Being a freelance writer is a pretty cool job for a lot of reasons. It allows you the freedom to work anywhere at any time, provides you with a variety of tasks that will keep your mind and hands busy, and lets you do something that you enjoy. However, the world of freelance is vast and it can be overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start. Having a game plan before setting out into the great wide web in search of work is going to save you a great deal of struggle.
1. Start with Your Portfolio
Before you start applying for freelance writing gigs you’re going to want to compile a portfolio. Contractors want to see that you have the skills they need, so having a collection of writing samples to show will make them more likely to respond to you.
You can create a website on pages like Wix or WordPress to display your work, keep a folder of samples on your computer that you can send in upon request, or hire a freelance web designer. Certain sites and jobs will have the option to upload samples when you put in a bid for work.
If your portfolio is sparse, remember that you are a writer and writers are creators. Feel free to whip up some articles on subjects that interest you or subjects that you see listed in job descriptions. You can create a full portfolio without ever having completed a freelance job.
2. If Possible, Create a Resume
Chances are that as a beginner in the freelance business you might have a sparse resume. However, it is still possible to show off your skills even without a long list of previous work. If you’re a writer then it’s likely you’ve been doing it for a long time and maybe even have an educational background in it. Remember, there’s more to add to a resume than just past employers.
You can start it off with a mission statement. Stating to potential contractors what you’re looking for out of the work they provide will help them decide if you’re a good fit for them. You can also list your skills. If you’re a whiz with a keyboard and can type 75wpm, mention it! The same goes for skills like an understanding of SEO (search engine optimization) or even creative writing. If you have a personal blog you can add that to the top next to your email and phone number to show off your work.
Adding your educational background, whether it includes a degree in a related field or not, is a great way to show your dedication and ambition. Employers love a college student or graduate, because it shows that you care about furthering your education and going farther in life.
3. Start a Blog
Blogs are a wonderful way for a writer to capture their personality, style, and overall
writing expertise. If you want to be a freelance writer, having a running blog is a great way to showcase what you can do.
Your blog doesn’t have to have a huge following or be incredibly fancy. It just needs to show who you are and your ability to command words. Updating it somewhat regularly, even just once a week, will not only enhance your skills, but it will show contractors that you are flexing your writing muscles on a regular basis.
4. Branch Out
There are many different avenues for landing freelance work. More and more freelance job sites are popping up and you can even find listings on job boards like Indeed. You don’t want to stick with one source, especially when you are first starting out.
Generally, beginner freelancers will only snag a percentage of jobs that they apply for. There is fierce competition and multiple people are applying for the same position. This is why branching out into different sites and listings is so important. The more places you apply, the more work you are likely to get. Even if you only land one job per webpage, if you’re on five pages then you have five jobs.
Eventually as you get settled as a freelancer and start building up your reputation (and resume), you will be more likely to get steady work from one place. After this you will be able to narrow things down if you’d like.
5. Be Consistent and Determined
You might not succeed right off the bat. You might get turned down repeatedly and start to feel like you’re wasting your time. Don’t worry though! Just remember the fierce competition that we talked about above and have faith that the right writing job will come along. Persistence is key when starting out in freelancing. All it takes is landing one steady contract to propel you forward and build up your portfolio and resume.
All good things take time and effort. Freelancing is no different. You won’t just wake up one morning and be a full-time writer who pays all their bills with contract work. But if you’re prepared to put in the work and don’t give up on yourself, you will find success.