Become a Freelance Writer: 8 Tips for Students and Recent Graduates
Freelance writing can be a fantastic side hustle or full-time career path for college students and new graduates. While it can be tough to get your foot in the door for a salaried position with little industry experience under your belt, freelancing allows you to take on interesting projects on a contract basis. Companies are often more willing to take a chance on a young writer for a part-time gig or temporary project - therefore, you have the opportunity to get your name out there and build your portfolio. Inspired Copywriting shares some important tips.
Enhance Your Skills Through Education
Maybe you’re already enrolled in a degree program that includes a number of writing courses, or maybe you’re currently pursuing a major that doesn’t involve writing at all. Perhaps you recently graduated with a degree that’s unrelated to writing, and now, you’re wondering if you should invest in a formal writing education.
You don’t necessarily need a degree in English or a similar field to become a professional freelance writer - in fact, you can land your first clients without having a degree at all! But if you’d like to learn more about writing in a structured setting, you could take courses in English, communications, journalism, or linguistics. Learning about any of these subjects in depth can be beneficial for freelance writers.
Determine Which Services to Offer
When you think of freelance writing, you might assume that you need to write articles or blog posts in order to make a living. But businesses hire writers for a wide variety of projects! You don’t necessarily have to pigeonhole yourself with one or two popular services. Instead, think about how you can branch out and gain experience in different areas. Elna Cain recommends offering copywriting for ads, sales pages, and landing pages, social media posts, transcription, email marketing, product descriptions, resumes and cover letters, and scripts for videos and online courses.
Establish an Online Presence
In order to attract clients, you need to set up a website. Don’t worry - a basic site will do when you’re just starting out! You do not need to have any web design skills to set up a simple site with a popular hosting service.
What should you include on your website? You’ll want to write up a description for your “about” page, outlining some of your services and the kinds of clients you work with. You can also create a specific page with your services and general pricing. Designate another page as your portfolio, and include links to writing samples that you’ve produced for school or a personal blog. Don’t forget to include your contact information - and be sure to set up a page with a convenient contact form for good measure. This will make it easy for clients to get in touch with you.
Find Your First Clients
You’ve launched your website, you’re eager to start working, and you can’t wait to dive into your first freelance project - but how are you supposed to go about finding your first clients? Start by letting your friends and family know that you’re offering freelance writing services - a few of them might need your help! Additionally, you’ll need to be proactive about seeking out clients online. Make a Living Writing recommends checking out freelance writing job boards, looking for job postings from professional associations and industry trade publications, or joining online groups for local freelance writers. Even if you’re slightly underqualified for a gig, don’t be afraid to pitch your services!
You can further legitimize your business by structuring it as an operation such as a partnership, corporation, or even better, an LLC. Forming your writing business as an LLC has several benefits including limited liability, tax advantages, and less paperwork. If you'd rather not do the legwork on your own or pay an attorney to complete the task, you can always use a formation service. To compare formation services and judge which one is the best fit for you, you can find out more here.
Set Up an Invoicing System
If you’ve always worked for employers in the past, you might be nervous about handling payments by yourself as a freelancer. Using a reliable invoicing system is the best way to ensure that you get paid on time. Chasing after late payments can be one of the most frustrating aspects of freelancing, but with the right invoicing system, you’ll be able to send and process invoices quickly.
Manage Your Time
As a freelancer, you are in charge of managing your own schedule. It can be tough to stay productive when you’re working independently. This is especially true if you’re still a student and juggling coursework and extracurriculars, too. To manage your time effectively, try blocking social media websites and apps while you’re working, work in short bursts, and block off specific hours each day to dedicate to freelancing.
Design Business Cards
Having a business card can be an incredibly useful tool for writers looking to find work. A quality business card allows you to put your best foot forward, no matter the situation. It helps you present yourself in a professional way and make a great first impression with potential employers and clients. Furthermore, handing out business cards means that interested parties will have instant access to your contact information, empowering them to get in touch with ease and make offers without inhibiting their search process. If you’re wondering about business card design, you can find templates online that you can customize with your own photos, images, and designs.
When you’re working on a few different projects at once, it’s not always easy to keep all of your documents organized. But if you lose track of important files or deliverables, you might end up submitting projects to your clients late, which can hurt your reputation. It’s a good idea to create a folder for each client you work with, and in each folder, you can create sub-folders for important new projects. Furthermore, you might want to start using project management software. This is a great way to break down each of your projects into sub-tasks, assign deadlines for each deliverable, and make sure you receive a notification whenever a deadline is coming up.
If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing your name in print, freelance writing might be the right choice for you. You don’t have to wait until someone hires you for a full-time position to start earning money from your writing. By pursuing freelance projects, you’ll be able to hone your skills and grow as a writer.
Inspired Copywriting inspires people to think more than the earthly and mundane things in life, to see the value of what they do in building a better world, and advocating for what is right, just, humane, and sustainable. Read more informative articles today!
About the author: Cecelia Johnson believes good deeds power the world and she loves bringing attention to those deeds on her website, Recognition Works recognitionworks.org. recognizing great work.