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If you hang out in a writing group long enough, eventually you will see someone ask how they can become a freelance writer in a day, or in a week, or even in a couple hours.
Then all the questions start.
Is it possible? Is it real? Can it be done?
Let me tell you something, it is absolutely possible to become a freelance writer in a day. And a successful one at that.
But that doesn't mean it will be easy.
Are you Qualified to Become a Freelance Writer?
It's true, anyone can become a freelance writer. It doesn't require any special training or advanced degree. And in fact, in some cases having that training and degree doesn't even help.
But there is one special skill that you absolutely must have if you want to become a freelance writer. And that is:
The ability to be courageous in the face of rejection. Freelance writers have to deal with a lot of rejection. Clients are going to choose someone else over us. Clients are going to dislike our work. Essentially, to become a freelance writer is to sign on to receive rejection and still be able to keep going.
Now, there are other things that will help, of course:
- Already having a solid understanding of grammar and spelling.
- Knowing at least one style guide (ie, MLA, APA, or Chicago) inside and out or have access to an official style guide for quick reference.
- The ability to organize your files and find things quickly. If your computer is a mess or if you're trying to run everything off your phone, you're putting yourself at a serious disadvantage.
So, if you've been thinking of entering the world of freelance writing, then read on because I am going to tell you step by step how to become a freelance writer in a day.
Well, I'm going to give you the steps on how to become a freelance writer — you can decide whether or not you want to do it all in a day or not.
1. Decide on What Type of Freelance Writer you Want to Be.
Of course, let's start with the basics: what kind of freelance writer do you want to be? Let's take a look at the differences.
Not all freelance writers are the same. And I don't mean that in a “some freelance writers are better than others” type of way at all. I literally mean that they are not the same.
A content writer is very different from a ghostwriter. A copywriter is different from a social media writer or a messenger bot writer.
Not only that, but in many cases, the type of freelance writer you want to be will also determine the types of clients you will attract. Not everyone needs or wants a ghostwriter for their blog, especially if a content writer can handle all their needs.
To be honest, a lot of clients do not know what the difference is. Which makes it all the more important for you to make that decision before launching as this will largely determine the type of services you're going to offer.
Speaking of which…
2. Choosing which Freelance Writing Services you will offer.
A lot of people think that the services a freelance writer does depends on what the client needs. But the truth is that there's a lot more to it than just that.
What will you tell potential clients you're doing as a freelance writer? Where will you draw the line between which writing activities you'll be responsible for, and which writing activities they will need to maintain themselves?
Here is a list of possible activities you'll likely be choosing from (:
- Suggesting or making profile and biography improvements on and off site
- Goal setting for blog and content
- Goal setting for list growth
- Reviewing and evaluating site analytics, social insights, and email analytics
- Writing compelling descriptions for products or services
- Gathering materials and research for books.
And there are dozens more.
If you'd like a more complete look at the different types of freelance writers and the common types of duties each holds, grab my free guide, 10 Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer. It's packed with this information and more on the top 10 ways freelance writers make money writing.
3. Evaluate your Freelancing Knowledge
This is where you're really going to have to pause and reflect on what you know about freelancing — above and beyond merely writing.
How well do you truly understand the idea of running a business?
Could you break it down and teach it to someone else – like your client?
More than likely, unless you're already a business owner, there are at least a few small gaps in your knowledge of freelancing and what it means to run a business. And you're going to want to find these gaps right away so you can begin working on closing them.
You can get started here, with some of the following posts:
- 10 Steps to Pull Yourself Back Up and Relaunch when you want to Give Up
- 7 Surefire Self-Care Tips for Social Distancing as a Freelance Writer
- The Number 1 Freelance Writing Mistake to Avoid
- Freelance Ghostwriting: Life as an Invisible Author
- 10 Free Tools for Freelance Writers
4. Define your “why” and write your mission statement.
I am a firm believer in writing out your mission statement and plastering that everywhere.
Who are you trying to help, with what, and why? What are you trying to accomplish? What impact are you trying to make?
My mission as a ghostwriter has always been to help social marketing experts put their influence and expertise into words.
Nothing elegant or fancy, no big words or catchy mantras. I want to help social marketing coaches put their expertise into words. Why? Because by helping them write their book and their website content, not only do I stay apprised of the ever-changing world of social media, but I also get to help them make an impact on every business they serve.
