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5 Essential tips to start your freelance writing career

Do you want to be a freelance writer? Do you want to start your freelance writing career right now? Well, hold your horses.

Right now may not be the best time.

Yes, I’ve really just told you to put the brakes on. But only for now.

Before you start your new career, you need to make sure you and your family are ready. Freelancing isn’t stable so preparation beforehand is essential.

I know I started out of the blue but at the time I had absolutely nothing to lose—you probably do!

If you haven’t heard my story, I started my freelance writing career because I was unemployed after moving 400 miles to live with my boyfriend (now my husband). I couldn’t find a job, so I started writing to make a little extra cash to help pay for the apartment we were renting. That grew to a full-time business. But I wouldn’t suggest doing that.

If I already had a job or was trying to start my freelance writing career being the only worker in the house, I wouldn’t have done it the way I did. I’d have followed these tips first.

Start your freelance writing career by freelancing on the side

Don’t quit your job just yet. Your freelance writing career will take time to build up. The best thing you can do is start freelancing on the side.

Yes, it will be hard work but it is worth it in the long run.

You will still have a regular income for your bills and will be able to save up money for when you do quit your job. It also gives you the chance to build your knowledge, your marketing, your samples and your client base.

I also think this is important to make sure freelance writing is for you. You may enjoy writing for yourself but you could find that writing for others is boring. You have less control over the topics and will need to stick to deadlines. Not everyone likes to do this so try it first without any risk.

The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work, and Thrive on Your Own Terms

Decide on your freelancing goals

What goals do you have for your new freelance writing career? These are important to give you direction and keep you motivated along the way.

Separate your goals into personal, professional, and financial goals. Try to make the goals things that you have control over to make them more realistic and achievable.

My first goal was to work independently and bring in enough money to cover food costs. I worked out the amount of money I needed per week for food and then broke it down for the days that I would work during the week. This gave me a daily target that I would need to meet.

From there, I knew the amount of marketing I would have to do and could work on gaining enough clients to help me reach my goal.

As my business grew, my goals grew with them so remember that as time goes on.

You can also have goals of the publications that you want to write for, blogs that you want to set up and what you want to get out of your writing.

More: 7 freelance writing mistakes you need to avoid

Learn the details of freelancing

Freelancing isn’t a walk in the park. Your freelance writing career won’t become successful overnight. There is a lot to learn and very little time to learn it all in.

Take the time to learn the details of freelancing. The best time to do this is while you are still working before you start looking for clients

Find out about the pitfalls and how to avoid them. Learn about the mistakes others have made. Find out more about the amount of money people are making with writing online.

Don’t waste your time searching for answers online. They may be somewhere but it is best to get out and network. This will also help you market yourself as a freelance writer. While there, make sure you have a notebook with you (don’t rely on technology!) to take notes and get the details of others around.

Find your writing niches

While freelance writers can end up writing on any subject, it is worth thinking about your writing niches. This is important at the start of your freelance writing career.

Deciding on a niche or two allows you to become an expert. You become an authority and clients and publications are more likely to want you.

If you’re thinking about starting a blog, it is essential to stick within a niche. This helps those reading your blog and will aid with SEO and ranking well on Google.

Choose niches that you have an interest in and can be considered an expert in. You don’t need a degree but you will need some experience – or prove that you have an excellent understanding.

freelance writing career tips

Don’t rely on the content mills

So many new freelance writers start off their career in content mills—yes, I’m a guilty party. So many writers believe the only way to write online is through the content mills.

The truth is they aren’t. There are plenty of businesses, publications and individuals looking for great content and are willing to pay the right price for it. They’re willing to pay the $100, $200 and even $300 per blog post.

You will need samples and you can charge more as your freelance writing career takes off but it really is possible.

That doesn’t mean content mills don’t have their place. I just don’t want you to become reliant on the places. You should be growing in your business.

Are you ready to start your freelance writing career? I can help mentor you. Get in touch at to find out more.