How To Become a Freelance Writer & Work From Home
Do you ever wish that you could give up the 9-5 office job, and work from home in your pyjamas?!
There are now millions of people who are doing exactly that. If you love writing and are good at it, freelance writing could be the perfect career choice for you.
Freelancing is becoming more and more popular because people are seeking flexible working hours, the opportunity to stay at home with children, travel whenever you wish, and to be your own boss. Are you stuck in your current role and dread Monday mornings? This is where freelance writing could be your saviour.
And the best thing about it? You don’t even need to have any prior experience.
If you are wondering “is freelance writing for me?”, or if you’re looking for home based writing job uk, and paid online writing jobs uk, this is the article for you.
There are some freelance writing courses available that could help you get some more information on how to become a successful freelancer and how to find jobs:
30 days or less to freelance writing success – Gina Horkey
Get paid to write online – Elna Cain
Earn More Writing – Holly Johnson (the course is $149 for a basic package, where Holly shares with you how she earns $200K a year…)
Before you start applying for jobs, put together samples of your work. If you have already written for other sites such as by guest posting, these are great articles to show because they can see how you are able to adapt your writing for different sites. If you have a blog, you can use samples of your blog posts – use both short ones and long ones (because they will be looking for a certain amount of words).
How do I become a freelance writer?
There are lots of ways that you can find work as a freelancer, and promote yourself. If you talk to various freelancers, you will probably find that some swear by using one particular method, whilst the others use something else.
The best thing that you can do when you are starting out is to try them all out and work out which one is best for you.
The most important thing that you can do is to just go for it and see what happens.
Take a look at tools such as Grammarly* which make sure that your writing is grammatically correct and reads well.
Decide What You Want to Write About
Although you could potentially get writing gigs in pretty much any online space, this isn’t something that’s generally recommended.
For 2 main reasons:
- It’ll get boring and take you much longer to work on the jobs you have
- You won’t be known for any particular subject
Trust me – speaking from experience here, it is much more fun to write about things that interest you, and that you have knowledge about.
If you have to write about something that you’ve never heard about before and is really dull, it’s not going to be fun. And it will take ages to write.
Brainstorm the things that you may have a lot of knowledge on, or that you are happy to talk about all day, everyday. For me, it was personal finance!
Set Up a Blog/Website
As mentioned, one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a writer is on your own blog. See my step-by-step guide on how to set up a blog here. I also have a list of beautiful blog themes that will make your blog look professional and stand out here.
If you set up a freelancing website, instead of just offering your services on a sales page, you should set up a blog on there too, as this will showcase your writing to prospective clients.
Alongside your blog or website, you will want to build a social media presence so that people can actually find you! Twitter is a great social media site for finding contacts, and you can put in your bio that you are a freelance writer.
Put Together a Portfolio
You can do this on the site that you have created, or if you don’t want to put up a website, you could just put some articles together.
It’s much harder to get a job for writing when you cannot show any examples of your writing.
It’s not that difficult to put together a portfolio – write some articles that are relevant to the subject that you want to pitch in.
Another good thing that you can do is look for opportunities to guest post. Reach out to other bloggers in your niche and see if they accept guest posts. This could also lead to paid writing gigs for them in the future!
This may sound a little bit silly, but it’s so important! The more that I write, the better I get at it. I look back at old pieces that I’ve written and cringe!
The more writing that you can do, the better your skills will become. It obviously depends on who you are writing for and which tone you need, but a good tip is to write how you would speak.
Content mills are sites where there is generally a lot of work available – but for a very low fee. There is a lot of competition here, but it is a great starting point for learning how to pitch, and how to adapt your writing skills to fit the needs of the client.
You don’t want to do many of these at all, because they want a lot of work for a low fee, but I thought that I would mention it for people who are just starting out.
Make sure you read how much work is required of you before applying for the job.
There are various websites where companies post freelancing jobs as and when they are available. A lot of these jobs will be for more than one piece of work, and you will have to bid for them.
