Are you ready to land your first freelance writing client? I sat down with blogger and freelance writer Amanda Cross of TheHappyArkansan.com and AmandaCross.co to discuss how she managed to land her first freelance writing client after graduating college! Listen to the full episode to hear her experience and tips!
What You Need
Before you get started freelance writing, there are some basic things you should get prepared. you don’t need any fancy degree or formal training to be a freelance writer. No matter what you studied in college, if you’re a decent writer, you can do it!
Before you get started:
- Portfolio: It helps to have a freelance writing portfolio to show off your best work. This can be a blog, free portfolio host, or personal website. It’s fine to write your own posts or articles to have something to add to your portfolio!
- Know your craft: If you want to land your first freelance writing client, you need to prove you know what you’re talking about. While much of writing involves research, you still need to have a good starting point. This is where your niche comes in!
- Writing tools: Things like Google Docs, Grammarly, and Hemmingway Editor come in handy when you’re doing professional writing without an actual editor looking over your shoulder.
Finding Your Niche
While it’s okay to not know what you want to write about when you start your search, it definitely helps to have an idea. On the podcast, Amanda talks about how she writes about higher education, human resources, and marketing. By niching down, she can really focus on developing her knowledge about these topics which translates to higher pay!
There’s literally a niche for everything, but that doesn’t mean some don’t pay better than others. Marketing writing and tech writing is notoriously well-paying, though it’s not as easy to get into if you’re not already comfortable with those things.
Think about what you know a fair bit about already or what you’re interested in. You’ll be diving deep into research for these topics, so you might as well be interested in what you’re writing about! Here are some well-known niches that are great for beginners:
- Student life
- Fashion & lifestyle
- Personal Finance
- SEO & Blogging
- Social Media
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to be an EXPERT to start freelance writing about anything listed above. You just have to be willing to do the research and learn as you go! Personally, I do a lot of freelance writing about marketing, e-commerce, and tech. I studied English, so I’m in no way formally trained in these things! I just research and learn as I go!
How to Find Your First Freelance Writing Client
So now that you know what you need to get started, you’re ready to find your first freelance writing client online! There’s a lot of confusion about the best place to look for clients, and there really is no right or wrong way. Here are some of the top resources when looking for clients, even as a beginner:
- Job Boards: I’m not talking about Indeed, though there are sometimes jobs on there. You can do a quick search for writing job boards, but my favorite by far is the Pro Blogger job board.
- Content Mills: I don’t like content mills for long-term work since the pay is garbage. They’re great for learning about how to write for clients though, and you can try several different niche options. My favorite is Textbroker.
- Upwork: I haven’t had a lot of luck on Upwork, but Amanda has! She has a great list of 10 lessons she learned from her time on Upwork here on her blog.
- LinkedIn: This professional job site is a great place to find new gigs and network with clients!
- Your Own Blog: Having your own blog or portfolio websites is a great way to have prospective clients reach out to you organically! What a dream, right?
Another option that goes without saying is reaching out to prospective clients on your own. Though it’s intimidating, this is sometimes the most effective strategy, especially for a beginner. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! The worst thing that can happen is hearing no, and that’s not a big deal!
Optimizing Your Website or Portfolio
If you choose to create a profile on a common freelancer website, you’ll need an optimized portfolio. The same goes for your website which needs to have the right info to actually land clients! Your profile needs to build trust in your abilities, and you can do that in a few ways:
- Examples: Show off your best examples whether you wrote them for yourself, for school, or a guest post.
- Photo: Use a great profile picture! Take it a step further by sharing a video introducing yourself and your writing experience.
- Integrate Keywords: Using keywords in your website SEO and on your profiles helps you stand out to clients searching for a specific niche writer.
- Be Yourself: The more unique you are with your voice, the more your clients will know about your writing style.
Let’s look at Amanda’s Upwork profile to see how she’s attracted high-quality clients!
See how she uses all the things we talked about above? That’s why she has no problem landing clients on Upwork and beyond!
The most important takeaway for new freelance writers is to value yourself. If you don’t value yourself as a writer, no one else will. A lot of clients will expect a lot from you without much in return. I always say, “Everyone wants great writing but nobody wants to pay for it!” and it’s true.
It’s up to you to fight for the value of your work. You know how much effort and research goes into your writing, so make sure you’re compensated fairly! Over time, your writing skills will grow and you’ll see what an impact you’re making!
Are you interested in becoming a freelance writer? I hope this post helped you discover how to find your first freelance writing client! Do you have a question about freelancing or making money? Shoot me an email to be featured on the next episode!