Ten Great Tips for Starting YOUR Freelance Writing Career TODAY

getting startedWhether it is online or in person, when people learn that I make a nice income as a freelance writer, people want to know how I do it.  Millions of people would love to make a living, or even a nice side income, from writing, but simply don’t know how.  Whether you’re looking to turn writing into your only income, or you just want to earn some extra money while following your passion, it is important to know how to get off on the right foot.

So, How Do You Get Started as a Freelance Writer?

The following little tips or pieces of advice will help you get the ball rolling.  These tips aren’t going to get you making $100,000 per year, but they will get you from $0 to that first good paying client.  Of course, these tips can be used to expand an existing freelance career as well, but they are really designed for people who really want to get their freelance writing business started from scratch.

Do Something – The biggest reason most people don’t become successful as freelance writers is because they don’t take any action.  If you never take a first step, you can’t ever improve and become more successful.  Let me get the hard news out of the way now.  Your first steps won’t be perfect!  It doesn’t matter, the first step is the hardest and once you take it, you’ll learn from your mistakes and know how to improve for the second step.  So, with that in mind, look at the following action options and choose one of them to take action on, RIGHT NOW.  There is no reason to delay.

  • Action Option #1  – Reach out to the owner of your favorite website and offer to write some articles for them.  You can do this free of charge, but only if they are willing to publish the posts IN YOUR NAME.  If they accept, this will give you a great ‘resume building’ article that you can show to other potential clients in the future.  It will also help to boost your confidence.  Keep in mind, however, that you DO NOT want to write for free forever.  One or two posts for free is about the limit per site, and don’t do it for more than a few sites.
  • Action Option #2 – Offer to write for your favorite local business that has a website that looks like junk.  There are hundreds of businesses in every local area, and most of their websites have low quality (or no) content.  Offer to improve their content.  Explain that it will help them by building a more professional look, and can also attract SEO traffic.  Typically you can get paid for this, but if necessary, do it for free to build up your resume.
  • Action Option #3 – Build your own niche website.  This is one of my favorite options because it can build value for you in a variety of ways.  First, you can choose to write on any topic you want, which can be fun.  Over time, you can build this up into an authority site that brings in lots of traffic.  You can then work on making money by selling products, selling advertisement space, and much more.  In addition, you can send potential clients to your niche site to show them the quality of your work.
  • Action Option #4 – Build a business site for yourself.  Create a simple business website to offer your services.  This site can have information about the type of writing you do, your prices, and of course, some samples of your work.  This is a great way to give yourself a professional look and feel, which will help potential clients feel more comfortable hiring you.
  • Action Option #5 – Create your social media accounts.  As a freelance writer, you’ll want to have accounts on all the major social media sites to help build your brand.  Choose your business name (it can just be your name if you want) and set up accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other top sites.  You don’t have to know how to post or promote anything at this point, just get the accounts made for now.
  • Action Option #6 – If you choose this one, you need to have already done #5, but its not hard.  Start following established freelance writers on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Following them is a great way to learn what they do to become successful.
  • Action Option #7 – Contact SEO companies.  SEO companies need to have high quality content for their clients, or they will never be successful.  Offering to write for these companies is a great way to bring in some steady work.  There are hundreds of good SEO companies out there, and if you land just one of them as a client, you can have a good amount of work coming in.
  • Action Option #8 – Send a query letter to a magazine.  Magazines (both print and digital) need a lot of content to stay up to date and interesting.  Choose your favorite online and offline magazines and contact them.  Their website will have a ‘contact us’ email, so find it and shoot them a message explaining that you are a great writer and you’d love the opportunity to submit an article for their publication.  Ask them what the proper process is for submitting content, and where you can learn about their payment structure. Once some of them respond, follow through with submitting an article!
  • Action Option #9 – Sign up for freelance writing accounts on eLance, oDesk and other locations.  I’ve written on how to use these sites in the past, so look through my site for a detailed guide on how to use them.  It isn’t hard, and it is free.  If you’re not applying for jobs on these sites, you’ll never get hired!
  • Action Option #10 – Get a mentor.  If you’re still not sure what to do, and you prefer a little more hand holding when trying something new like this, consider hiring a mentor.  There are freelance writing mentors online that offer one on one coaching and guidance, which may be right for you.  These mentor programs can be expensive, but if you’re willing to learn, they can be worth it.  If you are interested in working directly with me as your mentor, I’m happy to help.  I don’t have a formal program in place, but I would be glad to talk with you and set something up.

So, now is the time to take that first step.  Don’t put it off a second longer, take action!  This ‘trial and error’ method is how I became a freelance writer, and I’m sure it will work for you too.  Just don’t give up, and keep learning!  And, most of all, don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it!

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you found it useful. I'd love to hear what you thought about it in the comments below. If you're interested in publishing this, or any of my content, on your site I'd love to hear from you. Just contact me using my syndication request form HERE.

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  1. says

    I love this post! I am trying to enter the world of freelance writing myself. I’ve purchased a domain for my professional site but I haven’t set it up yet. I’ve been feeling a bit disheartened lately because I’ve been getting work at Writer Access and the pay is so low I haven’t taken anything in about a week. Instead I contacted a blog with a large following about guest posting and I’m writing some articles to submit to online publications. I want to work but I don’t want to sell myself short either.
    Jen recently posted…Blogging Basics – Using Social MediaMy Profile

    • says

      Hang in; avoid the lowball jobs as much as you can. I think Writer Access is among the lowest, but there are others; Gure and Elance have jobs mostly at .01 per word and $4 or $5 per article. They’ll try to tempt you with “ongoing work” — as in the old joke, you take a loss on each job but you make it up in volume. I realize if you’re starting out you won’t command a great rate, so I’m not suggesting that you never take any of these jobs; just don’t let them convince you that writing is nothing but “content” and that those are the legitimate prices for the work we do. .

  2. says

    Whenever I read articles such as this, I ask my self how is it possible for a person like me who live in an African state, where writing has been until now dominated by Media Houses, such as Print-Newspapers that have recruited writers with Bylines already.No openings for outside writers! Perhaps the Action option # 8 for me is okay, but it is not a guarantee that they will always publish the articles you send them.Thank you for the concern.Thank you for the training. However,if you have an opportunity to post on your blog,please allow me in.

    • says

      There are many different ways to make money as a writer. Working for print publications is just one option, but if you’re a good writer, you could write for websites or kindle books or any number of other things. Don’t limit yourself, take action and you’ll find things falling into place before you know it.


  3. says

    I wrote for elance and Demand Studios for a number of years, but once I stopped writing for them, I haven’t been able to pick up better-paying clients. I have been pitching magazines, but no success yet.
    Angela Joseph recently posted…Use It Or Lose ItMy Profile

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