3 Things New Freelance Writers Should Do

Getting started in the world of freelance writing can be a scary proposition. You don’t know when another project will come your way or where your next paycheck will come from. You likely don’t have a solid understanding of the various ways you can make money as  a freelance writer, so the prospects for finding work may seem minimal.

The truth is, however, that there are plenty of ways to make money as a freelance writer, and after you spend a few months or a year working in the industry and exploring the various money-making options, you will sleep easier knowing that there is always money to be made in this industry. However, before you can fully make use of the various opportunities available and go full steam ahead with your career, there are a few things you should do to ensure your success.

Develop a Niche. Some freelance writers will tell you that they actively developed a niche for themselves, and others will tell you that a niche found them. There are dozens of different areas you can focus on as a freelance writer. You can write web content, magazine articles, blogs, resumes, e-books, and so much more. Within each of these areas, you can focus on any number of topics such as sports, parenting, travel, cooking, gardening, and more. It is always better to write what you know, and your passion and interest will shine through in your writing when you pick a few topics and focus your writing in these areas. Regardless of your topics of interest, there are usually more than enough assignments to choose from when you narrow down your niche further by focusing on, for instance, ebooks and blogs on gardening.

It may seem like you are limiting yourself when you select a niche, but in fact, you are increasing the likelihood of getting assignments when you can show potential clients that you have background knowledge in and a passion for the topic, and that you have been writing in this topic area for so many years.

Create a Portfolio. Your selection of a niche can be enhanced in your portfolio of writing samples. A portfolio doesn’t have to be fancy. You can simply select three or four of your best writing pieces from a variety of writing styles and save them in a PDF file on your computer. Then you simply email these to potential clients as needed. If you are entering freelance writing without a background in this industry,  you are not alone. Most freelance writers today have little experience in the industry but rather have a passion for writing and a drive to succeed. This, along with a portfolio of writing samples, is all you usually need to win projects. If you don’t have writing samples that you have completed for other people, simply spend a few hours writing a few samples of your own. Some writers will create several different portfolios for each of the niche areas they focus on.

If you need to write your own samples, keep in mind that nobody has to know that your samples were not created for other people. In all honesty, this largely doesn’t matter anyway. Your potential clients typically want to see that you can write, and not who you can write for.

Ask for Referrals and Testimonials. While many future clients don’t ask to see that you have satisfied clients under your belt, having some great referrals and testimonials can only help you. After you have completed your first few writing projects, ask your clients to write a few kind words about your ability to meet deadlines and how happy they are with your work. Of course, to get great testimonials, you will want to make sure you do your absolutely best work. Also, ask them for permission to have a few future clients contact you about their experience with you.

With your testimonials, you can add them to your portfolio. If a client has given their permission for future clients to contact them, add their contact information into your portfolio with their testimonial. This will help you to win projects in the future.

You eventually want to get to the point in your career where you spend very limited time looking for work and most of your time doing the money-making activity of writing. Having a niche along with a portfolio that includes writing samples in your niche, testimonials, and referrals will go a long way to getting you to that point in your career.


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