Putting yourself out there and becoming a freelance writer can be both rewarding and challenging. On one hand, you get to do what you love, make your own schedule, and choose the clients you work with. But on the other hand, you need to manage your time efficiently, figure out how you’re going to find new work, and oversee a slew of other logistics. No pressure, right? To make taking the plunge into freelance writing less daunting, we asked a number of successful female writers to share their top freelance writing tips for beginners. So whether you’re just embarking on your freelance writing journey or could use a few extra pointers to boost your existing business, these tips are a great place to start.
12 Freelance Writing Tips For Beginners
1. Value your worth as a writer.
"Pricing your writing services can be scary (heck, it's still scary for me!). But it's important to know your worth and not to undercharge for your services."
—Rachel Amies of Crazy Cat Copy
2. Utilize fillable PDFs.
"I use PDFescape to create fillable PDFs to use myself and to send to clients. It’s super easy, and free!"
—Laura Donnelly of Dancing Words
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3. Cold email NOW while simultaneously building a content strategy.
"Instead of wasting time on low-paying content mills like Fiverr or Upwork, start cold emailing now (that's how I got my first real clients!). At the same time, create a strategy to attract your target audience by sharing valuable content on social media or blog posts on your freelance writer website. That way, it'll eventually be clients looking for and getting in touch with YOU rather than the other way around."
—Giada Nizzoli of Crafty Copy
4. Stay with your niche, but explore all options.
"If you have a specific niche, for example travel writing, and this is your bread and butter, stick to it in the beginning. However, don't focus only on writing articles (content writing or magazines). I have learned that there are a lot of other materials that need copy. For example, there are opportunities to write product descriptions of travel items, social media for travel companies and their websites, emails and newsletters, PR and outreach—all in the travel niche."
—Geninna Ariton of Trendhim
5. Stick with it to overcome the fear of failure.
"If you can get past the Impostor Syndrome and the fear of failure long enough to give it a good try, you WILL find someone who wants (and enjoys!) your work."
—Kelly Ferguson, Freelance Writer
6. Know your value so clients will, too.
"You don't have to be the cheapest option to attract clients. Price your services based on your skills and the value you bring to each client. When you know what you're worth, your clients will agree."
—Alli Hill of FreelanceSpeak
7. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
"It may be tempting to work with just one client (especially if they're a great one), but this can leave you open to risk. Ideally, no more than 25% of your business should be with one client in case they decide not to renew your contract for whatever reason."
—Anam Ahmed of Anam Ahmed
8. Wear separate writing and editing hats.
"Put on your writer hat and slam down a messy first draft. Get up. Go get a snack, take a nap, or go for a walk. Come back and put on your editor hat to edit. It's difficult to write and edit simultaneously, so separate the tasks into two different blocks of time with different purposes."
—Rachel Kennedy of Southern Lighthouse
9. Build your credibility and clients will follow.
"Trust is one thing that will land you the job every time. Build a portfolio (even if you don't have clients yet) to show what you're capable of doing, then use it to market yourself and win your clients' trust."
—Alli Hill of FreelanceSpeak
10. Don’t follow the money. Follow the why—why you want to start your freelance writing business.
"If the biggest driving factor of why you want to start your business is money, you might have a hard time sustaining it for the long term. When you put yourself in the freelancing industry, one hard pill to swallow is that you won’t always have gigs or clients, so earning money consistently will be a real challenge. Instead, find the bigger ‘why’ you want to do it, something that you’ll hold onto even if you are in the midst of challenges, failures, and rejections."
—Arvie Mendez Narido of Gift Rabbit
11. Start your own blog as a portfolio.
"I think the most powerful tip for a new freelance writer is to start your own blog to use as a portfolio of your work, and you can write articles for free on LinkedIn. This enables you to show potential clients what you can do without having to worry about not having previous work experience. Plus, LinkedIn is a great place to find clients, so writing articles on that platform is a win-win."
—Carrie Fay of Making Money and Traveling
12. Master the art of self-promotion.
"I believe that you'll need a marketing strategy to stay in the freelance writing business for the long haul. Because a freelancer is officially an independent contractor rather than an employee, your ideal clients must be able to locate you in order for freelance writing to be sustainable. Self-promotion is uncomfortable for most people, but understanding how to market your skills as a freelancer is essential for building a strong personal brand and, as a result, selling your services to the right people."
—Sasha Quail of Claims UK