We live in the era of freelancing and entrepreneurship. Anyone can take back control of his time by leaving the 9-5 lifestyle and working for himself instead.
But the mental shift seems to be the hardest part. Some people have the mindset of an employee long after they have become independent freelancers.
It’s absolutely possible to succeed, though, and the steps to getting there are easy. You need to have a service to offer, of course, but if you’re a writer, you don’t need to worry about that. With every new day the importance of written content online increases and every company, regardless of its industry and goals, realises it needs to have a website and a frequently updated blog to it. That’s when they decide to hire a team of writers, or even assign a single project every now and then. That’s when you come to help them improve their ranking and get new clients by doing what you do best.
The benefits of freelancing are huge. But those who are still working a regular job and feel comfortable and safe there aren’t aware of them. Here are the most important ones:
1. No fixed working hours
One of the worst things about a job is that you need to be there during the best part of the day, and you rarely have the chance to do something else.
But if you’re a freelancer, you decide when to work. Plus, you get to reject a client if you don’t like his requirements or if the communication isn’t smooth.
2. You work as much as you want
If you feel exhausted, take a break. Plan your work for your most productive time and get it done faster then.
But freelancers become hustlers as the more projects they take up, the more money comes in. And they look forward to the next article they have to write, the next contract with a client, etc.
3. You do what you love and are good at
That’s a huge benefit. And it’s life-changing.
At a regular job, even if it’s in the field you enjoy, you have to do side stuff you hate all the time. And you may not even be good at it. Others may complete them better but they are assigned to you. That’s why you often procrastinate, feel bad, get bored at work, and eventually hate going to the office.
4. Location independence
You get to work from the comfort of your home. There you play by your rules. What’s more, there’s no more commuting or unfriendly working environment.
But that’s not all. If you’re an adventurer, you can move to any place you want as location isn’t an issue anymore. You’re working remotely and can even travel the world while making money and doing what you love.
So the only limits now are the ones you set yourself.
5. You can scale
A 9-5 job is a prison when it comes to leveling up too. You can’t really start working on new projects when you feel like it, you can’t show off your talents, and you can’t speak up when you have a brilliant idea.
But when you’re working for yourself, you have the actual chance of turning your writing career into a business. It takes time, a solid strategy and many mistakes till you get there, of course, but most freelancers scale after doing it for a few years. And then there’s a new world of possibilities that you can’t enter when you’re working for someone else.
All this sounds great. And if you weren’t aware of how beautiful the world of freelancing is, you should be quite excited now. And the question that comes to mind is, ‘How do I become a freelance writer?’. And most importantly, ‘How do I become a successful one?’.
Here are the steps that are proven to work:
1. Do it on the side first
You can’t just leave your job and start working for yourself. You need to do it on the side first, to make connections, build your portfolio, do your research and start making some income. And when it gets big enough, you can turn that into your career and do it all the time.
But for now, do it on weekends and before and after work. But be serious about it.
Start by getting familiar with the things you can do and choosing what will work best for you. Read about how others have done it and learn from them. That will also help your mind get used to the idea and make the transition when the time comes.
2. Start building your personal brand today
For starters, create a website. It may be a blog where you’ll write frequently and which you’ll want to make popular, or it can just be a domain with your name to show who you are and what you do. But it’s important to have it as that will be your online home and you will present it to potential clients in the future.
If you don’t want to tackle the design, optimisation and other things yourself, hire someone to do it for you.
But pay special attention to your About page. Tell your story, showcase your work, make it easy for people to contact you.
Then, be on every social media outlet and use it with a purpose. Take your time when creating the profiles. Use a nice profile picture, give a link to your website and contact details, write short descriptions saying what you do best and what you believe in. And start connecting with people.
Also, share the posts you write, interesting things you read online, or news related to your industry. Use the right keywords and hashtags so that others can find these too. And keep in mind that at any moment someone may offer you a job by simply finding something you’ve shared.
3. Work for free
Now that you’ve started your journey to becoming a successful freelance writer, find your first client and offer your service for free. Connect with companies who don’t update their blog regularly, or email influencers, or else.
Your goal here is to see what freelancing is all about, to have an actual client to use as a proof on your site and thus have experience.
4. Join sites for freelancers.
Now join websites for beginner freelancers like UpWork, Freelancer and similar ones. Again, carefully think through everything you include in your profile.
There’s way too much competition there, but that shouldn’t stop you from pitching clients. Browse the job offers and submit proposals (which are written with attention to detail).
Finding your first client and doing a good job for him will let others see you’ve got experience in the site. Soon, you’ll start collecting positive feedback and it will be easier to get accepted for new jobs.
Some of these will be one-time gigs. But others may turn into long-term business relationships.
These steps don’t need to take long. It’s up to you and it’s all about making it a priority and taking action daily to reaching your goal.
And soon, you’ll be able to leave your current job. You may start publishing books of your own and selling them after that. Or make money from your blog. And you can also start building the foundation of your business, which may include marketing your service, outsourcing some of your work or even gathering a whole team.
Now you’ve got your beginner’s guide to becoming a successful freelance writer. How you’ll use that information is up to you. What steps can you take today to turn that dream into reality?