Can’t it happen fast enough?
You’re struggling and overwhelmed by everything and all you want is to make money and start freelance writing. Your job sucks, or you lost your job or your husband did. Whatever the reason, money is super duper tight and you need to act now…fast.
You don’t have time to start a website, or read eBooks about writing and business. What you need is a quick action plan to get started.
Well, here it is.
Step 1: Set Up a PayPal Account
You need a way to get paid. The best method is with a PayPal business account.
Once you sign up, you connect your PayPal account to your bank account. This is a safe and legit way to get paid online. All my clients pay this way and I’ve been doing this for three years now.
I haven’t had a client NOT pay me and doing this simple step makes you look professional.
Once you set up your PayPal account, you get paid by submitting an invoice to the client. You can use PayPal’s invoices, something like FreshBooks, or create one yourself.
Step 2: Create Samples in Your Paying Niche
For a lot of new freelance writers, deciding on your paying niche is the hardest part (and longest step). How do you find the niche you want to get paid for?
The best advice I can give you is to look at your experience and look at your passions. Try to merge those together.
Also, know that you can change your niche. When I first started as a freelance writer I picked education, health, and parenting as my trifecta niche topics. Those were passion topics and I was experienced in all of those topics too.
But, blogging is also a passion of mine, and the more I learned about blogging and eventually marketing, the more I grew to LOVE the digital marketing niche.
If you need more help finding that golden niche, check out James Johnson’s post over on FreelancerFAQs.
Once you’ve figured out your paying niche, start coming up with ideas for your samples. The most versatile sample is a blog post. But, if you are wanting to be an email marketing writer or a white paper writer, then creating those types of samples are much better than a blog post (that’s not relevant to your service).
So where do you draft up these samples?
If you don’t have a blog, then you can draft up your samples in Google Docs or on Medium.
Step 3: House Your Samples on Contently
If you don’t have the budget to set up a website for your services, you can get by in the beginning with a Contently portfolio. This is a free platform to host your samples. You can upload PDFs and your guest posts or samples on LinkedIn or Medium.
Link your social media profiles to your portfolio page and come up with a great author bio. All freelance writers should have a Contently portfolio because it’s one way to land a client.
Personally, I haven’t been approached by Contently, but I’ve read stories of other writers having this happen to them.
From what I can gather, if you are in the financial niche or business niche, then you might get approached from Contently to write for them or their clients (and they pay very very well).
I also suggest you house your samples on LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s portfolio is like a resume, listing your job experience.
The more places your portfolio can be on, the higher chance you’ll get leads.
Step 4: Develop a Pitching Strategy
It’s time hustle.
You’re totally new and no one knows you’re a freelance writer or Pinterest manager. It’s time to get noticed and the best way to do this is with a pitching strategy.
With time, you’ll get prospects emailing you, but for now you gotta hustle!
When deciding on your best strategy, you need to figure out if it’s something you can do long-term (for at least a month at a time) and if it converts to paying work.
Let’s look at 4 pitching strategies you can start using:
Job Board Strategy
When I first started freelance writing, this was my primary way for landing work. It was fast and it didn’t take too much of my time.
But, what are the best job boards?
- All Freelance Writing
- Contena – here’s my post on how to find freelance writing job fast.
With this strategy, you’ll need to provide samples and a reason to hire you when you pitch to them.
When searching for a job, look at the ad and check out the company that’s posting it (if possible). Learn what they are about and check out their blog.
Cold Pitching Strategy
With this strategy, you’ll need to do a bit more research in finding suitable businesses in your niche. You can pitch to businesses:
- With an established blog
- Without a blog
Based on whether or not they have a blog, you’ll have to have a pitch that tells them about your services and/or starting a blog for content marketing.
Ideally, cold pitching is more effective when you have your own website to direct prospects to. This gives them more trust to hire you.
This is a great way to land work quickly. The only drawback is it’s time consuming. You’ll probably have to send many pitches every day to get a “call” back.
Social Media Strategy
A longer approach is to do some warm pitching and networking. This involves using social media to find clients.
Join some Facebook groups to get started. Also, start a Twitter profile and start following others and sharing other people’s content.
With all your social media profiles, make sure you optimize your bio so that it shows prospects what exactly you do.
If you’re trying to land a gig like yesterday, then this approach probably won’t work. But, it is a strong strategy in the long-run.
Guest Post Strategy
Another very effective way to find work quickly is to start guest posting on other bigger sites. Other popular sites have more traffic, which means more eyes on that blog. When your post is featured there, you’ll have a greater chance at landing a freelance writing job.
Some big sites to pitch a guest post idea are:
With this strategy, you’ll need a strong author bio, or byline.
The added advantage to this strategy is that you’ll be building your portfolio while writing your guest posts, making your portfolio more effectively.
The drawback to using this strategy is that it does take a while to pitch, get accepting and then write the best post you can muster for that site.
Have a Clear Path to Landing Your First Gig
This quick action plan has different journeys.
The quickest path is:
PayPal account (10 minutes) –> Create samples in G Doc (3 hours) —> House in Contently (20 minutes) —> Pitch to Job boards (1 hour 2x a day). Check out my inforgraphic and I would love it if you Pinned me!
Check out my inforgraphic and I would love it if you Pinned me!