Once you understand how the freelance writing business works and have a brand built up, you can outsource the work, start your own blog, and sell affiliate products through an email list. When it comes to the content business sky is the limit.
You can start as a freelance writer or a blogger and work your way up. Do you have the gift of words? Do English rules, grammar, and the Chicago Manual of Style send tingles up your arms? If so, a job as a freelance writer is the perfect job for you to start with!
Benefits Freelance Writing Business
Simple Setup. There are almost no costs associated with becoming a freelance writer. Once you have a computer and Internet connection to work from, you can begin writing for a client within days.
Easy to Scale-up. Once you understand how the freelance writing business works and have a brand built up, you can outsource the work, start your own blog, and sell affiliate products.
Flexible Hours. Freelancers have flexible hours. These hours are determined by the project of the client you are working for and their personal due date. You can have the luxury of working in the mornings or the evenings; the key is getting your work done well and on time.
Many Areas of Need. The beauty of starting a freelance writing career is the fact that there are many areas of need for content, editing, and creation. You can focus on one area of writing or take on multiple tasks, depending on your available time and abilities.
Drawbacks Freelance Writing Business
Establish Credibility. When considering a small business as a freelancer you are limited by your own knowledge. Having a solid grasp of English and rules of grammar is essential, though a degree is not always necessary.
Time. Freelancing does take up time. This will depend on the project, but you are mostly limited by the number of words you can type per minute and the research required for any writing you may do. Also, many projects will be time-based and you will need to accomplish them quickly and accurately.
Payment. This drawback is slightly conditional. Many freelance writers will find that they must begin their business at a lower rate of return on the work that they do in order to find clients. For beginning freelancers, you can expect to receive .01 cents per word. As your reputation and experience grow, you will be able to raise your prices and have the freedom to choose your clients. This is a drawback due to the fact that, in order to build your portfolio, you will likely have to work for less than you may deserve at first.
Fees. If you use an online platform to help kick start your business, you will find that these platforms take a fee from the payment you receive. It is best to include these fees in your prices whenever possible.
What you need
- A computer
- Internet Connection
This may be the shortest list of “needs” we’ve created, but it’s true. There isn’t much more you will need.
Step by Step: What it takes to become a freelance writer
Make a Decision
The first step to becoming a freelance writer is to make a decision about what type of freelance writing you will pursue. There are many types and areas where you can explore freelance writing.
- Content and Copywriting
- Article writing
- Product descriptions
- Product reviews
- Editing (posts, articles, books)
- eBook writing (fiction and non-fiction)
- Manuscript or idea critique
- Plot outlining
- Professional and Academic writing
- Ghost writing
In some cases, you may combine many of these into a package to offer clients or to diversify in order to have a full client list.
Create a portfolio
The next step in starting your freelance business is to compile (or create) a portfolio to showcase your writing ability. In some cases this may require that you create examples of your work, in other cases, you may be able to use things you’ve already written. Either way, we recommend you create PDF copies of examples of what you will offer your clients.
This will also be a good time to compile reviews from anyone you’ve worked with before and previous publications of your work. A list of credentials will also be helpful to list in order to create the most credible profile possible.
There are many ways to start a freelance business online. We’ll take a look at two here:
First, you can start your own personal website (or even a blog with a customized domain name) where you offer your services. The difficulty of this is approach is gaining a steady flow of clients. This option may be best left for later in your career when you are established as a freelance writer with experience behind you.
There are many online platforms (like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr to name a few) that offer a great way to start up a freelance business. The downside to these sites are the fees they charge, but when you are starting your business, you will find that they are very helpful platforms to facilitate writer/ client interaction
After you have established yourself on an online platform or personal web page, you will find opportunities to work for clients. In some cases, you will need to send proposals outlining your previous experience (which is where #1 and #2 will come in handy) and at times clients will come to you. Keep an eye toward detail, work quality, customer service, and a quick turnaround time.
With regards to starting up a freelancing career, you don’t need to spend much money. Some freelance sites may require a monthly fee for you to join, but many are free. The only money spent is the initial cost of a computer to begin your freelance business.
Should you come to a point in your freelance career where you are willing to invest more money, one area of investment is additional education. There may be an area of writing that you’d like to move into. This is a great opportunity to invest in classes and online certifications that will land you higher paying clients in the future. You can also spend additional funds on marketing your skills and creating a top-notch website.