Becoming a Freelance Writer: How I Got Started

Recently, a friend asked me to give her some advice about freelance work. I thought it might be useful for others interested in working for themselves. I am no expert but I am holding my own as a self-employed writer. If you're interested in freelance writing here are some things you can try.

1. Write what you know. Just before I left my full time job, I started to reach out to organizations and companies that I believed could use someone with my experience. For me this meant Temporary Staffing. With 15 years under my belt I figured that it couldn't hurt to try. I sent my resume to several companies. Almost immediately, one responded and gave me some trial assignments. To this day they are my biggest client. Consider the field that you are leaving and conduct some research on marketing companies or web design companies that specialize in that industry.

2. Apply, apply, apply. There are dozens of online sources for finding freelance writing jobs. I'm not going to give them all away but I will tell you that my favorite is Freelance Writing Gigs. Not only does the site provide links to current writing jobs it also provides a lot of useful advice and information for freelance writers. Here is where your own inner voice can work against you. There are so many times I click on a job and think "I'm not qualified for that!" Well, maybe not but you never know until you try. Send an email with confidence and see what happens.

3. Create a portfolio site. Kind of like the one you're reading now. Here I have the blog, links to professional posts, my resume, my LinkedIn profile, and other things that I think might be useful for companies looking to hire me. I've even had a few people contact me directly from the site. Not a lot, but a few is more than none.

4. Network. When I started looking for freelance work I didn't care where the job was located. The beauty of writing like this is that it is a purely location independent way to make a living. However, once I became established and had some samples to show for it I began to take my experience to the streets. I joined a local Blogger group. I answered local Craigslist ads. I met people who introduced me to people. Finally, I began to target specific companies with whom I wanted to work. I wrote a marketing letter that introduced myself and explained how I thought I could be of service. Network in your local community and see what kinds of connections you can make.

There you have it - 4 steps toward freelance writing. Now, what are you waiting for? Go write something! 


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