This post contains affiliate links. All thoughts & opinions are my own.
Are you a blogger who’s looking to make some extra income on the side? Or someone who’s interested in making a living as a freelance writer?
Freelance writing (or blogging) is an excellent way to add to your monthly income. I decided last year around this time that I was going to pursue freelance writing and I haven’t once regretted that decision.
I now make over $2,000 per month writing online, working from home or a local coffee shop and I couldn’t be happier! You can read about how I went from $200 to $2000 a month as a freelance writer over on Horkey Handbook!
Come right this way to see how you can get started!
LAY THE FOUNDATION
It can feel overwhelming jumping into something new. When I first started my freelance journey, I enrolled in Gina Horkey’s course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. It helped me in a bundle of ways. The self-paced course lays the foundation for your freelance writing career, covering everything from choosing your niche, to setting your rates, to how to pitch clients and build portfolio samples, to tips for formatting articles, and SO. MUCH. MORE!
It’s delivered in a 30-day email format, with a new lesson coming in when you’ve completed the previous one. Gina was one of the first freelancer writers I came across in my research and she instantly became such an inspiration. I can’t recommend this course enough!
CHOOSE A FOCUS
Just like your blog, it’s important to have a focus for your freelance writing. What topics do you love to write about? What topics do you know lots about?
I write under the lifestyle umbrella, which covers anything from health to beauty and fashion to travel, and even celebrity. These are all related and meshed together, for instance, for the travel blog I write for, I write beauty and fashion-related travel posts! So choosing a focus doesn’t mean you just have to write about one thing for the rest of your life!
You could be a finance writer and write about meal plan budgeting, saving for college, planning for retirement, etc. Don’t think of a focus as cutting you off from other things, think about how you could expand your knowledge about the topic in different ways.
Once you’ve narrowed your focus you can pin point the jobs you’d like to pitch!
BUILDING YOUR PORTFOLIO
It can be hard to land writing gigs without any writing samples. If you have a blog, that’s a great start! Your posts are excellent samples of your writing, especially if you’re going to be focussing on the same topics for your freelancing.
You can also guest post on other blogs! It may not be for pay, but it can be great exposure and if you have your own byline, you can start building a portfolio! You can check out my online Contently portfolio here.
When I started out, I had interned at three online fashion/beauty publications that year where I wrote articles online almost every day, so I had a good foundational portfolio. But I also wrote a few guest posts for free to add to it!
Finding good quality freelance writing jobs can be the toughest part. Make sure you’re not selling yourself short, and that you’re getting paid for the time and effort you put in.
I’ve made everywhere from $25 to $250 for an article, and everything in between. It’s okay to start off on the lower side, especially when you’re just getting your foot in the door and if you want to get samples, but make sure you don’t get stuck there – you have rent and bills to pay!
You can find jobs a number of different ways:
1) Job boards
There are paid and non-paid job board options out there. Here are some that I’ve used or heard good things about, and a quick Google search will show you even more!:
Craigslist (not sure if this is considered a job board necessarily, but it’s free and sometimes has great freelance jobs in the ‘writing/editing’ section!)
2) Cold pitching
You can also find jobs by heading to your favourite websites to see if they have writer submission guidelines. Many websites and blogs are open to contributors, in which case they’ll provide guidelines for you to pitch them. Some may want you to email in story ideas, some may want a hed and dek plus the intro paragraph of your story, etc. For example, you can find these guidelines below when you visit Fashionmagazine.com’s “Contact Us” page.
Google is another way to find websites to cold pitch. If you type “*Your focus here*, write for us” it will turn up websites that are looking for writers in your niche!
3) Word of mouth
Almost all of my writing jobs have actually come by networking and word of mouth. Make sure you’re always talking about your writing and letting people know that you’re available for hire!
One of my best tips is to join freelance writing Facebook groups! (You’ll get access to the 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success group once you sign up for the course). The group is full of people in the same shoes as you and it’s packed with helpful information from other freelancers. It’s been such a source of inspiration and motivation for me, I can’t even begin to explain! It’s also one of the ways I landed one of my on-going freelance gigs and FAVOURITE clients (Hi, Dani!)!
PITCH, PITCH, PITCH
Once you’ve narrowed your focus and found websites (or print magazines) you want to write for, pitch your little heart out! I will admit, it can take time to build a pitch you’re happy with, but keep tweaking and eventually you’ll have a kick-butt pitch that gets noticed every time!
Here’s the ultimate cold pitching template if you’re feeling a little bit like a lost puppy when it comes to pitching!
My best advice to aspiring freelancer writers is simply to get started. The longer you hold off, the longer it will take to reach your goal, whether it’s making some extra income from a side hustle, quitting your 9 to 5, or expanding your writing portfolio as a blogger.
Freelance writing has kept me afloat while I’m trying to turn my blog into my biz and it’s an awesome way to grow your income as a blogger! If you have any questions, sound off in the comment section below, and as always, thank you so much for stopping by!
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