This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.
A little less than ten years ago, I began working as a freelance writer. I worked part time and earned very little money. At the time, that was fine, because I was only interested in making a little fun money. Then, I lost my job, and learned that prospects in my field weren’t very good.
So, I decided to turn part time writing into a full time career as a freelance writer. I’m happy to say that my career is going wonderfully today, but I did struggle for a few years. This was mostly because I did not know how to find work that paid well. Now that I have figured a few things out, you can benefit from my experience.
Get Published Right Away
Before they hire you, people are going to ask about your experience and to see writing samples. Won’t you don’t want to do is email them some copies of documents that you’ve written for practice. You want to show them that you’ve actually had your work published.
There are many ways to do this. If you have a friend with a small business, offer to write a few blog posts for them. You can also write articles and submit them for publication on websites such as the Huffington Post or Medium.
Join a community of writers (it's free!)
Create a Website
In my opinion, WordPress is the best tool for this job. Your website should contain information about you, the writing services that you offer, contact information, a blog, and your portfolio. Both your blog and portfolio should be updated frequently.
This is where people will go when they want to learn more about you and the work that you do. It also helps to establish you as a professional writer, and not a hobbyist. Don’t worry about setting up a system for taking payments when you first begin. PayPal will work perfectly well in the beginning, you can deal with e-commerce solutions down the road.
Get Active on Social Media
If you want to find the writing jobs that pay well, you have to network. Many of your jobs will come from other writers, small business owners, marketers, and designers. The best way to network is to get active on social media and develop relationships with these people.
At the very least, create a Facebook and a Twitter. This will allow you to friend and follow businesses you are interested in working with, and will give you a place to promote your business.
Look in Your Community
Make a list of small to medium sized businesses that are local to you. Then, visit their websites. You want to look for two things: First, do they have a blog at all? Second, if they do have a blog, is it only sporadically updated?
If either of these apply, you might have a potential client. Many business owners understand the value of content marketing, but don’t have the resources or time to keep up with a blog or a social media presence. This is a good way to pick up a few regular monthly gigs.
Write Query Letters And Pitch Your Story Ideas
If you aren’t familiar, query letters are letters that you send to publishers to pitch your story ideas. Many online publications and websites accept blog posts, articles, and other content from freelance writers. You can find plenty of lists of these websites using google. Make a list of these, and come up with a few ideas for articles and blog posts. Then, submit your ideas to the appropriate contact people with query letters introducing yourself and outlining what your article would be about.
Just be sure to do some reading so you are familiar with the audience and the content that they want. You will also want to take a close look at the payment policies as well. Some publications pay over $100 dollars per article, while others offer less than $20 and a link to your website.
Use the /r/ForHire Subreddit
I didn’t know about this Subreddit until fairly recently. In fact, if I was writing this article a few years ago, I would have included a reluctant plug for Craigslist. This isn’t a slam against that website. I have certainly picked up well paying jobs from there, but I’ve learned that you have to wade through a lot of ripoffs to find legitimate jobs there. On the other hand, I’ve used this Subreddit to find jobs and to advertise my services and have always had excellent results.
Check With Local Magazines And Newspapers
There may be paid writing opportunities for you with your local newspaper or locally published magazines. Your local newspaper may need local beat reporters to cover sports, entertainment, local news, or dining.
Your local community might also be home to a few locally produced magazines and newsletters. These are primarily focused on dining, local music and entertainment, sports, real estate, and local business news. If any of these are in your wheelhouse, you can inquire with the editor about becoming a contributor.
Jonathan Emmen – is a freelance writer and blogger whose articles relate to the marketing sphere and development of writing skills. Follow him on TopWritingReviews.