A Beginner’s Beginning: How I Got Into Freelance Writing

NaNoWriMo: the home front

You’re just starting your journey into the world of freelance writing. Maybe you are looking to make it a career, or maybe you are looking to make a little Target, I mean, grocery money while you stay at home with the kids. Either way, that first step can be intimidating. Where do you start looking? How do you approach potential clients? How much time should you spend writing each day? And the questions go on and on.

As you become more and more confident in calling yourself a freelance writer, you will find your own answers to these questions – paving your own way is kind of the nature of the beast. And while I would still consider myself in the paving process, I think there is something to learn from a person who is just starting out. So, check out Lessons on How to Be a Paid Writer, and then read more about the beginning of my freelance career:

The First Steps

Consistent writing started for me when I became pregnant with our first child. I wanted a way to document the pregnancy and share information with family, and, the easiest way to do this was with a blog. In addition to starting my own blog, I began reading other people’s, and I saw how it could become so much more than a diary. So, I started out dabbling in other genres by just writing guest posts for writers I enjoy following. I did this either by responding to requests for guest posts or checking submission guidelines for various sites. This was a low stakes way to get my writing out there and receive feedback from someone who was considering publishing it.

After Practicing

Then, I started looking online for more. I found a few sites and programs that list various opportunities and have good information. Some offer paid positions while others do not. Either way, I consider being published a great way to boost my career.

Use Your Talents

A lot of my family and friends know I am an English major and a former teacher. They also know that I edited and helped write papers and resumes in college, so I get a lot of business from recommendations. If someone is in need of a service like that, I usually work out a price with them based on what they need.

Think about what talents you naturally have. Find a way to incorporate that knowledge and make it work for your writing. Are you great at marketing your work? Do you already have a small business you could use as a venue for clients? Do you have specialty knowledge that others might benefit from learning about? Use it. Write it.

Get Social

My blog and portfolio continued to grow, and I started finding new ways to get my name into the market. I created a LinkedIn account, and I also added a tab to my blog so others could see my work and see what I am capable of. After doing this, I received emails from a few sources asking that I write for their site or publication. This doesn’t happen as often as I go out searching for opportunities though.

When I am hired to write for a publication, I make sure I make use of all of the social media resources I have on hand. I tweet it out, post links to Facebook, pin posts, and have even been known to post to Instagram after writing something my followers might love. By doing this, not only do more people see my writing, but the publications I am working with appreciate the marketing. They are more likely to rehire someone who will tout her work and drive in traffic.

The Bottom Line

If you want to make a liveable salary freelancing, be ready to put in well over 40 hours a week. A lot of it is writing, but a lot of it is searching out and getting the opportunities. If you’re looking to make a little extra cash on the side, check out some of the resources above and start practicing. And, don’t forget subscribe to Freelance Writing Jobs – they have connected me to a lot of work!

 

About the Author

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Jenna Hines is a former HS English teacher turned stay-at-home-mom. She spends her days taking care of her kiddos, creating content for her blog, Call Her Happy, and freelance writing. Find her on Twitter and Facebook or check out her portfolio on LinkedIn.

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