Freelance writing is great no matter who you are, what you do, or where your career is headed. It is personal and professional, can be done at anytime and anywhere, and will build your authority and expertise. Whether you are evaluating corporate stocks or just mommy blogging, it’s a great path to take. And best of all, it helps pay the bills.

Luckily we are in an era where content is king, so every single company and website is looking for quality articles, posts, and web copy to add to their site. Getting your first freelance gig is nerve-racking, but it’s well worth the reward of working for yourself and having a beautiful finished product at the end of every job.

Related article: How to Start a Money-Making Blog

No matter what your background is, if you can write well, then you can write professionally.  Here is how to get your first freelance writing job:

 Freelance writing is one of the best work-from-home jobs and it's way easier than you think to get into it. Here are the steps to take if you want to become a freelance writer and start working from home!

 

Step 1: Evaluate your background and interests

This is the best part about writing – you don’t have to rely on your resume of professional job skills (though that could be a great path). You can finally tap into your love of fashion, your family, social media, or travelling. Whichever direction you choose, make a list of the topics you feel most comfortable with.  More importantly, make sure you enjoy the topics because writing can be painful if you aren’t enjoying it.

 

Step 2: Gather work for your portfolio

To snag a freelance job quickly, you will want to put together a portfolio of your work because most businesses will want to see your writing style before they hire you.

Here are some common writing pieces that can be included in your beginning portfolio:

  • From professional experience
    • web copy
    • proposals
    • marketing materials
    • promotional material
  • New to the job market
    • school papers
    • cover letter examples
    • resume
  • Personal
    • poetry
    • extracurricular writings
    • short stories

Remember that it’s ok if some (even most) of your portfolio is not directly relevant to the job you’re applying for. Your clients will want a feel for your writing style, quality, and capabilities as well as topic knowledge. The best examples are also online ones, so prioritize anything that can easily be viewed online (it’s great if you can just send them a link).

 

Step 3: Create new work for your portfolio

This is one of the first articles I wrote to round out my portfolio. It was finally an opportunity for me to write about something I really enjoyed and it ended up helping get a lot of my first freelance jobs.
This is one of the first articles I wrote to round out my portfolio. It was finally an opportunity for me to write about something I really enjoyed and it ended up helping get a lot of my first freelance jobs.

Once you’ve gathered everything you already have, it’s time to create some new pieces that can round out your portfolio. These could end up being the most important writing examples in your portfolio because you will have complete control over them.

I am a huge fan of micro-blogging sites (like Hubpages, and Zujava) and had a ton of success using them in my initial portfolio. Many of them are filled with additional tools that can easily add bells and whistles to your articles and posts, which can make them look more professional and relevant. What is even greater is that you can pick your own topics, which can really help you develop an expertise in the area of your choosing. These sites will also pay you for your work if you can drive enough traffic to them (which is easy with social media these days), so you’ll be increasing your potential writing revenue as well.

Related article: How to Make Money Writing Articles on Hubpages

 

Step 4: Sign up on freelance sites

Once your portfolio is ready (it will never actually be complete…you will always be adding to it), it is time to apply for your first gig.

Freelance sites are by far the best place to go for writing jobs, but you could also search the classic job boards like CareerBuilder and Indeed. I am a big fan of Upwork for freelance work, but eLance is also a great place to try. You will create a free profile on these sites that includes your portfolio and then you can apply for jobs immediately. With a complete profile, clients can also find you and offer you specific jobs (this will happen more than you think).

 

Step 5: Start out working for less

When you are finding your first writing jobs, keep an open mind with what you will charge. This is really hard for most people, especially if you are used to a bigger paycheck, but it’s really important.  You need to give yourself time to find clients and get a feel for what type of price range the market can handle.  As you gain clients, you will be able to increase your price and only take jobs that are worth it. Before long, you will be making the kind of money you initially hoped for.

 

Freelance writing is a great way to make money and will open up so many new opportunities you never realized were there. If you’ve got a full time  job, it can help you build up your expertise or gain experience in a new area. If you’re a stay-at-home mom like me, it will give you extra income and a way to keep your skills up-to-date.

 

If you’re looking for other ways to earn some extra money, check out my Pinterest board on Working from Home. I try to keep it updated with all the tips I can find!

Follow MBAsahm’s board Working from Home on Pinterest.

 

Freelance writing is the perfect way to transition careers and start working from home...and you can do it with any background! Here are the steps to take to land your first freelance writing job.

 

 

 

 

(Visited 7,733 times, 4 visits today)

18 comments on “How to Get Your First Freelance Writing Job”

  1. Great article. I learned all of this by trial and error…lots and lots of error so I’m glad you put this all in one place so those just starting out can have it a little easier. Incidentally, Upwork and Elance are the same site now. I also has some luck with Blogmutt. It’s low pay to start out 250 words for $8 but the companies give you very good notes on exactly what they want and so it’s easy to get to higher levels fairly quickly by only writing five to ten short articles a week and the price and points earned (gets you to higher levels)then goes up with the word count ending with $72 per 1000 words and it’s very easy to form relationships with companies if they like your work. Hope this helps and again, thank you so much for your advice.

  2. What exactly is the range of “start out working for less”. In all of the blog posts I’ve read about getting into freelancing, these vague comments are used, but if you are completely new, you don’t have any idea what “for less” amounts too.

    • Good point 🙂 For me, working for less meant starting at around $10-$20 per 500 words. I quickly found that $10 was not really worth my time and that I could actually find a fair amount of work around $25 per 500 words. HOWEVER, I was able to get more opportunities from all of my clients after writing for them initially and many of them paid me more or gave me periodic bonuses. So basically, the initial pay just became a foot in the door for me. But it’s different for everyone, so you really have to take into consideration how long it takes you to write as well as the minimum you’re willing to work per hour. Hope that was helpful!

  3. Those are really great tips! I have a full time job and I’m a part time blogger, so for now I don’t see when I would have time to write for someone else, but I’m keeping this in mind.

  4. This is an interesting avenue for Working at Home. I’m trying to figure out what I want to do next year when my kids are back in school. I want to be home when they get out of school and on school holidays so I’m thinking about something along these lines. Thanks for the helpful article!

    • your welcome! It would be perfect for something like that because you still will have so much control over your schedule. Good luck!

  5. Totally bookmarking this! I’ve been toying with the idea of freelancing but wasn’t sure where to start. And I knew about oDesk, but wasn’t sure if it was as good as it claimed – glad to hear of someone using it and having a positive experience 😀

  6. These tips are super helpful! I’ve done some writing at Hubpages and had success there, so now I have my own site and would like to dive into some freelance work. I hear oDesk can be hard to get work on due to so many people putting low hourly rates. What have you experienced?

    • It’s definitely true that there are a TON of people that work for next to nothing, BUT my experience has been that most clients know what they want ahead of time – either cheap labor or a talented writer. If you set your wage where you’re willing to work, then you will cut out a lot of the cheaper jobs anyways. I ended up having to turn away work because I was getting so many jobs! So I would definitely not be discouraged by some of the lesser paying opportunities 🙂 And that’s why it’s really important to have a strong portfolio. Clients will be less hesitant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *