Who doesn’t like working on their own terms while getting all the creative liberty for their projects? If you’re thinking of creating a passive income stream for yourself by working from home, a full-time freelance writer is an excellent profession to consider.
Freelance writing is one of the highest-paid gig economy jobs out there. It includes many different genres, such as blogging, technical writing, SEO writing, and copywriting. So, there are many fields for you to choose from.
Plus, with cheap hosting services, creating your own blog and monetizing it as a writer is easier than ever.
The good thing is, you don’t need any specific education to become a writer. Just pick a niche you’re good at and start writing. If you’re willing to try it out but are nervous about the first few steps, we’ve compiled our guide for how to become a full-time freelance writer just for you.
So let’s get started.
Step 1 – Analyze Your Skills
First of all, to become a full-time freelance writer, you’ll have to map out your core strengths. The easiest way to get started is by using the skills that you already have.
For example, if you’re working in the financial sector, you can consider writing about topics like asset management, retirement planning, and investment options.
This way, you can use the knowledge you already have to create high-quality content that’s productive for your readers. However, your skill analysis should not be restrained to your job or profession.
Look into your hobbies, reading habits, soft skills, or topics you generally know a lot about. For instance, if you’re parenting a toddler, you can start a parenting blog or write for clients who need such content.
Step 2 – Pick Your Niche
Now, once you’ve made a list of your skills, select one of them by researching their profitability, popularity, and lucrativeness in the freelance writing market. Based on this deduction, you can pick out a niche you want to work with.
Choosing a niche will help you concentrate on one aspect and direct all your work towards it. This way, you can even aim to become a top freelance writer in your selected niche in the future. We know, pinning yourself down to one category and sticking to it for your entire career is quite difficult.
The easiest way to find a favorable niche for yourself is by selecting a holistic topic first and moving on to a tertiary category later.
For example, if you’re thinking about finance, you can further chop it down to B2B writing. Similarly, if you choose healthcare, you can also narrow it down to fitness, and later, you can end up reviewing fitness apps or recommending fitness products.
Here’s a trick to nail a profitable niche. Rather than choosing a topic that you know a lot about, go for the popular ones, and attract a lot of young audiences.
Nevertheless, if you find a topic that is the best from both worlds, consider yourself a pro as a full-time writer.
Step 3 – Start Your Blog
Let’s get to the difficult part. After you’ve chosen your niche, the next step is to build your blog. Yes, when you landed on the page wondering how to become a full-time freelance writer, you probably expected to learn how to land writing gigs from clients.
Unfortunately, you won’t attract any long-term clients without a high-quality testimony of your work. So, to become a full-time writer, you will have to invest a lot of time initially into building your blog and a portfolio of work.
Apart from creating appealing content, to make sure your blog is successful, you’ll need to pair it up with an engaging website. That’s where most writers feel the urge to back out. Trust us on this; it’s not that difficult.
You can use WordPress or Blogger platforms to start writing even if you don’t want to create a dedicated website in the beginning. Eventually, as you gain more experience in the field, you can move towards buying your domain name and even monetize your blogging website.
The best part about creating your blog are the things you learn on the way. You will learn a great deal about SEO, responsive writing, and ad placements. This way, when you work for other clients, you will have gone through a lot of trial and error on your platform, which will improve your work quality.
Besides that, remember to include a “Hire Me” or “Work With Me” page on your blog or website. So, when you send links to your blog to potential clients, they can approach you immediately if they like your work.
Step 4 – Reach Out to People
Just like you would need a work portfolio before you pitch to any job, a blog works as a portfolio for your freelance writing career. Now that you own a successful blog, all you have to do is present it out to the world and create a steady workflow for yourself.
All you have to do is sign up for these sites and post your portfolios. Their special algorithm will automatically connect you to clients who need the type of work you deliver.
Furthermore, sites like Fiverr and Upwork cater to a broader range of niches, but you can find writing gigs on these platforms as well.
Don’t restrict your search to a few platforms. Get out there and expose yourself to as many freelance platforms as you can and wait for client responses.
Moreover, you can try to pitch clients directly by sending in cold emails through content marketing agencies.
Some popular agencies work with freelance writers, including Kingfish Media and Smart Bug Media. We’re not saying you can’t get prompt replies. But if you don’t, you can send follow-up emails to inquire about your application status.
Additionally, you can diversify your approach by optimizing your social media accounts. Advertise yourself as a writer, and don’t forget to create an attractive Linkedin profile for yourself.
Many editors and clients are keeping their eyes out on social media for talented writers like you.
Step 5 – Start Writing With Consistency
Once you’ve followed the steps we mentioned above, it’s only a matter of time before you get some high-paying permanent clients. Remember, the reward for good work is more work. When you start delivering good content, you’ll get referrals that’ll help you increase your client list.
Another important aspect is to maintain consistency in your writing. And to ensure that, you can hire a proofreader or editor so that you can focus on writing only. Also, there’s an easy way out – check your writeups on these platforms:
- Grammarly; to check grammar issues, sentence structures, spelling errors, etc.
- Yoast SEO Content Analysis; to analyse how good the content is in terms of readability
- Copyscape; to ensure your articles are free from plagiarism
Good thing about these platforms is, all except for Copyscape are free to use. That said, Grammarly offers limited features when you’re checking your text for free.
As you gain more experience, ensure you are always optimizing for your time spent. It’s okay to start charging more over time. You’ll have more experience and your writing skills will be much more advanced. You can use an hourly rate calculator to determine the worth of your time to hit your annual income goals.
- Hire editor/proofreader if your budget allows. Believe it or not, editors are the most overworked people in the content generation cycle.
- Take feedback and simply apologize for any screw-ups. Nobody wants to hear your excuses; if you make a blunder, just own up to it.
- Also, one thing that employers find most attractive in a freelancer writer is meeting deadlines. Whatever you do, complete your work on time and don’t keep your clients hanging.
As you continue working for regular clients, you’ll eventually learn what they like and what they don’t.
This will help you create tailor-made content for each employer, an impressive trait in a full-time writer.
Now that you know how to get started as a freelance writer, you’re probably ready to take the first step today. However, working as a full-time writer is not just a job; it is your own business.
That’s why, once you’ve chosen this path, you’ll have to take ownership. Just like you’d invest in any other business, becoming a full-time writer requires investment of your time, skills, and sometimes money as well. But, the independence that comes with it is like no other.
Maintain your quality and ratings with all your clients across multiple platforms and keep improving yourself with every project you complete. If you keep these steps in mind, nothing can stop you from becoming a professional writer.
Tawnya is an elementary special education teacher by day and co-blogger at Money Saved is Money Earned by night.
She holds an Honors BS in Psychology from Oregon State University and an MS in Special Education from Portland State University. She has had a pretty successful writing career, first as a writing tutor at the Oregon State University Writing Center, and in recent years, as a freelance writer.
Tawnya and co-blogger Sebastian have a wealth of knowledge and information about personal finance, retirement, student loans, credit cards, and many other financial topics. They teach people how to save money, make money, and understand money.