Breaking into the paid world of writing can be extremely difficult. With so many budding writers out there to compete with, finding a desk job as a journalist or a consistent employed status with a writing firm is near impossible.
What a lot of writers will do in order to try and gain as much experience as possible and showcase their writing talents is to opt for freelance writing.
Anybody can be a freelancer, and that’s why it is a fantastic and clear choice. Of course though, freelancing is not without its downsides.
In this guide, we’re going to explore the world of freelance writing with all the handy tips and tricks you’ll need, including what freelance writing is, what to expect and how you can further your chances of employment.
So, What Exactly Is Freelance Writing?
Freelance writing is a method of being paid for writing work without being employed to a specific organization or employer.
Freelancing is often taken up by new writers in this industry who also work elsewhere, and take up freelancing as a secondary income. Whereas, some others might take up freelancing as a new full-time role.
This might be for them to be their own boss, or maybe they’ve built up a large portfolio of potential clients from their experience in the industry.
It’s important to know that freelance writing can be for a huge array of different topics and sectors. This might be PR, marketing, copywriting, sports journalism, news journalism, reviews and much more.
One way to enhance your chances of freelance work is to specialize in a particular topic. For example, you might know a lot about cars or travel. The more niche your topic, the more likely you are to hone into the market and reduce the amount of rivals going for the work.
Of course, this method also reduces the chances of other work if there is nobody looking for writing on this topic. There are always pros and cons of opting for specialization over generalization, but this will come into your prior research before heading out.
Freelance writers are not only simply writers – they’re also technically trying to market themselves. So, to be a successful freelance writer, you need to ensure your marketing is spot on too.
This will involve having a professional website with links to your previous works, including the names of your previous clients, and linking everything to your social media sites – remember, this is the typical area of contact for potential clients.
Getting Freelance Work
Getting freelance work is much more difficult than people think, and there are several ways that freelance writers can get work from clients.
Eventually, your previous clients will be the ones you contact or will contact you – but in the early stages and to try and get new clients – you’ll need to do one or more of the following:
Some freelancers will be budding journalists and will be in competition with so many other writers. Often, it’s a case of first come, first served.
Social media sites like Twitter allow potential clients to utilize hashtags such as #journorequest – this is one example of many.
These hashtags will allow budding freelancers the opportunity to see the work on offer and contact the potential clients. If successful, your work must speak for itself.
Pitch To A Client
This will undoubtedly be the primary source of work for any type of writing. You will have an idea and will have identified potential interested parties. After getting into initial contact, you will have one shot at trying to “sell” yourself and your idea.
If you are successful, again – your work must now speak for itself. Remember though, nobody bats 1000, so if you take a knock – keep trying!
Get Your Promotion Right
Marketing yourself right from the start is crucial, so as we said – your website, social media and other work must be professional and of a high standard.
If you’re a real newbie, it’s worth working on a volunteer or cheaper basis, just to get your name out there. Or, you can showcase some of your previous work from college or personal projects. One way to do this is to promote your blog.
Your blog can be a partner of your YouTube channel or podcast. Although it is advisable to use all of these channels, make sure it is top quality.
What’s The Deal With Pay?
The thing with freelancing is that, as you’re working for yourself – the work will not typically fall into your lap. You will need to work hard to get as much work as possible to maximize your monthly pay.
This is why many freelancers work elsewhere whilst freelancing on the side, or wait many years with experience in the industry behind them, along with contacts, before they start. The contacts are key!
Pay is agreed between the freelancer and the client. Starting freelancers with little experience should charge little, whereas the more established freelancers can charge more.
With writing, there is normally a deadline. You can request more pay for a project to be completed in a shorter time frame, but this can be detrimental if you have a lot of work to get through with other clients.
You don’t want to ostericise a client! Think of them as your employer – you wouldn’t ignore your boss now, would you?
Invoices are usually issued by the freelancer to the client as a payment reminder. Sometimes, clients hold out on pay or refuse to pay – at which point, a freelancer will normally use the invoice and proof of work as evidence to begin legal proceedings.
Freelance writing is a difficult industry, but if you get it right, it can be a dream line of work. Freelancers are getting more popular as the digital world is moving clients away from physical office spaces – but because of this, you need to be tech savvy!