Becoming a freelancer is one of the most liberating experiences that you can pursue. This is particularly true for freelance writers, which allows you to work when and where you want.
Not everyone is sure about how they can get started, though, and many people avoid pursuing this career choice as a result. Fortunately, it's far more straightforward than you might think.
Not quite sure how to begin? We’ve got all the info you need.
Let's explore everything you should keep in mind about how to become a freelance writer like a pro.
As you might expect, one of the most important steps you'll need to take as a freelance writer is establishing a professional website for yourself. Not only will this allow you to showcase your past projects, but you also set yourself apart from the thousands of writers who don't have one.
In general, your website should be as straightforward as possible while also showcasing a bit of your personality. A great way to take care of this latter obligation is to include a brief 'about me section' on your site.
For those who don't have the technical capabilities to create a website on their own, it's important to outsource appropriately. It can be tempting to hire a website designer for a low cost, but you often get what you pay for in this regard.
It's also essential to pay attention to metrics that affect user experience, such as how long your pages take to load, how easy the site is to navigate, etc.
One of the biggest mistakes that freelancers tend to make early on in their career is a lack of effort toward improving their writing ability. Unfortunately, this is only establishing unnecessary obstacles for you in the future.
In order to provide the best level of service possible as a freelance writer, you'll need to consistently on your skills. This means reading, researching, and writing in your free time simply for the sake of producing better content.
While there won't be an immediate payoff in most cases, the long-term benefits that you receive will be well worth the effort. It's also recommended that you attend local writing workshops if they are available in your area, as the ability to communicate in-person with other professionals is a resource that shouldn't be overlooked.
Even if you haven't started a legitimate company to handle your freelance writing transactions, you'll still be responsible for paying taxes in a way that you may not be used to.
Freelance writers are different from traditional employees in the sense that they work for themselves. This means they pay taxes as independent contractors instead of filling out a W-2 form.
Unfortunately, self-employment taxes are notably high in most circumstances. But, you also have the opportunity to deduct many business-related expenses from your gross annual income.
In the right scenario, this can even cause you to get placed into a lower tax bracket for your net income, which can save you plenty of money. For those who have the time to do so, doing your own taxes as a freelance writer is recommended since it will help you develop a deeper understanding of the process.
But, this obligation is always able to be outsourced to a professional.
In the early stages of your freelance career, you can't expect clients to come knocking at your door. In fact, it will consistently be the other way around until you establish yourself as a professional.
So, you'll need to master the art of sufficiently pitching yourself in order to secure new work. Additionally, this also means that you'll need to effectively communicate with cold leads.
To help you get started, it's recommended that you showcase your experience and talent as a professional in a way that is both brief and clear.
It's recommended to assume that the person on the other end of your message doesn't have much time to read what you have to say, so you should make it as easy for them as possible. This means introducing yourself, explaining your area of expertise, and providing them with a link to your portfolio.
But, be sure to incorporate a bit of your personality, as well.
This is another aspect of becoming a successful freelance writer that many people overlook.
If you want to quickly establish a foothold in your industry, You'll need to connect with other professionals. Fortunately, this often comes in the form of simply interacting with other freelance writers on social media.
Your engagement with their posts (as well as the fact that you follow their account, to begin with) will help grow their online presence. In return, many professionals will do the same for you.
Over time, this will allow you to grow your brand far more efficiently than you will be able to on your own.
Unfortunately, it's not realistic to expect clients to pay you for work that is simply well-written. In most circumstances, clients who need professionally-written content will also require the writer to have a strong understanding of SEO.
In general, writers should focus on effectively being able to incorporate keywords in a natural manner, understanding the importance of links, and how to properly format their content for SEO. If you're not already familiar with this type of information, it's worth pursuing it in your free time to make you a more well-rounded candidate.
In turn, this will have a positive impact on your ability to secure future clients.
As previously mentioned, adding a bit of personality is a great way to help you stand out from your competitors. But, you'll need to make sure that it coincides with the niche that you are focusing on.
To elaborate, let's assume that you're a technical writer who generally deals with documents relating to corporate policy, industry regulations, etc. It would be most appropriate in the scenario to brand yourself as someone who is quick-thinking, pragmatic, and has strong attention to detail.
If you brand yourself as someone who thoroughly enjoys creative writing and doesn't believe there is a singular correct way to create content, it will likely be difficult for you to find business.
In order to secure the most possible work as a freelance writer, you'll need to specialize in a particular niche. This means that you should choose a particular area you'd like to focus on with your writing and devote most of your time as a professional toward that topic.
For instance, there are plenty of writers who enjoy writing about technology. But, not every client is looking for someone who can provide general information about the technology industry.
Many are looking for someone who can comprehensively elaborate on cybersecurity, software development, etc. During the early stages of your career, though, it's appropriate to take more general work assembly so you can add to your portfolio. As time goes on, you should specify particular areas in order to provide extra value to your clients.
It should come as no surprise that the early stages of your freelance career will involve projects that you aren't particularly thrilled to work on. But, it's important to view the situation like this: no matter how skilled you are as a writer, the rest of the world isn't able to gauge your abilities until you're able to prove it on your own.
So, not only is it important that you remain flexible when it comes to finding projects, but you should also deliver the best content possible.
Eventually, you'll reach a stage where you'll have far more input when it comes to the type of projects you'd like to take on, which will make your career feel much less like 'work' and more like a creative hobby.
Becoming a successful freelance writer is a process that typically takes many years to complete. As such, it can be easy to become discouraged if you don't have a handful of goals to work toward.
For example, let's assume your only goal is to make a certain amount of money per year. It might be over a decade before you see this number, meaning that all of the years beforehand will be particularly arduous.
By setting short-term goals, you'll keep yourself aware of the achievements and progress that you've made, which will keep you motivated for the future.
The above information will make the process far smoother. From here, you’ll be able to ensure that you handle this lifestyle like a pro and become as successful as possible as your career progresses.
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