the things outlined here, you will eventually have no problem finding freelance writing jobs to suit any writing you want to do.