How To Become A Freelance Writer - 10 Important Keys

How To Become A Freelance Writer - 10 Important Keys

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How To Become A Freelance Writer - 10 Important Keys
By Chibuzor Ujunwa


I started my freelance journey about 3 years ago.

I was looking for a side hustle and somehow landed on an online freelancing website.

I registered and, after 2 weeks of pitching, landed my first job.

I can't remember the exact details, but I remember the ecstatic feeling when I received my first payment -$5 from my online endeavor.

Since then, I have grown and commanded much higher fees.

I've made a successful career as a freelancer.

Here are the key lessons from my experience that shaped my path.

1. Find your (profitable) niche

It’s tempting to start off your freelancing career as a generalist.

You're eager to take on any type of work from any client and any industry. That's understandable.

As a newbie, you'll want to maximize every opportunity to land a new client.

But this strategy is hardly sustainable.

The case against casting a wide net is that it may come up with the more undesirable and low-value catches out there.

Because the market is saturated with generalist freelancers, pricing always becomes a race to the bottom.

Just as a heart disease patient will prefer a cardiologist to a GP, clients will be more comfortable giving their money to a specialist.

That is why you should choose a niche right off the bat and deepen your expertise there.

Aside from getting better paid, narrowing down to a niche also makes marketing and completing projects easier.

You have a specific type of client you look for and tailor your prospecting in that direction. It will also enable you to create a brand.

Choose a marketable niche that interests you.

Even if you not quite the expert, narrowing your services to a niche you love will give you the extra motivation to get tasks done.

And you can always brush up your skills.

To get started with Freelancing, following a proven blueprint…

...Check out My Freelance Paycheck

2. Build a portfolio

A portfolio showcases samples of your best work to potential clients.

They need to know who you have worked with previously, your style and the quality of your work.

With your portfolio, you specify the services you offer, who they are for, and why you are the best person to hire.

Other essentials to include in your portfolio include:

  • Your contact information
  • Relevant education, skills, certification, and accomplishments
  • Testimonials, feedback or social proof

Your portfolio can also be hosted on several websites like Behance and DeviantArt.

But building your own portfolio website is more professional. The best way to sell your services is by showing clients you can solve their most pressing problems.

3. Establish your credibility

A well-designed portfolio establishes credibility and tells prospective clients that you can deliver on your services.

But what if you're just starting out?

As a newbie, you may not have a well-developed body of work and testimonials to show off. 

However, you must appear credible and competent to build sufficient trust if you are to make any money freelancing.

You can find ways to demonstrate your competencies by thinking creatively.

When I first started out as a freelance writer, I volunteered to write for a friend's blog in return for positive feedback and a by-line.

Ask your LinkedIn in contacts to endorse you for talents relevant to your freelance pursuits.

You can also get certifications in your area of specialization and present them along with with your educational qualifications if they are contextually relevant.

Hubspot Academy and Google Digital Skills are some of the well known and recognized online resources that offer free certification.

And even before starting with those sites, I recommend you follow this proven blueprint for Freelance Writing success…

...My Freelance Paycheck

4. Identify your prospective clients

When I first started out, I didn't have much discretionary freedom in selecting clients.

But with time, I learned to identify the sort of clients I work best with.

While this may mean turning down a lot of business, narrowing your client base will help you achieve more in less time.

As your reputation builds, satisfied clients will refer others to you. You'll be seen as the best person to solve their problems.

Which means You can charge premium rates and be sure of getting hired and paid.

So how do you qualify prospects?

  • Look for businesses that need your services and have the funds to pay your prices.
  • Find the decision-makers within the business. Can you get their contacts and connect with them on a personal level?

With these sorted out, you are ready to start pitching.

5. Learn to pitch

Learn to pitch even if you have a network that supplies you with client referrals.

Excellent pitching skills will always ensure you have constant work and avoid the dreaded feast and famine cycle.

Make you pitches stand out from the mountain pile of proposals businesses are inundated with daily by:

  • Adding a personal touch. Research the mail recipient and their business. Quote something they said that you agree with or compliment them on a recent achievement.
  • Do not waste time talking about yourself and your accomplishment. Focus on the client and how you can help them
  • Also, include testimonials and work samples from past clients to show that you are capable.
  • Go a step further by suggesting a solution or adding value to them in some way.

For a step-by-step approach to pitching, including templates and more…

...Check out My Freelance Paycheck

6. Charge what you're worth

Pricing your services can be tricky, and there is no hard science to it.

Finding out what other freelancers in your niches are charging can be a helpful guide. But you mustn't solely rely on that.

Try to estimate the value you provide the customer and charge accordingly.

From experience, it's better to charge based on projects rather than an hourly rate.

This is because clients are more interested in the outcome or the results of the projects.

If it solves their problem and makes them happy, they wouldn't care less about the number of hours you spent completing the project.

When you start getting better at your craft with experience, you will take far less time to complete a given gig.

Thus, you'll short-change yourself with hourly billing.

7. Define the project scope

Before starting on a project, clarify with the client the expected milestones and timelines.

You will leave the wrong impression if a client has to wait for too long for the project to be completed or, even worse, billed for more hours than they expected.

8. Stick to deadlines

Your ability to turn in your work on time every time is critical to your success as a freelancer.

But since you work from home, it's easy to get distracted and procrastinate.

  • Always build and sustain momentum by starting up a project once the contract is in place. If you wait, you may never get around to it till the last minute.
  • Learn to say no to extra commitments when your hands are full
  • Break challenging projects into smaller, manageable pieces to make them easier to handle. Taking it on all at once tends to be intimidating and gives you an excuse to put it off.
  • Give yourself an earlier deadline than that from the client.

