Your First Freelance Writing Job…Now What (My First Client)?

You’ve been pitching like mad. All you want is your first freelance writing job, that first client.

You’ve also spruced up your web copy and updated your freelance writing portfolio.

You check your email one last time and suddenly you see a response to a freelance writer pitch you sent. You can’t believe it. You read the email and see the prospective client is interested in your blog writing skills and wants you to start next week.

Your First Freelance Writing Job…Now What (My First Client)?

You do a little happy dance and fist pump! You landed your first freelance writing  job.

Now what? How do you make sure you get paid? What questions do you ask? How do you make sure the client is happy with your work?

Learn about my first client and how I began as a freelance writer.

The Real Work Begins as a New Freelance Writer

For many aspiring freelance writers, landing your first “real” writing gig can be a real challenge. And when I say real, I don’t mean the content mills that only pay you $1.62 for your writing – no one can make a living off that! I also don’t mean landing a client from a freelance market place like Upwork.

I mean clients who know what content is really worth. They’re not trying to find the cheapest writer for the most content.

So, it’s no wonder for brand new freelance writers, finding a client like this can be a challenge, but, boy, when you finally land your first you almost can’t believe it!

I know this because that’s how it played out for me when landing my first client. I was pitching like mad when I first started out, and I wasn’t getting any responses. I would change my pitch, make it longer or shorter and I would include my social media profiles and guest posts.

Anything to stand out.

And it finally paid off. I landed my first writing job at $100 a post! But, now the work really began. I had to learn the hard way how to maneuver the business side of freelance writing.

So, if you recently landed your first freelance writing job, or you’re taking my Get Paid to Write Online free email course and learning how to land your first client, here are 4 ways to keep the money coming and your freelance writing client happy.

1. Set Up a PayPal Account

If you haven’t already, one of the first things you should do – BEFORE you land your first client – is register for a PayPal account.

This will probably be your primary way of securing payments and issuing invoices to clients. While there are other merchant services you could use, PayPal is the most widely accepted and known around the world.

There is a fee associated with using their services, but you just have to chalk it up to a cost of doing business.

It’s a good idea to set up your business PayPal address before you really start pitching and trying to land work because sometimes, depending on how new you are to their system and the country you live in, PayPal can hold your funds for a period of time.

2. Start Tracking Your Projects and Earnings

It’s a good a idea to start a project management system where you can track your earnings and all your projects.

On your sheet, you want to keep track of:

  • Monthly earnings and expenses (net income)
  • Tax amount
  • Client and client’s PayPal address
  • Each project you do
  • Invoice date
  • Invoice paid

Other things you may want to keep track of are: deadline, different edits – self-edit, editing tool, peer edit – and if or when you submitted the post to the client.

Of course, with only one freelance writing job in your roster, you don’t have to be as detailed as I am, but once you have a few online writing gigs under your belt, it’ll make your system easier to follow when you keep track of the little things.

While I still use a project management system, for “on-the-go work” I use a planner just for freelance writers. For me, I also like writing things down as it makes me feel more professional and like I’m working!

3. Draft a Contract or Service Agreement

When you’re first starting out, it might be a good idea to draft a contract. It formalizes your collaboration with

the client and will ease your mind when you’re waiting for a payment.

It doesn’t have to be formal, in fact, you can write something in an email and keep the email on file. Just state the terms, conditions and pay so that everyone is on the same page.

Nowadays, I don’t typically use a contract for every client I work with. It’s worked out for me and every client I have has paid me.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask the client. I suggest, though, to not bombard them with numerous questions. One or two questions per email is the best option.

But, like I said, when I first started out, I did use contracts for every client. This was just to make me feel more comfortable going forward with a new collaboration.

It’s ultimately up to you, though.

4. Figure Out Your Writing Process

As a new freelance writer, you’ll develop a writing process that will help you be more efficient and streamline some parts of your business. For me, I’m a top-down writer – I have to start from the beginning.

I can’t write the conclusion first or the middle of my article first.

I also have to create an outline of my idea with each subheading topic. From there I do my research to get examples, up-to-date industry-specific stats and start my rough draft.

This can take me up to 10 hours to outline, research and write based on the content I’m creating. From there I self-edit and then have my husband proofread it. Finally, I run my article through Grammarly and when I’m happy, I submit the post to my client.

5. Wow Your Client!

The best tip I can give you for solidifying a recurring freelance writing gig is to go above and beyond what is required. If a client is wanting a 1,000 word post on the best WordPress plugins for a new blogger, do your research.

Provide screenshots and well-written content that is useful to the client’s audience. Your best asset is to write engaging and powerful content so show off your skills!

Try to always exceed deadlines and give the client no reason to doubt their decision to hire you.

This is exactly what I did with my first client!

6. Keep On Hustling

For some, having that first freelance writing job is all-to consuming. But, don’t let that happen to you; keep on hustling. As you create your outline for your post and start your rough draft, send a pitch or look at freelance writing job boards.

You want that first client to turn into two clients and then three, right? That means to keep marketing yourself even if you have work. The best feeling is when you have too much work and you have to unload some of that work to your freelance writer buddies!

Are You Ready for Your First Client?

Keeping your first freelance writing job isn’t as difficult as finding your first gig. But, if you have everything ready on your end with a PayPal address, project management system and a contract, your client will only see the true professional that you are.

And when they read your first post and are blown away by your well-crafted content, there’s no doubt  you will soon become their go-to writer.

Are you ready or are you still waiting for your first freelance writing job? Make sure to check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online. You’ll learn what it takes to land your first client!

