Do you want to get on the freelance writing train? If so, welcome aboard.
I’ve gotten a lot of emails recently asking how to become a freelancer
So what really is freelance writing?
Freelance writing is any sort of writing assignments that you do for pay, outside of a staff position. Simple as that.
In simple term, a freelancer is an online entrepreneur who uses his/her skills to provide services for companies or individuals. Freelance writing is one of the services provided. Freelancers work remotely, most times from home.
Common types of freelance writing
You might ask “What type of writing is included in freelance writing?” Well, just about anything you can think of, the possibilities are endless. You might be thinking what can I write about – well in addition to topics you like, what do you know something about, even if just from life experience?
For instance, do you own a pet may be a dog or a cat? Well you could write about pet care, training a house pet or activities for pets
If you like to cook you could write recipes or write about preparing quick meals
Or maybe you used to work in a bank, so you know a bit about financial services.
The old adage “write about what you know” is never truer than when you first start out. It’s the easiest way to convince a client that you are the writer for the job.
Here’s a starter list:
- Web pages (informational or sales pages)
- Blog posts
- Magazine articles
- Newspaper articles
- Direct mail sales letters
- Annual reports
- Business plans
- Case studies
- Press releases
- Research reports
- Radio scripts
- Video scripts
- Video sales letters
- Marketing Emails
- Internal/intranet company communications
As you can see, the world of freelance writing offers a wide variety of writing types to suit every taste. There’s also freelance writing for businesses in every type of industry.
Yes, it can be overwhelming! The trick is to narrow it down so you can focus, and find clients.
What are the Opportunities in Freelance Writing?
Research has shown that there are approximately 53 million freelancers worldwide. Which really puts the lie to the frequently-circulated myth that it’s impossible to make a living as a freelancer. It’s expected that 50 percent of Americans will freelance by 2020. My hope is that by that time there will be at least 50,000 freelancers in Jamaica.
Learning how to operate a freelance writing business now is the best way you can create career stability for yourself.
How to Get Started in Freelance Writing
I get emails every day like this:
“I have been hearing about freelancing and of late more and more Jamaicans are getting into it, especially freelance writing! I’m out of work and think this would be a great thing to do.
“How do I get started?”
There are several common ways writers break into freelancing and begin creating a portfolio of work, including:
- Volunteering to write for a nonprofit
- Writing for friends’ businesses
- Writing for local businesses you patronize
- Leveraging writing experience and connections from a day job to get freelance gigs
For beginners register with a few of the freelance websites like:
there are hundreds more, just do some research.
Word of caution, as a beginner getting a job on these sites, might take a while. This is so because you lack experience and most of the employers are seeking persons with experience. Don’t get daunted by this though, everyone who now owns a successful freelancing business started out as a beginner.
Here are some valuable tips to get you started
- Make your profile stand out
- Test your knowledge by doing the test that some of these websites offer
- Create a profile, you can use contents from your website
- Upload a professional profile picture
- Read the job description carefully
- Get help to prepare your proposal
- Don’t set your rates too low
- Be patient
- Don’t give up
How to figure out pay rates
One of the most complex questions in freelancing is, “What do I charge?” and its corollary is “How do I physically get paid?”
There are resources ongoing rates, and I recommend you study them to get a sense of professional pay (hint: not $20 a blog post). But freelance rates are highly variable.
There are two simple methods for arriving at appropriate freelance writing pay rates:
The slow method:
Set a rate.
Next time you get a client, ask for more.
Repeat with each new client until you can’t get any clients — then, you know you’re too high (or that you need to find bigger, better clients).
The fast method:
Join a writer community where you can benchmark your rates and get feedback from other working writers on bids you’re planning to submit. Trust me, it’ll be a serious eye-opener about how much to charge. Namely, lots more than you’re probably thinking if you’re comparing your freelance hourly rate to what you used to make in a day job. That’s a mistake.
As far as how to get paid? Check, electronic bank transfer, and Paypal are the most common methods. You can use all three with clients in another country, too.
New writers think there is one secret, mystical set of rules about ‘how it’s done’ in freelance writing that they aren’t privy to. And they’re afraid to ask.
But really, nearly every freelance gig is different. Asking your prospect or client is the only way to find out. Pros ask loads of questions, so go for it.
No one else but your client can tell you how they want the writing delivered (Word doc? WordPress?), who you should report to, how long this contract is for, and so on.
I hope the above information was relevant and helpful to you. I work as a freelancer and the truth is, I am still learning about the business. No two jobs are the same so you just have to use your initiative and if it looks like it is not working out walk away.
Yes, it is not going to be smooth sailing all the time but in the end, it is worth it. Freelance writing can be a very lucrative career once you get the knack of it and work to the best of your ability to produce excellent jobs at all time. By doing this you will get great reviews and be recommended for more jobs in no time you will be an expert in your chosen field.
As a beginner, keep it simple and don’t get overwhelmed. There are a lot of options in the freelance world…don’t try to explore them all at once. Take it one job at a time, if you apply/bid for a job and you are not successful just move on to the next. Writers want to hear that there’s one easy, simple, magical, best way to quickly launch their careers, but in fact, every writer is different. It’s trial and error. So get out there and start trying.
Be persistent. Don’t give up.
If you know anyone who’s intrigued by the concept of freelance writing, please pass this post along to them.