A freelance writing business is quite a rewarding job if you have protean writing skill and a gripping command over your languages. It offers you flexible work timings and a variety of experiences and exposure to different writing formats and subjects, all in the comfort of your home.
It is one job that lets you “Learn & Earn” while sitting on your sofa!
Do you have a knack for writing and wish to make money out of it while sitting at home? Are you thinking of starting a freelance writing business but don’t know how to go about it? Well, your search for a detailed and all-inclusive guide to becoming a freelance writer ends here!
The dynamics of becoming a freelance writer are quite simple- have ingenious ideas and be able to manifest them into engaging content.
The dynamics of establishing a business, however, requires a series of sequential targets to be checklisted so as to receive a positive outcome out of it.
So without any further ado, let’s get started!
Freelance Writing Business: The Basics
In order to help their products and services reach the common public, a lot of organizations hire writers. There is a high demand for various types of writers- from article writers to web content writers to technical writers to medical writers to bloggers to ghostwriters to copywriters and more.
Let’s understand the specializations of each in a nutshell:
Types of Freelance Writing Positions
· Article Writers write for magazines and journals. As a freelance article writer, you will be paid for your content once it is published or printed by the magazines. This is an offline writing job.
· Web Content Writers, on the other hand, write for online websites. The content is designed on the basis of Search Engine Optimization in order to create enriching articles that generate more customer traffic. Along with substance, you will be required to focus on ‘keywords’.
· Technical and medical writers specialize in technological aspects and can comfortably write on the scientific and engineering respects for software companies and pharmaceuticals respectively.
· Marketing and advertising writers focus on promotional write-ups for products and ads. If you are skilled in the functioning of the sales body, this might be the field for you.
Skills Required To Become a Freelance Writer
A noteworthy attribute about this field is that it requires competence of writing and not an educational degree. Employers look for people with expertise in language and communication skills.
Some prevalent skills that are looked for are:
· The ability to write formally or professionally
· Excellent grammar and vocabulary
· An ability to research on the said topic
· An understanding of Search Engine Optimization and keywords
· Marketing and networking strategies for the content/article
Freelance Writing Business: Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business
If you are a college student or a homemaker or someone who just wishes to quit his full-time corporate job and follow their passion for writing while expanding it to a professional level, focus on starting a freelance writing business rather than plainly taking up projects every now and then.
When a business is established, you can build a network for yourself and earn money in a more regular and organized fashion.
It takes a while and some (or rather- a lot of) patience but is a fruitful venture at the end of the day.
How to Start a Freelance Writing Business: Setting Things Up
Let’s break it down to a few simple steps.
1. The first step to take is to decide what kind of writing you’re best at
Are you comfortable writing on technical subjects?
Can you promote brands and products with your writing?
Can you write engaging articles for blogs and generate more readers?
Are you okay with writing articles for someone who takes the credit for them (ghostwriting)?
2. Secondly, list down your areas of knowledge. It could be anything from new technology to industries to advertising to food to fashion. It is always better to start with familiar subjects in the beginning.
3. Decide the pricing and payment methods
Will you charge per article?
Will you charge per word?
Will your charge on the basis of the time taken to finish an article?
Will you be open to negotiations?
Will you accept payments through gateways like PayPal or through direct online transactions?
4. Set up a portfolio
Write a few sample articles and write-ups that you can link to your resume or online profile on platforms such as LinkedIn or Freelancer.
Make sure the articles are relevant to current market affairs for a greater client reach.
Start a blog and keep it active. Blogs are a good way for clients to understand your writing capacities.
Also, set up social media profiles linking to your business that potential clients can look at, like Twitter and Facebook.
5. Find work
There are a lot of online websites that host opportunities for freelance writers and help connect the client with the writer. Some good websites for finding freelance writing gigs are FlexJobs, Behance Jobs, MediaBistro, FreelanceWriting.com, Morning Coffee Newsletter, ProBlogger Job Board, Who Pays Writers?, UpWork, iWriter, Guru, People-Per-Hour, The Writer Finder, Craigslist, Constant Content, TextBroker, Writer Access, and more.
6. Build a network through referrals
Ensure asking your client to make referrals. Most successful freelance writing businesses are set up when a writer is referred to within the client circle. Always remember- word of mouth is your most powerful tool.
7. Work through the first few gigs
Initially, you may struggle to find good gigs or projects in terms of the pay or the type of writing work. Know that it’s okay because you’re still getting started. Let’s face it- the first few times are never the easiest. Sometimes, the topics won’t be fun.
