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How to Become a Freelance Writer

How to Become a Freelance Writer

Is there a need for a “freelance writer”? People in all careers need someone to write for them. You can write articles, advertising copy, technical manuals and many other types of writing that you enjoy and that is in demand. The advice to writers is often, “Write what you know.” For example, if you are a new bride, you write articles for wedding and women’s magazines about the process of preparing for a wedding. If your day job is a computer programmer, you can write on the programs that you are using for trade or technical journals.

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Some writing projects pay by the hour, but most pay by the number of words or the number of pages. The best resource is the “Writers Market”, published yearly, it lists all publishers and literary agents, and their requirements.

Let me introduce you to Gina Horkey:

How to become a freelance writer

Now that we’ve simplified what it means to become a freelance writer, here’s exactly what to do to start making money. We’ve proven that it hardly takes any money to get started.

1. Take the first step

If starting a website from scratch seems too daunting, no problem. You can still create “a few solid samples and start putting yourself out there,” says Gina. “There are other (free) ways to build a portfolio.” So don’t let that initial step trip you up, the point is to get started so you can start making money!

As a newbie freelance writer, your currency will be time so be liberal with it and keep hustling. “In short, decide what to write about, gather samples, figure out how you want to display your portfolio, source jobs to pitch, and pitch like mad until you land some work,” encourages Gina.

Gina is spot on with this advice! I live by the Minimum Viable Product idea that forces you to get something out there even if it’s barely functioning. You will continue to grow, learn, and upgrade your writing, so don’t get stumped by perfection.

2. Launch your portfolio (and write for free)

As Gina’s mentioned (and I wholeheartedly agree), you absolutely must have a writing portfolio to showcase your work and close deals with prospective clients. We actually both started our writing careers by writing for big media outlets (and I know several other freelancers who have had success with this as well).

You don’t get paid for your time, but you do get access to exposure, some traffic, and the ability to say that you’re a Huffington Post blogger which aids your reputation — especially if you’re just starting out.

How did Gina get started writing for The Huffington Post? “I responded to a job ad. They had me write a sample, they liked it and then I was granted permission to write as often or as little as I wanted,” shares Gina.

“They review every post before it’s published. I shoot for posting monthly. It hasn’t brought me much “exposure” (i.e. traffic), but the name is instantly recognizable and I think my using it as a sample in my pitch has helped me to land a lot of jobs. So, it’s worth it!”

Check out this case study I explain my exact process for becoming a Huffington Post blogger.

3. Set a regular schedule

I was naive in the beginning of my self-employed career and thought that my schedule would magically work itself out. WRONG! As a workaholic, I never set boundaries and ended up working all hours of the day and night. Even so much as I drove myself into insomnia (and still struggle with this now).

“I would commit to a set schedule for my side hustle and stick to it — i.e. I’m prone to working too much and the whole reason I started writing and changed careers was to spend more time with my family,” says Gina.

“I knew that I would need to do the opposite to ramp up my business enough of being able to take it full-time, but I think I stressed myself out more than I needed to by thinking I had to work all of the time. I’m still a bit guilty of this!”

4. Track your income

Obviously one of the main steps to being a successful freelance writer is to track your income. Not just because it’s smart, or that it will help you during tax season. It will help motivate you to learn, grow, and increase your prices.

And all of this allows you to make more money!

In the beginning, you won’t make much, but as your skills increase, and more clients inquire about your offerings, you’ll start to earn more. You don’t need anything fancy to track your income, and something as simple as a spreadsheet will work.

Since the beginning, Gina has tracked all of her income and expenses so she stays accountable to herself and continues hustling to make a full-time income to support her family.

profit-loss sheet from Gina a Freelance Writer
Gina Horkey tracks her income as a freelance writer and shows how she went from $0 to bring in over $4,000 a month.

5. Find a mentor or coach

Not all mentor relationships require you to spend money to glean from their experiences. Sometimes their blog will be full of ideas, tips, and tricks for you to learn from for free.

On the flip side, a simple product will outline their methods and strategies, which can be life-changing as far as results.

Find someone whose story inspires you and find out if they offer coaching, mentoring or products you can purchase. “I purchased a course and then hired Carrie as my coach,” explains Gina.

“The course taught me what I needed to know to immerse myself in the world of freelance writing and get my business up and running. Working with a mentor has been huge! I’ve shortened my learning curve immensely and don’t feel like I’m alone trying to figure out this whole new world/career.”

Gina’s been a full-time freelance writer for just over 8 months, and I’ve been doing this for almost 4 years. So yeah, asking for help and investing in products or courses can dramatically reduce the time it takes to go from $0 – $4,000 a month. #justsayin

CLICK HERE TO BECOME A FREELANCE WRITER

Become a freelance writer in 30 days

There are very few budget-friendly resources available for getting started as a newbie freelance writer. Over the past couple years she’s helped 1,500+ other individuals become successful freelance writers.

She shares in-depth lessons with actionable advice to help kickstart your writing career. I don’t currently offer any products for writers, which is why I’m so excited to get my hands on this course for YOU.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I got my start in the online business world as a freelance writer and it’s something I will always be doing.

Thanks so much for doing this interview, Gina! I’ll let her wrap up this post: “I thrive on a step-by-step approach and am always short on time (i.e. I’d rather pay to repeat someone else’s process than take hours of Google research to figure it out on my own).”

The lessons and information Gina shares in her 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success course are invaluable for how to become a freelance writer

You could check out our eBooks on this subject at http://incomguru.com/category/make-money-writing/

 

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