marketing your small business

Freelance writing is a side business (or even full-time business) you may be considering if you have a passion for writing.

The great thing about freelance writing is that anyone can do it who has a decent amount of skill and is willing to learn. You can always improve your writing by taking classes and practicing. Here are steps you can take to begin:


Decide the Type of Writing You Want to Do

A common misconception about freelance writing is that online content — blog posts, website copy, sales pages, etc. — is the only thing you can get hired to do.

However, there’s a wide array of content you can write for businesses and entrepreneurs.

Some examples include:

  • Books (fiction and nonfiction)
  • Courses and education material
  • Print material
  • Speeches
  • White papers

I’ve done quite a bit of ghostwriting of books and courses which can be pretty lucrative.

Research the types of writing that you can practice and perfect. Becoming a “go to” person for a certain service will make your life easier when marketing.

If you’re not sure what type of writing to do, head to Writer’s Market to get an idea of how much you can charge for various writing projects. Picking a high paying writing specialty will increase your earning potential.


Wrangle Up Some Samples in Your Chosen Niche

Every writer needs samples. Samples act as your resume. Think back to any samples you may already have within the niche you want to write in.

Choosing a niche and tailoring your sample portfolio to focus on it is highly important. Writers who have a specialty within a certain niche become experts. Clients pay more for an expert.


Create Your Own Samples 

What if you have no writing samples to show clients? Create some of your own, my friend.

You can do so by starting up a blog. You can also pitch editors to be featured on publications as a guest contributor. Guest contributors usually don’t get paid, but having your name featured on a major publication can increase your credibility.

In the prospective client’s or editor’s eyes, if you have the chops to get published on a website with authority you may have the chops to write for them.


Opportunities Won’t Materialize Unless You Show Up And Show Out

I’ll let you in on a secret:

Anyone you see freelancing and doing it successfully hasn’t made it happen by sitting around and waiting for opportunities. Freelancing takes grit and strategy. It can also take several months to a year to gain momentum.

If you’re interested in freelancing, be prepared to follow the steps above over and over until you have a sizable portfolio and growing client list. Getting referrals becomes easier and easier after you get a few raving reviews from clients.


Final Word

Joining freelance writer groups and networking is one of the best ways to learn more about the industry.

Making A Living Writing is one of the top resources I used when first starting out. It’s a website where Carol Tice curates blog posts from new and experienced writers with advice on how to earn money from writing. There are also many freelance writing Facebook groups you can join to make friends and find job opportunities.

If you’re looking for a first step, making friends in the industry and participating in forums can put you in the right direction.

Taylor K. Gordon is a personal finance writer and founder of Tay Talks Money, a personal finance and productivity blog on hacking your way to a happier savings account. Taylor has contributed to MagnifyMoney, The Huffington Post, GoGirl Finance, Madame Noire, and The Write Life.

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