Competition on these is FIERCE – so get into a routine of checking them at certain points of the day, as you will want to be one of the first bids that the client sees.
This is an amazing blog full of knowledge on how to be a successful blogger. They have a jobs board which is incredibly popular, and full of great job opportunities – check it out now and you will see what I mean!
You’ve probably heard of Indeed before if you’ve ever done job searches, but did you know that they can be great for freelancing work too? You can search for things such as ‘freelancing’, ‘copywriting’, ‘remote work’ and more.
There are blogging jobs available on here, copywriting jobs, editing and more.
Upwork is a very popular website for freelancers seeking work, because there is a large amount of work available on there, and the fees can be decent when compared to other sites.
I was pretty confused about how this site works, but they have a handy infographic which explains the whole process. It’s quite simple really! Set up a portfolio, and if accepted, you will be invited to pitch for certain jobs.
They post openings on all major job sites and they are in the eCommerce industry. Every Thursday, FreeeUp pays its workers for the previous billing period.
Browse jobs matching your skills and apply for assignments. Make sure that during the signing in process, you skip the payment options – as it is free.
Set up a profile and choose which services you will offer – as clients will search for these when they have a job. You are able to search and apply for assignments, and Guru emails you jobs that you are matched to.
he employer pays Guru before the work commences, and when they approve the work, you get paid.
I find this website really user-friendly, it’s well laid out and easy to understand. Set up your profile, and bid on jobs if you like them.
This is a marketplace that is gaining in popularity, particularly in the US. Jobs are on there for…you guessed it – a fiver ($5). When you change this into pounds, this is obviously not a lot. However, the way to make money on Fiverr is through the upsell. You can place a job on there for $5, but add on extras for more money.
Fill out your profile and apply to join the community – your application will be reviewed and will be emailed if you are accepted. Check out the Peep FAQ – full of helpful tips on how to pitch to the clients.
If working on a fixed rate job you’ll be paid every 30 days, starting 30 days from when you were hired. If working on a one-time job or package you will be paid out 30 days from when you were hired, and if working on an hourly invoicing job you will be paid based on the invoices you submit.
Complete types of jobs such as: proofreading, research, ideas and article rewriting and get paid every week on Friday
After your Worker Account is created, you will then be able to apply for specific Work Opportunities at Crowd Content.
- Blog Mutt
- One Space
- The Content Authority
Paid Job Boards
In order to get access to certain job postings, you will have to pay a fee to join – but the benefit of this is that there will be less competition.
Paid To Blog
$30 per month. Paid to Blog Jobs is mainly for beginner to intermediate-level freelance bloggers.
Freelance Writers Den
$25 per month. Currently closed for new members but if you sign up to their email list, they will let you know when they open their doors again.
Blogs That Pay For Guest Posts
Dollar Stretcher – Payment is at the rate of $0.10 per published word.
Elite Personal Finance – Payment for an article of 1,500 to 3,000 words is $100.
Work Online Blog – Articles must be at least 1500 words long and payment is $50 per published article.
Writers Weekly – Must be more than 600 words. Payment is $60 on acceptance via Paypal.
Your Online Biz – Payment is $100.
If you are serious about becoming a freelance writer, there are several things that you can do to set yourself up for success:
- Create a work space in your home. It will be easy to be distracted by the TV or the housework, so setting your own office space will help you stick to your work.
- Create a schedule. You are probably going to be busy! Setting up a good schedule will help you manage your work load.
- If you have tasks that you do over and over on a frequent basis, now is the time to automate them. For example, I use Buffer to schedule my Twitter and Facebook blog postings. Saves me a ton of time and stress!
- Set up an invoicing system.
- Make sure you communicate with your client clearly. Let them know how long the project will take, keep them updated, and let them know in advance your payment information, including late fees.
- Networking will be a great way to grow your freelancing business, and can easily be done via the internet, which is great for introverts (myself included!).
My Personal Experience
For me personally, I found clients my reaching out to other bloggers in my niche. I am obviously in the personal finance niche, so I wanted to find clients that wrote about the same thing, because I enjoy writing about money and know a lot about it.
I decided I didn’t want to reach out to any personal finance bloggers who are in the UK like me, as I didn’t think it would be right, as we would be doing the same thing. So I decided to reach out to big bloggers in the USA.
I was very lucky because I contacted 2 sites and they both hired me. They already knew me, but I sent over some examples of my writing and they said yes! Through word of mouth I then managed to get another client pretty quickly (he came directly to me).
Networking is a great way of getting freelance gigs, but just to point out that I didn’t chat to these guys beforehand to do this, as freelance writing was a far off dream for me, but it does help to know people before approaching them for work.
Does anyone have any other tips for how to become a successful freelancer? Or are you thinking of giving it a go? Let me know in the comments below.
Ways To Make Extra Money Now:
- Start a blog with Siteground! This can start off as a fun side hustle, and have the potential to turn into a huge full time income (which is still fun!). Yes, you CAN make money blogging, and it’s the best thing that I ever did. To get started, read my post How To Start a Blog.
- Answer simple questions on survey sites! This is a really easy money earner and I love it because I do it when I don’t need to really think too much e.g. Netflix on in the background. Sign up to the best survey sites over here.
- Matched Betting – you don’t need to be good at maths, it’s not gambling, it’s tax-free, it can be done at any time of day and earn you thousands extra per month. All explained here and you can sign up to my favourite site that will guide you through the steps.
- Mystery Shopping – I always thought these were a scam or a pain to do, until I got started! Since then, the free food and other items (e.g. clothes for me and my daughter) have convinced me otherwise! My favourite legit sites are rounded up for you here.
Thanks for sharing! It’s a great reference for me to go back to with a lot of helpful information. Now I just need to get off my butt and get started. haha
Thanks Sarah – ha, I’m with you there!
I’m a part-time WAHD and freelance writing is a large reason why. I just started about 6 months ago and have had most success through Upwork, although I also want to give Freelancer a try.
As you mentioned the competition is fierce for several sites listed and I have landed a gig or two on several of them. The trick is being persistent and checking several times per day. It’s rewarding when you find a steady client!
That’s great that you have been really successful so far Josh! 🙂
Freelance writing is definitely a goal of mine to start doing in 2017! Thanks for all the helpful tips
Snap – thanks Amanda!
Thanks for sharing!!! I will definitely be looking over this when I get serious about freelance work. Right now I’m trying to build up my blog but I definitely would like to branch out after awhile. Thanks for the awesome tips!!!
Thank you – I’m with you there!
Great post really informative,I love read these kind of posts because I find always something inspirational on the… thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for mentioning my totally free course to help aspiring freelance writers find their first client. And yes, I also have a comprehensive course to help you make a living as a freelance writer!
You’re post is filled with lots of ways to find jobs for newbies! This is a great resource! Thanks so much.
You’re welcome Elna – and thank you!
I’ll definitely check out the links to paid sites in the post, I think going out and starting to write is probably the best way to get started!
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Jamie, let me know how you get on!
I’ve been reading about writing online for a while and this may be one of the most comprehensive posts I’ve come across about it.
I guess you’ve had a lot of practise if you can manage to create so much content in a clear and concise manner. I’ve sent off some writing applications to various sites you’ve mentioned here. Fingers crossed at least one of them gets back to me with something 🙂
Thank you so much, what a lovely comment :-)! I hope it helped, and I have my fingers crossed for you!
Francesca, I knew there was a market for freelance writing, but I didn’t realize there were this many opportunities! Definitely will have to check this out. Sounds like good marketing for my own blog as well as gives the chance to make a few bucks on the side.
Thanks for sharing!
You’re very welcome Nicholas 🙂
I have a friend who is so much interested in freelance writing and this post really gave some nice bullet points sequel to it so i will be sharing this post to her, Thanks alot.
You’re so welcome!