8 Tips on How to start your Freelance Writing Career

how to become a freelance writer

Table of Contents

The freelancing career, in general, has emerged as one of the new norms in recent times. 

With rising unemployment levels, job-hopping, and job losses due to the pandemic and lockdown, the Indian economy is constantly shifting towards unpredictable developments. 

And in such a scenario, if you’re inclined towards freelance writing as one of the last resorts, I assume these skills regarding how to start your freelance writing career can surely help you!

Since freelancing is the current emerging work culture, it has slowly crept into the Indian mindset, knowing how job-seekers now look for versatile and flexible work life. 

The latest and upcoming generation seems to be hunting a lifestyle that is independent and relaxing. Shortly, they want to be their own boss. 

Freelancing is here to stay. People are looking for jobs according to their preferences, like where they want, when they want, and what they want. 

Freelancing in India has become so popular that it has attracted a large segment of job-seekers. These independent professionals look up to learning new things and explore new genres of work every day.

Key Takeaways

  • Freelancing is a job with a huge scope in the future.
  • About 58 million people in the United States prefer freelancing as their primary job.
  • Freelancers are proving to be a radical element for Small and Medium Businesses

What is freelancing?

Crucially, freelancing refers to a job where a person works explicitly for himself. Other companies hire freelancers on a contractual or part-time basis, often referred to as independent contractors.

In freelancing, the person uses his skills and experience to provide services to his clients. 

A freelancer is a self-employed individual who earns money by providing services to multiple clients. 

Usually, freelancers accept payments in return for giving some sort of work. That agreement is generally part-time or short-term. 

For instance, if I hired a photographer to take a few clicks for me, I would pay that freelancer for that session, and that ends our agreement.

Freelancers use third-party platforms like LinkedIn, Naukri.com, etc., to get business or use their network or references directly to provide services to the clients.

Freelancing from the pages of history

When freelancing had just begun to be spelt out by people, it was just a part-time job that people would opt for along with their regular jobs to earn an extra income. 

To put it in a better light, freelancing was opted by students to earn their pocket money and efficiently utilize their time. 

During the year 1995, a US report states about 32.2% of people were into freelancing. This number remained almost identical until the year 2005 when it declined a little to 30.6%.

The present dynamic of Freelancing

  • At the moment, there are about 58 million people in the United States who prefer freelancing as their primary job instead of a traditional corporate job. This way, they are contributing over $1.4 trillion to the U.S. economy. And if this continues to happen, the US can experience steady growth in the number of skilled workers opting to freelance every year, thus making freelancing a significant workforce in the US.
  • Google’s workforce comprises more freelancers than permanent employees. As of March 2019, Google’s workforce includes about 120,000 contractors/freelancers, more than the number of permanent employees on its payroll, around 102,000.
  • Countries that have lower domestic work opportunities are experiencing a surge in freelance professionals. This implies that the rise in remote teams’ adoption has led to freelancing being a prevailing career option for many united states. America’s gig economy experienced significant growth of 78% in year-on-year earnings.  

India, Pakistan, Ukraine, the Philippines, & Bangladesh are listed in the top ten countries with the fastest-growing earnings for freelancers.

  • Freelancers are proving to be a radical element for Small and Medium Businesses. They are giving cost-effective and flexible solutions that are helping SMBs to achieve their growth plans. 
  • Reports have shown that SMBs are incredibly content with freelancers and are looking to increase their use of freelancers in the future.

Here are a few key figures to support this fact:

  1. About 70% of SMBs in the U.S. have worked with freelancers at least once.
  2. 81% of these entities plan to hire freelancers again 
  3. And 83% agree that freelancers have greatly helped their business.
  • Freelancing opportunities are on a constant rise, with online freelancing platforms being the catalysts.

Almost 71% of freelancers reported a rise in the amount of work they were able to attract online over the course of the last several years. They expressed that online platforms provide an excellent medium for connecting freelancers to companies & vice-versa.

  • Freelancers work more than double over the next ten years.

Hiring managers expect a 168% increase in the amount of work done by flexible talent (freelancers, temporary and agency workers) in the next ten years.

  • 12 out of the top 20 in-demand skills for freelancers are related to the development

The top skills desired by companies looking to hire freelancers consist primarily of various technologies and IT-related skills. They include Blockchain, Amazon DynamoDB, React Native, Angular, Computer Vision, Go, among many others.

What is Freelance content writing?

