Freelance writing is often considered a dream gig. Although getting started as a freelance writer is fairly simple, maintaining a constant workload and securing a steady income isn’t as straightforward. Earning a living as a freelance writer requires thick skin, considerable commitment, and plenty of patience.
Although many freelance writers seek out professional training to pursue their chosen career path, you don’t actually need any formal qualifications to get started. A journalism or literature degree can certainly help you achieve your dreams of writing professionally, but there are countless other ways you can access the training you need.
Before you start looking into online writing courses, you should first consider whether or not your command of English is up to scratch. If you plan on writing content primarily in English, you’ll need to be fluent in it. Writers who have grown up in a non-English speaking country may have been exposed to some degree of foreign language study, but most will certainly need to polish their skills before embarking on a writing career. Thankfully, you don’t need to dedicate too much time and money to further education. Online English tutors on platforms like Preply are an inexpensive alternative to traditional language schools and are far more accessible.
Preparing a Portfolio
Less established writers may find it difficult to put together a portfolio for the first time. If you have written a fair amount of material in the past, compile all your content together and start sifting through your back catalog. The best portfolio pieces tend to be short and snappy, but you need to ensure any content you shortlist demonstrates your writing style effectively. It’s also important to display range and versatility in your portfolio.
Choose the pieces that demonstrate your writing style most effectively. Look for texts that are particularly evocative and create an arresting experience for the reader. However, there will be times when you need to simplify things. Some assignments may call for streamlined, more accessible content. In this case, ditch the long-winded examples and prioritize more concise and user-friendly pieces.
The Importance of Networking
Networking is a crucial part of many industries, but it is particularly important for freelance writers. If you’ve opted to pursue a freelance writing career to escape the routine of office life, you may be reluctant to return to busy networking events. Thankfully, the internet provides an easy way to make new connections and capitalize on existing ones.
Before touting for work, take the time to establish yourself on social media. Creating a professional LinkedIn profile is always a good first step. An active Twitter presence is also worth maintaining if you want to stay relevant as a freelance writer. A well-timed post or savvy retweet can lead to long-lasting connections and exciting opportunities down the line.
Invoicing and Payment
If you have never worked for yourself before, navigating the murky world of invoicing and chasing payments can prove difficult. Thankfully, the rise in online payments has largely rendered checks obsolete. This will go a long way in ensuring you receive payment promptly. As a freelancer, the responsibility for invoicing lies with you. Take the time to create a master document for invoice use. Include all essential information, including links to your PayPal or e-wallet account to make things easier for your clients.
Generally speaking, you can raise an invoice as soon as an assignment has been completed and delivered to the customer. However, it’s advised you wait until the client has fully signed off on any work and any initial revision requests have been taken care of. Although some clients will pay almost immediately, they have no obligation to do so. To ensure you are receiving payment to a schedule that suits you, outline any payment requirements before embarking on a project for a new client.
Once you have firmly established yourself as a freelance writer, you might want to consider using an invoice generator to speed up payments. Accounting software is also something to think about, especially if your workload is considerable and you want to prepare for things like tax returns ahead of time.