How to Get Started with Freelance Writing

When I first started my work from home adventure, I started with freelance writing. And I absolutely loved it, too. The only reason I switched over to web design is that it’s ultimately the thing I had wanted to do since I was 15 and learned how to code.

Freelance writing is an awesome work from home career choice, though. It has a solid earning potential and great work-life balance for anyone with a passion and talent for writing. I’m getting back into writing again because content marketing is such a huge part of my job these days. So we’re going to talk about how to get started with freelance writing!

If you’re thinking about getting started as a freelance writer, you might have a question or two on your mind.

  • How can I get clients as a freelance writer?
  • Where should I look to land freelance writing jobs?
  • How much should I charge for freelance writing?
  • What are some examples of freelance writing services to offer?
  • What tools should I use to run my freelance writing business?
  • How do I get started with freelance writing in general?

All of these are valid questions! Naturally, you want to know everything you can about starting and growing a business as a freelance writer before diving into it headfirst. Especially if you’re considering freelance writing as your full-time career.

Let’s talk about how to do it! There are so many routes to take as a freelance writer, so I want to lay out a few options for you and equip you with some tips, tools, and links that’ll help along the way.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. You can read the whole affiliate disclosure here. Thanks so much for reading and supporting!

 

How to get started with freelance writing and where to find clients

 

What is a freelance writer and how do I get started? ✍

As a freelance writer, you usually take on jobs as a single piece of writing or a set of writing pieces that you get paid a set rate for. As you grow your career as a freelance writer, you’ll probably decide to niche down and stick to one or two industries as a writer.

It’s relatively easy to land jobs as a freelancer, so don’t worry! I’m going to give you plenty of links and sources for where to get started looking for writing jobs.

 

What types of freelance writing can I do? What services can I offer as a freelance writer? ⌨

One of the major benefits of being a freelancer is that you get to decide what services you offer. As a freelance writer, you have a lot of potential offerings to choose from! Some writers choose to offer multiple services while others focus on one or two specifically.

Here’s some ideas for services to offer as a freelance writer:

  • Email copywriting
  • Website copywriting
  • Content writing (blogging)
  • Sales funnel copywriting
  • Ghostwriting
  • eBook writing
  • Video script writing
  • Product description writing
  • Social media writing/copywriting
  • Ad copywriting
  • Resume and cover letter writing

If any of the above captures your interest, definitely check them out in more detail. Each one of these services has a different set of best practices, tips, and tools to discover. And every one of these services can provide enough work for a full-time writer.

 

How can I get a job as a freelance writer? 📝

With content marketing, email marketing, and copywriting all being services that are directly tied to businesses making more money, companies and solopreneurs are constantly hiring writers. If you’re looking for a company or two to work for primarily, I’d start heading over to job boards and/or cold pitching companies you’d genuinely love to work for.

These job boards are best for people to want to maintain their freelancer status but would rather work for a larger companies rather then solopreneurs or smaller businesses.

  • Cold pitch businesses you’d love to write for. Most businesses with a website, an email list, social media, or an app, have significant content needs and sending an email cold pitch to offer your services could land you regular work. One of the most important things to remember when cold pitching is that you need to clearly state what you can offer them and how you can help grow their business.
  • Use job boards to find bigger companies and follow the instructions in their ads to pitch them. LinkedIn Jobs, SimplyHired, We Work Remotely, and Indeed comes to mind.
  • Follow Twitter writer job threads and job boards. Check out @WhoPaysWriters and @Write_Jobs – then search for some more!
  • Get yourself on LinkedIn and Twitter and build out your profile! Add references, make connections, and make sure no part of your profile is empty. Important people at big and small brands alike are always on these platforms. If someone is searching for a writer with experience in your industry, you want your profile to make it clear that you’re the one for the job – or at least worth reaching out to. Make it clear in your profile that you’re available for hire, as well.

How do I get freelance writing clients? 💃

If you’d rather work with business owners more directly, I’d recommend looking for clients that have smaller businesses or closer-knit teams. You can find a lot of these clients in the usual places, but definitely also join some Facebook groups because there’s a ton of freelance writing opportunities in some of them.

Here’s where I’d recommend looking for clients as a freelance writer:

When it comes to getting clients and jobs for your freelance writing business, my number one tip is to be confident! It’s more difficult to land a gig when you come across as unsure of yourself and your skills.

In the beginning, apply for any positions you come across that seem like a good fit. After you have a few clients and you’re on stable footing in terms of cash flow, consider narrowing your focus to just working with clients who are in a niche you LOVE to write for or clients who you absolutely adore working for.

Those people are out there, believe me – and you can only take on so many clients at a time, so try not to book yourself out with any random jobs that come your way. Pick the stuff that lights you up!

