So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and go for it. Good for you. Although starting out and establishing yourself as a freelancer takes work, I’m going to impart some tips to you today. I’ll break it down month by month, and give you all you need to get on your feet. Hey, It worked for me!
1) 0-2 months- Build a Portfolio
Your first priority should be building up your portfolio.The bad news is, it often means working for free for a month or two. Not many people are willing to hire a writer with no experience, even if they are a graduate. Start off by contacting online music magazines and e-mags to offer your services. You can build yourself up from here, writing articles and press-releases. Just remember, although you’ll not make anything short-term, you will in time. Think of this stage as a long-term investment. Once you have a number of varied work examples example, a client is ten times more likely to hire you, as they know you’ve got experience. If you did a good job for those past clients, it’s going to shine through in your work, and help you to build relationships in future.
2) 2 months onward- Build a Website
Once you’ve established yourself and have a few work examples under your belt, you’re going to need a website to show yourself off. Don’t worry, you don’t need to hire a designer or even spend a penny. A great website hoster is Yola, who offer a free domain (.co.uk) and free web-builder tools to British businesses wanting to get online. Spend some time making your website presentable and upload your work portfolio and contact information. Once this is done, you have a website that you can begin marketing.
3) 2 months onward- Marketing and Winning Clients
Now, the tricky bit. To win clients, you’re going to need to market your services. The good news is, not many freelance writers advertise. If you’re able to do a good job for clients, you’ll find that in time that you start to generate a client-base, thus reducing the need for advertising. Effectively, the work will come to you!
For beginners, I recommend free sites such as Gumtree and Craigslist. Because you work online, you can advertise in multiple locations simultaneously, offering your services remotely. For example, you could run the same advert on Gumtree in every major city (for free), offering your services. You could also try websites such as Elance.
For your advert, keep it simple and keep it short. You don’t want to bore potential clients with a long-winded explanation as to why you’re the best. List what you do, list your website and email and not much else. Keep the bulk of your content for your website and let people check you out there.
Who should you target? Anyone. Your chief aim right now is to gain as much experience as possible in as many fields as possible. Sure, you can specialise, but why limit yourself? A jack-of-all-trades gets more jobs and makes far more money in the writing business. Many clients scour Gumtree and Craigslist everyday, and I’ve personally secured three marketing agency clients through using them. Marketing agency clients are particularly attractive as they offer high pay (3-5p a word) and regular work.
That should be about all you need to get started. Next time, I’ll be covering how much a freelance writer should charge.
Tips on Becoming a Freelance Writer
Find out a bit more about the author at www.jameslewendon.com