Freelancing has become more and more popular, both as a side hustle and as a lifestyle business.
It allows you to take control over your career with location independence and flexibility.
As a freelance writer, you can work remotely and on your own time. Plus, especially in the digital realm, there is no shortage of freelance writing gigs.
Blogs, digital businesses, life coaches and more all need writing ranging from sales copy and blog posts to email newsletters and full books.
But starting out can be daunting. That’s why I’ve put together these 7 tips for getting freelance writing gigs to help you start building your own freelance business.
Create A Portfolio
As a freelance writer, your biggest ally is your portfolio. It’s a collection of your past work and is instrumental in giving your potential new clients a glimpse at your style and the value you can provide for them.
Whenever you do a job for a client, add it, or a sample of it, to your personal writing portfolio. Then, send that along with your pitches. Having a portfolio is a critical resource for getting freelance writing gigs.
If you’re just starting out, write some sample pieces to create a body of work that you can share with potential clients. Create samples of the work you want and aim to do and make sure it’s your absolute best work.
You want to put your best foot forward and show potentials the cream of the crop. That applies whether you’re writing samples or using actual past work.
Identify what kind of writing services you want to provide. SEO, blog posts, product descriptions, e-books, sales copy, email newsletters, etc are just a few of the niches you could choose to specialize in.
What are you most interested in writing? Do you have any experience or special skills that lend your expertise in a few areas vs others?
Some areas go hand in hand like blog posts and SEO, so strategically choosing complementary niches can enable you to provide maximum value to your clients.
Identify a few areas that you’d like to focus on and specialize in. Then work on creating a work history of those types of pieces. Identifying the freelance writing gigs you want to get will also help you narrow down which clients to target.
Have Specific Samples
Once you’ve chosen your niche(s), now you can focus on pulling or creating samples in those specialties.
That’s not to say you can’t have a blog post thrown in your portfolio if you want to write copy, but you should tailor a portion of your sample pieces towards the work you want to attract.
Have a few very direct pieces for whatever niche(s) you want to target. Write email copy samples, or take them from actual pieces of work.
If you haven’t written for blogs yet, but want to be a blog writer, write some of your own blog posts.
Your portfolio, as mentioned above, should be focused and targeted.
Use a Freelance Network
Attracting new clients can be really tough when you’re just starting out. The first one is always the hardest to get.
That’s why using a freelancing network/job board is my number one recommendation for getting freelance writing gigs.
My favorite site for sourcing freelance work is Upwork.com. It connects freelancers with clients looking for all sorts of virtual assistance from graphic design to marketing.
Unsurprisingly, writing is a huge category on Upwork. You can filter the search to find your ideal writing jobs (sales copy, blog posts, books, etc), and then submit a proposal to the client.
I like Upwork because you have immediate access to a large pool of potential clients, and the format necessitates that you pitch yourself.
Every proposal allows you to send a cover letter and attach samples of your work. This is the perfect platform for pitching to new clients easily and in larger numbers.
Take A Course
You don’t have to have a natural expertise in the niche you want to write in. Choosing a niche to specialize in should be at least a bit strategic. You want to choose a topic that’s in demand and can provide you with regular work.
Certain niches like SEO writing or sales copy require certain knowledge and skills in order to do effectively.
That’s where taking a course can come in handy.
There are tons of digital courses that will teach you a variety of writing skills from how to properly write for SEO to how to write the most effective copy.
Taking a course also enables you to advertise that you’re certified in your field while giving you any skills you may not immediately have.
Lacking total expertise in one area shouldn’t prevent you from pursuing it. But taking a course can help supplement your knowledge, allowing you to create more effective deliverables.
When you’re a freelancer, you have to constantly be prepared to source new work. Regardless of whether you work on a project by project basis or have a few clients that you work for every day, you need to be able to market your services.
Freelancing allows you location independence and flexible hours, but that is with the understanding that freelancing comes with a measure of instability.
Freelancing is at-will, which means if a client decides to drop you, or vice versa, it can have an immediate effect on your income.
Being able to market yourself properly, either through a personal website, frequent pitches, or even digital ads can help attract a queue of clients that you can write for so you have a stream of constant work coming in.
Creating a blog to market your services can be very effective and can allow you to share tips, updates, and samples. Join our 30 day launch a blog challenge to learn how you can create your perfect blog.
Part of marketing yourself well in my mind includes doing great work. A lot of freelancers acquire new work through word of mouth. When you do great work for your current clients, they may be inclined to spread the word.
If you’re a newbie at getting freelance writing gigs, or if you’re just looking to attract new clients, offering a free service can be a great way to seal the deal.
Offer a free blog post or a free set of sales copy. This not only provides immediate value to your potential client, but it also sends a message that you’re confident in your work.
Throwing in a freebie is a bonus for clients as well as a glimpse at what you can do. Plus, it indicates that you care about fostering a working relationship vs just finding someone to add to your queue.
Now you’re ready to kick off your freelance career with a bang. Got the freelance bug? Don’t miss 7 tips you need to become a virtual assistant.