Do you want to start getting paid to write? Freelancing might be the answer. It can be hard to secure that first gig, but following these steps will help you start your journey. Freelancing is an excellent way to supplement or even eventually replace your full-time job! This guide explains how to make money freelance writing.
What Is The Pay Like?
You are probably wondering how much you can make from freelancing. Typically, freelancers are paid per word or per piece. The more experienced and in-demand you are, the higher your rates will be. Starter rates are between 5 and 10 cents per word, while major publications paying well-known journalists might pay upwards of $1 a word. Other publishers may offer a set amount for a piece, regardless of word count. If you are starting out, don’t be picky of pay-rates. Building a portfolio is essential for acquiring regular paid work.
Don’t have any previous experience? No problem! Start by asking family, friends or work – it could lead to your first gig. You should have some kind of expertise that you think you can specialize in. It is advisable to be published somewhere else before you apply for paid gigs. If you aren’t, try and guest blog for free.
Why should you blog for free? Well, for starters it will increase your exposure, drawing visitors back to your own blog if you have one (Learn how to set-up a blog here!). Additionally, it means you now have published writing for your portfolio. If you have previously been published, you should prepare a portfolio of your work. Links to previous publications are important if you wish to secure a gig. If you have web experience, an online portfolio is an effective tool and will showcase your writing while also giving a sense of professionalism.
You should then start replying to every and all gigs that you are capable of fulfilling. This may seem daunting at first, but the worst that can happen is that you get a rejection or no reply. Create a template email with an introduction about yourself, stating both your interest and experience. Modify it depending on the job you are applying for. There is no point lying, if you somehow land a gig on faked experience then you will be exposed when you come to write it! You can find freelance writing jobs on a multitude of sites, here is a selection for you to browse:
You should have writing samples prepared to send off. I like to link back to my blog, as well as other websites I have been published on. Try to send relevant samples if possible. Make sure they are your highest quality content! If English is your second language, make sure your grammar is perfect. Mistakes come across as extremely amateur and will guarantee that you won’t get the gig!
If you already have a blog (you really should!) you could add a section offering your services. Lead with a short sales pitch describing what sort of work you are interested in. Blogging, proofreading, editing etc. There is no harm in offering your services to prospective clients and a blog is the perfect portfolio of your work.
Advertise yourself! Post that you’re for hire on your social networking sites. A twitter bio or a relevant Facebook group are good here. Think about your location, you could contact local businesses who you think could benefit from a blog, and offer to run it for them. Many smaller businesses still don’t even have a website!
Once you have acquired your first client, then you can ask them if they know of any other available jobs they could recommend you for. Networking is going to an important factor in building a base of clientele where you can get consistent work.
Use social media to find potential prospects. LinkedIn can be a gold mine for job-hunting and is good for networking with fellow freelancers. Research other freelancers and study how they advertise themselves on the site. Post on your other social networks that you are for hire. Find groups on Facebook where you can look for freelance work. Reddit also has sections where people look to hire writers:
Produce Quality Work!
When you secure a gig, make sure you go above and beyond the expectations and really impress your client. This will lead to future commissions and repeat business. You might even become a “go-to” for a certain business if you impress them enough. You can even ask your previous clients for a referral for any leads they may know of. In the long-term, you might be offered a more permanent senior position! Going above and beyond doesn’t mean exceeding word count, in fact this might count against you. It means producing well researched and well written pieces that really meet the criteria of your gig.
Paid Fiction Writing
If you are interested in fiction writing, there are websites which will pay you for submissions! Be warned though, this is a much harder field to break into. You need to pitch your story to the site and go from there. This is a good place to browse if you’re set on fiction writing: All Freelance Writing Fiction. Another good lead is the “calls for submissions” section on published to death here: publishedtodeath – they provide a great monthly updated list with pitches and payments detailed.
Lots of places also accept poetry, so there really is somewhere for everyone interested in paid writing. Getting published on these sort of websites would be a great help in getting a novel published eventually, if that is your goal. If you are set on fiction, you should write as much as possible in your spare time. Doing this will help you perfect your craft.
The most important step in any business venture is to actually start it! So, get working on your portfolio, bookmark those links, fire off some emails and begin to make money freelance writing!