How To Start Freelance Writing: The Simple, Life-Changing, Ultimate Guide

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The freelance economy is in the midst of a serious boom and it ain't slowing down folks. As a matter of fact, Upwork (a freelance writing platform that I've had no luck on) put out a study that dropped this bombshell of a figure...

By 2027, the majority of people in the US workforce will be freelancing. And while I don't have data to back this claim, I assume that my brethren and sister...en from the UK and Canada are probably going to experience a similar shift in their economies.

Why? Because freelancing rocks!

Also, employers don't want to pay for your health insurance so they'd rather hire you as a contractor (freelancer) than as an employee... WOMP WOMP. Don't worry though. Once you learn how to start freelance writing, you'll be able to afford your own colonoscopies!

What You're About to Read in This Simple Yet Life-Changing Guide

Here's the deal... Over the next couple of minutes, I'm going to spare you the BS you're going to run into with every other article written on the subject of "how to become a freelance writer". I'm not going to tell you things like, "you need a KILLER WEBSITE" or anything like that to accomplish your goals.

Do things like websites, writer's resumes and the like help? Sure. Do you need that stuff if you're interested in making tens of thousands of dollars per year freelance writing ASAP? NOPE!

I'm gonna give you bare-bones, effective pointers on how to start freelance writing. Then, in the spirit of full disclosure, I'm going to invite you to go deeper down the rabbit hole with me via a limited-time webinar I just hosted that you can access right now where I'll dive into exactly how I make tens of thousands of dollars writing while traveling the world (the webinar is FREE and the information I'll be sharing 100% has the potential to give your life a serious upgrade).

As a matter of fact, since the webinar covers everything you're about to read here and more, if you'd like to skip right to it, you can access it here while it's still available (if it has been taken down, then it has already hit its audience quota and might go back up in the future, so keep an eye out!). I'll even hook you up with a free gift if you stick with me through the whole thing!

If you need a little more coaxing before checking out the webinar and want to keep reading this post, READ ON!

The Only "How to Start Freelance Writing" Steps That are Worth Your Time, Right Now

There are a virtually unlimited amount of steps that you can take to become a freelance writer and keep growing as one. In my career thus far, I've managed to bucket these steps into three core categories:

  • Must Do
  • Nice to Do
  • Garbage

I'm gonna focus on 7 of the "must do's" below.

1. Pick a Type of Writing

how to start freelance writing tip #1- Pick a type of writing

There are a ton of writing styles that you can sell to people online. Blog posts, whitepapers, press releases, grants, etc. Being a successful freelancer comes down to picking a style that:

A) You have a knack for

B) You enjoy (or can tolerate) writing

C) Is in-demand

You've gotta be a little bit careful here. Accidentally picking a "hard to write" and "hard to sell" writing style when starting out as a freelancer is one of the main reasons why people throw in the towel. I talk about the writing style that I recommend you hop into if you're a beginner freelancer that's looking to start building traction and making money right away in my webinar, so again, tune-in if you're interested (don't worry, there are only a couple more shameless plugs in this write-up).

2. Find/Create Sample Pieces

how to start freelance writing tip #2 - Find/create samples

In the regular workplace, you'd use a resume to impress potential employers. In the world of freelance writing, your samples are going to do most of the talking.

Fortunately, most of you have writing samples that you can find and use right now!

I know that a lot of freelance writing gurus shout about needing "the best samples on the face of the planet" to start scoring paid work and sure, awesome samples are definitely helpful. In my experience though, I landed my first paying gig with samples that would make me cringe today.

Bottom line - if you're just starting out, try to land jobs with samples you've done for your personal blog, articles you've written for school or anything else that can help you get yourself out there without waiting to create the "perfect sample".

Pro Tip: Most jobs I pitch as a freelancer ask for 2-3 samples.

3. Put Your Samples Online

how to start freelance writing tip #3 - Get your samples online

You can't share your samples without them being online (unless you want to walk your samples over to prospective client's houses which would be kind of weird...)

Fortunately, getting your samples uploaded to the world wide web and ready to share is simple. If your samples are already published on a third-party publication's website, you're set! If your samples are published on your personal website, you're set! If your samples aren't published anywhere, upload them to Google Drive and share a private link to your pieces with prospective clients!

Google Drive is 100% free to use with your existing Google account.

4. Find Clients

how to start freelance writing tip #4 - Find Clients

This is where sh#t gets real... This is where you're going to start asking STRANGERS (usually) to pay you for your writing skills.

