The number of people wondering how to start freelance writing is growing all the time. Content is now more important than ever and specialists in the niche can earn a lot.
You have certainly considered a freelance writing career if you enjoy working with text and you have some experience in the field of web content creation. An online career provides a lot of diversity and interesting monetization opportunities. There is one big question that needs to be answered: how do you get started?
It all begins with a little bit of trial and error. The following guide is based on my experience and it can help you make the most challenging and uncertain first steps in the niche.
Take a Look at Job Openings
Examine a few openings for freelance writers. Get a good idea about what customers are looking for. Trends in the niche change all the time. In the past, clients used to demand highly technical texts having a high keyword density. Today, they value specialized knowledge and writers capable of producing an entire ebook in a relatively short period of time.
Get a good understanding of the terminology and the requirements that customers have.
Excellent writing skills are obviously the most essential requirement. Many customers are also looking for writers that have some search engine optimization (SEO) and internet marketing knowledge. If you want to learn how to start freelance writing, you should first make sure that you have the skills that customers are looking for.
Build Your Portfolio
Every good freelance writer that looks for customers online has a diversified and intriguing online portfolio.
Think about the type of customer you want to attract and the work that you want to do. Build a portfolio that will attract to this target audience. Are you serious about learning how to start freelance writing? Create a few samples that will impress and get clients interested in learning more about a possible professional cooperation.
Create your own blog or even better – build a website and upload the portfolio there. Website creation is a simple task and you should have at least basic knowledge about it to become competitive in the online freelance world. You can use a popular blog platform, website templates or even online website builders. Consider investing in a professionally created website, if you plan to launch a long-term career in the niche.
When it comes to portfolios, quality is much more important than quantity. A few carefully chosen samples will impress customers much more than a large portfolio featuring mediocre works. Formatting and the addition of images to your portfolio content is going to create an even better first impression.
How to Start Freelance Writing: Pricing Decisions
The pricing decisions you make are the most determining for the start of your freelance writing career.
I will lie to you if I tell you that you will be capable of finding projects by demanding a high price in the very beginning. You are dealing with some really tough competition from all corners of the world. The low standard of living in many countries makes freelance writers set very low prices. Ultimately, their pricing decisions affect the entire industry.
Making a compromise in the very beginning to start your career is a good strategy. Such a compromise will enable you to get positive feedback and to potentially win a loyal customer. Still, you should set some kind of minimum that will at least cover expenses connected to content production – internet, other communication options, Copyscape account and stock photos are just some of the expenditures.
Once you complete a few projects, you will have to start thinking about adequate pricing. Let clients know how much you charge in the very beginning. You will often be pressured to decrease the price but unless the discount is minimal, you should stick to your original decision.
Where to Look for Freelance Writing Jobs
Many beginners in the freelance writing niche use websites like Odesk and Guru to get started. These websites give access to some really great project but the competition there is fierce.
Building a solid website and making sure that it is properly optimized will give you an opportunity to reach potential customers without relying on intermediaries.
Professional social networks like LinkedIn are tremendously important for freelance writers, as well. Many companies post their freelance positions in such social media. Becoming a member of professional groups and communities will also benefit you by providing excellent career development opportunities.
Some freelance writers rely on the so-called content mills to either make a living or generate at least a part of their income. I use several such websites to add a little bit to my revenue. Next time, I will give you all the details and the secrets of choosing the right content mill, being productive there and earning enough.
Are you interested in learning more about how to start freelance writing online? My book How to Make Money Online: The Secrets of Starting Your Own Web-Based Business will help you get started. You can learn more about the book here.