For many people, becoming a freelance writer sounds like a dream job. You can work from home in your pyjamas, and wile away the hours pouring your creative talents into writing for paying clients.
And it’s indeed true that this dream job is a reality for many people. The internet has made it possible to work from home writing for clients all over the world. But I need to offer a note of caution (and I should know, because I’m a freelance copywriter myself) that it’s a competitive world out there.
Yes, the internet has expanded your potential client base to the world, but it’s also magnified the competition. Now anybody who can string a few words together can work from home as a freelance writer and compete for the work that’s out there. But there are things you can do to improve your chances of attracting clients.
Here are my top five tips for anybody wishing to work home as a freelance writer:
- Create a portfolio – Potential clients will want to see examples of your work. So if you don’t already have samples from previous jobs, write some press releases, articles, brochures and sales letters you can use to show off your writing skills.
- Get some training – If you are starting from scratch in your freelance writing career, you will need to teach yourself some the basics, such as how to write a press release, correct grammar usage and how to structure an article. You should be able to find books on copywriting in your local library or buy them from Amazon or consider taking a work from home copywriting course to brush up your skills.
- Decide what type of freelance writing to specialise in – Sales writing takes a lot of practice, knowledge and experience. Clients wont be impressed if the writing you provide fails to generate them any sales. So if you are new to freelance writing, it is sensible to start with easier writing jobs, like writing press releases, blog posts and articles as you build your skills and experience.
- Setup a website – Having a website will give you a more professional image and a competitive advantage when it comes to bidding for work. These days it is easy and inexpensive to do. You can buy hosting with Hostgator for less than $4/month, upload WordPress (free blogging/website software) and get a professional looking theme from Themeforest to create an online portfolio. If you start a blog you might even attract clients through the search engines (as I have done with my copywriter website).
- Where to find freelance writing jobs – You could try approaching local marketing agencies and local businesses to see whether they need help writing press releases and marketing collateral. When looking for freelance writing jobs online your best bet is to try freelance bidding websites like Elance. Be warned though that competition is fierce and low bidders can force rates down. But Elance and other bidding website sites are a good place to find freelance writing jobs as they give you an opportunity to build your portfolio, get experience and connect with clients. In fact, I still write for many of the clients I found in Elance when I started off freelance writing six years ago.
So as you might have gathered, it takes hard work and perseverance if you want to work from home in freelance writing. It can also take a while to build up your portfolio and experience, so don’t give up your day job thinking you can make a success of it overnight.
But if you are prepared to work at it, becoming a freelance writer can offer a rewarding and interesting career along with all the benefits of being able to work from home and fit your work schedule around your life, rather than the other way round.
Disclaimer – The links in this article are affiliate links, including the links to my own website, I guess.