And guess what? The second you get somebody to write you a check for your writing (or more likely send you money via PayPal) you can start casually telling friends that you're a professional writer (talk about a major swank boost!).

Finding clients isn't as hard as it seems and there are tons of channels online (and off) that you can tap into to create a steady client flow for yourself. "JournalismJobs" is one of many resources that freelance writers use to score gigs (although it's not my personal go-to).

If you'd like to learn about the client acquisition channels I use to make the majority of my money, (you guessed it)check out the webinar.

5. Craft a Solid Pitch

How to start freelance writing tip #5 - Craft a solid pitch

Once you find a client that you'd like to work with, the next thing you'll need to do as an aspiring freelance writer is "pitch" them. Pitching is basically the process of sending a note to a prospective client that lets them know why you'd be a great fit for their job.

I've tried out a lot of different pitching strategies and templates over the years and have gradually managed to refine my pitch to get a high response rate.

My recommendation is to pitch as many clients that you think you can work with as possible (even if you don't feel like the perfect fit for the job).

Landing freelance clients is a numbers game. The more you pitch, the better your odds will be of landing high-paying, consistent work.

6. Don't Be a Rate Snob

How to start freelance writing tip #6 - Don't be a rate snob

I can't tell you how many people online I've rolled my eyes at as they give advice on exactly what you should be charging for your work when you're first trying to figure out how to become a freelance writer. Heck, a lot of that lame advice influenced me and kept me from breaking into paid work for a while!

I was so convinced that as a freelancer, I should be making X amount per-word ("per-word" is usually how you'll quote your rate to clients) that I'd write-off any jobs offering lower than I expected as labor abusers and crooks.

After not working for a while because of my rate snobbery, I started being a little more open to what was out there. The first client I ended up landing offered $0.02 per word (which isn't much) but based on how easy the work was, I turned it into a consistent $17.00 per hour job. After a few weeks of working with that client and learning from him, I found two other clients that paid way better and KICKED THAT CHEAP-O TO THE CURB (JK, I don't have any ill will towards that guy who gave me my break... I did kick him to the curb when he refused my raise request though ;P).

The takeaway from that is that you shouldn't be predisposed to any single rate before you've played the freelance game a little bit. The more you work, the more you'll understand how quickly you can bang out assignments and how much you'll be able to make on them per hour.

Remember, a $0.03 per word, 1000-word job that you can do in 1-hour pays $30.00 per hour. If you can get that gig consistently, you're going to be making good money while sitting in your PJs at home.

7. Keep Growing

how to start freelance writing tip #7 - Keeping growing

Once you get into the rhythm of which kinds of clients you like to work with, it's easy to go into auto-pilot, collect your 2k, 4k, etc. per month as a freelancer and stop trying to grow. Don't fall into that trap.

Always keep an eye out for new opportunities, always try to take your relationship further with existing clients, and always keep tweaking your samples and pitches to continue boosting your rates and moving towards that free and awesome life you're longing for!

Wrapping My "How to Start Freelance Writing" Blurb Up With One Last Pitch

I've just gone over bare-bones steps that any average-Joe/Jane with a 9th-grade writing proficiency can use to start moving towards their dreams of making outstanding money writing from anywhere in the world.

If you really have a burning desire to break away from that job you hate, that school that isn't for you, or want anything else out of freelance writing ASAP (world travel anyone?) reading blog posts isn't going to do the trick alone.

In this humble writer's opinion, you need to work with a mentor and a tight-knit community of freelance writers to get to the incredible places you're meant to go. You need a support system that'll walk you through not only the bare-bones of freelancing but its intricacies that separate those who succeed from those who fail in this business.

To start down the pathway of doing everything that I've mentioned, I encourage you to watch my free, limited-time webinar presentation. Over the course of the presentation's 60-minutes, I'll take a deep dive into how I make thousands of dollars freelance writing while living and working wherever I want. I'll then shine a bright light on how you can do the exact same thing.

2-years ago I was working an office job at a major television network that didn't take advantage of my creativity and didn't allow me to live the life filled with travel and financial abundance I've always wanted. Thanks to the information I share in this webinar, I'm worlds happier than I was back then.

60-minutes of your time could change the next 40+ years of your life. Chase down your happiness and have some fun with me by watching my writing webinar now!

(PS: I highly recommend watching the webinar on a computer so you can take advantage of its interactive features. If you don't have a computer, no worries. You'll still get valuable information by watching on your phone.