Freelance writing can seem like a dream job. You’ve got location independence. You can spend your days doing something you love. You may have even had visions of writing articles on the veranda of a gorgeous hotel or ghostwriting novels on the beach. Then reality hits.
Don’t be mistaken, life can be great for a freelance writer. You may not get the beachside, writing experience of your fantasies, but plenty of writers enjoy a lot of travel. Even if you never make it beyond the local coffee shop, it’s still a pretty sweet life. The problem is that this life will never get off the ground until you start landing some paying clients.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to get your business off of the ground and find paying clients. Try out these three tips as you launch your business.
#1 Create an Online Presence and Begin Marketing Your Business
As a freelance writer, you will pick up the vast majority of your clients online in, usually all of them. There may be some that you gain through word of mouth or events. To attract clients, you have to create and execute a marketing strategy.
Start with Your Homebase
Before you do anything else, you should establish your own website. This doesn’t need to be complex. You don’t have to be a professional web designer to make this happen. Use a free website builder, or you can opt for WordPress or another CMS. Just before that your website meets the following standards:
- Make sure you have your own unique URL and not one affiliated with your website builder (e.g.: http://mywebsite.com not http://mywebsite.freewebsites.com).
- Include all of your relevant contact information and links to your social media pages.
- Contain your writer’s portfolio with samples of the work that you do.
Finally, include any information that you think will be relevant to your potential clients. This might be client testimonials, your writer bio, and a list of notable places you’ve been published. If you plan to accept payments through your website, you will need to have the appropriate plugins or tools in place.
Identify Your Best Social Media Platforms
Some potential clients will head straight to your website. Others will check you out on social media first. Create a great presence to attract the right clients, build relationships with other writers, and establish yourself as a thought leader. Here are a few tips:
- Even if Facebook isn’t your top choice, go ahead and create a professional page there. It’s the first place many people will look and is likely to expose you to a pretty wide audience.
- Create a LinkedIn profile for professional networking.
- Use other platforms to target certain audiences and to spotlight the specific work. For example, if you’re a travel writer, consider becoming active on Instagram.
- Create a blog to share your knowledge and drive traffic and engagement.
Whatever you decide, the success of your social media presence depends largely on the quantity and quality of your participation. If you share and create great content, reach out to others, and participate in conversations, you’re going to get people interested in your services.
Once you have established yourself, you can begin sharing promotional content about your writing.
#2 Hit Up the Want Ads
It may not be as lucrative as finding your own clients directly, because you’ll often end up working for agencies or the owners of the website will take a cut, but job listings and aggregators are a good place to start. Use websites like Fiverr, Guru, and Freelancer.com to get your start. Many freelancers are able to find work through professional writing services like WoWGrade.com. You can even find jobs through standard job sites like Monster or Indeed. Just be sure that you use the right search keywords and criteria so that you find freelance job listings.
Even as your freelance business grows, these job list sites can be a great help. When business is slow, you simply find a few leads and get in a bit of work to tide you over.
#3 Learn to Write a Cold Pitch
There are a lot of publications and websites that accept contributions from writers. They just don’t advertise. Instead, they accept cold pitches. Just like it sounds, this is basically approaching someone with your idea for a story or article. Many websites will provide you with very specific instructions on creating and submitting your cold pitch. Some simply want a basic story idea. Others want an outline with links and information about why you think the story is a fit for them.
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If there are instructions follow them. This includes any directives on how to submit your pitch, and to whom. Research the website or publication to identify its target audience and appropriate subject matter. If there are no instructions, follow some best practices for cold pitching:
- Share your qualifications
- Write a great headline
- Personalize your pitch
In freelance writing, so many hinges on your ability to land clients. If you can do this, and create a steady stream of income, everything else will fall into place. Then, you can start pursuing all of these dreams of location independence
Author’s BIO: Linda is a professional writer and she loves to help students. She has spent the majority of her career in the writing industry, gaining experiences in areas such as editing and writing. Currently, Linda is a blogger at Studyton.com and Head of CD at Studicus.com. Linda also enjoys reading books and traveling.
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash