You’re introspective (to some degree) and value artistic expression. You might even be an INFP (The Mediator)—sensitive idealists who would be ideal writers, according to Myers Briggs. Aside from personality tests, part of being a successful freelance writer is keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the freelance writing arena—whether that’s where to look, who’s hiring, and what kind of opportunities are available.
If you are in fact interested in psychology and how that plays a role in your career path, be sure to take the Myers-Briggs personality test here.
What does a freelance writing career look like?
A freelance writing career is ideal for anyone who enjoys writing, autonomous work, conducting research, and of course—delivering on content deadlines. Your work revolves around the clock and is often based on your client’s needs, so long as you were properly briefed.
Some other lesser known traits of a good freelance writer are:
- Tech-savvy. You don’t have to be a tech whiz in order to land a freelance writer job. But you do need to know your way around a computer, especially in terms of navigating software tools that your client asks you to use during the writing process. As a freelance writer, there are a plethora of digital tools that can help you run your business smoothly. Accounting software is one, where you can centralize all your income, expenses, and invoicing needs—all in one place.
- Tenacious. As a freelance writer, you’re likely to face a lot of rejection. But the most successful writers don’t let rejection stop them from getting back up, and trying again.
- Professional. It doesn’t matter what kind of writing skills you have—if you’re difficult to work with, it’s going to be hard to keep clients. The most successful writers are courteous, easy to work with, and bring a level of professionalism to their working process.
- Adaptable and diverse. If you’re able to work on a variety of different projects across a variety of different industries with a variety of different clients, you’re going to have more freelance writing opportunities.
Types of freelance writing gigs
The kinds of freelance writing career can include:
- Content marketing. Content marketing is a hugely popular marketing strategy where brands create content to connect with their audience—and they need writers to create that content. This includes content a brand can use to market their business, such as blog posts, lead magnets, or case studies.
- Copywriting. Writing persuasive copy to support broader marketing strategy is what copywriting is all about. As long as it inspires readers to take action—it’s copy writing! Examples of copy can range from website copy, landing pages, and any type of sales enablement assets.
- UX writing. As the UX industry grows, so does the need for designers to design digital products. With digital products, come the need for writers to write the copy—the content that we see on the digital apps that we use daily. UX writing involves creating written content that helps guide a user through the digital product, including registering, logging in, menu copy, error messaging, and so much more.
- Technical writing. Most tech companies will need writers to create content for guides, instruction manuals, product how-to’s, and any other type of copy that can be highly technical.
- Editorial. Editorial work includes writing articles for newspapers, magazines, trade journals, etc.
Where to find freelance writing jobs
Once your writing portfolio is complete, what’s next?
Freelance writing job boards are a solid place to scope out opportunities. You’ll need to write a strong bio that includes your experience, services, and if possible—client testimonials (if you have any). According to a Wyzowl study, a staggering 95% of people say that reviews—whether positive or negative—influence their purchasing decisions. When businesses look for freelance writing support, whether in the form of UX, copy, or technical writing, you bet they’ll ask for your services, pricing, and portfolio.
If you’re just starting your freelance writing business, just know that any type of written content—from your personal blog to volunteer writing samples—could work.
Check out these freelance job boards to find work (and post your profile):
- Word-of-mouth — from friends, family and previous clients
- Fiverr — Freelance Writing & Translation Services
- Guru — Freelance Writers
- Freelancer — Content Writing Jobs
- People Per Hour — Freelance Writing Jobs
- Freelanced — Freelance Social Network
How to build a profitable freelance writing business
Building is one thing, sustaining it for the long term is another. It may be exciting to jump at every opportunity that comes your way in the beginning, but starting a relationship with a bad client can be detrimental. Acquiring a good client, on the other hand, is the foundation for one that can last for a long time.
Not sure where to start looking? Here’s where to start.
Build out the positioning of your freelance writing services
You already know that you need a portfolio as a freelance writer—or any writer for that matter. But did you know that it’s equally important to strategize the positioning of your business to clients from the get-go?
If you’re just starting your business, it might be a good idea to jot down some verticals that you enjoy, perhaps based on your personal interests. From there, map out industries that you may want to provide freelance writing services to. For example, if you have an interest in interior design (thanks Kelly Wearstler from Master Class), you might want to start outreach out interior design and architecture firms in your area.
On the flip side, sometimes any work is better than no work when you’re just starting out. If that’s the case, use your first few acquired clients [link acquire clients] to learn what you kind of business relationships you’re hoping to gain.
Solidify your pitch, craft your content assets, and share it along with your message!
Nail down on your “why” — what makes your business stand out?
In 2020, freelancers contributed $1.2 trillion to the US economy in 2020—and these numbers are growing. In fact, UpWork’s sixth annual “Freelancing in America” study revealed that more than half of freelancers say they will not go back to a traditional nine to five—regardless of the money offered.
So, clearly, a freelance writing career is rewarding, but it’s also competitive.
Nailing down your “why” starts from:
- Truly understanding your strengths (what makes you stand out for others)
- Specialization (what verticals or niches do you want to focus on)
Once you’ve got that down pat, it all goes back to how much outreach you do to source opportunities using the job forums above and through word of mouth!
The freedom to work wherever, whenever and the ability to use creativity everyday are just some of the top benefits of choosing a freelance writing career path—or side gig. Starting and growing your own business is not always easy but the results are incredibly worth it. Whether it’s a career in writing, graphic design, consulting (or any business, really), be sure to learn all facets of running a small business to find out what skills and tools you may need.
TrulySmall Accounting offers a free 14-day trial to try our double-entry accounting software to help you manage your invoicing and track payments that you receive from your freelance writing clients. Try it for free today!