So, what are you waiting for? Kill it with your first freelance writing client and let me know what you’re doing to wow them!

Click the Image Below and Land Your First Freelance Writing Client as a New Writer

Hi I'm Elna and I'm a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.

Leave a Reply

22 Comments

wow i love this. you are my life coach Elna. Thanks very much and please keep up with the God wordReply to ayuk
Hi, Elna! I have just landed my first client (yay!), so I decided to come here and check if you had any advice for me. You never let me down. This post was a very good read. I was lucky enough to get a client who already had their own contract, so I didn’t have to worry about that. Thank heavens because I’d never have thought of that, haha! What I’m most worried about now is how to create a good invoice. I’m working on an Excel program that will automatically create my invoices for me, but I still have to create the base for it. I’m also worried about taxes. I have no idea how that works with freelancing. Do you have any posts on those topics? (I’m going to search myself, haha! I just thought I’d give you the idea, in case you haven’t written about that yet.) Thanks for all the great advice! =)Reply to Andressa
Hey Adressa, Congrats! You’re on your way to landing more clients. As for your invoice, you can use the one PayPal has or create your own easily with MS Word or Google Docs! Enjoy!Reply to Elna
I literally just got my first freelance writing client yesterday and I’m still bouncing around out of happiness. I’ve been pitching like crazy for two weeks and it finally ended well for me. I still have a long way to go since I want to replace my corporate income with freelance writing income. But it’s at least a start, right? Ugh…I’m so excited!Reply to Lisa
Love it! I’m in this situacion, waiting for the first client. I’m nervios. I looking to take your courseReply to Sladja
Hi! Thanks so much! Good luck 🙂Reply to Elna
This is great advice! I’m going to have to check out your email series so I an get started on freelancing on my own!Reply to Tara
Hey Tara! That’s great and thanks for joining my email series. I hope you enjoy it and let me know if you want to provide any feedback about my course! Super excited you enjoyed my post and found it helpful for you.Reply to Elna
Great list of to-do’s once you have your first freelance writing client. I agree that having clear expectations in the beginning is very important. I had to learn that the hard way when I first started freelance writing. Now that we’ve gotten our first client, how do we make them a repeat client? 🙂Reply to Aliyyah
Hi Aliyyah, Thanks! Yes, I find that many writers who land up their first client may not necessarily know what to do. I never considered the angle of making them a repeat client as most of my projects are blogging jobs and not one-off jobs like a copywriting project. But, that’s something to think about and wowing your client off the bat is just good practice.Reply to Elna
Great post Elna! I am now transitioning from Upwork to looking for my own clients and I want to set everything up before I begin, but do you have any advice on Paypal alternatives? Paypal is not supported in my country and I don’t want to lose or not get clients because of that. Thanks! LilyReply to Lily
Hi Lily, There are other merchant services available, but not sure if many of them are globally recognized or frequently used. Alicia Rades over on FreelancerFAQs wrote a comprehensive post on different merchant services available. Go check it out!Reply to Elna
I honestly thought about freelancing a while back but, dismissed the idea. As I looked around your site, you are making me want to take the leap. So, I signed up for my free email course! Eek! 🙂 Wowing you client, is a simple action that many fail to take in various areas of customer/client service. Can easily put yourself above the rest with a good, Wow! Thanks for sharing!Reply to Caressa
Hi Caresssa! Let me just give you a high-five girl! Glad you decided freelance writing is for you! And I’m super stoked that you’re taking my free email course. Let me know what you think of it when you’re done! Yes, wowing your client can set you apart in the online world. Clients are just paychecks you know. It’s always a good rule of thumb to thank them for their payment and let them know how grateful you are that they decided to go with your writing services!Reply to Elna
Elna, You totally read my mind! I’m working on these steps for my freelance business. I was not sure on choosing PayPal or FreshBooks. But your post cleared this confusion and helped me choose PayPal. I’m currently working on selecting a project management tool and drawing up a contract so will definitely refer back to this post.Reply to Patricia
Patricia! That’s awesome. So happy to hear you are getting everything lined up for your future business. I’m naturally an organized person (a little too much I think!) so this system works for me! Let me know how your project management system hunt turns out! And let me know if you need help with drafting up a contract!Reply to Elna
Good tips, Elna. A good and free source for contracts may also be your library’s database. I can access a free contract database with my library card that usually requires membership fees. It was buried deep down on their website, so it’s worth asking about.Reply to Mickey
Hi Mickey, Thanks for the great tip! Never thought about visiting my local library for some sample contracts. I’ll have to check that out!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna! A friend of mine referred me to you site to read some of your awesome posts. Let me say this, I am WOWed! I am just starting out as a Freelance/Virtual Assistant and could really use any professional tips someone would throw my way. I’ve subscribed to your feed and look forward to learning more. Thank you! BReply to Brenda
Hi Brenda! I’m over the moon that you told me you were referred to my site! I know my Get Paid crew are some dedicated people! Thanks a bunch for signing up to my free email course. I know you’ll learn something and you won’t regret it! Know that I’m here for your success and will do whatever possible to help you along the way – whether through my blog posts, comments, referrals or coaching! Rock on!Reply to Elna
LOVE THIS! There are some great tools to track clients/income, I love Wave! + Contract is definitely a necessity.Reply to Ashley
Hi Ashley! That’s awesome. I’ll have to look at Wave! I just have a few contract templates that I’ve adopted and modified for my personal use. Good to know! ThanksReply to Elna