What is a Freelance Writer and How Does it Work?

Freelance work has gained some traction this past year, notably as unemployment rates spiked during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people suddenly found themselves furloughed or unemployed, looking for safe, remote options to continue working.

Freelance work quickly emerged as an attractive option, as this allowed people to work from the comfort and safety of their homes as their own boss.

Mainly, freelance writing provides such diverse opportunities that even people who don’t identify as strong writers can take online courses on their path to freelance writing.

It may seem daunting to get your start in a new career, but you won’t be without guidance. We’ll answer all of your questions regarding freelance writing, what it is, how it works, and how you can get started today.

What is freelance writing?

Freelance writing, in particular, provides those who enjoy writing with a unique opportunity to work for themselves. Freelance writers work for businesses and individuals who need some type of writing done. Freelance writers have the chance to write many different styles of pieces, such as novels, e-books, blogs, social media copy, blogs, websites, and product descriptions.

This allows freelance writers to select the area they excel in and select topics that they enjoy writing about or have a knowledge base.

The thing that sets freelance writers apart from regular writers is that they cut out the middleman and work directly with the customer themselves. Due to this flexible working situation, they can set their own hours and determine where they wish to work. The freedom associated with any freelance work is one aspect that makes it so appealing to potential writers.

How does freelance writing work?

Want to become a freelance writer? Freelance writing is a far more straightforward process than most jobs. You are your own boss. There are no schedule conflicts or working overtime. You determine what you write, where, and when you work. The basic steps of freelance writing are as follows:

Step 1. Create a profile

Prepare your profile and portfolio to attract potential clients. You’ll want to write in the style and about the topics you wish to write about in the future.

Step 2. Set your rates

Determine your pricing and job lengths. How much will you charge per word counts? On some sites, like Fiverr, new writers generally begin with $5 for 500 words, $10 for 100, and $15 for 1800 words in order to build their reviews and reliability.

Step 3. Start your first job

Your new client will tell you what they want you to write about, how many words they need, and the deadline.

Step 4. Submit your project

Write the project and share it with the client for feedback.

Step 5. Make revisions and resubmit

Once the client has seen your work, they can either accept it or ask for revisions. Make any potential revisions and resubmit your work to get paid.

Freelance writing job example

An example of what this looks like for a freelance writer who writes blog posts for an organization. Initially, the writer will be contacted to see if their writing style is a good fit for the organization.

Once it’s determined that they are professionally compatible (usually through sharing a writing sample or portfolio), the organization will share the length, style, and general content that they would like their posts to be about. The organization will either provide topics for each of the posts or offer a little freedom under the umbrella of a general subject matter.

They then might order 3-5 blog posts at a time in order to ensure that their website is posting with regularity. This example is generic, though it demonstrates the type of relationship between freelance writers and their clients.

This general work model applies to the various jobs that a freelance writer might procure, including social media copy or ghostwriting e-books. Once the relationship is established, generally, it repeats on a semi-regular basis, keeping the writer busy.

How do you get started with freelance writing?

 Getting into freelance writing might appear to be intimidating at first glance–how on earth will you connect with businesses or individuals to find jobs? What if you don’t know the protocols or how to get started?

Luckily for you, there is endless information available for those looking to enter freelance work in this age of the internet. You can find support both in learning what to do to get started and connect with potential clients.

You might do a bit of research on advice from current freelancers who have been successful. Many people have YouTube videos available or have written their own blog posts about their experiences. Some have even developed online courses to get started, such as this Fiverr-specific course created by successful freelance writer Alex Fasulo, though they do require a fee.

Regardless of how you obtain your information on getting started, there is valuable information to assist you along the way.

Finding freelance writing  jobs

The second part of beginning your freelance writing journey is finding jobs. Finding jobs doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it initially seems. With many platforms available to find positions or build profiles for potential clients to find you, much of the guesswork has been eliminated.

The many options also allow you to create your freelance business easily; it’s in your best interest to sign up on multiple sites to maximize your job opportunities.

You can also select the sites that best suit your preferences: would you rather have a profile that attracts potential clients to you, or would you instead apply to individual jobs? The ability to choose precisely which topics and job types are the best fit for you makes the entrance into freelance writing seamless.

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