How to Become a Freelance Writer

Choose your own hours as a freelance writer

how to become a freelance writer and journalistAs a graduate wanting to start a career in writing or journalism you could work for an established media company who will fit you into their systems and processes or you could become a freelance writer. Following are tips  on finding writing opportunities, building your portfolio and experience and choosing a niche to help you get discovered. Even if you are not a graduate you can become a freelance writer but what you write and how you write is becomes much more important.

With more and more graduates entering a constantly changing market job opportunities in media are scarce and graduates need to be creative in the way they earn money and gain experience as a writer. Every writer has their own writing style and becoming a freelance writer is one way to find the right match for your writing style and playing an important role as writing goes through digital disruption and content marketing becomes an important marketing medium.

The nature of freelancing work enables writers to work from home and in their own time, rather than being stuck in a 9-5 job, but this comes with a certain level of responsibility – to be disciplined and focussed to earn money. If you have good writing capabilities and a pricing method that is attractive to businesses you may find being a freelance writer as rewarding as you’d like it to be – particularly in an age where it is now important to have good spelling and grammar and a good grasp of the English language.

Pricing your writing by the hour or by the word count

Many freelance writers start out either bidding for work at freelance websites or submitting work to potential clients as a trial so that they can see your writing style, but it is important to test and measure quickly to understand what works. You could look at hourly rates but most customers are looking for word counts and that is the beauty of being a freelance writer and enables you to write in your own time.

Business writing and Search Engines

If you want to write for magazines and newspapers, keep your pitches short and interesting and never let rejection affect your writing tone or the way you speak with prospective clients. If your writing and ideas are interesting and relevant, the right person will choose you and if you master the skill of writing content for search engines (SEO) while still sounding natural you’ll be able to enter the world of online writing and content marketing that attracts inbound customer queries for businesses. This is where good quality writing becomes a marketing asset for businesses and means that they are more willing to spend money on it.

Persistence and reputation

Persistence is a very important factor to succeed and often that persistence helps you improvise, brainstorm and come up with new and innovative ways of both writing and doing your own marketing to find new clients . You may get knocked back a fair bit but when you keep trying you’ll get noticed and when you have enough clients you’ll build a reputation as a good quality writer that helps clients win new business and that makes you an investment rather than an expense!

Building contacts and maintaining good relationships is important in any profession and when you’re a freelance writer you are soley responsible for finding your own work so it’s even more important.

Register your interest in becoming a freelance writer

Steps to starting out as a freelance writer

Here’s a quick guide to help you on your journey in starting your own content marketing business:

  • Choose a business name and domain name and REGISTER them
  • Choose a business structure (sole trader, company etc) and REGISTER it
  • Set yourself up with the ATO for ABN and GST
  • Open up a bank account and Paypal account
  • Decide what you want to offer and how much you want to charge
  • Create a website to promote your services and rates
  • Create business cards so you can network and get new clients
  • Setup your own bookkeeping software so you can start invoicing and keep track of payments
  • Join a industry organisation to improve credibility
  • Make cold calls, send samples of your work, get feedback about your pricing
  • Build your business
  • Pay your bills on time, save some money and enjoy yourself too!

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If you are a qualified or experienced writer and want to start your own business the EzyStartUp Business StartUp and Admin Course takes you through most aspects of running your own business from start up legals and business structure, to pricing and packaging your services, understand the market and how to approach your own marketing and reporting to keep track of your progress. The end result is a business plan and a blue print you can use to keep you focussed on the big picture when you go through the daily up and downs.

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