How to Get Started As A Freelance Writer

Each week I get lots of people emailing me asking how to become a freelance writer. Instead of answering all of their messages on an individual basis going forward, I have decided to write a useful article aimed at those looking to start making some money through writing. I hope you enjoy the article that I’ve put together – and I hope it helps you in your quest to become a fully fledged freelance writer.

Learning how to become a freelance writer is easy if you follow my informative guide

It’s really not that hard to become a freelance writer thanks to the comprehensive guide I’ve put together for you on this article. Where other people would charge you the earth for the information I’m about to reveal, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about becoming a freelance copywriter for free! Keep your money in your pocket and read on.

Learning how to become a freelance writer is something that will take a bit of time – but on this comprehensive guide I’ll share with you every single thing I know about making a success of your writing career. I’ve advised countless people on how to be successful when making money online, most of whom when on to become freelance writers.

The great thing about becoming a freelance writer is the fact that it’ll cost you nothing – not a penny (if you follow this guide anyway). There are very few other money-making opportunities on the internet that don’t require at least a small amount of start-up capital. That’s why becoming a freelance writer is so great – no start-up cash is needed. The only investment you’ll ever have to make is your time. Learning how to become a freelance writer online is something that a lot of “stay at home mums” and students tend to do. Financially, it’s very rewarding if you put the time and effort in.


This guide can be followed by anyone, from anywhere in the world. Only one section is written specifically for UK audiences, and that’s section 10 which covers the tax implications of becoming a freelance writer. Aside from that, the entire guide can be read and followed by anyone at all.

My “How to Become a Freelance Writer” guide will be made up of ten parts – I would strongly advise that you read them all, they all complement each other nicely. These parts are:

  1. Identifying your writing skills: This involves establishing what type(s) of writing you’re good at. Some people are great at academic writing and white papers, other people are naturally gifted when it comes to churning out technical blog posts and SEO website content.  As well as the type(s) of writing you’re good at you also need to identify other key strengths and weaknesses; can you write in different variations of the English language? Is spelling one of your strong points?
  2. Finding work: In this section we tell you the easiest ways in which you get your freelance writing career off to a quick start. We’ll list the very best freelance marketplaces, where you’ll find many clients hungry to pay for the writing services that you can offer.
  3. Making yourself stand out: You’re not the only person who wants to make a living as a freelance writer – it’s important that you find ways in which to make yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd who are all competing with you for writing jobs.
  4. Creating a portfolio: A portfolio of work isn’t something that most people can throw together in just a couple of minutes. If you’re serious about making it as a freelance writer, you need to invest a good chunk of time and effort into writing material for your portfolio. Remember most clients will make their decision on whether to hire you or not based solely on your portfolio work – you can have every writing qualification under the sun, but if your portfolio is poor you’ll struggle to find work.
  5. Writing a great proposal: A lot of the websites out there through which you can secure work will require you to submit a proposal. In this section I’ll share some top tips on how to write a great proposal that potential clients simply won’t be able to say no to.
  6. Securing your first job and setting prices: In all likelihood you’ll have to slash your pricing in order to secure your first few writing jobs so that you can build up a reputation – this pricing method is called “pricing penetration”, because you’ll eventually increase the prices. We’ll also look at how to set prices once you’ve established yourself as a freelance writer.
  7. Maximizing your chances of obtaining on-going work: On-going work is a great thing. If you impress your clients they’ll reward you by sending more work your way. In this section of the How to Become a Freelance Writer guide we’ll look at ways in which you can maximize the chances of clients taking you on again, and again, and again to complete their writing projects.
  8. Meeting deadlines: Writers are notoriously bad for meeting deadlines, so much so that I thought it warranted an entire section! In this part I’ll talk about why it’s so important that you meet all deadlines set out for you.
  9. The importance of good feedback: On freelance marketplaces it’s very important that you make an effort to build up some kind of reputation and track record. A huge part of this will involve feedback from your previous clients. It’s important that your feedback score is as high as possible – in this section I’ll outline some top tips to keep your feedback score looking amazing!
  10. Paying tax & remaining within the law: Once you complete a writing job it’s very important that you keep records in order to help you fill in your annual tax return. In this section of the How to Become a Freelance Writer guide I’ll talk about the best ways in which you structure your writing activities. This part of the guide is applicable to UK freelance writers only as different tax departments around the world have different rules and regulations in place.

