Is it time for you to think about how to start a Freelance Writing Business?
Are you a mom who barely sees her family because the job and commute take up most of your day? You’d love to be home, loving on your babies– reading to them before bed and watching all of their milestones firsthand. Or maybe you want to explore homeschooling but your not sure how to do that during the day and contribute to the family finances.
A Freelance Writing Business is perfect for moms that have young children because you can work in little segments of time during nap time or for an hour or two after they go to bed at night. It’s THE MOST flexible home business there is.
With low start-up costs and an incredible earning potential–a freelance writing business easily trumps any other online gig. Also, let’s say you can’t quit your day job yet. You can get started while still employed and have time to pad the family savings account before you give your leave of notice. It’s very possible to work on the weekends whenever and wherever as long as you meet your client’s deadlines.
Maybe you’re sold and are thinking oh yea, let’s do this! Or you’re wondering what it takes to succeed as a freelance writer. In this post, I give you all the deets on setting up a successful freelance writing business.
What You’ll Need to Start a Freelance Writing Business
If you want to start making money as a writer, you can do so with very little investment. To start, you need a simple writer’s resume, LinkedIn page, or Facebook page. And of course, at least three writing samples to show off your skills.
A few other things which can be helpful are:
- A freelancer’s agreement
- An app to send invoices and accept payments (i.e. PayPal, Wave)
- A brief “about” statement showcasing your personality and expertise
- A simple headshot
- Google Docs or Microsoft Word
- An email account dedicated to your business
Since networking practices vary across niches, you want to make sure you get plugged in where your ideal clients hang out. Find out how people in your niche are networking, finding jobs, and communicating with each other.
Mommy bloggers, for example, often hang out in Facebook groups, while tech websites would likely use LinkedIn or Twitter. Once you decide on a niche, you can do the research–but we’ll touch more on that later.
As you grow in your writing business, you’ll likely take the next steps of creating a portfolio or website, and use social media to market yourself. While those things aren’t necessary right away, they don’t hurt either. You might even find they help you land higher-paying gigs.
How to Become a Freelance Writer With No Experience
If you’re interested in starting a freelance writing business but have little to no experience, there’s great news for you–you don’t really need any. Nope, you just need the drive!
This is because writing is a skill you can sharpen with practice. It’s also very easy to write up some samples if you don’t have any writing published.
One of the best ways to start is to create three writing samples about a topic you want to get paid to write on. The samples should be optimized for your ideal client and showcase your best writing skills.
Once you have a few samples you can easily find guest posting opportunities within your niche to gain experience. Many guest posting gigs don’t pay, but some of them do. Regardless, they’re an excellent way to build your portfolio as a new writer!
Another way to show your writing skills is to start a blog–which many writers do. It’s a great way to market yourself since you can send your blog post links as writing samples. If it grows, you may be able to use it as another income stream by monetizing it.
If you’d like to seek out guest posting opportunities, search for blogs in the category of your niche and go to the about or contact page on the website. Blogs often state if they accept guest posts. Facebook groups for bloggers are also a gold mine for writing opportunities.
Ready to get started? Join 20,000+ writers who’ve taken Elna Cain’s insanely valuable FREE course. Learn freelance writing from scratch & make money from your writing!
Freelance Writing Niches That Are Perfect for Beginners
So you’ve never done anything like this before and don’t have any experience. Everyone has to start somewhere and these five ideas will get you started quickly:
Freelance Blog Writing
Freelance blog writing is one of the easiest writing niche’s to get into. There are so many overwhelmed bloggers who simply don’t have the time to write as much as they would like to. These bloggers would be happy to have guests write on their blog or possibly hire you as a writer. Blogging is also a more casual writing style and if you have knowledge about a certain topic, you can use it to market yourself as an expert in that niche.
(Want to learn more about blogging? Check out Suzi Whitford’s free resources here.)
Writing Copy For Social Media
Do you have a thing for writing short, witty blurbs? If so, you’d be perfect as a social media copywriter. Many entrepreneurs look to outsource writers for this type of work. Although it can be easy to do–they just don’t have the time for it!
Freelance Magazine Writing
Plenty of online and print magazines welcome submissions or personal stories. If you’re a good writer, you can likely land one of these jobs easily.
SEO Content Writing Service
Writing content that is optimized for search engine traffic is a highly valuable skill! Many small business owners are frequently on the lookout for writers doubling as SEO specialists. The great thing is SEO is a skill you can pick up by doing some research or taking an online course.
Ecommerce product description writing
There are plenty of job postings in Facebook groups looking for product description writers. This is when you write an attention-grabbing blurb to describe a product being sold. It’s quite easy to do, and if you’re savvy with words it will likely be the perfect gig for you.
What Are the Highest Paying Writing Jobs For Blog Writing?
Here’s a spoiler alert–not all blog writing jobs pay the same! Some are actually much more lucrative than others. With that said, here are some of the highest paying categories of writing that you can get into:
- Case Studies & White Papers
- Email writing
Yes, bloggers will actually pay you to write the emails they send their subscribers! Take it from Raelyn Tan and the thousands who have bought her Happy Subscriber’s Toolkit! More and more bloggers are learning that the money is in the list. Nurturing list with weekly emails is so important that it’s becoming a super in-demand service that bloggers are willing to pay for.
Just keep in mind that while the pay might be great for some of these writing niches, it’s best to dive into one that you have some interest or experience with.
For example, if you try your hand at finance writing just for pay, it’s likely going to reflect in the quality of your writing. Instead, write on topics you have experience in (or that at least interest you). This way you’ll have more value to offer and be able to charge higher rates as you make progress.
