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How to Start a Sustainable Freelance Writing Business

Dec 16, 2020
(updated: Dec 5, 2022)
Max 5 min read

Congratulations! You’re looking to get started with your freelance writing business. So… now what?

Writing is a fantastic job for those who desire or need flexibility (essentially all writing-related work can be done from home so long as you have a computer). It can also be seriously lucrative. There are several different types of writing you can do, including:

  • Blogging: Blog posts are pieces of content that fall under the blogger’s umbrella topic, like finance, health, or music. Many blogs accept guest posters as one-off or frequent contributors.
  • Article Writing: Think newspapers, journals, and magazines. Landing an article-writing job can be more difficult than blogging, depending on the prestige of the publication. What it comes down to are a solid portfolio and an effective pitch.
  • Technical Writing: Do you have an engineering or software background? If so, this might be a great writing market for you. Not to mention well-paying!  
  • Resume Writing: Maybe content writing isn’t your thing, but you’ve got a background in HR and know how to turn a resume into an interview. People are willing to pay a pretty price for that perfect resume.

The list goes on. Several successful freelance writers can be found across the board. And even though the differences between individual freelance writers might be huge, they all have one thing in common: they’ve built sustainable freelance writing businesses. Let’s walk through four key steps to follow in order for you to do the same.

4 Must-Dos for Starting Your Freelance Writing Business

Make Goals

Without goals, you’ll lack direction and/or motivation to get your business off the ground. Becoming a successful freelancer writer means continually improving your skillset, but it also means step-by-step growth and learning to build and execute a business plan.

I suggest making two types of goals:

o  SMART Goals

Specific: Specify what you want to accomplish. Use numbers and target actions. Vagueness will keep you from working effectively toward a real goal.

Measurable: Determine a way to measure your goal (time, income, number of clients, etc.).

Attainable: Take a logical approach to goal setting—it’s important to ensure you have an attainable plan.

Realistic: Starting with a $200k income might not be a possibility in year one. But who’s to say that’s not possible in five years? Make sure your goals are realistic.

Time-Bound: How long will this goal take you to accomplish?

o  Stretch Goals: Think big. Start with one stretch goal that challenges you. An example could be, “I want to make a six-figure income from freelancing."

Goal setting keeps you accountable and excited about your career. Not doing so might lead to a lack of motivation and ultimately, a failed business.

Choose Your Niche

This goes for both writing type and topic. Don’t be a resume writer, technical writer and a social media copywriter. Pick one. And then choose the topic you want to write about. Potential clients are looking for subject matter experts, not jacks of all trades. If you decide writing for finance is interesting, consider choosing that as your niche and building a blogging and article-writing finance profile. Expertise equals higher-paying freelance writing jobs.

Build an Online Presence

Starting your freelance writing career requires self-marketing. It’s important to use social media—especially your LinkedIn profile—to engage with your network and make it known that you’re a freelance writer open for business.

Additionally, consider creating a website. It’s a great way of showcasing your online writing portfolio and gives face and personality to the freelance writer.

Operate as a Business

Freelancing writing is more than writing. It’s your business - you’re the business owner. This is how you should present yourself to potential clients and showcase your online presence. This means knowing your rates ahead of business meetings or pitches, joining networking groups, and learning how to manage your finances accordingly.

Sometimes, the hardest part is getting started. But with your skillset, goals, and a strong business plan, you can be well on your way to owning a sustainable freelance writing business. Check out Indy for an all-in-one productivity suite to help you on your journey.

Get started today!

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