Welcome to the latest post in my occasional side hustle series, looking at tried and tested methods to earn extra income. There are so many ways to make extra cash when you need to. In this post Francesca from The Money Fox explains how you can make money as a freelance writer.
Have you ever dreamed of making money for a living from writing?
With the internet at our fingertips, anything is possible! You can become a freelance writer without any qualifications or experience.
You don’t even have to be the best writer in the world – you will get better as you go along, but you have to start somewhere.
Here are some steps that you can take to get you started on your journey to make money as a freelance writer today.
Choose Your Niche
When you’re bursting with excitement and just want to get started, it’s all too easy to say that you’ll write anything, for anyone!
Choosing one specific niche will help you get more work because you will develop a reputation for being the go-to person for that niche.
The best thing to do is pick a niche that you have a lot of knowledge or experience about. Bonus points if you have qualifications in that area too.
Some examples of niches include:
- Personal finance
- Eco-friendly living
- Online business
Set Up a Website
You’re going to want to have somewhere for clients to find you and showcase your work.
You can do this on various free platforms or set up a WordPress.org site and customise it as you’d like it to look.
Create a Portfolio
If you are putting yourself out there as a writer then you will need to show some examples of your work. After all, would you hire someone to write for you if you hadn’t seen any of their writing?
This doesn’t mean that you can’t pitch yourself if you haven’t worked for anyone else so far. If you are brand new then all you need to do is write some sample articles that you think your target client would be interested in.
You could keep them in a Google doc or on your website. There are some other sites that you can create a portfolio on and pitch for work such as:
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you will improve so much the more that you write. You don’t have to start off as the best writer in the world – you just need to be determined to improve and willing to learn.
Take a look at popular sites in the niche that you want to write in and see how they lay out their articles.
A good tip is to try and write as you speak. A way to test this is to simply say the sentence out loud. Does it sound ok? If not, go back and edit.
Where to Find Work to Make Money as a Freelance Writer?
A question that’s bound to be on the top of your list is where to find freelance writing work?
There are so many places that you can find writing work, but also some places that you will want to avoid.
So where can you find work?
There are freelance writing job boards where companies will advertise looking for a writer and you can pitch yourself.
This may strike a bit of fear into your heart, but it can be one of the best ways to find work.
Cold pitching is where you email companies or people and pitch yourself as a writer.
It’s called ‘cold’ pitching because you don’t know each other or have had any interaction.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you start emailing all of the people that you can think of under the sun. That would be exhausting for one thing!
You’re going to want to be selective and have a search for relevant businesses in your niche.
Keep your pitch short and sweet and let them know how you can help them.
To follow on nicely from cold pitching, let’s talk about warm pitching. Warm pitching is where potential clients know who you are and you have some sort of interaction.
You could follow your ideal clients on social media and strike up conversations. Keep this natural of course, and genuine.
After a while, you can introduce yourself properly and pitch as a freelance writer for them.
Join Relevant Facebook Groups
Join Facebook groups where your ideal client will hang out. Don’t start spamming the page saying that you’re a writer, but view it as networking.
You want to be on the lookout for anyone who says that they are looking for a writer, which is when you can jump in.
Ask For Referrals
Once you’ve got some clients under your belt you can approach them and ask if they know anyone who is looking for a writer.
This is a great tactic because your clients will be happy to help you out and will probably know lots of businesses in their niche who could be looking.
Make sure you let them know you still want to stick with them but you are taking on more clients.
Look on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a website that is used primarily for business networking and for job hunting/posting. There is a jobs board on there where you can search for writing jobs.
Make sure you work on your LinkedIn profile to show that you are a writer and are actively looking for work.
What Skills Do You Need to Develop?
To be a freelance writer the most obvious skill to work on is writing, but there is more to it than that.
There are certain skills that you will want to work on and that you can mention when pitching to clients.
Let’s have a look at some:
Being organised is key when you are working as a freelancer. When you work for a company as an employee there is more structure and accountability.
When you work for yourself you need to hold yourself accountable and avoid the distractions which come in the form of things like Netflix or going out with friends.
A lot of the time the faster you complete your writing assignment the more that you get paid per hour.
Be careful with how many clients you take on, however, because you need to make sure that you can meet your deadlines.
The best thing to do if you’re unsure about grammar is to use a site like Grammarly.
It will check the spelling and also the sentence structure. It’s important to use something like this before sending it to the client. You want to avoid any edits!
Do you want to make money as a freelance writer? Or do you have any tips to add for those that do?
For more ideas to make extra money, check out some of the other side hustle posts here.