3 Things You Must Do Before You Start Freelance Writing

You have a full-time job.

You have a little one to take care of also, but you want to start freelance writing. You know there’s more than just having a blog to finding high-quality freelance writing jobs and landing profitable clients.

But, where do you start?

3 Things You Must Do Before You Start Freelance Writing

What are the most important things do you need to start freelance writing as a side hustle?

There aren’t enough hours to work full-time, take care of your child and house AND grow your side hustle freelance biz. You have to streamline, maximize and optimize your time and tasks.

So, to prepare you on this amazing journey of freelance writing and having the freedom to live the life you want (I know it sounds dramatic, but trust me when I tell you, the “other side” is ah-mah-zing), here are the three most important things you must do to start freelance writing right away.

1. Create Samples

You’re going to have a tough time proving to prospects that you can write if you don’t have any writing to show them!

So, the best way to do that is to create samples or find samples. It’s as simple as creating a Google doc of a mock blog post, newsletter, white paper, resume or whatever type of writing you want to do online and getting a published link.

Now you have a link to share in your pitch email when you share your samples. Having a live link is 100% better than uploading a PDF of your newsletter or blog post.

Pro tip: You can create a shortened link with your shareable Google Doc (instead of a long stream of letters and numbers like http://docs.google.com/document/1/dkrien2340fmsd…) by going to bit.ly and creating a short link.

How else can you create a sample?

If you have a blog, then you can use that as a sample. Now, before I go into that, make sure you show your best post and the most relevant post on what your pitching.

For example, if you are pitching to a company or job ad in the pet industry, having a post on what you feed your twins is not relevant.

But, if you have a lifestyle blog and there’s a beautiful post on how you teach your children to wash the family pet, then that’s something to share as a sample.

Make sense?

On my Twins Mommy blog, I have posts on email marketing and content marketing that I can use as a sample, if for some reason, I don’t have any relevant samples in a particular niche in the digital marketing industry.

So, here’s the big question, what if don’t know your writing niche?

OMG!! There’s absolutely NO way you can be a freelance writer then!!

🙂 I joke….

You can totally rock it as a freelance writer if you have no idea what you want to write about. Pick a couple of topics you enjoy or have knowledge or experience. So, if you have a pet, well maybe you can write for pet companies. Similarly, if you are diligent with natural health, even better. You can write about health topics for blogs, medical companies, doctors or even in the pet industry (natural pet food products?).

So, before you create samples, look real hard on the topics you want to write about and see if you can marry them together. You don’t have to. It just makes it better to find that one niche you can market.

2. Have a Home for Your Samples


So, say you drafted up several samples on Google docs. You can totally use those links in your pitch, but to make this whole thing more credible, it’s best to have a place to house your samples.

This is your portfolio. Now, if you don’t have a website (which is the best place to house your portfolio and your freelance writing service), you can get away with portfolio places like Contently.

Here’s mine:

If you are pitching, you can just link to your portfolio as well as samples so that a prospect can see how great you are a as a writer.

Pro tip: Contently even lets you upload PDF’s! How great is that!!

But, still think about getting a website for your freelance writing service as this is the ultimate professional way to show how credibility as a freelance writer for hire.

I have a step-by-step tutorial on how to create a website if you need help!


3. Multiple Ways to Contact You

This is the time where you can’t hide under a rock and cross your fingers that someone will email you for content work.

If you want to write online, you need to make it easy to find you and contact you. I recommend having multiple ways to find and contact you.

What does this mean? It means having a social media presence, a blog, guest posts, Skype Id, email address and any other way to contact you!

For me, I get inquires on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (aside from prospects emailing me).

For example, here is what my contact form on my writer website looks like:

So, a prospect can look at my social media presence, email me or use the contact form.

The goal is to decrease the barriers for prospects to hire you. If they have to search all over your website for a contact button, then they’ll just move to the next writer.

Get Started Today

You’re going to have many excuses fill your head and not take any action to start freelance writing.

But, I’m hoping that if you break it down, the basic things you need are samples, a portfolio and a way to contact you.

From here you can pitch and get going.

Over to you – are you ready to start freelance writing?

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.

