Want to start a freelance writing business?
Over the past few months I’ve received questions about how to get started fast. So let’s look at a few simple steps; by tomorrow, your new freelance business can be up and running.
And you’ll be in fashion, because today, freelancing is big business.
Freelance writing: freelancing is big business now
According to freelance marketplace Upwork, in 2019 57 million Americans did some form of freelancing. I admit that the stat shocked me. I blinked several times when I read the claim, but after a little thought, it made sense.
No stats are available for 2020 yet. But given the pandemic fiasco which continues to reverberate around the world, I’ve no doubt that a similar number of people were freelancing in 2020, if not more, given the unemployment numbers.
Here are the simple steps.
1. Create a (free) website to sell your writing services
Start with a website. As many people have pointed out, your website is your 24-hour-a-day sales person, selling for you 365 days of the year.
Listens to moans and groans…
OK, stop complaining. I hear you.
You’re worried that you’ll do a lot of work and no one will visit your site… I have two thoughts for you:
- You’re a writer, so write, already. Creating website content is just writing. No biggie. Look on it as writing practice.
- People will visit, because you’ll encourage them to do so.
Listens, again… What if you’re broke, you ask?
Go the freebie route for now.
Freebie website development options if you’re on a budget
Companies like Wix and Yola currently offer free sites. That said, you won’t get your own domain name. Chances are that you’ll have the company’s advertising on your site too, or perhaps the site limits the number of pages you can create…
BUT! You can get started for free; pay for your site when you make money.
Tip: when considering a website creator platform, always check the “Pricing” tab to see what’s offered for paid and free services.
Want an easier option than a templated website? You can get started on Blogger.com for now. (But backup your website regularly and move when you make money. Don’t be surprised if Google eliminates the platform at some stage.)
Another option: use a microblogging service, like Twitter, or Instagram, or LinkedIn. True, these services aren’t “websites” as such, nor even blogs, but they do get your name out there. You can mould them to do what you need. (An example: “threads” on Twitter.)
Big tip: be wary of walled gardens. When considering a platform for a free website, or a microblogging service, ensure that the site is indexed by Google and Bing, et al.
Why? Because walled-garden networks like Facebook won’t send you traffic, unless you pay to advertise.
2. Use content to get traffic to your new (or existing) website
Content creation works for freelance writers: your website’s content acts as your portfolio to show prospective clients what and how you write.
Even if you want to invest in advertising, remember to create content, regularly. Regular creation is important, because untended websites look ragged quickly.
Chances are that a lack of content on your website (unless it’s brand new) will act as a red flag for prospective clients too… Buyers want to know that if they hire you, you’ll be reliable.
3. Encourage prospective clients to visit your website
Now you’ve got a website, even if it’s just a single page, with “Here are the services I offer” on it somewhere, it’s time to get the news out.
Unsurprisingly, getting the news out is what grows your business. If the “marketing” word makes you nervous, don’t call it that.
People and companies need your writing services. You can get the news out about your new freelance writing business in many ways.
- Tell everyone you know. No need for a big sales pitch. Just send them your website URL;
- Contact marketing managers of companies in your city, state and country. Email them a brief Letter of Introduction (LOI). The operative word is brief;
- Look for writing gigs online at the many freelance writing marketplaces. (However, do be aware that generally speaking, the pay is low on these platforms.)
- Pitch to companies.
Build your freelance writing business gig by gig
Do the steps sound simple?
That’s because they are.
Keep repeating steps 2 and 3; you’ll get hired. Before you know it, you’ll have a waiting list of companies eager to work with you.
Are you hesitant to get started because it will be obvious you’re a new writer? Well… So what? NEW is good. People who hire you will know you’re eager and enthusiastic. That’s appealing.
Plus, everyone starts somewhere: all that matters is that you START. And keep going.
Start right now. You can launch your new business in hours. Have fun. 🙂
Freelance Writing Zero To Hero: Turbo-Charge Your CareerWant to get started freelance writing… the right way? That is, with a business mindset and self-confidence that you can help your clients? You can do it. I’ve been freelancing for almost 40 years. You can benefit from what I’ve learned to shortcut your way to freelance success.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.