A freelance content writer works as a self-employed person on multiple projects simultaneously and paid separately for each project. They are typically called independent business owners. 

Now, you must be wondering what are the skills for content writers? Let’s have a look below:

A freelance writer must produce well-researched content and contain relevant text to which the readers can relate. He may be required to create content for ebooks, websites, brochures, email, blogs, magazines, or newspapers. They are directly paid for their delivery by every client. 

ALSO READ: Upskilling The Youth: Why Is It Important?

Why content writing?

Content is the king. And anyone inclined to create content must realize that the content they make should be consistent, engaging, and of high quality. Most importantly, it should relate to the viewers or readers.

Opting for content writing as a freelancer can be a great idea as it is the most effective way to target the audience and bring in traffic towards your brand. It helps you generate leads and gives your brand a human identity. 

Good content writing is essential for search engine optimization. This means that it would make your work rank higher on the search engine results page. 

Your brand will use the content written by you if it is worthy of building coherent bits that possess knowledge about your brand. One of the crucial factors in determining your company’s growth and success is consistency, especially in brand messaging.

You will carry your own unique, identifiable voice, tone, and style across your channels with content writing. You would undoubtedly benefit from your content creation efforts. 

The content writer helps your audience engage and create a relationship with a band and covers every aspect of the business. Even, content writing jobs are also growing day by day in this industry.

Posting and updating regular content lets people know what your firm is about and informs them about what you do and how you can help the business grow.

Types of Content Writing Jobs

If you are stepping into a freelance career, you must be well acquainted with the different types of content writing jobs. 

Here are the some types of content writing jobs which you can choose from:

1. Web content writer

A web content writer generally creates content on and for the internet. It can be based on writing content for websites selling any particular product or writing blogs online. 

Web content writers need to conduct proper research on the topic before they start writing. It essentially requires them to inculcate appropriate keywords, entwine them with the article you write. 

Adding keywords to your articles is important because it helps you to drive traffic to your website. 

2. Technical writer

A technical writer’s job is to break up the jargonized and daunting terms and make them more gullible for the audience. A technical writer’s work revolves around creating instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, or other such documents.

3. Newspaper or Magazine writer

Writing for newspapers or magazines can get you both a remote and an offline job. A newspaper content writer is responsible for reporting daily events that occur in a particular region. 

A writer for a magazine may write about reviewing a book or a movie or maybe writing lifestyle-themed articles. They could also publish opinionated articles and voice out their thoughts.

4. Ghostwriter

A ghostwriter is someone who writes content under someone else’s name. They get paid for the job they do but are not given the credits for it. A ghostwriter is responsible for writing literary, journalistic articles or speech-like content. 

The ghostwriter is hired primarily as a professional freelance writer to produce high-quality writing copy.

Prerequisites to become a writer

Now to become any one of these writers, you must have the knowledge to become a writer in the first place.

Here are some prerequisites to become a writer:

1. Start working with sample work

Developing a sample work always works a great deal. This will enhance your portfolio before you can go further. Many writers contribute to other blogs and online magazines as guest writers or as regular contributors to their blogs. At this point, share your work with friends and family to collect reviews that will build a readership and validate your work. 

When it comes to pitching for paid jobs, you can use your sample work as a resume to demonstrate your abilities and writing skills.

2. Study another writer’s work

If you want to create reliable content, you must be aware of what your competition is up to. Taking inspiration from some good bloggers can add value to your content. Reading a good writer’s work will help you become a better content writer. 

A few of the writers you can follow for some great content are Neil Patel and Bryan Clark. Going through their social media can tell you how they present themselves in the market. 

It is best to pursue their work and pattern of writing. Paying attention and critically analyzing what you like about their style and voice can add a lot of value to your work.

Let’s look at another one of the prerequisites to become a writer

3. Research thoroughly before writing

When you create content, adding facts, figures, evidence, and even opinions to back up your points and claims will enhance your work.

Your readers would not want to read material that was merely built on speculation. You have to show your readers that you care about providing them with highly relevant content by carefully reviewing and crediting the appropriate knowledge sources. 

4. Maintain a social media presence

Social media presence has made its way into the fundamentals of human life. No matter which profession you belong to, having a social media account has become as essential as carrying a resume to your job interview. 

Presence on major social media sites, like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium (a social network for writers), Twitter helps develop your personal brand and promote your content.

5. Keep evolving

So, these were some of the prerequisites to become a writer.

