This post will walk you through the steps for how to start freelance writing as a successful home business… and actually make very good money! We’ll cover how to make money writing articles, how to price your work, the best freelance writing course, freelance writing niches and much more.
What is freelance writing, anyway?
You’ve probably heard that freelance writing is a thing… but maybe you aren’t sure exactly what that means. You may have questions like:
Do you need a degree to be a freelance writer?
How do you become a freelance writer?
How do you find paid online writing jobs?
Who pays writers?
How much do freelance writers make?
These are all great questions about starting a freelance writing career, and you deserve good answers. Stick around and we’ll answer everything, so you can decide whether this is the right online job opportunity for you!
Freelance writing is typically a work-from-home job in which you’re self-employed and offer writing services to companies, colleges, blogs, magazines… plus hundreds of other online writing job possibilities.
Consider the fact that almost every business, corporation, magazine, newspaper — even hospitals and healthcare services — have a website nowadays. The need for written content is practically endless.
**This is not a get-rich-quick scheme, so don’t get me wrong. Freelance writing work from home takes dedication and willingness to put in the hours to get started and established with great clients.
The opportunities are out there — thousands of them. But you’ve got to do the hard work first.
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may be compensated. Full disclosure is here.
How to start freelance writing [8 critical things you’ll need]
These next eight steps are critical to your freelance writing success. Don’t skimp on any of them, or you may end up very disappointed in how little money you make.
Invest in a good freelance writing course.
Create a website to advertise freelance services to clients and showcase your work.
Focus your writing on a main topic [or two]. There are many good freelance writing niches.
Build a strong content writing portfolio to attract good clients.
Write every day [whenever possible].
Be persistent in pitching for freelance writing jobs.
Determine ahead of time how to get paid for writing [set your rates].
Weigh the pros and cons of freelancing
Step One: Invest in a GOOD freelance writing course!
This step will pay for itself over and over again… I pinky-swear promise!
The ONLY reason I’m able to write for clients and get $300 paid online writing jobs is because of Holly Johnson’s Earn More Writing Course. Many of Holly’s students [including her] earn $500-$1500 and more per writing project. That’s no typo!
**HINT: You do not need a writing degree or journalism experience to be a good freelance writer. Holly’s students come from dozens of backgrounds… including me. I’m a “retired homeschool mom” without a bachelor’s degree.
As you can see, a freelance writing career can be life changing. However, not everyone will earn the same amount of money.
*There are always variations in how hard people are willing to work, how persistent they are at searching for good clients, and the amount of time they have to dedicate to freelance writing projects.
Set yourself up to succeed by investing in the top freelance writing course.
Learn from a professional freelance writer who retired her husband a few years ago. She makes over $200K per year strictly with her writing… Holly’s course often pays for itself within the first month!
Jump into the FREE “How to Build a Six-Figure Writing Career” Workshop for a glimpse into just how much value you get with Holly’s course.
You’re probably asking: Why THIS freelance writing course?
Aren’t there free courses out there? Yes, there are.
Will a free course give you the same tools a professional freelance writing instructor can? Not at all.
Earn More Writing includes:
- How to find your writing niche and establish your portfolio and brand.
- How to pitch to clients … including the perfect cold pitch. Holly will help you personally with this, if you ask!
- Defending your workday. Establishing your work-from-home routine for the best writing productivity.
- How to go from “broke writing to rich writing” — boost your income and maximize your earning potential.
- How to get ahead of the competition when it comes to finding work.
- Finding and keeping your dream clients.
- Establishing payment terms and the confidence to get paid what you’re worth.
- Learn how to take your income into the stratosphere — structure your workload to earn six figures!
- How to make great money ghostwriting for CEOs PLUS the secrets and tips of being a good ghostwriter.
- Access to the BEST FACEBOOK SUPPORT GROUP ever! I’m not kidding on this one… it’s worth the price of the course and then some!! Holly is in there most of the day and answers questions personally… ALL THE TIME!
Holly also gives a morning report of the freelance writing projects she’s working on for the day… AND the money she’s getting for each piece! There’s nothing more motivating than reading her daily income reports.
Step Two: Create a website to showcase your freelance writing
Whether you create a business website or a blog, you’ll want a professional space to house your writing samples and portfolio.
Either one is fine. You simply need a place to write regularly. Obviously, you’ll want to market your services to clients, showcase examples of your work, and give them a way to contact you. A website does all of that.
*You might consider a domain name (the URL of your site) that highlights the fact that you’re a writer.
- Write Your Way
- The Wandering Writer
- The Write Solution
- Writing for Dough
- The Writer That Could
These may be silly examples… but you get the idea. Think of something clever, and then type it into a domain name provider and see if it’s available. You can also name your site after yourself… using your own personal name as a brand.
Don’t let the idea of creating a website or blog scare you. I have a simple, 7-step guide for beginners… to show you exactly how to start a website at a very low price.
You don’t need anything fancy or any web design expertise. Just follow my easy instructions and choose a simple theme for beginners that’s no-fuss. I’ll walk you through it.
Step Three: Freelance writing niches
When deciding what writing niche to “specialize in”, don’t get too caught up in being an actual “expert”. Focus on topics you really enjoy, stuff you know like the back of your hand, or find a sweet spot in between. You may even change directions once you start writing for clients! That happens a lot.
