Five Steps to Starting a Freelance Writing Career

Chris Bibey

The number of people who aspire to become freelance writers is astonishing. Unfortunately, most of these people never take the time to chase their dream. Instead, they work their 9 to 5 office job, take orders from a crabby boss, and get paid less than what they are worth. If you want to be a freelance writer and are tired of any of the issues above, it is time to make a move. The more you procrastinate the more time you are losing.

Even though it will take time to build a successful freelance writing career, the steps to actually getting started are simple. No, these steps do not guarantee loads of money, but they will put you on the right path to earning a solid income sometime in the future.

Here are five steps to starting a freelance writing career.

1. Sooner rather than later, you need to build up enough courage to ditch your current job. Many people are afraid of making the change, and there is nothing wrong with that. Changing jobs can be difficult enough, and doing so to a career that is as unstable as freelance writing can be downright scary. But if you never suck it up and decide to take the chance, you will go on working the same old job, day in and day out.

To combat some of the fear of a sudden change, you may want to consider a part-time career in freelance writing for the time being. In other words, keep your day job and moonlight as a freelance writer. This will allow you to get your feet wet without having to give up your regular earnings. Is this going to be a lot of work? Sure is! But when you finally have enough clients to go into freelance writing full-time, you will realize that the work was well worth it.

2. Determine what area of freelance writing you want to get into. Some people think that all writing is the same, but find out soon enough that this is a myth. Many writers concentrate on web content, whereas others would rather write for print magazines. It does not matter what area of concentration you choose, as long as you choose one. Trying to be everything to everyone can quickly bog you down.

3. Do you have any freelance writing samples? If not, you need to put together a portfolio right away. When you approach clients or bid on jobs, one of the first things that you will be asked for is samples. If you have samples relevant to the potential client, make sure that you offer those first. They will give you the best chance of landing the job. But even if you only have general samples, they are better than nothing.

When writing samples, make sure that they are your best work. After all, you do not want to show potential clients sub par work. Additionally, when putting together your portfolio, add several different types of projects. This could include everything from a sales letter to a feature article and much more. The more samples in your portfolio, the better chance you have of supplying a relevant piece.

4. Do not jump ahead of yourself. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious and wanting your freelance writing career to take off from the onset. But if you get too far ahead of your capabilities, you could find yourself tied down with work that you are not sure about. Consider every job offer that you receive, and use your best judgment when deciding how to move forward.

5. Setting rates is one of the most difficult tasks for a freelance writer. This is especially true for beginners who do not know anything about industry averages, or what most clients are willing to pay. Do yourself a favor and research what other writers are charging. From there, adjust your rates to suit your experience and potential client base. Remember, freelance writing rates are not written in stone. After you gain more experience you can adjust your rates accordingly.

If you want to start a freelance writing career, you now how five steps that can guide you from day one. While working through these steps, you may find that you have to make changes to suit your lifestyle and career path. But for the most part, all five of these steps will have to be conquered sooner or later.

After several years in the corporate world, I put my college degree to good use by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Three months later, my income level had reached that of my previous sales job. Within a year, I was consistently earning $5k/month.

You can do it too.

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