The content format keeps evolving in response to how people view it on social media income flow.

The image of content creation is restricted to written content and has moved towards audio/video content and chatbots.

You should always be prepared to welcome and be ready for the changes that can come your way. Thus, this makes it one of the crucial skills for freelance writing.

How to start your freelance writing career

You must be wondering how to become a freelance content writer? To master the art of becoming an experienced freelance content writer there are some skills that you must have critical knowledge of before you head on to writing a piece of content.

While you begin writing something, and if you want it to be read by people, here are some tips on how to become a freelance writer:

  1. Strong writing skills with SEO writing in practice

While a freelance writing career is for anyone, good writing skills for content writers are always like a cherry on the top of your cake. While you can master any other skills to sell your work, your writing ability primarily is one thing you need to ace up.  

It is essential to write great content, but the content you write should include proper grammar, punctuation, tone and speaking style, crisp and clean content, well researched and original. SEO is another essential element that you must incorporate in your written pieces.

  1. Ability to meet deadlines

You must have a firm clock to complete your work on time. It is essential to know how you can turn up the job in a given amount of time to meet your clients’ deadlines. But if you aim at finishing the work just to meet the deadline, there may be a chance that you might end up making a compromise on the quality of your content. 

There may be occasions when you may be allowed to choose the deadlines for the tasks given by your clients. Do not impress the client by committing to deliver extra work if you can’t find the time/resources to finish it in time.

  1. Travel solo

Being punctual and disciplined may not be everyone’s cup of tea. And if you’re used to going to the office every day and are punctual about it, then freelancing can be somewhat monotonous to you. 

But if you enjoy working alone in your own comfort zone, then freelancing is your thing. Imagine sitting by a beach in Bali, sipping on a refreshing drink, and creating content that can do wonders for you!

  1. Accept rejections and learn from criticism

Imagine you wrote an article by doing detailed research on the subject. You have never written something that you are so proud of. But then your client gives you some last-minute changes. Relatable! When reverting to such situations, try to remain neutral and don’t take things personally. 

There may also be cases where you approach, say, ten clients in a go and maybe get a few to three responses to it. This way, you might end up making the most minuscule profits being self-employed. 

With this being said, always be open to criticisms and rejections. 

  1. Market your skills fearlessly

Pitching ideas, attending thousands of phone calls, and handling negotiations can demand you to be exposed to people if you are not inclined to be outgoing with people. But this is all a part of how you market yourself in the market. 

Some practices or methods can make you feel more confident about marketing, but finally, the load of completing the job will fall on you. But if you can fight your anxiety and ace it confidently, you’ll be able to sell yourself in the market. 

  1. Be self-sufficient in taking initiatives…

To embark on your journey as a freelance content writer, it is crucial that you take initiative all by yourself. To land clients to the table, you must initiate the process from your end first. As a freelancer, you are a hundred per cent in charge of yourself. 

Being your own boss brings in a few benefits like setting rates that suit you, determining your schedule as per your flexibility, and making you accountable for your own pitfalls. If you cannot deliver the job within your set timelines, it will be your loss at the end of the day.

Most freelancers prefer working alone and are solely responsible for deadlines and deliveries. If you are comfortable working independently and tackling the calls and clients all by yourself, freelancing is an excellent fit for you.

  1. Stay on the cutting edge

Are you the kind of person who is always keen on learning new things and takes challenges head-on? Technology and marketing are in a constant mode of change. 

Take social media, for instance. Instagram always has a feature trending regularly. Every year new social media platforms emerge online. Marketers, especially content creators, need to stay updated with these changes. Staying on your tiptoes with the latest trends will also help you enhance your grip on the market.

  1. Juggle like a pro

While you are in the market, trying to sell your skills, you must be well prepared to keep many balls up in the air as a freelancer. 

While freelancing, you are not only a content creator but also the CEO, CTO, CFO of your own self. 

If we talk about how a freelancer’s workday would be, here are all the jobs you’ll be doing in a day. You’ll be creating content, marketing it, attending to clients, answering questions, researching for your new content, and so much more.

These are all important aspects for your freelance writing career.

Sometimes, juggling between work might frustrate and develop your personality and help you grow as an individual. This is a critical trait for a freelancer to keep ongoing. 

So, these were some tips on how to start your freelance writing career.

Now, let us understand why people choose freelance writing as their career.