Just be sure to choose a couple [or a few, at most] main topics to concentrate on at first. Don’t be that writer who tries to be everything to everyone.
You won’t end up with many clients that way. If you’re too broad, you won’t be seen as someone who’s knowledgeable in any specific area.
Increasing your knowledge and expertise of a topic includes writing regularly, doing thorough research, and simply honing your skills. These are also things Holly discusses in her fabulous writing course.
Writing niches to consider:
- Business and marketing
- Pets/pet care
- Finance/credit cards
This is only a very small list of possibilities. There’s nothing magical about these specific topics. Give some serious thought to what you already know or what you wouldn’t mind writing about frequently.
At the very least, make sure you choose a niche you won’t grow to hate over several years of writing.
Step Four: Create a writing content portfolio
You’ll need a handful of high quality articles [content] before applying for serious writing jobs. I suggest at least 5-10 posts on your blog or website that are specific to your chosen writing niche.
You can research an area within your topic and write a few in-depth articles to start building your portfolio. It’s also a great idea to write a few free guest posts for blogs in your niche to use as writing samples.
Sites like Fiverr and the BloggingPro job board have entry-level writing projects you can use to build a strong freelance writing portfolio. You have to start somewhere… and these beginning jobs build confidence.
If you’re really not ready to start a website or blog of your own yet, there are some temporary solutions for housing your portfolio.
Step Five: Write something every day
Even seasoned writers say that it’s good to write something every day. For beginners, it’s the best way to perfect your skills, get faster, and learn more about your topic.
Stick to a daily writing routine [whenever possible] to build confidence and a set schedule. If you condition your mind to know that “it’s writing time”… there will be less struggle when you “have” to write for clients and meet their deadlines.
If sticking to routines is hard for you, you’re definitely NOT alone! I’m here to encourage you that it CAN be done… it’s my most popular post. 😉
Step Six: Be persistent in your search for freelance writing jobs
Anytime we do something new, success takes time and patience… am I right? As you’re searching for jobs and pitching to potential clients, don’t let rejections get you down. Persistence is key.
Applying for writing projects and finding those perfect clients is a numbers game. If you pitch your ideas and samples to enough people, some of them will love you. And, before you know it, you’ll be a happy freelance writer with plenty of work to keep you busy.
Paid online writing jobs are everywhere; you simply have to connect with who’s hiring. The key to success as a freelancer is not to give up!
Step Seven: How to get paid for writing
I mentioned before that it’s a good idea to do some free and cheap writing to build your content portfolio. When you’re brand new, that’s reasonable. However, don’t settle for getting paid pennies on the dollar once you’ve created several quality writing samples.
It’s very hard [at first] to not take any and all writing jobs that come along… even if the pay is crap. As a new freelance writer, you’ll doubt your worth and be tempted to work for free or very low pay.
This will not build a good income for the long haul, and you’ll get burned out quickly. [Another HUGE reason I recommend Holly’s writing course… she helps you raise those rates step-by-step!]
You’ll want to set some beginning rates. Maybe $50 per 500 words (or 1000 words)… for starters. It’s pretty common to charge per project length and not per hour. In fact, I don’t take hourly pay.
It’s very hard to keep track of your time when you write an article in the span of a few days to a week! You’ll learn with experience what good clients pay and what your writing is worth. Some niches pay better than others as well.
There will be times to negotiate, as well as times to walk away. I personally did my first few articles for $50 each. After that, I only took jobs that paid $100 or more. My rates are now closer to $150 per 1000 words.
Freelancing rates will vary depending on niche, skill level, technical difficulty, length of project, and other things. The key is to decide on a REASONABLE starting rate for your time, and stick with it. You’ll gain more respect as a serious writer, too.
Step Eight: Weigh the pros and cons of freelancing
There are many wonderful things about being a freelance writer!
Is being self-employed for everyone? Most likely not. It’s always good to begin a new adventure with your eyes wide open.
The downsides of freelancing:
- You need discipline enough to stick with a schedule and be productive at home. A great planner really helps!
- Working from home is solitary. One way to combat that is to work from a public place sometimes… go where people are. 😉
- Writer’s block is real. It’s not unfixable, but it’s a pain in the rear. Taking a walk or a long break can make all the difference.
- There are deadlines you must meet. So, it’s not unlike a regular job in that sense.
- You’ll work really hard, and potentially long hours while you’re first building your business. There’s no way around that part.
The benefits of freelance writing from home:
- The amazing flexibility you’ll have in your working hours and free time.
- More family time and the ability to vacation during the off-season. Disney World in November, anyone?
- You are in charge of your income and how much you earn. Period.
- You’re also in charge of your rates and giving yourself raises.
- You can work from anywhere … literally. Some freelancers live on sailboats full time, some in RVs touring the country, and others are camped out in Germany and Chile. The world is your oyster.
Final thoughts on how to start freelance writing…
I hope this post has given you plenty of information about the amazing opportunities you can find in a freelance writing career or side job. The sky really is the limit for what you choose to do with your own writing business.
Becoming a freelance writer has been a dream come true for me. Earning an income from home allowed me to be here with my daughter through cancer treatment this past year. That’s simply priceless.
What about you… how would paid online writing jobs change your life?
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