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Hi There!!! I’m about to graduate from high school and want to have a part-time writing career. If there’s any advice you can pass on It’ll be more than enough. ThanksReply to Maisha
Hi Maisha, That’s great you want to start freelance writing jobs as a student. My suggestion is to learn about the business side of freelance writing and set up a writer website where you can host your writing samples and land gigs from!Reply to Elna
Thanks for this awesome post! I learnt a lot from your blog posts and Iโ€™m wondering why didnโ€™t I meet you a year back! You might save my blog back then. ๐Ÿ™‚Reply to Michelle
Hey Michelle, Aww thanks so much! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so happy you decided to take the leap and enroll in Write Your Way to Your First $1k. I hope you are enjoying the lessons ๐Ÿ™‚Reply to Elna
Elna, you hit gold again. I always learn so much from you. Thanks. Your information is always super helpful and inspirational with clear step by step instructions. If I ever become a freelance writer, it will be because of all the information I learn from you.Reply to Jane
Hey Jane, Thanks so much! I hope you are there on my Facebook page this coming Tuesday where I’ll go Live and answer you freelance writing questions!Reply to Elna
โ€œOMG!! Thereโ€™s absolutely NO way you can be a freelance writer then!!โ€ Youโ€™re too funny! ? Thanks for the great tips!Reply to Brad
I remember when I first started freelancing, I had NO idea what I was doing. I wish I had found a blog post like this back then. (I started in August of 2016 and got my current website this time last year.) Thank you for helping the next set of freelance writers on their journey!Reply to Lizzie
Hey Lizzie! I know what you mean! I was the same too. I made a lot of mistakes too! Now we know and now we can teach!!Reply to Elna
Great tips! Thanks! I’m considering doing some freelance work.Reply to Niki
Most of my writing is done for clients, and for various markets, but of course, having to blog as well for ongoing fresh content. I enjoyed the article, thank you!Reply to Jerry
Great article! These were very helpful tips! I am just getting into freelancing and learning all I can.Reply to Elaina
Hey, Elna! This is an amazing article. it’s a valuable point who started writing. I hope all audience is very helping with your writing. Thank you again for you valuable writing.Reply to Abdullah
Hey Elna, I have been working as a freelancer for the past year. I have already worked as a Web Developer and now I’m thinking of getting into freelance writing too (I have been trying out my luck with a blog). This article covers most of the basics. Yet, there is this one small query that I had. While working as a Web developer, I had clear and concise pricing based on the platform, number of pages, responsiveness etc. Now, in case of freelance writing, what are the variables, ie, how much should I charge my clients? Should it be consistent for all niches? etc. Any help would be highly appreciated, Thanks a lot, this article really helpedReply to Mehul
Hi! Setting your rates should be based on per project or on your niche or service! It’s up to you to set the prices based on your clients as well!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna Very Inspiring post thanks so muchReply to Ameer
I do want to start freelance writing. I downloaded your freelance income guide. I’m excited to read more. ThanksReply to Devin
Thanks Devin! Enjoy!Reply to Elna
These are such great points! Thank you for the input, I love your site!Reply to Jordan
Hey Elna, It’s definitely been hard to find the time between my hectic schedule and a full-time job to work at my freelance business. But I can say as I’ve slowly worked at doing each of these three things I have felt more confident that when everything is finished, I will be set up for success! So thank you for this post, it’s helped remind me that there is a purpose behind each of these small tasks I’ve been doing to set up my writer’s website and create samples. Even if I felt like I haven’t really accomplished anything, I know I’m actually doing the right thing by giving myself a solid foundation to work from. ๐Ÿ™‚Reply to Sarah
Hi Sarah, That’s great to hear. Small steps are easier to accomplish and it will lead you to freelance writing as a full-time gig too ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck!Reply to Elna
Hello Elna, Honestly, anyone who’s eager to become a successful freelance writer should take these 3 things very serious. For the first, you can’t really do without having come good samples of your work. How then will a prospect be convinced that you can serve him well? Then, talking about where to house those samples, I don’t think there’s any other way that beats having your own website. It’s no more expensive to create a functional website today so, why going for a second option?Reply to Anil
Hi Anil! Yes! I think having a website is the best of the best option to show your credibility as a writer and house your portfolio too! Thanks for stopping by!Reply to Elna