From Author to Freelancer: How to Profit From Your Writing

Freelance writerYou’ve had the dream since you were a little child.

You kept it a secret from everyone and held on to it while you grew up.

Your dream was that one day your story would be read by thousands of people. Your characters would be locked in the minds of people from all over the world.

You would be instantly famous.

Or, if anything, your novel would be published, sold and you could finally make a living from your writing.

And with the internet and self-publishing available, it’s becoming easier than ever before to have your words in print, but it’s not any easier to profit from your writing.

Being a successful author is difficult.

If your book is published and distributed to the common bookstores, you’re looking to sell a minimum of 30,000 books a year before you can make a living from your novel. And if you don’t have a strong marketing thumb – or team behind you – and your novel isn’t popular among the mass markets, you’ll have very little chance of making it.

And it’s not much better if you go digital either. Without a big email list, large following or a popular blog, good luck selling your eBook to more than a couple hundred people.

Reigniting Your Dream and Passion

Deam of being an author

You know writing is your thing. But after trying to make it as an author and failing to succeed, writing is now a hobby, something to do on the weekends or when you have free time.

Does the dream ever die? No. You’ll always have stories in your mind, so how can you turn your love of writing into cash?

It’s still possible to profit from your writing and reignite that dream you’ve always had.

You can with freelance writing.

A freelance writer works on a self-employed basis. You’re an independent business owner that makes your own schedule, sets your own rate and controls your own destiny.

Sure, instead of writing a love story between a reclusive man and a power-driven woman, you’ll be writing on anything from digital marketing to parenting advice to even self-development.

As a freelance writer, you write about a myriad of topics or choose to focus on a core writing niche.

While blog writing is a popular type of writing and the easiest to get into, you can choose to be a magazine writer, copywriter or write various types of content like press releases or site content.

You might think authors have no place in the online freelance writing space.

But, you know what?

Being an author can lend well to freelance writing:

  • You’re a natural storyteller – does everyone come to you to hear stories? You can spin magnificent stories at a drop of a hat. The best freelance writers weave a story and connect with the reader to pique their interest and prime them for reading the entire post.
  • You have a creative mind – are you a slave to the muse or do you command your muse? While authors think of story lines, book titles or characters, freelance writers come up with topic ideas, headlines, and call-to-actions.
  • You know how to tie up loose ends – authors know all loose ends must come to a close. Your story line has to finish, and all questions have to be answered. As a freelance writer, it’s your job to deliver on the headline. This means, backing up what your headline promises. If it’s 5 ways to save on road trips, then your post must provide these ways in an easy to read format.

Not everyone can be a freelance writer. If you have a firm grasp of the English language, and you know how to write for an online audience you’ll be able to start profiting fairly quickly.

I’m a freelance writer, but I mostly write blog content for small businesses, solopreneurs and start-ups. I average around $250 a post. I’m making a full-time living only working part-time hours.

If you want to break into freelance writing, here are the steps to kick-start your career and profit from your writing.

1. Find Your Writing Niche

writing niche

As an author, you may have a niche that you enjoy writing about. It’s the same with freelance writing.

Find a topic you are interested in or have expert knowledge in. While many writers use their previous work experience, you can use your hobby as your niche.

Don’t feel you have to know your niche before you begin. When I first started, I picked what I knew – parenting, education, and psychology. But, I found my niche – digital marketing – while writing online and finding ways to promote my services.

So, in the beginning, you may pick a few topics you are familiar with, but in the end, you may come to learn you enjoy writing about a totally new topic.

2. Create Sample Pieces

Create Samples

As a freelance writer, you’re going to have to hustle and pitch to job ads to land a writing gig. Prospects want to see your online work.

There are a few ways to gather some sample pieces if you’re new:

  • Use your blog – if you have a non-personal blog, feel free to use some of your old posts as samples. While it’s best to provide samples within the niche you plan to get paid for, if it’s all you’ve got, use it.
  • Guest post – a great way to get your name out there is to guest post on other blogs. Find a blog in your niche that allows guest contributors and pitch them your blog post idea. At the end of your guest post, you’ll have a byline where you can link to your website and promote your services as a freelance writer for hire.
  • Publish on the Pulse or Medium – LinkedIn rolled out a publishing platform called the Pulse where you can repurpose content or create new content. Medium is a blogging platform, and it provides the same benefits as the Pulse. If you don’t have a blog, using these platforms is a great way to quickly gather online content.

3. Have a Professional Site

professional site

To really be successful, you need to have a professional writing site. This is your home base where you house your portfolio and explain your services and why prospects should hire you.

