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By Amanda Kruse, Contributor
Whether you want to work from home or change up your career and work for yourself, freelance writing should be one of your top considerations. It’s one of the most flexible remote work options out there.
The great thing is, you don’t need a degree or a lot of experience to start freelance writing. In fact, all you need to get started is a desire to write, a laptop, and an internet connection. I started with no experience, besides a blog, and an unrelated degree.
Another great thing about freelance writing? The demand for freelance writers continues to grow as businesses expand their online presence. These businesses need content for their websites to broaden their reach. And most of them hire freelance writers to fill this need.
So, if you like to write and want to get paid to do it, read on. In this article, I’ll cover different types of freelance writing and how to find freelance writing jobs for beginners.
What Is Freelance Writing?
Freelance writing is any writing you get paid to do outside of regular employment. Most freelance writers are self-employed and work from home or a co-working space.
Freelance writers provide writing services for many different individuals and businesses. While some writers have one or two regular, ongoing clients, others have several different clients and projects.
Some freelancers write on a wide array of topics for all types of clients, especially when they’re starting on their freelance journey. But many freelance writers end up specializing in a niche topic or two.
Is freelance writing legit?
The short answer is yes. Freelance writers can earn a stable, full or part-time income. That doesn’t mean there aren’t scams out there targeting beginners, but they’re the exception. Use your intuition as a guide and do your homework on any questionable offers.
Types of Freelance Writing Jobs
The need for online content is diverse. So, the types of freelance writing jobs vary too. Here are some examples of the different kinds of freelance writing work.
- Blogs. Blog writing provides readers with information or entertainment. Blogs aim to add value and establish brand trust.
- Ghostwriting. Ghostwriters write articles, blogs, and eBooks without getting credit. Projects usually get published under clients’ names.
- Copywriting. Copywriters create website content, landing pages, newsletters, sales letters, and more, with the underlying goal of persuading readers to take action.
- White papers. This writing requires research and technical writing skills. White papers are factual reports, highlighting organizations’ problems and their solutions.
- Technical writing. Like it sounds, technical writing explains technical details. Technical writers often document processes and write manuals, instructions, and guides.
- Feature writing (magazine or news articles). Writers create articles, stories, or press releases for trade publications, news outlets, and magazines.
- eBooks. An eBook, or electronic book, is longer than an article, but shorter than most print books. Many eBook writers are ghostwriters, but some write their own eBooks to sell.
- Marketing content. Some businesses hire writers to create social media content and other marketing media, like brochures.
Skills Required for Freelance Writing
One of the best things about freelance writing is you don’t need a degree or specialized training to get started. Yet, it is helpful to have a love of writing and the desire to be self-employed!
While you don’t need to be an expert, here are some of the skills required for freelance writing.
Of course, writing is one of the top skills required for freelance writing! Though you don’t need a journalism degree, you need to be able to write clearly and concisely. Excellent grammar and vocabulary are other essential skills to develop.
Knowledge of SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means improving website content to increase search engine traffic. As a freelance writer, this means writing quality content to include commonly searched keywords. You can also boost clients’ SEO by writing content for external websites that include links back to the client’s site.
As a freelance writer, finding reliable, reputable sources is a must. You need to be able to cut through low-quality information to find the best, most accurate resources.
Editing is super important for creating high-quality, well-written content. Some of the most successful freelance writers spend as much (or more) time editing as they do writing content.
Time management skills
Freelance writers juggle several clients and projects at the same time. And most projects come with strict deadlines. It’s helpful to develop a routine and keep a calendar, task list, and filing system.
You need excellent communication skills to gain new clients and get your current clients the results they want. It’s essential to be clear and accurate when relaying written messages. Be sure to proofread all correspondence before sending it.
As a beginning freelance writer, you’ll have to market your services to new clients. Some useful marketing strategies include starting a website, creating social media profiles, pitching ideas, and networking.
Accounting and business skills
Freelance writing is a business, and that means you should operate it as a business. You need ways to invoice clients, maintain accounting records, and calculate taxes. You can use accounting software, like Freshbooks, or hire an accountant to help with this.
How Much Do Freelance Writers Make?