Is Writing your Passion, Hobby or Profession?

how to become a freelance copywriter

That’s the best way I have found to make a make a success of my work ~ to not view it as work, but something enjoyable ~ and, I am told, it shows in my words.

One of the first rules writers learn is “write what you know”. That’s great, but not always practical, especially if you are a freelance journalist or copywriter. I think a more appropriate rule should be “write what you like”.

I recall my early days on a daily newspaper on the Gold Coast, Australia’s answer to Miami. I liked movies, music and books ~ who doesn’t, you say ~ well, I did something about it. I became the paper’s resident critic for all three. My Editor told me he couldn’t afford a full-time critic, so he jumped at my offer of ‘researching’ and writing reviews in my spare time. Not only was it something I loved to do, it also gave me a new avenue for my work. And it wasn’t long before I was writing reviews for a wide range of newspapers and magazines throughout the country ~ and getting paid for it.

So how about you? Think about your hobbies, consider what you enjoy doing. Can you write about it?

Yes! With more than six billion people on the planet, there’s more than enough readers who enjoy what you enjoy and would love to read about it.

Do you like sports? What do you do on the weekends? Are you a member of any clubs? Where do you holiday ~ do you enjoy travelling?

Then write about it.

My wife and I love to travel and, when I get time, I put together an article on our adventures and sell it to newspapers and magazines. For me, it’s the best of all worlds. I love to write. I write about things I enjoy doing. I discover new things about the subject in the process, and I appreciate it even more. And I get paid for it. But best of all ~ I can claim some of the expenses as a legitimate tax deduction. How about that!

Becoming an Enterprising Writer means thinking outside of the square.

It means going with your heart and enjoying what you do, but also using your head to maximize opportunities. It means taking a chance. Taking a chance on you, on your abilities, stretching yourself.

Why not try the following exercise:

1. Make a list of things that interest you.

As we’ve discussed earlier, your hobbies, sports, whatever you enjoy doing.

2. Think about ways you can write about them.

This could be as grandiose as a how-to book or novel or maybe a magazine article or regular column. You could even develop an entire Web site or regular e-zine dedicated to your interest.

3. Research the market.

If you’re writing a book, be it non-fiction or fiction, read the ‘competition’, and gain an insight into what titles are popular and why. If you’re writing a magazine article or a regular column, read what others have written on the subject. Check out relevant publications and understand their guidelines. If you’re going to launch a Web site or e-zine, take the same approach. See what other people are doing, finding a niche to fill.

You can research your idea further by posting queries to relevant online forums, talking to people in the industry and many other ways.

4. Believe in yourself and your work.

Now it’s time to get to work. Sometimes writers get stuck on point three and spend the bulk of their time researching a subject to death, only to find there’s no room for what they want to say. That’s not the case. There’s always room, you’ve just got to find out where and you’ve just got to find the right way of expressing yourself.

Keep in mind that, as was said years ago, “there’s nothing new under the sun”, and that applies to writing as well. Every subject we write about has been said countless times before. The only difference is that this time YOU are writing about it. You can make a difference by injecting your personality, your viewpoint, your spin on a subject.

That’s something I found with the reviews and travel stories I wrote. Someone had always been there before me, and many after me. My opinion was just as valid as the next person’s ~ and the same applies to you.

So, go ahead, write what you know, but make sure you write what you like as well. You’ll be happier, healthier and almost always, wealthier for it.

Nassir Halima
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