“How to become a freelance writer?” This is one question that almost every writer considers at least once in their life.
No matter where they start, by being a freelancer, a writer gets a sense of freedom that one can never get from a 9 to 5 job. It also provides them with the luxury of taking up the job according to their needs and requirement and that too without being restricted by location.
But before you think that one can become a freelance writer any time they want and once again as me how to become a freelance writer?
Let me clarify that it is not as easy as it seems and one cannot become a successful freelance writer overnight. You need to fully commit to the profession and it would be a while before you reach a stage which you would consider profitable.
There is a lot of hard work and research that goes into becoming a freelance writer and if you are considering taking it up the full time there are few things you need to do and consider before you quit your current job over freelance writing jobs.
1) Research on freelance writing
Just like you would do for every other job. when you start freelance writing, you need to do a lot of research of the topic so as to know what exactly to expect, where exactly you need to be cautious about and what all you need to keep in mind.
While this might seems like a trivial pursuit, this will help you understand the freelance writing market in India and how exactly it is different from other countries.
When I first started I did a lot of research and found many platforms where people shared their experience about the filed and their take on – how to become a freelance writer. I read what other freelance writers had to say, found how they worked by reading their blogs and by looking at their websites, learned as much as I could about the business and the style of writing.
Majority of us have no idea what kinds of jobs exist when we start out and researching the topic helps you find out about prospective employers and help them connect with fellow writers.
It is also a good practice to join a freelance writers group and ask questions like what is the asking rate and what to do and expect when you take up a job.
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2) Become familiar with the skills and writing tools
While you might be an amazing writer, in this day and age one cannot simply write what they want on a piece of paper ( or MS Word) and think that’s it.
You need to know what platform you would be using, how it works and what exactly you need to do. Though there are many out there who will teach you how WordPress or CMS works, it is not always the case and you might actually lose money if they think you don’t know how to use these platforms.
If you want a better chance of succeeding in the writing business, it’s a good idea to set up a WordPress or CMS Blog and learn a few basic skills and tools.
Besides these technical skills, you should definitely have a few other skills that every writer needs to keep at the tips of his fingers, such as:
a) Organizational Skills
Each writing assignment would be unique and have different requirements and thus you need to know exactly what the client wants and in which writing post. Having a system in place is key to growing as you don’t want to make mistakes or miss a deadline.
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b) Blogging Skills
As I mentioned above, you need to start your own blogging page. This will not only help you gather basic word press or CMS skills but will also keep you alive on the digital media platform.
This would be one and sometimes only place where you can show your different skills and thus give your prospective employer an idea what all you are capable of.
Writing blogs will also help you grow audience and in some cases act as a place which will get you more projects.
I primarily write blog posts so as to provide a sample of my work for people who want to hire me and also to provide my view, which at times you cannot do on another platform. Writing a blog also helps you understand formatting better and know exactly where to use headings, subheadings or create white space.
These will also help you understand your audience and how to captivate a reader.
c) Image editing program and skills
Besides writing skills it is also important to learn some basic image editing skills as many of your clients may want you to do images for your content yourself and unless you know how to do it well, you might lose on some of your audience.
While many of these clients are not that demanding, these small skills help you get more audience which in turn gets you more work. It is also important to know how to add text to blog images as it shows a deeper perspective about your post and sometimes gets you more audience with the added keyword.
To start with you can use a free image editing program like Canva or PicMonkey, but as your skills grow, you can also move to programs like Photoshop which gives you more editing option than others.
3) Practice writing
Besides keeping you updated with the latest WordPress/ CMS changes, writing a blog also helps you practice and sharpen your writing skills and gives your client sense that you are an active writer – and not someone who just writes occasionally and is not aware of current trends.
Besides sharpening your skills writing also helps you keep in touch with regular trends and what exactly is in demand right now. Regular writing also helps you keep in touch with your audience and keeps them interested in coming back for more and not forget about you and move on to another writer.
4) Create a portfolio of your work
Just like you do with a Resume or a CV, it is a good practice to keep an online or digital work portfolio of your work which you can share with your clients.
You need to understand that just like regular jobs even freelance work requires you to have a work portfolio which you can use to apply for freelance writing work.
A prospective client would want to see samples of your published work and thus it is also a good idea to regularly update your portfolio with the latest work and writing contents.
If you’re new and just starting out link your portfolio to your blog which has your latest work and also a list of all your previously published work. This will help you ease your process of being hired as the prospective client would be to see that you can actually write and what exactly is your style of writing.
If you are not happy with your blog content or don’t want to share it, you can create samples of your work and attach it with your online work profile for reference.
5) Start pitching to jobs
It is important to note, that while you can initially start out of work from home, it is not a good practice and you should instead work out of cafes or coworking spaces like myHQ as it will not only help you focus on your work better but also give you better networking opportunities and help in collaborating with other freelance workers.
Don’t ever forget that as a freelance writer you don’t have a fixed job and thus you need to stay on your toes and that you have got to hustle and hustle hard. Initially, this might seem like a hard task but as you grow you will slowly get recognition and that is exactly what your goal is, to secure clients that come to you with work and not the other way around.
Once you have finally reached the above stage you will not only able to work according to your preference but would also be able to answer others when they ask – how to become a freelance writer in India.
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