I never had a flair for writing, not just writing but even reading books. I was never ever a book reader not in my childhood when my cousins and friends use to read storybooks. I never had bulky novels beautifully stacked on the bookshelf.
In fact, I considered reading to be boring in most of my teenage. Then years passed and after graduation when I was lurking for a job hunt, I developed the habit of reading. Yes, reading newspapers, magazines, articles, and ultimately a few good biographies which inspired me to become a reader.
However, still writing was a distant career choice until I couldn’t fit into my 9-5 bank job. I opted out to find freelance writing jobs online. Being an introvert and unable to stand the office political environment, I somehow instantly felt the connection when I first got a freelance writing job.
I started as an academic writer where I used to write the short essay, reports, papers, research studies, assignments which I was good at. From there on writing became an essential element in my career.
The reason I’m telling you my story is that everyone is not born with the writing skills. Some people develop it through their life experiences, through their career background and some for making it their career goal. Hence, even without a background of writing like me, you can certainly start a freelance writing career at any time in life.
I was literally flying in the sky when I started working for a client in the UK and then my credibility started building gaining me more and more clients only through referrals. There was a point when I was earning nearly equal money to my husband and he was really proud of me.
So what is the basic formula to make a career in freelance writing?
Set the direction by doing some freelancing research
Before commencing a career in freelance writing, ask yourself Why should you start freelancing?
Freelancing is a broad term and freelance writing is one of its components. Hence, first and foremost thing is you need to figure out what kind of writing you are into. Are you good at poetry, storytelling, articles, blogs, academic writing, copywriting or marketing content, technical writing, reviews, and analysis?
For this purpose, you need to conduct a research to inquire which type of writing interests you more. Look for other writers in that niche and read their content. Explore your horizons and brainstorm the ideas to get you in the right direction of writing.
Note: Always think in the long run when you are considering your writing style. Like if you like storytelling then forecast it as your career in the long run because you are seriously thinking of starting a freelance writing career.
Build a strong portfolio
Since you are a beginner in freelance writing, it is difficult to land a client for the first time indeed. Consider this step just like getting your first job after graduation. However, if it is a career shift, it might help out in building your profile because you have a base of experience in the start.
However, being a newbie writer is a tough call I tell you. So, you need to be extra smart, loud, and very determined to land a client. For that matter, you need to look for the skills and expertise required to become a freelance writer. You need to add these qualities to your profile like organizing, punctual, multitasking, independent, creative thinking.
Also, try to learn a few software that can be handy in your freelancing career. It can be video, photo editing, spreadsheets, presentations, google docs, social media management or any other software that can assist in writing. Add them to your profile to create more value and stand out.
Note: Craft your profile in a unique way to stand out from the crowd. As a beginner, it is difficult to grab attention, so you need to be innovative to create a portfolio that attracts your clients.
Publish Your Content
Clients usually prefer published writers but being a newbie, it seems difficult. Well, to your rescue, there are many sites that allow you to publish your content for free if it is grammatically correct.
You can use platforms like LinkedIn, Medium, Hubpages, eHow and much more you can find on Google search. Just make your selection for a few to publish some posts and make some credibility. It might also help you build an audience.
Another way to make credibility for clients is writing a few sample articles related to different niches that are commonly demanded in the industry. Like you can easily write a 300-word article on technology, health, beauty, food, entertainment, marketing, IT and any other such topics. This will help your potential clients to understand your writing style.
In fact, you can ask a client to give you a particular topic on a niche and you can produce a sample article on it.
Develop a blog
A freelance writer must own a blog whether it is a particular niche or a personal blog. One must develop a habit of blogging if you really want to get into a freelance writing career. Blogging allows you to expand your horizon and also gives you scope to follow your passion for writing. In fact, most of the freelance writers present their blogs as their portfolio to clients which helps them earn audience as well as make clients in the long run.
I never started blogging seriously until I started reading Elna’s blogs about how to start a freelance writing career. I must admit she’s an inspiration to me as being a mom and running her freelance writing business while guiding others on freelancing.
I read her article on landing clients with a blog where she explains the importance of setting a blog to earn genuine clientele. After I published my recent post, I received five gigs from a single social media platform. This is the power of blogging.
In my view, a blog is your digital identity in the virtual world. It is the reflection of your personality which is expressed in words. When the audience is reading your blog post, it is perceiving it as your personality. Hence, you must put an effort into blogging while you start your freelancing career.
Expand your Network
Networking is the key to finding freelance writing jobs. Expand your social network from friends and family to acquaintances, colleagues, peers, and then to experts, influencers and prospects.
How can you be a successful writer without any readership? There must be an audience to witness your writing talent. Their responses, opinions, criticism, and suggestions would certainly play a great role in polishing your writing skills.
Networking also gives you an opportunity to find peers in the same industry and learn and share same goals to pursue a freelance writing career.
Note: Always stay updated with what other writers are doing? Where are they hanging out, what are they writing, sharing with their audiences and who is their audience. It helps you to identify your USP i.e. what kind of unique content you can produce to drive traffic and gain clients.
Never stop learning
I have been into freelancing for five years but I still consider myself a learner. I still learn many new things by reading other people’s blogs, articles and find information regarding new developments in the world of freelancing. It is worth your time even if you are not making money.
You need to have the thirst for knowledge because the internet world is very revolutionizing and is continuously evolving with new software, content ideas, and marketing. You need to explore and keep upgrading yourself if you want to know how to have a successful freelancing career.