How to Become a Freelance Writer: Step by Step Guide for 2021

How to become a freelance writer

Let me cut straight to the point. You can make money as a freelance writer in 2021. But how do you get started? If you want to learn how to become a freelance writer, stay tuned for this step-by-step guide for getting started.

Here is a step-by-step guide detailing some of the information you’ll need to know about how to become a freelance writer.

Freelance writing FAQ

What is a freelance writer?

A great place to start is figuring out what exactly is a freelance writer. Someone who works as a freelancer is an expert in a particular area and works in that area on their own terms. A freelancer works for themself, choosing which jobs to accept and how to complete them.

A freelance writer offers their services as a writer. This can be writing articles, blog posts, content for corporate websites, and even ghostwriting books. The range of projects makes freelance writing a widely accessible freelancing option.

Potential clients can either reach out to freelance writers, or freelance writers can work through platforms to find jobs, build professional relationships, and work consistently.

Freelance writer salary

The sometimes intimidating thing about any freelance work is that you only make as much as the amount of work you do and how you operate your business. Unlike salaried positions, there is no guarantee that you’ll make money.

However, freelance writers can build lucrative careers if they navigate the field correctly.

The way writers are paid varies based on the method they use to find projects to work on and the type of writing they’re doing. Some platforms, like Fiverr, connect writers and buyers charge a service fee. If you go it alone, writers who market themselves online collect all of their paid fees.

Your level of experience determines the amount you are paid, but more importantly, the types of jobs you do. If you’re working on larger projects like an e-book or ghostwriting a book, you will earn a larger check than if you’re working on smaller projects like blog posts or articles.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average yearly income of freelance writers is $63,213. On the low-end, people make $24,500-37,999 per year, and on the high end, $92,000-105,000. These numbers vary more extensively than other positions you might have due to the pressure on the writer to find projects, new clients and establish themselves in their industry.

Examples of freelance writer gigs

As I mentioned earlier, there’s a wide variety of types of writing jobs you can complete as a freelance writer. Depending on your credentials and background, you may be qualified to write in many genres and styles.

Even if you don’t necessarily have the experience needed to transcend different genres, there are many resources to teach you how to write in other styles. For example, if you’re looking to go into copywriting, you can find online courses or YouTube videos that’ll teach you how to write in this particular format.

The types of writing gigs that are available are too many to name. But here’s a list of some of the most popular writing gigs you can get as a freelance writer:

  • Blog posts
  • Writing articles
  • Ebooks
  • Ghostwriting novel
  • Copywriting
  • Service reviews
  • Website content
  • Technical writing
  • Translation
  • Speechwriting
  • Social media writing

This list of writing gigs doesn’t scratch the surface in terms of writing job variety, though it provides an idea of the opportunities available for those considering freelance writing.

How to become a freelance writer

Once you’ve decided that you want to become a freelance writer, getting started can feel a bit daunting. But getting started with freelance work is significantly more accessible than it was 10-20 years ago.

You now have a massive offering of platforms that seek to connect freelancers to projects. Ready to find out how to become a freelance writer? Let’s start this step-by-step beginner’s guide to becoming a freelance writer!

Find your platform

Platforms are a valuable way for new freelance writers to get started. One of the most intimidating aspects of freelance work is finding new clients.

If you’ve never done it before, where do you even begin? How do you find people and companies who need writing done? You can certainly branch out on your own and place ads for your work, but luckily there’s an easier method available.

Freelance platforms have sprung up all over the place. These platforms seek to connect you with jobs and make it a seamless process for you to get started.

Selecting the right platform is dependent on a variety of factors, primarily how much support you want as you get started, how you want to find jobs, and what you wish payment to look like. With some research on the top freelancing platforms, you should be able to find whichever platform appeals to you most.

Do a bit of research into the leading freelance writing sites and look at other writer’s reviews online. Make sure that you find one that suits your needs.

Here are some great places to get started:

Once you’ve found your first platform, you’ll create a profile if that’s what they require and set up your jobs or begin searching the job listings for your first project. This will allow you to either bid on jobs or have new customers reach out to you with projects.

Do your research

Once you’ve selected your platform and created your profile, you’ll want to research other people who are working on similar projects or offering similar gigs. Go to whatever the “buying” section of your platform is and search jobs like yours to get an idea of what the pricing and job descriptions look like.

Most platforms will also offer training or, at the very least, some helpful education information on how to use their site. If you’re working with a platform that provides free video resources or articles that can enhance your writing or guide you through the process of getting started, make sure you watch them and utilize the advice and information offered.

It can also be helpful to look up (outside of the platform) successful freelance writers. Many writers have blogs or YouTube channels detailing how they get started and how they achieved their level of success.

Write your samples

Not all customers and potential customers will ask you for samples of your work once you’ve been writing for a while and have established ratings. But some will, so you’ll want to be prepared.

Select a few topics that you might be interested in writing about within your writing category. For example, travel blog, food review, social media content, etc., and write a few sample pieces. You’ll want to make sure that they vary in length but showcase your writing abilities.

Focus on how your content is organized, your transition between paragraphs, and how well you explain the topic. Of course, don’t forget about spelling and grammar.

If someone asks you for a sample, look through previous projects you’ve worked on. Select the work you believe best demonstrates your writing abilities.

Note that you should change any identifying information in your sample work if you’re sending it to other people. It’s recommended that, at the very least, you change company names if they’re mentioned in the sample.

Grammarly Premium is a writers’ best friend. Use this tool and never worry again about delivering anything but excellent content to your clients.

Start with small jobs

With your samples written and your profile up, now is the time to start attracting new customers. The tricky thing with starting off is that you’re trying to catch the attention of potential clients without any ratings or reviews.

Potential customers will have difficulty discerning which freelance writer will provide quality content without ratings or reviews.

It’s in your best interest to start with a few jobs that are shorter in length and charge a lower rate. You want to do this to build up positive reviews, ratings, and your reputation. Once you’ve established yourself as a reliable freelancer, you can take on jobs bigger jobs and raise your prices.

Expand your writing business

Now that you’ve established yourself and customers know you write quality work, you can start expanding your business.

Look to begin working on other freelance platforms and perhaps select a few more project types you can work on (developing outside your original writing genre). This will increase your workload and allow you to reach more businesses and entrepreneurs.

With some experience under your belt and your systems in place, you’ll have the bandwidth to take your business to the next level!

Wrapping it up

As with starting any new venture, getting into freelance writing can appear intimidating. With the steps provided above, however, you should be able to get started and become a freelance writer.

The most important things you can do are as follows:

  • Make sure you research everything you’re doing in advance
  • Take your time setting up your profile and systems
  • And most importantly, invest in yourself as a writer

If you’re producing high-quality work and navigating the systems well, you’ll be a successful freelance writer before you know it.

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