What does one need to become a successful freelance writer with no experience? Here are your answers.
1. Seek help
Reach out to those who are already into the freelance writing career and seek advice. Additionally, go online and take your time to learn more about freelance writing. What is freelance writing? How does it work? Can freelance writing pay my bills? Ask yourself these questions.
When I first got into the freelancing industry neither did I know where to find work nor how much clients pay. I saw an ad post seeking writers at a nearby cyber café and decided to give it a shot. These guys were paying ksh100 per 500 words!!
After a few weeks of working with the agency a friend advised me to join iWriter, and I did after which I went to other popular sites like Upwork (formerly oDesk), Elance and Freelancer until I gained more experience and managed to get direct and high paying clients.
I don’t regret working for low wages. I am always thankful to these websites as they helped me improve on my writing skills and build a portfolio. The only downside of iWriter is its high rate of content rejection. It sucks to work with no pay on iWriter.
Would you want to start like me? At those times, I could not even tell the difference between article writing and academic writing.
Find someone with vast experience in freelance writing, offer to take them out for lunch, and learn the ropes from them. Every profession has different ways of getting freelancing gigs, but as long as they all work out and get you smiling all the way to the bank, why not give it a shot too?
2. Build a portfolio
Clients want to hire someone who has already done some work before. If you bid on jobs, one of the things a client will ask is a sample. Nobody wants to be your first client!
Now that you have done a comprehensive research write an article, a blog post, a press release or a product review and give it to an established writer who can read it and correct any mistakes in the document.
Do your best to write a high quality, informative and engaging content that is free from spelling and grammar errors. You don’t want to show subpar work to potential clients, do you?
Alternatively, you can offer to volunteer and do non-paying work. You might also want to do some low-paying assignments. iWriter has an easy and user-friendly interface; thus, it is a good site to build your portfolio while earning a few dollars. Make sure your clients leave you a testimonial/review if they liked your work.
The more samples you have, the better are your chances of applying for jobs relevant to the samples.
3. Set your rates
Setting rates has, for so long, been the trickiest and most difficult thing for many freelance writers. New freelance writers particularly do not know what the average rates are in the freelance writing industry. Reach out to other freelancers and find out what they charge. Find out what the most expensive writers charge, and what inexpensive writers charge.
Now that you’ve decided on a reasonable rate stick to it and learn to say no to clients who have rates below your standard pay. Once you start pitching, work and gain more experience, increase your rates until you earn a reasonably decent wage – at least $50 an article of 500-750 words.
4. Start pitching – pitch! Pitch! Pitch!
It’s now time to start pitching. Sometimes clients pick on the person who submits the best pitch, rather than the best writer. Clients want to work with someone who is enthusiastic about the advertised position. You have to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Don’t give up on the first ten or twenty unsuccessful pitches you send. If you don’t keep looking for assignments, then it is very unlikely assignments will come to you. Keep pitching and you surely will land long-term clients. Just remember to pitch! Pitch! Pitch!
Freelance writing is not for people who lack persistence and self-motivation. If you are expecting freelancing to be lucrative immediately, you will find it pretty frustrating. It takes some time, and so you have to hustle. Don’t expect to succeed or become an expert writer overnight.
Do you want to be a freelance writer? Congratulations!
Want some advice? Let me know what’s holding you back and we can find a solution together!