You’ve decided you want to become a freelance writer. That’s great! But now where do you start?
What do you need and who do you turn to for information? Where does that elusive first client come from? You likely have far more questions than I’ve already asked for you, right?
The first thing I want you to do is take a deep breath. Now you can grab a notebook and pen (or open up something on your computer/phone for taking a few notes). We’ll go through everything you need to get yourself started.
Get a Diary/Planner/Something to Help Organize Yourself
Let’s start with the organization part.
Depending on where you are, you’ll need to start taking steps for setting up your business. I am not a tax/accountancy/business specialist. All I can tell you is that you have three months to register your business with HMRC in the UK. You’re best finding an advisor for your local area.
But while you’re doing that, get something to keep yourself organized. I use a diary, a planner, and Trello for all my organizational stuff. My planner helps me to organize my own blogs, while my diary helps me to stay on track with my clients. Trello is far more extensive.
With Trello, I can track the clients I want to write for, the pitches/applications I’ve sent off and any responses I’ve gained. Responses are important to make sure I follow up on pitches now and then. After three attempts, I put the pitch into a non-responsive column and move on. This way I don’t waste time on someone who just isn’t interested or is trying to ghost me.
Find something that works for you. Trello wasn’t around when I first started, and I’ve only been using it for 18 months. But I do highly rate it for your organizational needs.
Write Your Way to $1,000 Per Month and More!: Support Your Family With Your Writing Income
Have Your Niche in Mind
You may have already decided on a niche. If not, now is the time to do it. You need to know which type of clients and which industries you’re going to pitch towards.
There’s no need to just choose one niche if you don’t want. I cover four different niches for my clients and the websites I provide content to. They’re niches that I understand extremely well and have experience in. Some of the niches even link together.
I’ve tried to become a freelance writer without a niche. While I found clients, they weren’t great ones. I had low pay and a lot of work in areas that I just wasn’t interested in. The only good thing was that I quickly learned about SEO and how to research. But you can learn those by choosing a niche.
Look at Companies Within Your Niche
With a niche, you narrow down your search terms to find clients. Start with companies within your niche.
If you chose to be a photography writer, you may look for photography magazines. You could also look for photographers in your area and find out if they have a blog. Look out for companies that sell photography equipment too.
Go to the sites to see if they already have a blog. If they don’t, you may find it harder to convince them they need one. If they do, look to see how often it’s updated. This will tell you if they already likely have a writer. Just because they seem to have a writer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pitch, but you want to look for those who are in need for freelance writers to boost their marketing.
This is the part that will take the longest time. While you’re looking for companies, it may also be worth looking at some of the job boards. Check out ProBlogger and sign up to the Freelance Coffee Morning updates. These I’ve found have some potential clients.
Looking into UpWork, PeoplePerHour, and other similar sites? I’ll be honest. I haven’t found work on these. That’s not to say there isn’t work, but I’ve never found success.
Set Your Writing Rate
One of the early things you need to do is set up your writing rate. This is going to be the rate you give to the potential clients when you get in touch with them.
I’ve shared how to do this in the past. The writer rate is something that I look into now and then; usually on a yearly basis. I like to make sure it’s still competitive but still covering all my needs.
What About a Writer Website?
You may notice that I haven’t told you to get a website. While I do value my write site, this isn’t necessarily going to be essential when you first become a freelance writer. I didn’t have one until I was two years into my writing career.
Why not? Well, Facebook pages can help you gain clients. You can share updates to blogs and other content you’ve written to help clients decide whether to hire you or not. LinkedIn is another excellent social media network to start getting clients and create a writer profile.
If you are really struggling for money when starting out, go six months without a writer site. As you gain more income, you’ll be able to get a writer site set up. I recommend to get a writer site eventually.
Are you ready to become a freelance writer? Need more help to get started? get a writer site