We currently live in a gig economy, where the majority of people have some type of side hustle to earn them extra income in addition to their 9-to-5 jobs. We also are seeing the number of freelancers growing year over year, with an expected 50% of the U.S. workforce as freelancers by 2020.
So if you haven’t already hopped on this trend or lifestyle, it may be a great chance for you to do so. Especially if you have a passion for writing, becoming a freelance writer either full-time or part-time can open up many opportunities for you.
Step #1 — Answer The Question, “Who Am I As A Writer?”
Do you want to be a copywriter, content marketer, blog writer, essayist, case study writer, journalist, etc? The first thing you have to answer is who you want to be as a freelance writer. The next question to answer is what type of writing do you want to focus on. Are you a political/current events reporter, tech startup writer, lifestyle/fashion blogger, a long-form technical writer, etc? Frame this out to help shape the direction you should look to for business and how to market your services. You can always evolve into a different type of writer as your experience and interests shift.
Step #2 — Create A Blog or Website
People should be able to find your writing and your information quickly and easily. Having a dedicated website advertising your writing services is a great way for people to review your work, get an understanding of your writing style, and contact you about opportunities. This is where having a niche or specific freelance writing outline comes in handy so you can portray the type of writer you are to your readers. Also, having a blog integrated on your website will help you build a regular audience and community. If your blog or website becomes so successful, you can house ads on the page or take advantage of sponsorship opportunities which is a way to make some easy cash flow.
Step #3 — Showcase Your Work
Don’t just stop at creating a blog and a website to help people find your writing services, you also need to be present on other social channels and online portfolios, like Contently. Be sure to have a LinkedIn account listing you as a freelance writer, as well as a Twitter profile where you can follow and connect with blogs, magazines, and websites. Every time an article of yours is published, craft a post and share with your social channels. The more you share your work, the more your work will be read, and the more opportunities that will come your way.
Step #4 — Join Third Party Matching Platforms or Agencies
If you are still struggling to earn work as a freelance writer, then perhaps you need some assistance from third party matching platforms, like UpWork or CloudPeeps, or even contacting a content marketing agency to see if they are in need of a freelance writer to help with their clients. One-off pieces are great and can score you some money, however, having a steady stream of writing opportunities and cash flow is key. Look for long-term writing opportunities on these matching platforms or even through your contact referrals.
Although those are some solid step-by-step directions on how to become a successful freelance writer, the truth is, is that you just need to write and commit to it. It’s waking up every day wanting to share your craft and not quitting until your words are out there for the world to read. It means sometimes writing pieces for little pay...or no pay at all. It means writing content that you may not know how to write or want to write at all. It means learning, growing, triumphs, editing, late nights, frustration, writer’s block, and rejection. It means readers recognizing your work without even having to read the byline.
Lisa Crocco is a freelance writer who can be found wandering the aisles of local bookstores or the streets of different cities.
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