ALSO READ: 5 Awesome Examples Of Jobs For Creative People

Why are people Freelancing?

Freelancing provides people with a flexible lifestyle to work. The most common reason to choose freelance is that you get to be your own boss. You do not require to report any control freak senior management or work in clocked hours at the office. 

Being a freelancer adds a lot of versatility and power of leadership to your life.

Many freelancers choose their hours, the job they do, the customers for whom they work, the cost at which they’d work. Freelancing is a form of entrepreneurship, which means that the freelancer comprehensively regulates their earning capacity. 

Freelancing provides a great deal of variety in the type of work you can do. If you’re someone who enjoys working with a lot of variety in work and you’re drawn to trying new things, freelance can help you explore all kinds of projects and industries.

Is it possible to become a freelance content writer without experience? 

If you ask which course or degree is the best to help me get started with a freelancing career, then here’s the answer to the question- there is no such degree for freelance. 

To begin a career in freelancing, start by deciding your niche. What is it that YOU enjoy doing? What is it that makes YOU happy? What is it that readers like YOU will enjoy reading? From beauty articles to cookie recipes to lifestyle articles, there is a wide range that you can choose from.

Unlike a full-time job, you get many opportunities to examine your writing skills and explore which field suits you best as a freelance writer.

When stepping into the field, it is a great idea to take up multiple projects in different areas. 

From social media writing to lifestyle blogging, you must take up whichever topic you can tap into. This will help you decide which niche suits you the best!

Employment or Freelancing?

Whether you’re a freelancer or an employee, the type of job you do might be the same, but the money and lifestyle can be significantly different.

Here are some arguments you need to know – 

  • Employees get a steady income and enjoy benefits like – health care, transport facility, vacation pay, retirement benefits, etc., which the company provides. In contrast, a freelancer’s income depends on the number of clients or projects they are working on.
  • As a freelancer, you can have the potential to make more money because you work as much or as little as you want while you’re freelancing. You set prices on your own and have no caps on wages. The salary will be much higher than what you would make as an employee in the same sector if you’re successful in finding the right customers.
  • Freelancers must be self-starters and keep searching for their next job as there are unscrupulous people out there who pay late or want to get away with paying you at all. It is also less likely that you’re going to get stiff for a daily paycheck.

How much money do freelancers make?

The amount of money a freelancer makes can depend on various factors that they may come across while working. 

A freelancer’s salary can be based on the quality of the work, quantity at a defined period, and how the person can meet your work deadlines. 

If you are like most freelancers who keep an eye on their income levels, it’s good to have an established daily, weekly and monthly income. This will help you in achieving your income goals. 

Some companies may hire freelancers above $100 per hour for legal writing, copywriting and tech writing. 

What are the challenges faced by freelancers?

The freelancing profession, like any other job, comes with its fair share of challenges. There are no jobs that do not face ups and downs. 

Listed below are some common problems that many freelancers can relate to, with some tips on how to deal with them.

Challenge 1: Finding work regularly

A freelancer has to look for work continuously. There may be instances when you may have more work than you can deliver, and you may also come across situations where you are practically idle. 

Every freelancer comes across the constant challenge of maintaining continuous workflow. Furthermore, finding qualitative work and reliable clients regularly can be challenging.

Solution: 

The best way to ensure a continuous workflow is to work with multiple clients. This ensures that you always have something to work on. 

This can also help you bring in variety in your work allowing you to break the monotony. Working with many clients can also help you build a network with people from different walks of life. 

Challenge 2: Meeting tight deadlines

When you take up a specific job, you are expected to deliver the work on time. Every client expects that their project is your top priority. 

As a freelancer, you are often expected to complete assignments within very tight deadlines. And when you work on multiple projects, the deadlines could end up clashing, and you may find yourself in a fix.

Solution:

First and foremost, be organised! Plan your work schedule, incorporate buffers, and go the extra mile whenever you can. 

Set your timelines and find a common area with your client on the expected turnaround time. Being accommodative in a way that works well for you and your client is the best way to build a long-lasting work relationship.

You might not see immediate results in the beginning, so it is important to stay motivated and learn from initial failures.

Challenge 3: Lack of employment benefits

Being a freelancer, you may prefer working on your terms, but remember that you could miss out on various benefits and entitlements of being an employee without a permanent job. 

For example, you may not get promotions or bonuses, which an employee receives. You may also be unable to experience the fun of office parties.