 

How much should I charge as a freelance writer? 💰

Pricing will always be an area that people will disagree on. Some people prefer to price writing projects by word, some by page, some price things hourly, and some people will price projects by project – so you’d write a batch of articles or pieces for a set rate.

Personally, I am into project-based rates. When I do freelance writing projects, I typically sell 4 articles for a flat rate of $1200. (I also throw in some social media graphics with that price.) When I first got started, I wrote for .03 per world, which is incrediblyyyyy low.

Here’s my official advice on pricing:

  • Many writing projects and job opportunities that you’ll see out there have a specific budget, but a lot of them will be relatively flexible on this. I’d encourage you to set your own per word rate and hourly rate and apply to projects that are close to or above that rate.
  • If you plan to create a website for your freelance writing business, I’d also suggest putting together a few pre-made packages to offer your clients. For example, 10 launch emails for $XXXX or 4 articles for $XXXX or 30 social media captions for $XXX. Whatever your niche is as a writer, create packages that you’ll enjoy working on – whatever your “thing” is. Definitely don’t add anything to your packages that you dislike doing! It’s okay if you start out with a per word, per page, or hourly rate until you figure out exactly what your niche is. I think a lot of us do that!

 

Freelance writing business tools 🔧

Getting started as a freelance writer is relatively low-cost, so that’s awesome. You generally don’t need to pay for a ton of tools to run a business as a freelancer – you just need a few simple things to get started. If you want to add on fancy tools later on, that’s cool!

But at first, you can get your job done with a few simple tools. Lots of them are free to use.

 

Free tools for freelance writers:

  • Google Docs: Lots of business owners will use Microsoft Word as well, but not everyone has access to it! Since Microsoft Word is a paid product, I only recommend using it if you need to. Google Docs is free and more convenient (in my opinion!) and all you need is a free Google account. Lots of freelance writers use Google Docs to share work with their clients or collab on projects.
  • Google Drive: Cloud storage, y’all. Don’t lose any of your work! Google Drive gives you 15 gigs of free storage, which is a lot of writing.
  • Grammarly: A solid grammar-checker that integrates with email, Google Docs, and social media to make sure you’re always showing up with impeccable grammar. Avoid embarrassing (and annoying AF) grammar mistakes with this free Chrome extension! Also, Grammarly emails you a weekly report that shows off how much you wrote that week – I love seeing that email pop up in my inbox and seeing if I can beat my writing record.
  • OneTab: For closing, but saving the million tabs you have open while researching for writing pieces you’re working on. So that you can keep track of all those tabs without bookmarking everything or having them all open at once! Game-changer (and helps you work faster, too.)

 

Free tools for running your business:

  • PayPal or Wave or Invoicely or Stripe: for invoicing. Payment processors do take a small cut of your $$, but any business payment processor will. Read this for an explanation of payment processor fees and why they are just a business expense you’ll need to come to terms with. 
  • Asana or Notion: for project management and organization
  • Toggl: for tracking how long you spend on projects
  • Google Meet: for meeting with clients and collaborators
  • Loom: For making quick videos for clients, collaborators, or for job applications
  • EverSign or HelloSign: For sending contracts (You can send 5 contracts per month with EverSign and 3 per month with HelloSign)

 

Paid tools for running your freelance writing business:

  • Dubsado: A business management tool that can help you automate your workflows. It’s awesome and it includes contracts, invoices, scheduling meetings, and a ton of other stuff. If you’re starting to send more than a few invoices and contracts per month, definitely take a look at Dubsado because it can save you a lot of time and headache!

 

Books for freelance writers and content marketers 📚

If you’re a book person (I for sure am) and would like a few books as a jumping-off point before starting your freelance writing career, I think that’s a smart decision. There are a few writing and business-related books that will give you some groundbreaking tips for relatively little money, especially compared to buying online courses.

 

Business-related books for freelancers:

  • Atomic Habits – This book helps you create new habits and will shift your perspective as a business owner. Probably the best book I’ve ever read on productivity and the one I’d recommend for anyone feeling overwhelmed with starting your own business.
  • Mind Your Business – A workbook for creative business owners to launch and grow their online business step-by-step. This workbook helps with everything from tax tips to creating a plan for getting clients. If you’re someone who wants specific direction without paying for a $997 course or an expensive coach, this is an awesome purchase.
  • WTF is my Password – A super cute physical password log. You’re going to use a lot of tools online and it’s important to have a secure password for each one. Check this out if you’re forgetting passwords all the time!
  • Building a Storybrand – How to create a brand for your business that people actually care about and want to buy from. All about how to clarify your message so that you successfully connect with your customers and build a relationship with them. If you plan to create a website or a digital product at any point in your business, I’d grab this one.
  • Deep Work – How to limit distractions during your day and get the most out of your workday in general. If you find yourself wandering away from your work pretty often (back in your email inbox, playing mobile games, etc.) and want to improve your productivity, check out this book.