SEO Content Writing Services
As I mentioned above, SEO writers create content that favors Google’s algorithm so that it will be found by more people.
Any established blog or website is going to value SEO because it’s an opportunity for free traffic—and that’s what makes it such a great skill to have. You can charge premium rates as a freelance writer if you know how to properly implement SEO into your articles.
If you have never heard of SEO or how it works, you can start learning now by reading this blog post on SEO over on Twins Mommy.
5 Ways to Find Freelance Writing Jobs
Now that you know what niche you want to write in, it’s time to find clients. Here’s your list of 5 great ways you can find your clients starting today:
Cold pitching is when you pitch your writing services to someone you’ve had no prior contact with. It may sound intimidating, but it can be very effective!
One of my favorite ways to cold pitch is to peruse the internet for entrepreneurs that fit my client avatar and send them a direct message via email or social media. You should keep your message short–Include what you like about their business, how your services can benefit them, and ask if they’re open to outsourcing.
Keep in mind with this method, you will face rejection–but it’s normal. Not everyone is going to want your services and that’s ok.
Seasoned writer Gina Horkey from Horkey Handbook advises treating the rejection as a game.
“By reframing how you see rejections you’ll take away the power they have over your mindset.” Gina writes, “Rather than see them as a failure if you view rejections as a metric of how much you’re putting yourself out there you’ll be motivated to keep up the great work.”
Every writer has differing opinions about job boards. Just remember that for each person who had a negative experience, there’s someone who’s had success with it too.
With that said, some of the job boards you can look to for writing gigs are UpWork, ProBlogger, and Freelance Writing Gigs. Some have a rep of being a “race to the bottom”, but I think these experiences vary. I’ve seen story after story of freelancers who used sites like UpWork to make more than a pretty penny for their writing.
Facebook groups are a fantastic place to scout for writing gigs. You can search for groups using keywords like “freelance writing” or “blogging.” Once you’re approved to join, you can scan through the groups daily and network with other members. Many entrepreneurs use Facebook groups as a job board of sorts to outsource for their business.
LinkedIn is a great platform for networking and landing clients. You can quickly search for entrepreneurs who fit your client avatar and easily connect with them. You can also look for job postings and turn your profile into a resume with just the click of a button.
Have the Clients Come to You!
After you get a few by-lines under your belt, you can market yourself so that clients can find you. This can be done via a website or using social media. For example, once you create a website for your writing biz you include a link to your website on all your social media handles. As you actively engage with people, they will be interested in who you are and probably go to your website to learn more about you.
You can also optimize your site with on-page SEO so that clients can find you through search engines.
Freelance Writing Business Website Examples
While a website isn’t required to start landing jobs, it can certainly help you land better ones. A few perks of having a website are:
- It shows credibility. If you’re looking to write for established businesses, a website helps them trust you. It shows you’re serious about your writing biz because you’ve invested in yourself.
- It’s another way to attract clients. With proper SEO and some social media marketing, your website can become a client attraction magnet.
- A website is great for branding purposes. You can create and showcase your personal brand, which helps you stand out from other writers.
Below are a few examples of solid freelance writing websites.
Elna brands herself as a professional B2B writer. When she’s not giving biz tips on her mommy blog she’s writing content for sites like Blogging Wizard and Wal-Mart.
Elna’s site is put together very well. For starters, her web layout is clean and easy to read. She also has logos of established clients she’s worked with, giving her ample credibility. Last, Elna markets herself well by describing the results her writing can create for the businesses that hire her.
Jo is a writer and social media specialist. She brands herself as a “content creator for mompreneurs.”
Off the bat, her website messaging makes it very clear what she does and who her ideal client is. Her site is super easy to navigate and doesn’t leave room for unanswered questions. There’s an FAQ section, testimonials for social proof, and price ranges for her services.
Potential clients can quickly find anything they need to know and easily decide if she is the right person to work with. Jo also has a blog section, which is perfect to showcase writing samples.
Kayla is a copywriter for creatives and small businesses.
Her website is quite snazzy with a customized layout and larger than life font headings. Kayla’s site has all the right elements—a well-thought-out about section, work with me page, portfolio, and easy to use contact page.
From her website alone, you get the feel that Kayla is a no-nonsense professional and is probably worth what she charges. A site like this definitely makes it easier to sell yourself to higher tier clients.
So here’s the gist of it—do you need a website right away? No. But you can see from these examples how a website is a powerful marketing tool that can help you look more credible and get better clients.
Start A Freelance Writing Business Today
If you’ve caught the writing bug and decide this is the biz for you–remember that a small start is still a start!
When describing her beginning as a freelance writer, Elna Cain shares, “I had no clue how to write a blog post or what kinds of jobs there are for freelance writers. I sometimes emailed freelance writers and asked questions like how to set my rate.”
Her advice for new writers? “The best thing you can do as a new freelance writer is continue to learn. Whether it’s writing tips, business tips or pitching tips, hone your skills by learning from those who have done it before.”
There you have it, my friend. If you’re looking to gain financial freedom without slaving away in a cubicle, you now have the formula right in your hands. This is the most flexible home-based business!
For those of you that don’t feel ready just yet to step into writing, you might want to check out my post on becoming a freelance proofreader—the perfect side gig alternative to freelance writing!
Does starting a freelance writing biz sound like it’s your cup of tea? I want to hear your thoughts—let me know in the comments below.
I’m Jill, and I’m passionate about helping women launch a home business. I write blog posts that will help you pursue your passion, reach your income goals & create the work-life flexibility you need. Feel free to send me a message here.