How to Start Freelance Writing – Make Money Writing Online
Have you ever wanted to know how to start freelance writing and how to make money writing online?
The world of freelancing has grown in a major way since we have access to sooooo people all around the globe.
Finding new clients is easier, but the competition is fierce. Luckily there are tips and tricks to getting started that you can implement right away.
In this article about freelance writing for beginners, we will cover the following:
Table of contents
- How to Start Freelance Writing – Make Money Writing Online
- 1. Pick a Niche
- 2. You Need Samples to Write and Earn Money Online
- 3. How to Find Paid Freelance Writing Clients
- Don’t Be Afraid to Take Low Paying Work
- Take a Course to Help You Start a Freelance Writing Career – I Did!
- Go Through The Motions
- How to start freelance writing
- 1. Pick a Niche
**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you buy something from clicking on my link. I only recommend products, services or courses I have purchased myself that I believe in, or that the experts I have interviewed recommend. I occasionally recommend something I haven’t purchased if it is made by someone I have purchased another product from and received incredible value.
If you like this article about how to start freelance writing to make money writing online, you may also like these:
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- Writing Course Review-An Honest Review of Elna Cain’s Write to 1K Course
- How to Make Money Online From Home Blogging (Interviews with Successful Bloggers – Debbie Gartner)
- How to Become a Succesful Freelance Writer and Blogger with Elna Cain
1. Pick a Niche
The first thing you need to do before you even start writing is to decide what you want to write about.
Think about different topics in your life and draw on your existing knowledge.
When you’re learning how to start freelance writing online, don’t get too hung up on this step, it’s often the hardest part.
I’ve seen so many people get stuck on this step and never move forward. It took me a long time to decide on a niche.
Pick up to 3 topics you want to write about. You can always pivot later if you like. This is not set in stone.
Your niche can be:
- A hobby you love
- Something you have experience in
- An interest of yours
- Something you’ve done in the past
- Something you’re currently learning
I recommend having some knowledge in whatever topic you intend to write about.
The reason you should pick a niche and not just write about anything is it’s easier to get started, it’s easier to find work in your niche, and it’s a lot more fun to write about something you enjoy than a random topic.
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2. You Need Samples to Write and Earn Money Online
When you apply to work, you will need to build a portfolio of writing samples to show prospects your work.
Ideally, you would have a website with your portfolio, but this can take some time to throw together.
If you’re in a hurry to get started, you may want to write a few samples and keep them in Google docs or in Word for now.
You can basically start a writing career with an email account and a few Word documents.
That being said, it looks much better and more professional to have an online presence of some kind.
If nothing else, create a LinkedIn profile for yourself and post some of your articles so when prospects look at your profile, they can quickly see how you write. You’ll still need separate samples, but you will appear more experienced.
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Create a Blog
Adding a blog to your website and publishing a new post regularly will help you build up your writing skills and it will help you beef up your portfolio.
Add your best posts to your portfolio or post them where you keep your profile (like LinkedIn).
Some companies will want you to give them samples that don’t live on your own website, so make sure you guest post or write samples in a separate file. Some companies will want you to only send them published work on a site you don’t own.
In my opinion, if you have a blog you are showing your level of consistency, showing you understand the value of a blog and it is a great way to showcase your knowledge.
Not only does it help you look consistent, but blogging has so many benefits. If you do proper keyword research and post a new and well-done blog post regularly, you can attract people to your site, make affiliate sales, and grow your business.
Add in search engine optimization, and you could be attracting clients to you with your blog in 3 to 6 months of consistent posting.
Set aside time every day dedicated to writing on your blog. Your writing career will be better for it and you’ll develop your own voice.
Consider writing for someone else’s blog. If you don’t know anyone in your niche with a blog, try entering into Google “(your niche) write for us.” If there is a need for your niche, there will be lots of places you can guest apply to guest post.
You can also search for blogs in your niche and send them a private message asking if they are accepting guest posts.
Alternatively, you could join some Facebook groups and ask around or post a message looking for places to guest post in your niche.
3. How to Find Paid Freelance Writing Clients
Clients are everywhere! They are literally all around you. But finding the best paid freelance writing gigs takes a bit of work and networking.
When you’re a freelancer, you’re also a salesperson. And as with any other field on the planet, you will find more work and make more connections if you network with those around you.
I’m listing networking first because it is the most powerful way to get a new job in any field, including freelance writing. When I say networking, I don’t mean reaching out to people and asking them for work.
When I say networking, I mean:
- Introducing yourself
- Making conversation
- Following their feeds
- Commenting and interacting with their content
- Being generally supportive
- Making connections
- Building relationships
If you want to write and earn money online, networking is the best and quickest way to get clients.
Here are some ways you can make money writing online by networking.
Use Facebook to network with the people you want to work with. Follow them and interact with their content.
Also, watch their stories and reply when they ask questions.
If they have a group…
….participate in the group.
