How to Become a Freelance Writer

I find it’s a good litmus test when I meet somebody new and tell them that I am a full time freelance writer, whether they get energetic and exclaim “Good for you!” or if they’re like, “Oh. Well, wait…how do you pay your bills?”

I’ve been getting a lot of people asking me recently just how exactly I fell into this rogue career path and what steps they should take in order to launch their own freelance career. While the web has opened numerous doors for freelance writers, quitting your day job to work for yourself can still be rather tricky and a bit intimidating. In this post, I’ll break it down for you and tell you how I did it and what you should do in order to become your own boss.

It was never really my intention to become a freelance writer. I was working as a newspaper editor and freelancing on the side to earn a bit of extra income. After getting laid off from my day job and realizing that Philly does not offer a lot of journalism opportunities, I started applying for contracting gigs instead of full time, in-house positions. I am now earning more than I ever did and have the luxury of working from my sofa.

I don’t have a specific formula for freelance writing success, but I have discovered that there are a few major steps you should take in order to be any good at this at all.

1.) Pitch, Pitch Pitch

If you’re just starting off as a fledgling freelancer and don’t have any clients, email as many publications and websites as you can.

If you need some ideas on what publications to pitch to as a fledgling freelancer, check out Jorden Makelle’s blog here. Be sure to research what the publication or website is all about before you contact them. This way, you’ll get a better idea of what they’re looking for.

2. Freelancing Sites

There are a few sites tailored to meet the needs of a fulltime freelancer. A few of the sites that I comb through daily areFreelancewritinggigs, Mediabistro, and Flexjobs. Flexjobs you do have to pay for to see the job listings, but it’s well worth it. Freelancewritinggigs pulls daily jobs listings from other sites and categorizes them, i.e. blogs, content writing, proofreading.

3.) Find a Niche

If you only take one thing away from this post, be sure that it’s to find a writing niche. I cannot stress this enough. Whether it’s finance, legal, automotive, or cybersecurity, it’s important to be an expert in one field than a wearer of many hats.

If you have any questions on how to start your freelance career, drop me a line on Twitter @ahhh_its_steph. Stay safe, y’all, and wash your hands!

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