A few years ago, I felt utterly trapped in my career.
I felt like I’d only just graduated with big life dreams, and already I was stuck in a cycle of working 9 – 5 every day in a job that left me unchallenged, with no time to spend any money I earned doing the things I loved.
I would come home every night exhausted not because I’d had a productive and busy day, but because I was so miserable that I had to stay chained to my desk for eight hours even when I could manage my workload in half the time.
There was this nagging voice in the back of my head saying: this isn’t how things should be.
The freedom to work the hours I chose.
To be able to choose my clients, and not have to wait an entire year for an 8% raise on my income.
To have the time to spend on the things I loved to do, and to work to live – not the other way around.
So, I made a change.
For months, I worked two jobs: my 9 – 5 office job, and in the evenings I would sit at my desk at home and slowly uncover the new plan formulating inside my head: to launch my own freelance writing business.
Now, almost two years on, I can tell you with confidence that I succeeded.
I have a thriving freelance business that has allowed me to travel the world, work with amazing clients whose ethics align perfectly with my own, and I make more money than I did in my office job but work half the hours.
The best part, though? I’m happy. Fulfilled. I found my path.
There are so many people out there, though, struggling to create the lifestyle they really want. Launching your own business can be really intimidating, especially if you have huge responsibilities like kids, mortgages and bills weighing on top of you.
The good news is that you don’t need to take huge risks to successfully build a business.
Below are some of the best pieces of advice I’ve learned over the years to help you launch your own freelance writing business – without having to take a gamble on your lifestyle.
#1 Build a Portfolio
This should be your absolute focus when trying to launch a freelance writing business. If you ever win a job without showing a client your previous work, that is an exception, not the rule.
In my experience, clients always want evidence that you are a competent writer with the skills they need. Focus on building a portfolio with examples of your writing to send to any jobs you pitch for in the future.
You can build your portfolio before you even win any jobs by:
- Submitting articles to a platform such as Medium
- Writing blog posts or content for free for friends or family who own their own business
- Guest posting for established blogs (like Mompreneur Mommy!)
#2 Know How to Sell Yourself
Marketing is a huge part of running a successful freelance business, and it’s also something I had next to no experience in before I got started.
The thought of actually using social media as a business, rather than just lurking and liking cute photos of dogs, was terrifying to me!
When you first start building your freelance writing business, I recommend starting new professional social media accounts (start with LinkedIn and Twitter at first). Then, connect with other freelancers, bloggers, and potential clients online. Engage with them – comment on their tweets or share a blog post they’ve written.
Creating these connections as a new blogger is so essential when it comes to getting your name out there. Plus, making friends with other freelancers is a great way to have work referred to you when their workload overflows.
Once you’ve nailed your social media game, you next need to know how to pitch yourself to clients.
#3 Know Your Worth
One of the most frequently asked questions I get from my readers is: how do I know how much to charge?
There are too many people willing to take on jobs for $5 per 500 words (really), when in fact these people would be paid better taking a job in their local store!
One of the best ways to calculate your worth when you’re first starting out is to consider the time a job will take you. Let’s say a 500-word post will take you two hours, and you ideally want to be paid $15 an hour as a complete beginner. That’s $30 for one post – not to bad if you’re just starting out!
The key thing to remember is to be reasonable. If you have very little experience, you can’t expect to be paid hundreds of dollars from the start, but you also don’t have to work for nothing.
Know your worth, be fair, be firm, and don’t be afraid to wait for the opportunities that are worth your time (they’re out there – I promise!).
#4 Be Consistent
The path to making it as a freelance writer is not linear: you’ll have great weeks, and then you’ll have days where you feel like giving it all up.
Consistency is the key to success with anything. Set aside a few hours every day, if you can, and focus solely on your business. With time, you’ll have enough experience to land one job – and then two jobs, and then a long-term client, and then enough income where you’re able to support yourself without a full-time job.
It will take time – but just keep on going, and hopefully, these tips will get you one step closer to your dream of owning your own freelance writing business!