As a freelance writer, how much you make varies with experience, the type of writing you do, and your clients.
You might get paid by the project, either by word count or a flat fee. Sometimes, you can get paid by the hour, especially if you do other tasks besides writing. And when you do ongoing work for a client, you might receive a retainer.
Writing rates vary from about .10/word up to $1.00/word. For example, a 1000 word article could pay anywhere from $100 to $1000. Hourly rates vary just as much, from $10/hour to $100/hour.
As a beginner, it can be hard to decide how to charge new clients. Consider how fast you write and how much you make per hour when you get paid by the project.
At first, you’ll probably be on the lower end of the pay range. As you get more clients and experience under your belt, you can steadily raise your rates.
How to find freelance writing jobs
You don’t have to have everything set up for your business before you start looking for writing jobs. Many beginners find freelance writing jobs before they have their business fully set up. Below are a few of the many ways beginners find freelance writing opportunities.
Apply on job boards
Job boards post ads for a wide range of writing opportunities. They’re one of the easiest ways to find freelance writing jobs online, especially for beginners. Pitching to job boards can boost your experience and help you build a client base.
Writing jobs vary from generalist to more niche, industry-specific writing jobs. Some ads list the rate of pay, but others ask for a writer’s starting rate.
Though some job boards charge freelancers to see their ads, you can usually find your first writing jobs through free job boards, like LinkedIn Jobs.
One of the common ways new freelance writers find jobs is by pitching. Pitching means you contact bloggers, brands, or companies, to let them know – specifically – how you can help them build their business. Pitching can sound intimidating, but once you’ve done it a couple of times, it won’t feel so awkward.
Cold pitching means sending personalized proposals to individuals or businesses that you haven’t yet worked with but would like to. Before submitting a pitch, do your research to find out more about who you’re pitching. Then write a (short!) persuasive letter explaining who you are and exactly how your services will help them grow their business.
When you pitch an idea to a potential client, always follow up. A quick email a week after you send your pitch is a reminder that you’re still interested.
You can also use warm pitching, where you connect with an individual or business before sending them your pitch. Social media platforms are great for warm pitching. When you follow, share, and comment on a brand’s social media posts, they’ll notice. You could take it a step further and connect through email or even in person.
Send clients to your website
An excellent way to prove your writing abilities is to publish your writing portfolio on your business website. Your site showcases your writing samples, and it lets potential clients know you’re a pro. Most of all, it tells them you’re for hire. While creating a website takes time, it improves your chances of getting hired.
Guest post for other sites
Guest posting usually means you’re writing for free. But even though you’re not getting paid, it’s often a great way for beginners to get noticed. When you write an excellent post on a popular, well-read site, you can earn credibility and clients.
Look for guest posting opportunities on popular websites in your favorite niche. Check for any requirements they have for guest posts. Follow their guidelines, write an excellent pitch, and you’ll be guest posting in no time.
Your author bio is the key to getting noticed as a freelance writer when guest posting. Spend the time to craft an intriguing bio that directs readers to your site and lists your services and businesses you’ve partnered with.
Find sites that pay for guest posts
Even though most guest posts are unpaid, some sites pay for quality guest posts. Look for “Write For Us” pages on popular websites to see what’s available.
Like unpaid guest posts, you’ll need to follow the site’s guidelines and write a great pitch. Guest posts don’t usually pay high rates, but it’s a way for beginners to make a little money and get published. And you never know, it might lead to more consistent paid freelance writing opportunities.
Connect with other freelance writers
Not only will you learn from their experience, but you could get new writing opportunities. Many experienced freelance writers have more opportunities than time. Busy freelancers often refer clients to other writers in their network.
How do you find other freelancers? Start with social media platforms. Twitter is one of the more popular platforms among freelance writers. Follow and message them and show your support. If they have a blog, read and comment on their blog.
Partner with an agency
Marketing agencies of all varieties need content for their clients. And many hire freelance writers. Some agencies have a reputation for low pay and poor quality content. Still, many reputable agencies provide value to their clients and freelancers.
If you want to work for an agency, start pitching agencies in your local area. If you’re not sure which agencies to contact, do your homework. Check for awards, reviews, and recommendations.
