Anyone who has solid writing skills, a laptop, a healthy work ethic, and a plan has the ability to be a freelance writer. That’s great news, isn’t it? Being a freelance writer means that you can have a side gig with the option to turn it into a full-time job. It’s flexible, can be fun, and with the right opportunities, can even be lucrative. If you’re still reading this, we can assume that you’ve got the computer, the work ethic, and the skills. Now you just need to get a few tips before getting started on your plan.
This part you can do with an old-fashioned pen and paper, or you can try saving notes online with an app like Evernote. You need to make a list of clients or publications that you think you might be able to land right now. The thing is, at first, you can’t count on high paying or well-known publications. Once you have those, write down the names of ones that you want to write for at some point in the future. This might seem to be more than a bit silly, but it can be more important than you know. This is called setting goals and identifying the steps you need to take to reach them.
Create a Website
When you’re planning to transition to full-time freelancing, you’ll need a website. Having a portfolio online is critical for those who are serious about freelancing. It can give you an instant boost to your credibility and distinguish you from all of those who don’t have a website.
Secondly, it’ll allow you to form more of a personal connection with your potential clients with your About Me page, miscellaneous copy, and pictures. People will be more likely to use you if they feel more like they know you. Also, it’ll give potential clients a sample of your range and writing ability. Most of the applications you’ll fill out for writing jobs will require samples. With your own site, you can link to them easily.
When you’re launching your freelance career, you’ve got to be relentless with the pitches. It begins with that list of people you think might hire you. Check for any sort of pitch policy they might have on their website because each one might be a bit different. Make sure that you’re following their rules completely. The editors might ask for a resume to be accompanied by a couple of paragraphs of an overview of the article that includes sources, an approximate word count, and even how long it might take you to write it. Read everything and follow directions at each step of the process. Do this with everyone on your list until you get your first gig.
Freelancing might seem to be a bit of a solitary job. However, other writers can be your secret weapon – not just for finding jobs, but to finding high-value clients. For example, say you want to write for The New York Times, but you’re not having any luck when you send your pitches. One way to get a leg in the door might be to determine who your favorite writer for them is, track them down on one of the social media sites, and send them a quick message asking for advice on how to get a gig with that site. You might be surprised at the results you get.
Finally, don’t give up. You’ll get a lot of rejections. The key is to keep trying. Once you get that first bit of experience, you’ll be on your way.