Tips for Earning Your First Freelance Writing Paycheck

With most jobs, you sign on to work for an employer for a regular paycheck or at least for hourly pay. Freelance writing, however, involves you contracting your services out on a project by project basis. You essentially need to complete the projects before you will be paid on them, although some projects do pay you when certain project milestones are reached. Either way, though, you first have to find your first project or two to work on before you can expect to get paid at all for your writing talents!

The Difficulty in Finding Your First Assignment. Many clients who may be interested in contracting you for your writing services will want to see an example of what you can do. Most new freelance writers get started in this business knowing that they love to write and knowing they do it well, but they may not have the experience under them necessary to win project after project. So there is indeed a bit of difficulty for new freelance writers to get those first few paying jobs.

Putting Some Samples Together. You may be able to find a random assignment for a client who doesn’t want to see some examples of your work, but for the most part, you will find that clients want to see what you can do before they promise to pay you for your work. So you will want to put together some samples of your work. You can always pull up an old college essay, but generally these are pretty dry and aren’t in the style most clients are looking for. So you likely will need to create some samples. Pick topics that interest you and write up a few different articles using a different tone and voice in each. The articles don’t have to be long, and really most clients will not read more than the first few paragraphs of what you send anyway.

Be Honest. While some clients really do want to work with only an experienced freelance writer, some just don’t care. They want to find someone skilled who can do the job, and they don’t care how many other people who have worked for in the past. While you don’t want to dwell on the fact that you are “new” in a job proposal, you also don’t want to lie either. So can specific what experience you do have writing, such as the fact that you did the marketing writing at your old job or that you majored in journalism in college.

Offer a Concession. If you really have nothing to entice a client to work with you, such as any type of previous writing experience at all or a major in a related field, you may need to offer another concession in the form of a low-ball bid. Consider working for less than what other freelance writers are offering to do the work for purely so you can get some experience. Be sure to specify that you would like a solid review if they are happy with your work. If you have a few samples to provide, many clients will jump at the chance to get a good deal on your services in exchange for writing a review.

It sure can be intimidating to get your feet wet in the world of freelance writing, but when you follow these tips, you will find that you can more easily find those first few jobs you need to establish yourself and gain some experience, too!


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