If remote work is one of your top reasons for getting a freelance writing job, check with the agencies to see if they have remote work options. Some agencies need you to work on-site.
Ask for referrals
When you have a successful working relationship with a client, ask them to refer you to other businesses that might need writing work. After you build a client base, this will be easier and happen more naturally.
Spread the word that you’re for hire
Don’t be shy! Let everyone know what you do and that you’re for hire. Put it in your social media profile and insert it in your bio. And when you’re talking to people, if you get asked, “What do you do?” explain the services you provide and mention you’re currently taking clients.
Attend networking events
Networking has been my number one source of clients for the past three years. But not everyone loves networking events, like conferences and Meetups. Yet, they’re a great way to get hired. Even if networking evokes some anxiety, it pays to conquer your fears and give it a try.
To successfully navigate networking events, choose events in which you’re interested. Also, have an idea of what you’ll say, prepare conversation starters, and focus on getting to know others. Ask them questions, and be a great listener. If you see an opportunity to help them or connect them with someone else, take it. And always do so without expectation of anything in return.
Creating and forging meaningful connections isn’t a fast track to writing opportunities. But if you’re patient and genuine, you’ll be the first person people call when they have a writing opportunity.
Use social media
Join entrepreneurial Facebook groups. Find active Facebook groups for small businesses that interest you. Be selective about which Facebook groups you join. Like networking events, this method takes time to build the relationships that lead to writing jobs.
Search Twitter for job postings. Use the Twitter advanced search tool to search for phrases like “writing jobs,” “freelance writer wanted,” and other related terms. You can look for remote jobs or narrow your search to those near you.
Job postings on Reddit. Reddit has several freelance writing-related subreddits. Some have paid writing opportunities, while others allow you to offer your writing services. Here are a few subreddits worth looking at:
Tell friends, family, and coworkers you’re for hire
Perhaps your cousin needs help writing a cover letter for a job opening, or your neighbor wants assistance writing a grant proposal. Even when you do freelancing writing for people you know, you build your skills and your portfolio.
Also, even when your friends and family don’t have work for you, they might know someone who does!
Best Sites to Find Freelance Writing Jobs
Beginners will find most freelance writing jobs online. At first, it might take some time to sort through the options. But, soon, you’ll figure out the sites that work well for you. Below are a few of the best sites to find freelance writing jobs.
- LinkedIn Jobs is a place to find writing jobs and expand your business, especially if you have a professional profile on LinkedIn.
- ProBlogger is a popular job board for freelance writers of all levels and niches. Problogger also has a database of writers for businesses looking for writers.
- Freelance Writing Jobs updates their job board daily with the latest freelance writing opportunities.
- FreelanceWriting.com sifts through job listings on other sites, such as Indeed, and posts relevant opportunities on their job board.
- Blogging Pro lists all types of writing jobs (not just blogs) and gets updated daily.
- Flexjobs screens all work from home jobs featured on their site for legitimacy and quality. They charge a monthly service fee, with a variety of pricing plans.
- Opportunities of the Week is a biweekly newsletter with a list of writing opportunities and resources for freelance writers. A Patreon contribution of $3/month gets you started.
- Canadian Freelance Writing is a site that posts high-quality freelance writing opportunities for all levels. The job listings get shared through blog posts, not as daily listings on a job board.
- Journalism Jobs specializes in writing opportunities for more journalistic-type work.
- Working Nomads features a whole host of categories for remote work, and writing is one of them.
- We Work Remotely has a job board for all remote work types, including writing jobs for beginners.
- Upwork allows you to create a profile and then submit proposals to potential clients. Upwork charges service fees on a sliding scale.
- Fiverr connects your services with individuals and businesses. You set your rate levels, and Fiverr keeps 20% of everything you earn.
- SolidGigs curates other job boards to feature the best freelance opportunities to send to their subscribers. Freelancers can try the service for $2 the first month, and $19/month after that.
Are you ready to find freelance writing jobs?
After learning more about freelance writing jobs, perhaps you’re eager to get started! Don’t let the amount of information overwhelm you. The most important thing is to get started. Take one step at a time, get organized, and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful freelance career.
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