Freelance writing. It’s a side gig for some folks, a full-time career for others, and a dream job for many.
According to a US survey, 57 millions of Americans work as freelancers, ranging from side-hustlers to freelance business owners. It goes without saying that the freelance market is on a rise, with freelancers earning more respect for their career choice.
But how does one even get started with a remote job like freelance writing? It can be pretty daunting, and no matter how many freelance writing blogs you read, it’s hard to figure out how to nail your first writing gig.
As a newbie freelance writer, you may be confused, frustrated, and struggling to do what’s right. It’s no fun place. But that’s the reason I’m here, laying down this three-step strategy to jumpstarting your remote freelance writing job.
Step 1. Find a niche and single out potential clients.
With tons of companies and agencies out there, it can be difficult to tap into. To narrow down your search, it’s best to kickstart your freelance writing career by choosing a specific niche. Look into your interests and hobbies, and then choose at least three industries (i.e. gardening, real estate, finance).
There are plenty of online business directories to look into, as well as trade magazines and lists of companies that often take part in industry trade shows and exhibits. For first-timers, start with picking decent-sized companies or agencies, especially those that are already using content marketing as part of their business strategy. You can also Google your chosen niche. See what you can find from there.
Step 2: Be selective when hunting for your next writing gig.
Freelancing job boards are your new best friend. These are where you’ll scout out potential clients, research writing job requirements, and get hired. Seasoned freelance writers probably already know this but for the newbies, remember that the freelance marketplace isn’t limited to the likes of Upwork.
I’m talking about job boards where high-stakes clients go to. In these job boards, freelance writers can find ads with rates starting at no less than $50 per article. Some popular go-to job boards include:
If you’ve already picked your niche, you might want to consider working remotely for writing services that specialize in specific areas. This could be anything from sports, health, finance, parenting, etc.
A popular choice among niche writers these days is working for services that specialize in academic writing and editing. Remember to choose a reliable essay writing company from one of the top-rated academic writing agencies where you could pitch your writing services to.
Step 3: Know when to write for free – and for a fee.
Let’s make one thing clear: You’re in the freelance game for money.
Sure, newbie remote freelancers might benefit from working pro bono from time-to-time. But here are some things you need to keep in mind when determining whether or not you should work on a project for free (or for a fee):
When to work for free:
- The client is a well-known name in your chosen niche/industry, and you can use them to build your resume.
- The company or individual is a personal hero or inspiration, and you’re eager to work with them no matter what.
- The client has a huge customer base or audience, and you will greatly benefit from getting credit for working with them.
Think about it: If a blog with a huge following asks you to guest-post and promises to promote and email your piece to their readers, then say yes. While you’re doing it for free, you’re definitely getting credit and (quite possibly) links to your own blog or website.
That’s just about it, really. Don’t work for free unless you really know it’s going to help you jumpstart your freelance writing career, or that it will add major credibility to your name.
Remember: Don’t sell yourself short!
When it comes to rates, the rule of thumb is that, if you’re a beginner, your starting rate should be no less than $0.10 per word.
Anything less than that could be a complete waste of time, unless you have no other option or if you’re still building your resume and writing hundreds of cover letters. And, if you do end up below the $0.10 spectrum, make sure to not stay there too long!
At the end of the day, you know best what you’re worth. Always ask yourself, ‘Could I generate more income working in foodservice than I could at my current rate?’ If your answer is yes, then you’re selling yourself short and working remotely as a freelance writer may not be worth your time and effort.
The fact is that anyone can become a freelance writer – it’s not rocket science nor is it magic.
Sure, we all have doubts sometimes, but that’s perfectly natural. If you think you’re not good enough for the job, ask yourself why you chose freelance writing in the first place. It’s all about being able to control your schedule – being the captain of your own ship.
Of course, you might have a different reason. Maybe you dream of travelling around the world without being glued to a desk job. Or you want to work at the comfort of your own home while enjoying a hot cup of coffee.
Whatever the reason, always remember why you walked down this career path. Round out your interests and specialities, and get firm with your boundaries. This way, you can build a career you’ll surely love and enjoy, and one that serves clients you want to work with for the long term.
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