Freelance writers are in high demand in the growing gig economy, with two out of three writers now being self-employed according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Writing jobs were previously concentrated largely in journalism-related fields, but there are now writing opportunities that include positions such as copywriters, technical writers, and content strategists. If you’re interested in a career as a freelance writer, it’s good to be aware of all the opportunities.
Here are the top 17 tips to make $2000+ every month as a freelance writer:
The first thing you have to do is BELIEVE that you can make money writing. The second thing you need to do is BELIEVE your writing is worth money, a lot of money, because it is uniquely yours. But you still have to build your career as a paid freelance writer brick by brick, just like a house.
2. Have a Blog
Can I tell you something? I often visit freelance writer’s websites to see their blog. I like viewing what other writers are writing about. But more times than not, their blogs aren’t being updated.
Why starting a blog important? Your blog will serve as your portfolio. You’re new and you don’t have any samples under your belt. The easiest way to quickly create samples is to write a few blog posts.
Now whenever you send a pitch, you have samples to link to. A win-win!
3. Establish a professional work environment
Even if you don’t have a dedicated home office, set up your workspace to maximize your comfort and productivity, with equipment, supplies, and reference works well organized and handy. Impress on family and friends the importance of respecting your space and your time.
4. Trust yourself
I believe each one knows, deep down, what’s right for them…and how to stretch. So trust yourself and go for it.
5. Determine your prices
Many people don’t know where to begin when it comes to translating ideas in their minds into cohesive sentences and paragraphs. Your professional writing services can become the answer to their needs.
Accordingly, you have to set your prices with confidence. And it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process, either.
6. Be Professional
You can be creative and quirky on social media and in your writing, but you want a completed professional profile on sites like LinkedIn with growing lists of your previously published works. All professional and creative writing experience is worth mentioning if it is complimentary to you career.
7. Don’t apply for every single job
It’s wortless to pitch every publication out there. You’ll waste your time and energy on opportunities that don’t fit. Focus on those you’d like to write about.
8. Never stop learning
Set aside time every month to find a new site to subscribe to.
9. Be organized
Start bookmarking and revisiting the articles, writers, and outlets that you like and love. Find apps and extensions that will help you keep your stuff however you need. You’ll develop a system that works for you, and this will make you faster and less frustrated.
10. Work outside the home
There are lots of options. Work outside in your backyard. Work at a friend’s house. Just get outside your familiar surroundings. Just get socialized.
11. Set (and meet) your own deadline
If your client gives you a specific deadline, give yourself one that is even earlier than theirs. The earlier the better – it gives you time to handle unexpected events that may arise in your business or life and still keep the promise you made to your client.
12. Organize your email inbox
Keeping an immaculate inbox helps you respond to prospects in a timely manner. Use folders or labels to keep track of different types of inquiries, so you can easily reference them in the future.
13. Find a mentor
This person might be a successful freelance writer, a teacher, or someone who publishes fascinating content online. You just need someone to inspire and educate you, even if it’s through a screen.
Over the years, I’ve adopted many mentors who don’t know my name. They help me through problems, though, and help me gain perspective.
Of course, if you have a mentor in real life – or someone you can email back and forth - that’s even better.
14. Don’t get overwhelmed
It’s a big adjustment to go from being an employee to being a freelance writer. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Planning is necessary, but don’t become burdened with five-year goals in your first week. Take it in small steps, figure out what you need to make every week, and plan out steps that you believe will lead you to that goal. You’ll find that breaking it down into manageable steps helps to relieve some of that overwhelming feeling.
15. Find a niche or field where you can establish yourself as an authority
It is primordial that you have at least one niche that you specialize in. There are a lot of jobs that call for “generalists” – writers who can write about anything with a little research – but the best paying gigs are those that require subject matter specialists. Some areas you can choose to become an expert in include personal finance, career advice, SEO, health, productivity, mental health, and so on. As long as there is a market for that expertise, you have an opportunity.
16. Join professional organizations
Attend workshop and conferences when you can. Research the writing business, and keep up on emerging opportunities and trends.
17. Make health and sleep priorities
I can remember going to bed at midnight only to wake up at 4 a.m. just so I could get my work done on time. And my work suffered because of it. Reserve time for mental health, exercise, meals, and social activities. Don’t let your freelance writing career take over your life.
Because it will if you let it.
These tips for beginner freelance writers should give you a head start in this business. At the very least, they’ll help you decide the direction in which to take your career.