I get a lot of questions from people that I know on how I started freelancing. It’s not an easy answer because it didn’t just decide to leave my full-time job overnight. A few years ago, I finally realized my calling, and I had to figure out how to get there. So, I started doing research. A LOT of research. I began listening to this podcast called B2B Launcher, and I immersed in everything the host, Ed Gandia said. I also read everything I possibly could about how to get started. This is an extremely short list of the intricacies it takes to become a full-time freelance writer because it also takes an entrepreneurial spirit that can’t be taught in a typical, conventional setting.
You must have a portfolio to freelance
In the beginning, this was honestly the most tasking only because you have to do some free work. I luckily had a good friend who was working with a magazine which I went to the same journalism school I did. I told her what I was up to and she said would help me out when the opportunity arose. Only a few months later, she gave me the chance to write an article for a local magazine, and yes, I did it for free.
Creating your portfolio is crucial to your sales pitch. How do you think someone will hire you unless you have some work to back it up? There are opportunities to do tests for clients, but most of those go unpaid as well. Might as well have some work that you enjoy doing to show your writing chops. I also found some low paying jobs on Craigslist and Paid to Blog, which is a great website for beginners because it lists actual, pre-qualified gigs without you having to go through the pains of hoping the person you do find on Craiglist is legitimate. You do have to pay for the subscription to Paid to Blog, but I think it is totally worth it if you’re just starting out. These sites are just suggestions to build your portfolio and get used to freelance writing.
Get yourself on the web
Some people might have different views on whether to get a website or not but I think it’s an excellent way to display your portfolio. You have done all of this hard work, why don’t you put it front and center for the world to see. Finding a domain name is difficult if you have a very common name. However, there are some great tricks to getting a domain that will benefit you and your endeavor. When I’m working on SEO for a site, I use Google’s Keyword Planner, and you should do the same when picking a name for your new freelance gig. Find words that are low in competition, high in searches, and fits your industry. That will help when people are searching your site.
As far as building your website, WordPress is pretty much the standard. If you have some money to invest, I would suggest using Squarespace. Their platform is easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. As far as hosting is concerned, Blue Host has the highest rating for sites that cater specifically to WordPress. If you’re looking for excellent customer service, little downtime on your site, and just pure convenience, they are the go-to guys. All in all, do your research to figure out the best fit. These are my suggestions from what I’ve learned over the years.
Network, Network, Network
Now that you have your website, flashy business cards, and even a logo (you can use Fiverr to get a super simple one made for cheap, don’t expect Disney magic, though), you’re ready to head out into the world of freelancing for real. There are good websites out there to find decent paying work, but again, the right client takes real research and a great pitch. Both Ed Gandia and Jenny Beres offer great advice on how to pitch to clients whether it be through emails, UpWork, Craigslist, networking, and more. Most of the real work is done when you’re working on getting new, better clients to fill your work day.
I didn’t wake up one day and said, “I’m going to quit my job and start freelancing.” It took a lot of preparation, some prayer, and hard work behind the scenes to get the lifestyle I’ve always wanted.
If you have any questions regarding getting the process started, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Speak to you soon!