How to become a freelance writer

By Lizzie Davey

17 Feb 2020

How to become a freelance writer

Do you want to indulge your passion for writing and earn money at the same time? For some, this might sound too good to be true, but it’s totally do-able if you become a freelance writer.

This is a coveted career for many word lovers, and can involve all different kinds of writing, including copy for websites, creating eBooks for brands, white papers, social media updates, blog posts, fiction books, and everything in between.

Ready to get started? Here’s how to do that.

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Start with the basics

First things first, you want to get all the basics covered. This means registering as self-employed with HMRC. On top of that, it can be handy to set up a separate bank account to track your earnings from your writing.

And, before you dive in headfirst, make sure freelance writing isn’t a conflict of interest with your job and employer if you plan on doing it on the side.

Pick a specialism

There are tons of different styles of writing you can do as a freelancer. We’ve listed some above, but it’s up to you to decide which kind best suits your skills and interests.

If you’re social media savvy and spend a ton of time in your feeds, then social media writing might be the way forward. Or, if you’ve written copy for your company’s website in the past and enjoyed it, you might want to focus on that.

As well as choosing a writing style, it also helps to pick an industry too so that you’re not overwhelmed with options. For example, you might decide to write website copy for finance companies, or health businesses, or local life coaches.

Narrowing down who you’re targeting and what you’re targeting them with helps you focus your efforts and ensures you become better-known in that industry.

Create a website

Potential clients will need a place where they can find you, learn about your services, and contact you.

Website builders these days make it easy to put together a simple portfolio site in less than a day, and there are some great tips in this piece for creating a website on a tight budget.

Whatever you do, make sure your site has:

  • a homepage that highlights what you do and who you do it for
  • a list of your services and what’s included in them, as well as your prices if you’re comfortable publishing them
  • a way for potential clients to contact you, whether that’s via email, a phone number, or an embedded contact form.

Create sample pieces

If you don’t already have some work to add to your portfolio, you can create one or two writing samples to add to your website to give potential clients a chance to see how good you are.

This might come in the form of some similar work you’ve done for your company, or it might mean creating a short sample from scratch. You can display these on your website to add some extra “proof” for clients.

Reach out to brands

The next step is actually landing your first client.

Start by identifying brands in your chosen industry that could use a writer like you to perk up their website, blogs, or other collateral. For example, if you’re planning on focusing your business around website copy for life coaches, poke around life coach websites and pick out ones that could do with a word refresh.

Once you’ve identified a potential client, reach out to them and touch on the benefits of using a writer. Offer them a link to your website, share your portfolio with them, and make sure you highlight the ways you can help them with their specific needs.

After that, you’ll have to negotiate pricing and contracts. Usually, a phone call is the best way to set this up as it gives you and your client the chance to get to know each other.

Grow your business

Once you’ve landed your first client, it becomes easier and easier to get more work. Even after you’ve secured your first contract, keep reaching out to prospects in your chosen industry and make your presence known on social media and other platforms.

Make this a regular part of your schedule as you grow your business. This will keep the momentum going and it means you won’t find yourself without work when a contract comes to an end.

Become a freelance writer today

Becoming a freelance writer can be extremely rewarding and the perfect career move for those who love to write. But, to set yourself up for success, you have to be strategic about the way you enter the profession.

This step-by-step guide helps you cover the basics and figure out what you need to do to land your first client. The tips we’ve laid out will help you get started in the best possible way and build a writing business you’re proud of.