How to Become a Freelance Writer in 24 Hours or Less for $0
Becoming a Freelance Writer Is Not Hard; It Just Requires Action
I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993. As the webmaster of a couple of freelance writing sites (InkwellEditoiral.com and SeoWritingJobs.com), I receive anywhere from 5-10 emails a week asking me some variation of “How to Become a Freelance Writer.”
My short answer is borrowed from Nike, ie, Just Do It! Many wannabe freelance writers hold themselves back by putting too many obstacles in their way, eg, I need a website, I don’t have writing samples, I need to do more research about it, etc. There is no perfect time to start to become a freelance writer, as there are freelance writing opportunities that come and go every day -- especially online writing jobs.
The timing will always be off – if you look for it to be off. So take the bull by the horns and just do it. To that end, following is plan of action you can take to start a freelance writing career in 24 hours, or less. Really!
3 Steps on How to Become a Freelance Writer within the Next 24 Hours
1. Create a blog: Instead of using the excuse of, “I don’t have/can’t afford a website,” put up a blog instead. What you need to become a freelance writer is a web presence – that’s what a blog is. You can use the free platforms like blogger.com or wordpress.com. A blog is just a website, it’s just used different.
Now, you can’t say you don’ t have the time, money or knowledge that holds you back from having a web presence. You can get a more fancy site later. In the meantime, something like this will do just fine.
What to List On Your Freelance Writing Website
(i) a few writing samples;
(ii) a short professional bio; and if you want
(iii) your rates (some do, some don’t). This is up to you.
In my opinion, you should list your freelance writing rates on your website. Why? Because it gives potential clients all the info they need to make an informed decision when they’re on your site. After all, either they can afford you, or not. By not divulging rates, they may just surf away to your competitor – one who does list their rates.
Cost to Set Up Your Web Presence: $0; Estimated Time to Complete: 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on your knowledge of the platform you choose to use. Remember, keep it simple.
2. Create Writing Samples: This is the one area that causes a lot of stress for new and wannabe freelance writers. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you don’t have any writing samples, sit down and bang out four to five articles (400-600 words each, no longer). This is enough to start.
What kinds of writing samples should you create to get your freelance writing career started?
Create samples in the niche you want to work in. For example, if you want to be a health writer, then write health articles to use as samples. If you want to be a tech writer, then write about technology; a finance writer, then write on finance (the current economy should give you lots of article ideas in many sectors).
While some clients will ask you for samples of previously published works, the vast majority will not. This is especially true in web writing.
All clients what to verify is your writing ability. Whether you have published pieces is largely irrelevant to them. After all, you wrote the sample, right? Then it’s evidence of your writing ability.
Writing Samples Tip: If you plan to target more than one niche as a freelance writer, then produce a few samples for each niche. Don’t spread yourself too thin though. Stick to niches you know well and/or are interested in, and also those that are closely related. One to two niches is more than enough to start; it’ll make marketing much easier and you’ll land freelance writing jobs quicker.
Cost: $0; Estimated Time to Complete: 3-5 hours (depending on how in-depth your samples are and/or how many niches you plan to target.).
3. Compile a Marketing List: Now that you’ve got your website and your writing samples together, it’s time to put together a marketing list.
To do this, log on to the internet and start the hunt. Compile a list of 20-30 prospects you can pitch your writing services to. Again, if you’re a health writer, target websites, blogs, ezines, and publications that need this type of content.
Think logically about marketing – it’s not rocket science. Just think, “Who needs the type of writing that I can provide?” Then think, who comes into contact with these types of clients.
For example, web design firms get a lot of clients – across many different niches. So, no matter what type of writing you do, targeting web design firms would be a good idea because they have all types of clients – who need all types of writing. A few of them may very well be in your niche.
Take a two-pronged attack with your marketing. Market to those who need your specific type of writing, and those who come into contact with those who need your writing skill.
Make 20-30 contacts a day, and pretty soon, I guarantee you that you will start to land clients.
Cost: $0; Estimated Time to Complete: 2-6 hours. You should be able to find 5-10 contacts per hour.
If you complete all of the steps here, you will be in business as a freelance writer. Starting a freelance writing career is not rocket science. Don’t over think it – just do it!
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You get a free website, as well as info on how to price your freelance writing services; which low and no-cost marketing methods to use; how to create a marketing calendar (you’ll know EXACTLY what you should be doing every week to steadily bring in clients); info on how to choose a niche market that’s right for you; and so much more.