Freelance writer dreams? How can you make this career a reality?
If you are thinking of starting a career as a freelance writer do some thinking first.
To start, review your talents and begin by answering these questions:
1. Firstly, consider how strong are your writing talents? Maybe do an online test of grammar and punctuation on a site like Freelancer or People Per Hour. A freelance writer needs to eliminate errors as far as humanly possible.
2. Then think whether you are good at working in “stressy” situations? A freelance writer always works under pressure towards deadlines.
3. Next consider if you respond to pressure positively or does it make you feel slightly sick? Be realistic about your characteristics.
4. How about working alone? Do you enjoy it? Many hours are spent sitting staring at a computer.
5. Passionate about writing anything, no matter the topic?
6. Putting in the effort to establish yourself as a freelance writer is massive, are you up for it?
7. Have a think; to be brutal, are you prepared to “pimp” yourself out to make a start?
8. Finally ponder over whether you are happy to take little credit for your work? (if you’re often a ghost-writer)
Read how I went from selling my first article for £6 to running a company in 7 years. You can do it too.
Practical things to help establish a freelancer writer career
1. To begin, collect pieces you have written in the past and look at them objectively. They might be used for your portfolio.
2. However, if you have nothing you wish to share right now, study your chosen niche. Maybe you would like to concentrate on food writing, travel, home, garden/interiors, tech, art/antiques, health, technology, law or accounting/finance. Look at article in the media and on the Internet and clip articles you rate. Study ‘how to’ guides and keep learning. Reading is just as important as writing.
3. Be reminded that writing every day is absolutely essential. As a freelancer you will write to length, to subject, to time and to deadline. You cannot have time trying to get into the zone. Start writing, get your thoughts together, look for your research. You should be able to provide a rough structure pretty quickly. Staring at the computer will never help you earn money. Get into the habit of writing always and everywhere you can. As you probably know, practice makes perfect.
4. Try looking at industry specialists like Copyblogger. They have lots of training materials that give valuable tips for writers. Search for some in house guidelines and see the kind of demands publications, advertising agencies, SEO companies are making on writers.
Sort out LinkedIn and assess your strengths and weaknesses
5. Sort out your LinkedIn profile: extremely vital in the new internet recruitment age. If the contract is high profile or prestigious, people will check you out.
6. You should assess your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and spend some time every day researching things you don’t know.
7. Organise your work space and your working day. Set up a work timetable. Need to pick up kids or take them to school? Balance work/life and keep to your word; this wins repeat business.
8. Think hard about a website. This is one of the easiest ways to showcase your talents, experience, and interests. A WordPress website is eminently amendable. With minimum skill you will be able to update your content, which is vitally important. Content needs to be changed regularly.
9. If you are looking to expand your portfolio study websites and look at their house style, topics, approach etc. Contact them with some ideas, suggest a blog post and provide an outline. As you start to be published you can start offering tangible evidence to potential clients.
10. Finally, take a decision about the area you would like to specialise in. Freelance writers can write in areas like: ghost writing, writing case studies, blog writing, product descriptions, writing biographies, social media or micro blogging work, website content, press releases, the list goes on.
11. VKN Digital Ltd does take a limited number of guest posts. Our subject areas are: social media, technology, content writing, SEO and creativity. Any good ideas? Pitch them!
If you have any questions please leave a comment and we will do our best to respond quickly and offer advice. You can read this article about being a commercial freelance writer here.