This makes it easy for prospects to find you, learn about you and hire you. It’s also a great tool to attract clients.

To optimize your professional site and have the best chance of attracting clients:

  • Have a headshot on your homepage – using your face to welcome prospects to your site makes you more personable and makes it harder to forget you.
  • Include a title – what type of writer are you? Content writer? Blog writer? Business writer? Include your title on the homepage to make it easier for prospects to know exactly what you do.
  • Make it easy to contact you – display your contact information on numerous pages. Also include a phone number and social media profiles as alternative ways to get a hold of you.

4. Source and Pitch to Freelance Writing Jobs

source jobs

There are many places to look for freelance writing jobs. The best place to start is on job boards.

Some free job boards to start looking for writing gigs on are:

Source jobs on these boards daily. The best times to view them are in the morning and at night ­– before you hit the sack.

Typically, with these types of free job boards, you’ll have a lot of competition. To stand out from the rest of the applicants try to be one of the first few to submit your pitch email.

Also, have the upper edge by doing your research on the company or entrepreneur requiring content. Read a few of their blog posts, take a look at their social media updates and find information you can use in your pitch to make it more memorable.

Your pitch should include who you are and how your experience will help their content needs. It should also link to sample writings and if applicable your social media profiles.

5. Invest in a Course

Invest in a course

To have the best odds of succeeding quickly, look into a course that provides you the foundation to landing and keeping high-paying clients.

Having the tools and skills to be an A-list freelance writer that attracts high-paying clients and can command high rates is essential to making this a viable career choice.

While you can do this without a course and from scratch, you’ll make mistakes – it happened to me more than once – and it’ll take you a much longer time than if you have the support and knowledge from an experienced person who has done this before.

You Can Be an Author and a Freelance Writer

It’s not too late to write that novel you’ve always wanted to or that series you have in the back of your mind.

Writing comes in all forms. There are freelance writers like Alicia Rades and Lorraine Reguly, who are not only successful in their freelance writing, but as authors too.

So, what are you waiting for? Ready to stop dreaming about earning a living from your writing and start taking the steps to live it?

About Elna
Elna Cain is a freelance writer and coach. She writes for Blogging Wizard, PageWiz, WPKube and more. She works closely with B2C and B2B businesses providing blog writing, ghostwriting and copywriting services. Not quite sure freelance writing is for you? Why not try her totally free course, Get Paid to Write Online!

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16 thoughts on “From Author to Freelancer: How to Profit From Your Writing”

  1. Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Hi, Elna,

    Great to see you here on Bryan’s blog! Thanks for sharing the job boards – I’m sending this post to a client right now.


    1. Thanks! Glad you liked the post. I know that many authors are probably interested in learning how they can use their passion for profit online!

    1. Mick!

      Thanks. I’m glad you liked it and found it useful. Freelance writing is awesome and it’s a great way to earn some cash while you’re writing your novel!

  2. It’s actually really important to learn how to hustle both ways! That doesn’t mean that you’ll lose your passion and inspiration, it only means it can grow and develop even more with new ideas and perspectives.

  3. Jennifer Alvarado

    From last 3 months I was thinking about resigning my content writing job and start my own business as a freelancing writer..But I was not getting enough knowledge from starting the process…Your bog has provided a new hope in me..Now I think that I would surely become a good freelance writer and starts my own business.
    Can you tell me about courses in which i should invest for becoming better freelancer?

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      I wouldn’t recommend resigning a paying writing job until you’re set up as a freelance writer and have replaced your income.

      The best people to help you with a course for freelance writing are Elna Cain and also Carol Tice.

    2. Jennifer,

      That’s great you want to break into freelance writing. Bryan is right, however, you don’t want to give up your job until you have secured enough work to quit. For many freelance writers that can take 3-10 months.

      There are many great places to learn about freelance writing besides my blog (thanks Bryan). The Write Life and FreelancerFAQs are two other great resources!

  4. Vickie Boswell

    After trying for 6 months, I have not got the right path for becoming a freelancing writer..
    Can you please help me and make me achieve the goal?

    1. Hi Vickie,
      You could try writing for a few blog to build up a portfolio that you can show to clients. Alternatively, it’s a good idea to figure out what niche you want to specialise in and then build relationships with the editors of publications in your niche.

  5. I am a freelancer from the past one year. I had faced many hurdles while starting out as a freelancer. At that time I had no idea how to start as a freelancer. The biggest problem was collection of data via a form which looked a uphill task but then one fine day one of my friends told me about gravity forms it allows you to create forms and get information. It motivated me since I cleared my first hurdle as a freelancer and now this is my favorite wp plugin.

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