How to Start a Freelance Writing Side Gig |

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to uproot communities and businesses. More and more workers are filing for unemployment. If you’ve lost your job or have been furloughed, you may be seeking out other avenues for income.

If you can produce well-written, engaging content, consider picking up freelance writing to make some extra bucks. Let’s go over everything you need to know about starting a freelance writing side gig.
Step 1: Find your niche

Narrow down the topics you want to write about. Even if you’re adaptable, you have to market yourself in a succinct way that clients can grasp. Make a list of topics you’re interested in or have experience writing about. What most interests you about these areas?

Consider common online content areas such as:

The environment/nature
Health and beauty
Celebrity/pop culture
Opinion pieces/personal essays

Come up with one to three areas that you feel confident about. These areas are where you want to focus attention in applications.
Step 2: Assemble a portfolio

This step often scares soon-to-be freelancers. How do you create a portfolio when you’re just starting out? You may not have had any clients yet. Here’s where you can get creative.

Find any piece of writing you’ve completed over the last few years that you think would be publishable online. Edit it to make sure it’s well-written and clear. Then, you can upload it to a site like Medium so you can show you’ve published something online. Or, upload your piece to Google Docs and link to it when sending out your pitches.

You can even write a brand-new piece that’s related to your chosen niches to highlight your writing ability.

Of course, if you have already published articles or pieces online, you’ll want to link to those. Start with whatever you have. And assemble everything with an online portfolio tool like Contently, where you can showcase your work and the topics you’ve worked on.
Step 3: Create income goals

Let’s be honest: new freelancers will likely take whatever job they can get. And even if that’s your approach, you still need to understand how much to charge clients, or how much you want to work toward. What do you realistically need to make to survive? How much time does it take you to write an article or edit a piece of content?

Check out helpful online resources to find current market values and how much to charge at each stage of your freelancing career. When researching, take a look at this survey data from Clearvoice about the different levels of freelance writers and the different types of content.

You’ll want to consider charging via flat rate, project, or hourly. Some writers and editors will charge based on word count or page count. Research how much freelance writers charge for certain pieces of content.
Step 4: Perfect your resume and pitch

The truth is, you’ll be sending your information out to lots of different clients at first. Some will have intense applications with questions and a cover letter requirement, and some will simply ask for a pitch. It’s important to be prepared for all scenarios.

Update your resume so it highlights any qualifications or experience you have in writing and editing. Even if you have to go back to your college days, include that you were the editor of that journal. When listing your skills, focus on what makes a great writer: clear communicator, succinct writer, pays close attention to detail.

When you’re selling yourself as a writer in your pitch template, keep it short and sweet. Start by mentioning why you’re interested in and qualified for each specific job. Then, list similar experiences you have, if any, or why you’re passionate enough to learn something new. Then, provide links to your writing samples.
Step 5: Find work

Now that you’re prepared, it’s time to start sending out applications. Here are some great online resources to find freelance writing gigs.

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Start with these resources to find the best freelance writing jobs out there. These sites make the application submission process fast and easy, and they’re updated daily with new gigs.

Ready to learn more about freelance writing? Get in touch with the Independent Writer if you have questions that we can answer in a blog post

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