However, try to find inspiration in the subjects and start pitching. After all, the best way to go about writing… is to start writing.
Once you get through a couple of gigs successfully and your work is liked by the client, it’s all an upward-facing rollercoaster from there!
Getting Your First Gig as a Freelance Writer
‘Firsts’ are often interesting. Appreciably, your first gig as a freelance writer will also be a great learning experience. Here are a few things to take care of while pitching your very first writing project:
1. Don’t expect it to be very thrilling
Sometimes the topics assigned to you might now be exciting. In fact, there’s a high chance they’ll be plain.
On a personal level, it might not interest you. But don’t let that come in the way. More often than not, researching the depths of the subject unlocks doors to a lot of knowledge and gets interesting with time.
So, don’t expect anything fancy and push yourself to give your best shot no matter what the topic.
2. Be prepared for a struggle
Any business in its blossoming tends to be shaky. To strengthen your business and expand it to larger scales, you’ll require patience and hard work.
After all, all big businesses were once small and didn’t grow overnight. Prepare yourself mentally for days that feel like a drag and days that are packed with work.
Prepare yourself for days before you get another gig and multiple gigs in a couple of days. Prepare yourself for exhaustion.
Prepare yourself for boredom. After an established network, your freelancing business will take off and it will all be relatively smooth since then.
3. Referrals are very important
Companies and organizations have their inner interdisciplinary circle and a very intricate network web.
So, if your work is good, you will be talked about among clients. And this is where there lies a great potential for your business to evolve. Make sure your client gives referrals to other clients and develop your business through customer recommendations.
Try to construct a friendly network among acquaintances who need help with writing for their organizations.
This way you can build your professional sphere quickly and increase your gig opportunities.
4. Design your invoice and keep your payment methods ready
Once your gig is finished and approved by the client, you will be paid for the article. A client is happy when the payment process takes place smoothly.
So ensure that is taken care of beforehand. If you’re accepting payments through PayPal, mention your PayPal account details. If it’s an online transaction, mention your bank details.
Freelance Writing Business: Best Tools for Freelance Writers
Choosing a comprehensive set of tools for your freelance writing business is a necessity.
Here are some of the best tools for freelance writers:
1. Onelook dictionary Search
This is a very helpful tool that lets you search for words from a more creative point of view.
It has search results pertaining to thesaurus, synonyms, antonyms, definitions, alliteration, words and phrases, and so much more.
Hemmingway is a very useful tool that identifies complex sentences and big words and finds alternatives for them.
This is helpful when you’re working on making your article audience-friendly. It is important to make your content readable and understandable even by the common reader.
3. Ahrefs Site Explorer
Ahrefs Site Explorer is a tool that you can use for marketing. It helps you with your keywords, online traffic and backlinks.
It also helps you analyze your content with respect to your competitors on Google with the help of a detailed report.
Canva is a tool that lets you create images of your own that you can later on add to your write-up.
Using Canva you can create blog images, presentations, covers for social media profiles, social media posts and more. It also allows you to add text to your images or use pre-designed templates.
Grammarly is a widely used tool for grammar check. It is highly advanced in terms of spelling corrections, grammar corrections, synonyms and vocabulary enhancements.
It is a free tool that is compatible with any program editor. However there is a premium version available that can be bought for access to more features.
One of the most important attributes of an article, as you will learn as a freelance writer, is its originality.
Due to the technicality of the subject of the article, many a time it is possible that your content partially overlaps with another person’s content.
This accident will be treated as plagiarism. Copyscape helps you avoid it with its plagiarism checker. It identifies if the article is original.
WordCounter, as the name suggests, counts words.
This is important because as a writer you are given a word limit or a word range within which your article should lie.
This tool helps you know the exact number of words and characters your article comprises of.
8. Dark Room
Writing isn’t always easy. More often than not, we tend to get distracted by a lot of things, trivial even. Dark Room is a tool for writing that helps you focus on your work without getting sidetracked by the screen.
It is basically a black screen with nothing on it but your text that helps ideas flow freely. It gives a proper disturbance-free writing environment.
9. Rescue Time
This is a tool that lets you know everything about your time management. It tells you about how much time is being spent on each task.
Also, it lets you block certain distracting websites and alerts you when you’ve exceeded set time limits.
So fellow writers, these were all the important tools that can come in handy to you during your freelance writing business. Now it’s your turn to put everything into motion and develop your own awesome writing business! Remember, the journey to success isn’t a smooth one, but if you know your 26 alphabets, you are bound to do great!
Dream big dreams, set realistic goals, inspire yourself with work and start writing!