Not bad for a day's work, right?
That's the impact I'm hoping for, and it's the underlying strategy behind every business decision I make: does this serve my mission and how?
It keeps me motivated. It keeps me driven. And it keeps me on focus. And writing out a mission statement will do the same for you.
5. Define your ideal client.
I know what you're thinking: anyone who needs writing to be done can be my client. But no, that's not what I mean here. Just because you can sell your services to everyone doesn't mean you should.
Who do you want to work with? Who helps inspire you to work harder? What type of person is he or she? What type of business does he or she run?
Should you choose a niche like I have? Are you better at analyzing and predicting social media trends for blogs and books than for beauty products?
Should you work only for solopreneurs? Other freelance professionals? Or any small business?
Understanding your ideal client makes marketing your services much, much easier. You'll know exactly who you're talking to, where you're talking to them, and what you need to say to them. You can be as broad or as narrow as you like, but I recommend trying to get as narrow as you can. The narrower your definition, the easier it will be to do research and find out exactly where they are and how to reach them.
And trust me, it is always easier to expand later.
6. Open up shop – virtually.
Time to set up your writing platform. Start by setting up a writing site, which can double as a portfolio (especially if you don't already have any examples of your writing handy).
Now, it's not a requirement, deciding not to have a website isn't going to break your business. I know of plenty of freelancers who post pins on Pinterest and ads on Facebook that lead straight to their Fiverr profiles, so it's not unheard of.
But, having a website will make it easier for clients to find you. You'll be able to use SEO to help your site get found on Google as well as on Pinterest and other search engines. Not only that, but by having the articles posted up on your site, you'll be able to show a client what you know and what you can do even before they meet you in person. So, personally, if you're going to freelance your services, then you really do want to build your own website.
Then, set up some social profiles. You can choose any social platform you like — any one of them will work. So start where you're most comfortable. Facebook and LinkedIn are probably natural places to start, but don't feel like you can't also start with Pinterest or Twitter instead.
If you want someone to hire you to be their freelance writer, the first thing they are going to look at (other than your proposal or pitch) is your social profile. So make sure it shines. A nice, smiling photo of you, a good description carrying strategic keywords, and well-organized writing examples that are relevant to your niche all sitting in an organized fashion that makes it easy for them to see just how you can help them.
Then, decide on how you will be finding freelance writing jobs — or how they will potential clients be finding you. This is usually one of the first questions people ask me. And there are plenty of options available for you, including freelancing sites (such as UPWork and Fiverr), content mills, and more. While I don't personally recommend using those sites to find paying work, I do know that they do work for others. So there's really no harm in trying them out and seeing if you like the,
Don't get overwhelmed — I know this sounds like a lot. But it's really, really not.
Remember, to get started, all you really need to have is a way to find clients (or help clients find you). You can always add more to your platform later as you get adjusted to your schedule and can fit more things into it.
7. Go get 'em!!
Once your profiles are set, and you know what you want to say to people, start putting it all together into an elevator pitch, and then go out there and start reaching out to new clients. If you don't already have any leads, you may have to do a bit of hunting. But UPWork, Fiverr, and Freelancer always seem to have open jobs up and waiting for people to bid on them, so you can start there.
You can also find a list of sites that will pay you to write right here. It's a great place to start racking up experience while you're looking for regular clients.
8. Always. Be. Learning.
Just because you've successfully launched as a freelance writer doesn't mean you should stop learning about the industry. There's a reason that dozens, and I do mean dozens, of freelance writing courses exist — because the world of freelance writing is a beast. It's huge and ever-changing. And being able to keep up with those changes is going to be imperative to your business. So, if you haven't already invested in any freelance writing courses, then I highly recommend you look at some of them and create a plan to take some.
You can start with my course, Freelance Fast Track, to give you a little bit of a head start.
And there you have it – how to become a Freelance Writer in as little as a day.
Do I recommend you actually launch your new freelance writing business in a day?
Well, like I said, it's not really up to me. But if you feel confident in your abilities to adopt a client's voice and put their needs and services into words, and you feel knowledgeable enough in business to be able to use your words to help carry out a business strategy for someone else's business, then I say go for it. Take the leap.
Did you enjoy this article? Here are some other blog posts about freelance writing you may like: