How to Start Freelance Writing

Hi everyone! I’m switching up my normal content to share with you some insights on how I started freelance writing as a side hustle. One of my big goals for 2022 was to grow my freelance writing portfolio and start doing it as a consistent side hustle. I first started my freelance writing journey in summer 2021, and I’m so excited that I’m now writing for two companies on a regular basis and taking on extra projects on a monthly/bi-monthly basis. I’ve always loved writing and have wanted to do it part time or full time, so it feels really exciting and rewarding to bring in some consistent income from it! Without further ado, here’s how I personally started freelance writing, and how you can start too.

Before you even begin freelance writing, you’ll want to identify your niche. You can write on pretty much any topic, from finance to travel to food, and so much more. I specialize in travel/outdoor writing, so a lot of my work consists of travel guides and trail reports. The key to determining your niche is finding a topic that isn’t overly-saturated with writers, while still ensuring it’s broad enough that you’ll get consistent work. This can take some trial and error, but really think about what topics you’re personally interested in, or have some existing knowledge about.

Once you’ve identified your niche, you’ll need to put some work samples together to show potential clients your writing skills. Starting a personal blog is one great way to start writing consistently and prepare samples for potential clients. Another good option is to start contributing to websites or companies where you can submit your work to be featured. For instance, I have a few trail reports published on Outdoor Project, and I often link to those when I’m seeking out new jobs or clients.

Now that you have a target audience in mind and some work samples to provide, it’s time to start finding gigs! My three big tips for finding work as you start off are to reach out to your personal network, offer your services on Fiverr (or a similar website), and join Facebook groups related to freelance writing.
One of the first regular gigs I got was the result of me reaching out to business owners I knew personally. I let them know I had a goal of expanding my freelance writing portfolio and wanted to work with them, which would be mutually beneficial for us both. From there, we figured out expectations for services I’d be providing as well as rates. I will say that when I first started off, I priced my services very low. I still made sure I was getting paid appropriately for the time and work I was putting in, but I wanted to provide a competitive edge to my services by offering very fair pricing. A few months in, I still price my services very competitively because freelance writing is just a side hustle at the moment, and I really want to focus on taking on new opportunities to build up my portfolio.
Another great way to find freelance writing jobs is by offering your writing services on Fiverr or a similar site. I’ve gotten some really cool gigs through Fiverr, and can easily point to those blog posts as examples of my work. Let me know if you’re interested in a whole guide to starting your Fiverr profile!
The last way that I personally started getting freelance writing jobs was by joining several Facebook groups related to the topic of freelance writing. Specifically, I’m a member of some female travel creator Facebook groups, and business owners often post seeking writers for one-off projects or short term contracts. By being active on these Facebook groups, I got partnered with a travel blog who I recently started ghostwriting for on a short-term contract basis.

Once you start seeking out jobs and actually getting paid to freelance write, make sure you regularly check in with yourself about how much time and energy you’re prepared to dedicate. If you want to jump into freelance writing full time, you’ll want to be really active in seeking out opportunities and making connections. If you plan on just doing it as a side hustle, make sure you’re balancing your responsibilities properly so you’re not taking on too many projects at once.

Another big piece of advice as you begin your freelance writing journey, and honestly something I think you should maintain throughout your career, is to always be open to feedback. I make sure to ask very specific questions before starting a gig so I have as much information as possible to give my client exactly what they want. If any other questions arise during the writing process, I reach out ASAP so I can get clarification, instead of just guessing and potentially delivering something they’re unhappy with. I also offer revisions for my work, so that I can make sure my client leaves 100% happy with the product I delivered. I make a point to set realistic expectations for how long it will take me to complete my projects, and I always welcome feedback throughout the process.

Starting your freelance writing journey can be an intimidating process, but nothing beats the feeling of getting your first published work or paid gig. I’m so excited to continue building up my writing portfolio and challenging myself with new and exciting opportunities. I hope you find this guide helpful as you start your own freelance writing career, and I wish you the best of success!