You woke up this morning, and you’re sick of your job.
Every day you hear that alarm clock go off and dread getting ready to go to your full-time job. You want something different.
So, during your office breaks, you search Google. You find ways to make money online, and you suddenly found freelance writing!!!
Well, if you’re reading this, then you did 🙂
Freelance writing is a great way to work at home and make money. You can do this on the side of your full-time job, if you’re in high school or college, if you’re a stay-at-home mom and even if you suffer from a disability.
And the greatest thing about becoming a freelance writer from home? You don’t need experience to get started.
Before this, I was working in the school system and only used the internet to browse YouTube and Amazon (oh, and update my Facebook profile).
I started from scratched and learned the roadmap to get started as a freelance writer.
Here’s how to become a paid online writer without experience.
1. Figure Out Your Niche
Your freelance writing niche doesn’t have to be the same as your blog niche (if you already have a blog). For example, this is my blog, Elna Cain, and it focusses on freelance writing tips for newbies.
My freelance writing niche is digital marketing content for digital brands.
And I even have other blogs in different niche topics like parenting or lifestyle.
Can your freelance writing niche be the same as your blog niche? For sure! You can be a pet writer and have a pet blog. Or a financial blogger and decide to pick up some freelance writing gigs in the financial topic.
There are three ways I like to approach a freelance writer niche.
When coming up with niche ideas, think about the client you want to serve. There are all different types of online clients like:
- Small businesses
- Big brands
The list can go on and on. The idea is to pick a client and focus your content around that. For example, if authors are your ideal client, then the content they want probably is:
- To promote their latest book
- To showcase their credibility in the topics of their books
If your ideal client is apps then the content you will write will center around what the app is about. This will be helpful to figure out content ideas for your client.
So, if the app is a productivity app, then content will focus on productivity tips (and how the app fits into your life)!
Instead of focussing on your client, you can focus on the type of service you provide. Freelance writers offer many different services including:
- Press release writing
- Case studies
- Point of view
- Email newsletter
You can market yourself as the whitepaper writer or the case study writer. Of course, if you niche down even more to include your ideal client, you will get better and high-paying gigs, but it’s a start.
In the beginning, I marketed myself as a copywriter and was able to land plenty of gigs for copywriting.
Finally, you can decide you freelance writing niche by topic. This is by far the most popular way to think about your freelance writing niche. When I first started, I chose parenting, natural health, and education.
To figure out your niche, you can draw from experiences, look at your job or see what hobbies you enjoy doing.
2. Get on Social Media
What sets many successful freelance writers from other wannabe writers, is their social media presence. If you want to be an online writer, you need to be online!
It’s that simple.
You don’t have to be everywhere, but I suggest you start a Twitter profile and a LinkedIn profile. These two profiles are more business in nature, and many brands and businesses use these two social media platforms.
It’s also a good idea to show a picture of you. This makes you look legit, real and more personable. Having an avatar or image of something else does not make you trustworthy to a client.
It’s okay if you even use an out-dated photo of you; just as long as you use one of you!
The best image is a headshot you create just for your freelance writing business. Here are some pointers to help you with that!
What do you do next?
You start sharing blog posts of brands and businesses you want to write for. You also share your samples from your portfolio.
3. Secure Freelance Writing Samples
No one will know you are a freelance writer if you don’t have samples to show. These are in your freelance writing niche and show how great of a writer you are.
There are four ways you can create samples:
1. Create Samples from Scratch
You can draft a sample blog post or sample email using Google Docs.
You can even share your samples to prospects or download your sample as a PDF and use that if you want. What I suggest is you share your doc with a prospect and then email the prospect letting them know you did that! A heads-up is a good idea!
2. Guest Post
A great way to create samples is to guest post on another blog. This shows that your content is good enough for someone else to publish on their blog.
This gives confidence to a prospect wanting to hire you and it gives you social proof that you are a legit writer.
You can easily search for guest blogs in your niche by using Google. Just type in, “niche topic + write for us.” Here is the results of pet blogs + write for us.
3. Start a Blog
A business blog immediately makes you more professional and legit as a freelance writer. Businesses like to work with other businesses, not someone doing this as a hobby (or is unsure about it).
My blog has definitely helped me with attracting high-paying clients. Without it, I highly doubt I could have been doing this for years.
If you want to start a blog but have no idea how to do the tech stuff, I have an easy course that shows you and walks you through step-by-step on setting up your blog for freelance writing!
4. Re-Purpose Writing You Already Have
A “hack” for creating samples is to use what you already have! Maybe you helped your sister with her resume, or your brother owns a sporting goods store, and you wrote one of their sporty emails.
You can use that for your portfolio.
Dig deep and figure out what types of writing you did in the past that could serve well for your freelance writing. Remember, things like poems and short stories don’t show your credibility in the freelance writing world. Freelance writing is non-fiction!
5. Showcase Your Samples in a Portfolio
Now that you have drafted a few samples in the freelance writing niche you chose, you need to house these samples somewhere. There are three places you can do that (and you can use all three places at once too!).
1. On Your Blog
Your blog can have a portfolio page. On that page, you can list all of your samples, guest posts and eventually your client pieces. This is what my portfolio page looks like:
Since I do have a lot of samples to showcase, I have them divided into subcategories of my freelance writing niche.
2. On Your Blog
You can also just place them as a blog post on your blog. Create a post like, Where I’ve Been Writing, and when a prospect wants your samples just link to that blog post.
3. On Contently
Contently is a digital marketing platform, but they also have a portfolio platform for freelance writers. Here is what my Contently profile looks like:
It doesn’t hurt to have a Contently portfolio and a portfolio on your blog. It’s just more places for prospects to find you!
4. On LinkedIn
Finally, you can use LinkedIn as your online resume and share your portfolio pieces there. It’s best if your samples are guest posts so you can mention the brand or business and look more credible too!
But, if you are new, it doesn’t hurt to add them there also!
Find Freelance Writing Jobs
Alright, we are at the spot you wanted to be the #1 spot for this journey as a freelance writer! Show me the gigs! Finding freelance writing jobs can be exhaustive if you don’t know your strategy.
There are two approaches to finding work:
1. One Off Pieces
If you need cash quick, then you can just find one-off pieces as a way to cover your expenses or get some extra cash for the holidays. The best places are paid guest spots like this one or submission pieces like this one.
You can’t make a living doing that, but it does help if you’re in a financial pinch!
2. Make a Living
I hope for most of you, you want to quit your full-time job for good and work at home. It is possible to make a living as a writer online. I’m proof that it does work.
I’ve been freelance writing for almost four years now and I don’t plan to stop!
I’ve made so many amazing connections with big writers online, other freelance writers and big brands.
If you want to do this for a living, make sure to check out this guide!
Get Started Freelance Writing Today!
What are you waiting for?