Solution: 

As a freelancer, you are your boss. Whenever you wish, you can reward yourself for your little or big accomplishments that may be significant. Revise your income targets every year and work to achieve them to ensure that you always move forward. 

One of the perks that freelancing brings to the table is taking breaks whenever you like. Set aside a holiday for a week or two each year and give yourself a relaxing break away from work.

Challenge 4: Planning your finances

This is one of the scariest aspects for a freelancer. Having a tight income or not knowing when you will receive your next paycheck can be a tricky deal. 

Be it lack of work or payment lags, making a well-structured plan for your finances can prevent difficult financial times.

Solution: 

It is a great idea to manage your finances to support your expenses according to the flow of assignments. Collaborating with multiple clients, distributing payment schedules, and clarifying a fixed payment schedule with clients can streamline income flow. 

Challenge 5: Keeping productivity high

Maintaining high productivity levels and enhancing the quality of content creation is another challenge for a freelancer. 

Sometimes you may be able to pull off an all-nighter, and at other times you may just not feel like getting out of bed. A writer’s job can sometimes be extremely tiring and monotonous.

Solution: 

Try keeping healthy connections with peers in your industry. You never know when they might be of help to you. Participating in online forums, workshops, talk shows, and seminars are great ways to exchange ideas, brainstorm, learn new stuff, and get inspired. 

If you write blogs, these tips can surely help improve your writing skills.

Challenge 6: Filter out bad clients

People often end up blindly taking up projects without any backchecks just to have an income in hand. Many people today face financial problems. 

Recent studies showcase that nearly 58% of freelancers have experienced not getting paid even after delivering the tasks.

There may be times, when you may have to work with an unknown client, might end up in a situation where you may overwork and be mistreated. 

You may be forced to work on projects that may be below your skill level, leaving no room for upskilling. That is when you might look at the quick gains and feel like this won’t harm you in any way. But in the longer run, your career could stagnate.

Solution:

Always remember the internet is where imposters can pose lucrative prospects to attract you. Ensure that you research extensively before signing a contract with any new client. 

Visit online forums, consult with your peers, and check their social media or online reviews before committing to the project. In short, leave no stone unturned in the process of taking in new clients for your work.

Conclusion: How to become a Freelance Writer

Freelancing is a field with an ocean of creative opportunities for people who find comfort in a flexible lifestyle. But having a relaxed and independent lifestyle calls for a challenging life too. 

As a freelancer, challenges like lack of ideas, lack of creativity, depreciating content quality might be some of the challenges you might encounter. 

But if you feel that you can head on those challenges head-on, earn a decent income, and ace this field, then freelancing is the right field for you.

Things are changing with time, and so is the scope of freelancing jobs in India. With so many websites coming up, a freelance writing career seems to have not just a bright but a brighter future.

I hope after reading this article you might have got a decent idea on how to start your freelance writing career. Feel free to drop your suggestions or doubts in the comments section below.

All the best on your freelancing career!!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to become a Freelance writer with no experience?

Freelancing being a flexible and lucrative career option can be one of the toughest options for people with no prior experience. But that does not indicate that one can never freelance. If you want to start freelancing but have no prior experience, these tips will come in handy!
1. Prioritize Experience over a Paycheck. …
2. Consider Your Existing Skills. …
3. Create a Website. …
4. Lean on Your Network. …
5. Meet with a Fellow Freelancer. …
6. Know Where to Search. …
7. Understand Your Chosen Industry.

What freelance jobs are in demand?

There are a few career options that are currently in a lot of demand in the market. You can explore some of the following:
1. Video Creation and Editing: It’s no question that, as a form of content marketing, video is on the rise. …
2. Video Marketing: If video editing is on the rise, it only makes sense that video marketing is as well. …
3. Salesforce Administration. …
4. Freelance Writing. …
5. Copywriting. …
6. SEO Specialist. …
7. Editing and Proofreading. …
8. Graphic Design.

How much do freelancers earn?

Currently, at least 60% of Indian freelancers who are under the age of 30 years, have an average income of freelancers of Rs 20 lakh per annum across India and 23% of them make over Rs 40 lakh per annum.

Is freelancing a safe career?

Freelancing comes with its fair share of good and bad, but when it’s done right, it comes with great perks of freedom, money and peace of mind. Why? 
Because freelancing is not just getting online on freelancing sites, and start doing projects. It requires much more than your skills to reach the target and goals!

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