Is freelance writing a good career for you? This article aims to answer that question. I love working as a freelance writer personally. I always struggled in a 9-5 setting and didn’t particularly enjoy taking orders.
Freelance writing has allowed me to be my own boss, set my own hours and travel the world while earning money. I’m very grateful for the freedom freelance writing has given me.
But, it’s not always been easy. Just like with any transition into something new, it comes with ups and downs. Keep reading to find out if freelance writing is a good career, who it is right for, what are the benefits and how you can start earning money yourself.
Is Freelance Writing a Good Career For You
What Exactly Does a Freelance Writer Do?
Freelance writers work on a self-employed basis. They can work for one main client or multiple clients at a time on a broad range of content.
Some specialise in a niche such as business, travel, beauty or marketing writing for example. And, some may only do certain types of writing like resume writing, copywriting, magazine writing, email writing or blog articles.
Others will write about a broad range of topics and in multiple niches. Freelance writing jobs can be taken on a per-project basis or they can be ongoing.
How Do Freelance Writers Get Paid?
The way a freelance writer gets paid will vary between jobs and is agreed before the project starts. The usual way is to complete the content requested, send an invoice and get paid at the end of each month.
To get paid as a new freelance writer, you need to:
- Create a portfolio of writing samples
- Market your writing services on social media
- Search job boards and send out cold emails
- Secure clients and write content requested
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Is it Hard to Get Freelance Writing Jobs?
Freelance writing is competitive as a career. To get high paying writing jobs you often have to compete with many others who apply for the same gig.
To make it easier, you can differentiate yourself by having a niche. If you have experience with a certain subject, you are more likely to get chosen for a niche writing job than someone who isn’t.
Writing job boards are the most competitive places to find work. This is because they get huge amounts of traffic daily and have many applicants who apply for each job.
My advice is to apply to work for companies before they advertise the need for a writer. If you apply at the right time you could get a paid client. If it’s the wrong time, your name will be kept on file and you’ll be notified before anyone else if a job arises.
How Much Do Beginner Freelance Writers Make?
A beginner freelance writer with 0 – 3 years’ experience makes between $10 – $20 an hour. This will vary greatly depending on who you work for and what type of writing it is.
As a new freelance writer, I set my rates at $20 for 500 words or per hour. I wasn’t willing to write for less than this, but I was offered a lot of lower paid work.
The content mills will try to take advantage and only pay writers around $5 for 500 words or per hour. It’s up to you whether you take this low paying work. If you have zero experience, this is a way to gain some experience even though the pay is terrible.
What are the Benefits of Being a Freelance Writer?
There are many benefits of becoming a freelance writer. Some of these include:
- Time freedom. Freelance writing gives you time freedom. Work in the morning or evening, it’s up to you, as long as you hit deadlines.
- Location independence. Work anywhere you have an internet connection including a beach café, hotel or at home on the sofa.
- No commute. Avoid stressful, sweaty, train or bus commutes with other people’s armpits in your face.
- Interesting, varied work. Write in a variety of topics and on a range writing assignments such as blog content, social media content, emails or sales copy.
- Limitless income potential. While it is tough to get the first few paid clients. Once you gain experience you can increase your rates and you may get recommended by happy clients, enabling you to increase monthly earnings.
- A rewarding career. It’s a great feeling to see the content you’ve created live online or published in a book.
- Choose who you work with. It’s hard to get away from a nasty boss in the office. But as a freelancer, you choose who to work with and can ditch a client who isn’t nice.
- Set your own schedule. Take Mondays off if you like. Or, spend the afternoon playing with the kids. Freelance writing allows you to set a work schedule that works for you.
- It’s a creative outlet. Writing is a way to express yourself and get the creative juices flowing.
What Skills and Tools Are Needed to Become a Successful Freelance Writer?
To succeed as a freelance writer, you need to communicate a concept clearly and concisely. The best writers are able to adopt a company’s tone of voice and write directly to one type of customer. Other skills and tools needed to succeed include:
- Good spelling, punctuation and grammar
- Reliable internet access and computer or laptop
- Great research skills
- A basic level of tech-savviness
- Ability to concentrate for extended periods
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How Do I Become a Freelance Writer with No Experience?
1. Decide on a Niche
To get started, decide if you’ll write in a specialised niche or become a general freelance writer. If you have a proven skill or success in one area, this can become your area of writing expertise.
Niche writers can demand more money for the work they produce. But, there is no pressure to choose a niche if you don’t want to. I have preferred topics, but the bulk of my work is in a variety of niches that I enjoy.
2. Create a Writing Portfolio
Before applying for paid work, put a writing portfolio together that shows off what you can do. This portfolio will be the deciding factor whether you get paid work, so make it good.
If you don’t have a blog, start writing for free on Medium. Another place to write for free is LinkedIn articles.
Related read: How to Build a Writing Portfolio with No Experience
3. Cold Email Potential Clients
Don’t just wait for a job to be posted to apply for writing work. Take the initiative and reach out to companies and people you would love to write for. This gives you an advantage over others and gets you noticed. Send a cold email introducing yourself, saying what you like about the company and how you think you could add value.
4. Search Job Boards and Freelance Marketplaces
While job boards and freelance marketplaces are competitive, they shouldn’t be discounted. Set aside 1 – 2 hours a day to apply for writing jobs and to set up freelancer profiles. If you stay persistent, you will get offered paid work.
5. Market Your Freelance Writing Services
Don’t forget to market yourself! You can be the best writer in the world, but if nobody knows about you, your bank account will not grow. Set up engaging social profiles on LinkedIn and at least one other platform. Don’t make it just about yourself. Tell potential clients what you can do for them.
6. Develop Your Writing Skills
The growth never stops. Even 7 years later, I still learning something new with every writing project. As a beginner writer, develop a daily writing habit. Challenge yourself to write 500 – 1,000 words a day and your skills will develop. If you haven’t already, take a writing course to learn from expert writers who have what you want.
Related read: Best Free Online Courses for New Writers
Final Thoughts On Is Freelance Writing a Good Career
To answer the question ‘’Is freelance writing a good career’’ I would say yes for the right person. Not everyone has what it takes to be successful and not everyone will enjoy it.
If you love to write, can write clearly, have a good grasp of spelling and grammar, are self-motivated and have top time management skills then you’re very likely to succeed as a writer.
Always remember, building a successful freelance writing career is a journey. Don’t lose hope if you don’t see immediate success. It took me three months to get my first paying client, so you have to persevere.
Keep writing, developing your voice and applying for paid work. With time and effort, you’ll get the results you are working for.
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*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.