Comment, add new and valuable content to their group, help others by answering questions, and generally be present.
Find them on Instagram and interact with them on both platforms. If they post about their kids, comment something nice. People love when you compliment their kids.
Instagram is a platform that some have mastered, but not all. So there are times when your prospect is on Facebook, but their Instagram profile is not as active as Facebook.
This is good for you. This means you can stand out when you comment. Make a supportive comment each time they post or ask a question.
This will help you stand out.
As with the previous social networks I have mentioned, LinkedIn is similar.
Find people you want to work for, follow them, and post original content. Interact with their content regularly and be present in their world.
LinkedIn is not the same as Facebook and Instagram. It’s more professional and less personal…
…so make sure you are keeping the platform in mind when you interact.
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Networking in person is one of the best ways to find clients in any field.
The problem with the internet is that people don’t know you, they don’t get to see your body language and connect with you. Video helps, but there is no substitute for meeting people in person.
Go to networking events. When you are out and about in the world, talk about what you do with enthusiasm. Frame what you say in examples like “for instance, if you had a blog, I would…” and tell them specific way you would help their blog.
Make sure you have a good answer to “what do you do?”
Craft your one-liner to answer this question. Something like “I help course creators launch their online courses by writing persuasive emails as part of their launch strategy” or “I help (type of company) create and manage their blog so they can generate inbound leads through google searches.”
So fill in the blanks. “I help (the type of client) to (problem you solve) so they can (positive end result they want).”
Be sure that your one liner is easy to understand.
I’ve found that most people don’t understand what freelance writing is, and the writing style or service can vary so wildly from person to person. Most people I’ve spoken to don’t even know what a copywriter is and I’ve had to explain it many times.
When I first learned how to start freelance writing online, the FIRST thing I did was email all the business owners I knew and asked them for advice. I sent them a list of directions I was thinking of taking in my business and asked them what services they thought would be useful to entrepreneurs like them.
This was an excellent exercise. It produced my first client AND I was shocked at how supportive everyone was.
I received responses from every single person. Each of them provided their best advice and a “you got this” message.
It was fantastic.
This is because other entrepreneurs get it. They understand what you are going through and how hard it is to start a business.
So, the key is to frame your question in a way that you are asking for their advice. This is a round about way of asking them for work without being too forward.
My best advice is to ask around. Ask people if they know anyone who may need your services. Don’t ask them if THEY need your service. Ask them if they know someone else who needs it.
This is a way to ask them for work without directly asking them. If they want your service, they will say “Oh, I do actually” and you can go from there, but it keeps you from asking directly and getting a hard no.
This also puts you in the back of their mind if anyone ever brings it up.
I’m not a fan of job boards because I’ve never found high paying work through any of the job boards that I’ve used.
In the beginning, job boards can be a good way to get some work for your portfolio.
Also, it’s a fantastic way to learn how to pitch. The key to job boards is to watch them closely and apply immediately or within a day or two of the job posting. They will receive tons of applications, so you need to apply right away.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Low Paying Work
I keep reading in groups how people shouldn’t take low pay or no pay for their work. I agree with this, however, I feel strongly that there is a “paying your dues” phase to any new career.
In writing, “paying your dues” means taking low paying jobs to learn the ropes and get a few bylines out into the blogosphere.
If you aren’t getting any paid work and you want to learn how to start freelance writing online, do some free or low paying jobs to get some experience. I don’t see this as any different than creating samples for your work.
Just be sure you aren’t being taken advantage of. Don’t continually do low paying work for the same people forever. Once you get some experience, move on to better paying jobs.
Take a Course to Help You Start a Freelance Writing Career – I Did!
When I first started my freelance writing career, I didn’t know the ins and outs of the business. I took a bit of money while I was still working a day job and invested in myself.
I am SO glad I did. This course continues to be a valuable resource for me. I refer back to it often when I need a bit of help.
The creator of the course, Elna Cain, is so down to earth and she gives so much value for such a small price. I keep telling her this course should have a higher price tag and so do others.
If you want to jump ahead in your freelance writing career online, sign up for Elna’s Write to 1K Course. It’s the BEST course for newbie writers and covers everything like:
- Tutorials on how to pitch
- Ways to create a portfolio
- How to put together a post
- Where to publish your work
- How to create samples
- And soooo much more
She even has an incredible private Facebook group where she occasionally posts jobs. The community posts jobs there as well and you get to interact with new and experienced writers who are going through the same process you are. We are always better together!
Find out more about the Write to 1K Course Here.
Read my review of her course in my post about My Honest Review of Elna Cain’s Write to 1K Course
Go Through The Motions
The hardest part of learning how to start freelance writing online is feeling like you can learn it before you do it.
You will only learn by getting your hands dirty and making mistakes.
You will say the wrong thing to someone, you will have bad pitches, and you definitely will have bumps in the road.
But this is normal for any new career and it shouldn’t deter you from trying.