It’s easier than ever to become a freelance writer if you build a profile for yourself, find the right clients and treat writing like a business.
I worked as a freelance writer for several years for local and national newspapers in Ireland. I’ve worked as freelancer for several well-known websites like Forbes.
It’s a great way of earning money either part or full-time from the written word. In this guide, I explain what freelancing is, and I provide practical tips for those who want to become a freelancer.
Let’s dive in.
What is a Freelance Writer?
A freelance writer is someone who writes blog posts, non-fiction articles, and web copy for magazines, publications, companies, and other organisations.
Unlike a journalist employed by a newspaper, freelancers are self-employed, and they typically write for a number of different clients or publications at one time.
They can work full or part-time at home or in an office. Some have a contract with several different clients, while others operate on a recurring commission basis (the dream).
1. Pick a Niche
When I was a journalist, my freelance writing niche technology stories, I didn’t pick this niche because I was interested in technology journalism (although that helped). There were relatively few technology journalists in Ireland at that time.
Doubling down made it easier for me to find more suitable clients.
When starting off as an aspiring freelance writer, it’s fine to try different niches and charge a lower rate until you gain appropriate experiences. Copywriters follow this approach at the start of their writing career too. However, as you acquire more knowledge and skills, focus on one or two niches and increase your rates.
Popular niches include:
- Health and fitness
- Personal development
- Leadership and careers
- Family and parenting
- B2B technology
- Travel writing
After honing down on a niche, you can spend more time cultivating contacts, develop in-depth knowledge, and build a name for yourself with contacts.
Tip: Combine a niche with a popular content format. For example, I know a copywriter who specialises in producing case studies and creating videos for large technology companies.
2. Pitch On More Than One Job Board
It’s tough when starting out as a freelancer. I spent a few years wondering where I was supposed to find clients and was unsure about what type of worked they’d pay for. Thankfully, freelances can choose from more places than ever today, all geared towards paying commissions. Consider joining these platforms and services:
- The Writer Finder
- Writer Access
- Writers Work
- Medium (good for name recognition particularly in the small business niche)
Check out my full list of places to find writing jobs.
3. Get Out From Behind Email
Email is a great communication tool, and it works for a lot of pitches.