 

Books for freelance writers who are introverted or nervous about talking to clients:

  • The Art of Saying No – For people who feel guilty saying no and setting boundaries. As a business owner, you’ll have to say no fairly often, so this is important.
  • Better Small Talk – Actionable advice for how to connect with people you meet online and during networking events. If you struggle with starting conversations without feeling like you could be less awkward, this book is GOLD.

 

Writing-related books for freelance writers:

  • The Writer’s Process: Getting Your Brain in Gear – This one was kind of key for me, as someone who loves to write but often feels stuck. Do you open your text editor just to stare at a blank screen for way too long before finally giving up? Same girl, same. This book helped me deal with writer’s block and overcome constant negative feedback and finally just sit down and write when I need or want to.
  • Everybody Writes – If you’re new to writing professionally, this book will help bust through your imposter syndrome by showing you how to write stuff that people actually want to read. You definitely don’t need to be an academic to write articles that inform, educate, inspire, or entertain. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you’re “qualified” to be a freelance writer, this is an important book to read.
  • The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work, and Thrive on Your Own Terms – The full-fledged guide to freelance writing! A great read if you’re someone who feels like they need the full picture before trying this out as a career.
  • The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells – For any writer who wants to dig a bit deeper into copywriting, which is directly tied to sales and can potentially boost your income if you choose to specialize in this area.

 

Online courses for new freelance writers 💻

If you do want to take advantage of online courses to start your freelance writing career, you can definitely find some that will help a lot no matter what kind of budget you have.

If you don’t have any/much money to spend on courses right now, I’d go check out what Skillshare is offering in terms of freelance writing, copywriting, and freelance-related courses. If you sign up with my Skillshare affiliate link, you’ll get a 14-day free trial of the premium version of Skillshare, which is only $15 per month after the trial is finished.

I personally have a Skillshare subscription because it’s an awesome, inexpensive way to learn new skills or stay on top of current skills. For the most, I take courses on web design and business-related topics, but it’s fun to try new things here and there also.

 

Some relevant Skillshare courses I found:

  • Going Freelance: Building and Branding Your Own Success
  • Bookkeeping for Freelancers: How to Handle Your Finances
  • How to Price Projects as a Freelancer
  • The Introvert’s Guide to Finding Clients as a Freelancer
  • A Simple Roadmap for Landing Your First Freelance-Writing Clients
  • Write a Killer Pitch to Get Your First (or More!) Freelance Writing Clients
  • Freelance Writing 101: Build A Successful Writing Career

So, yeah, there’s a lot over there for ya if you’re ready to dive into freelance writing! Sign up for your Skillshare trial to take unlimited courses.

 

Other places to get free or cheap freelance writing courses:

  • Udemy ($10-$20 courses pop up here quite often)
  • Coursera
  • edX
  • Hubspot’s Content Marketing Certification – A great starting point for beginners in the world of digital marketing and/or freelance writing. Recommended if you don’t quite understand why people would pay so much money for writing work! Businesses need writers, and this will show you why.

 

Premium freelance courses:

If you’d rather get a more robust guide to becoming a freelance writer, there are some courses I’d recommend taking a look at. You certainly don’t need to take a course to become a freelancer, but if it would make you feel better to have all of your bases covered, then why not? Here are some courses for freelance writers that are high-quality and not too pricey.

  • Elna Cain’s Write Your Way to Your First 1k – “A proven method to help new writers fast-track their way to success with freelance writing – no experience needed.” Elna is a successful freelance writer and blogger who has written articles for quite a few businesses you’d recognize. She shares a recommended roadmap to getting started and landing clients as a new freelance writer in this course.
  • Micala Quinn’s Overwhelmed to Overbooked program is an awesome course that isn’t just for freelance writers, but for any mom who wants to start freelancing. It focuses more on how to decide what kind of business to run, how to get started, where and how to find clients, and how to grow your business into a sustainable lifestyle for your family. If you feel stuck around how to get started and don’t necessarily want a writing-related course, this might be what you need.

Alrighty, so this is the gist of how to get started with freelance writing! I hope you found some valuable info here and a resource or two that’ll help you get unstuck and get started building your business as a freelancer.

I really think that freelancing is one of the best ways to achieve some semblance of work-life balance as a mom. Not to mention that there are so many services you can offer as a freelancer that there’s no reason to get stuck doing something that you don’t love (or at least like a lot.)

Let me know if you have any questions for me about getting started as a freelance writer or as a freelancer in general. I’ve been in that place before, so I’d love to help! Drop me a comment or an email and I’ll get back to your ASAP.

Now go build that portfolio and land some clients! 📃

 

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How to start working as a freelance writer and where to find clients