It takes discipline to stay on track and do your assigned work. But the payoff is huge.

Stay organized

Freelancing requires you to juggle multiple clients, tasks, and deadlines. Set up a system to stay organized and efficient.

A daily routine is important.

Mapping out time for everything helps keep you committed. Make use of apps to schedule meetings, create to-do lists, and book appointments.

Use a sound filing system and keep your workspace clear of clutter

The right systems and processes in place will ensure you stay on top of your work and manage your clients' expectations.

Delight your Customer

The customer is king. Annoying cliche aside, this phrase sums up all you need to do to become a successful freelancer.

When you exceed customers' expectations, you'll earn a superstar reputation in no time.

Not only will a delighted customer return for further projects, but they will also give your excellent feedbacks, testimonials, and refer more clients to you.

Just keep them happy and satisfied.

To get started with Freelancing, check out this proven blueprint…

...Click Here To Visit My Freelance Paycheck.

Top 10 Tips for Freelancers

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10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Freelancing

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10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Freelancing
By Anne Matea


When I said goodbye to my secure, well-paid, unrewarding corporate job, I didn’t know that freelancing was even an option.

I was just looking for a new opportunity, maybe in a start-up. Something fun, exciting, and original.

It turned out I really wanted to be a freelancer but took me a few weeks to put a name on it. 

There were challenges along the way, a few setbacks, and a steep learning curve.

Now, I have completed 269 freelance writing jobs, on several different topics including fashion and blog writing. I love what I do.

To get started with Freelancing, following a proven blueprint…

...Check out My Freelance Paycheck

Here are some things I wish I’d known when I embarked on my freelancing journey:

1. Have an emergency fund and lots of patience

I’m not telling you here to postpone freelancing indefinitely, just to make sure you have some money set aside that you can use to pay your bills until you start making money freelancing.

The clients will come, you will make money, but you need to be patient and have a strategy in mind. 

It can take a few days, weeks, or even months until you will be able to support yourself financially exclusively from freelancing jobs.

Until then, having an emergency fund with the money you need for the basics (rent, food, transportation, services) for a minimum of two months is a good idea.

Or start freelancing while still keeping your day job J

2. Listen to other people’s experiences, but don’t assume it will be the same for you

Most people you meet don’t believe in freelancing.

Some of them even tried it, and it was a complete waste of time, money, and energy.

They will tell you to look for a real job.

They will tell you the competition is fierce, the clients are not willing to pay good money for these services, and you just can’t make it. 

The reality is they didn’t make it. But you can. Like many others did. Like I did. 

3. Set up working hours

Making your own program can be a blessing, and it is the reason many freelancers would never go back to working from 9 am to 5 pm.

However, it can also be a trap. You have all the hours in the day (and night) to work. All the days in the week. So much time on your hands. 

This is a good time to set up some working hours.

You can design your own daily routines, maybe you want to start with a walk in the park or a workout session at the gym and then get to work.

Maybe start with work and then hit the gym. But a routine is essential as this is the only way to ensure you get the work done. 

Since we got to setting up working hours, you should also set up a working space.

It should give you a working vibe, so you feel motivated and energized when you get to it!

You can read more about it here: My Freelance Paycheck

4. Build a strong portfolio

In the first weeks, you might have few, if any, clients. You will have poor cash flow. What you can do to stay motivated and make progress is to build a strong portfolio. 

This might mean that you should take clients that pay little for a project (but the project is interesting, and you can use it to showcase your skills).

If you have no clients at all, just get in touch with some NGOs and do some work for free for them.

Anything that makes your talents shine, and you can use to attract clients later on. 

Get some testimonials while you are at it. Your future clients want to know how appreciated your work was. 

5. Sign a contract with every client

Yes, I know what you are thinking now, this doesn’t sound like lots of fun. And what if the client doesn’t want to sign a contract?

Well, this is too bad for him as he won’t get to work with you. 

Contracts are made to protect both you and your client and to make things go smooth in case the working relationship deteriorates.

Take the time to name clearly all the deliverables, the deadlines, and the payment details.

This will save you from unpleasant conversations such as “I thought this was included in the initial cost” or “I didn’t know I had to pay every month.”

6. Ask for a deposit before you start working

While you’re doing the paperwork, make sure to ask for a deposit before you start working.

It can be as little as 15% or even 35% of the contract.

For new clients, I usually ask for 35%, just to make sure they do have the money.

You can use Escrow if it gives you more peace of mind. It is important to know your work will be paid in full. 

The deposit is good for your cash flow too. It is also a way to know if your prospective client is serious.

Late payments are very common nowadays and can have a negative effect on your routines. 

To get started with Freelancing, check out this proven blueprint…

...Click Here To Visit My Freelance Paycheck

7. Stay organized

Have a growth mindset, and don’t lose yourself when clients start pouring in.

Choose your projects wisely and avoid work that you are not qualified for or won’t bring you any other benefits aside from the payment. 

Invest some time and money in promoting yourself, branding, and networking. 

8. Develop a support network 

Whatever the work, we all need support every now and then.

It could be a partner saying: “Good job, you’re doing great!” or a colleague helping you with a part of the project.

It could be someone specialized in a complementary field. 

The support network is essential to help you drive more business and handle work commitments faster and better. 

9. Keep track of your numbers

The number of projects, clients, months you have been freelancing, income from each client and per month, expenses, and so on.

Knowing your numbers can help you plan ahead.

You will notice that income can be different from month to month, from one season to the other. 

Tracking the numbers can help you measure progress and success. There is really no other way. 

10. Have a personal life

You might be tempted to work around the clock, no weekends, no happy hour with your colleagues after work.

This is not good for your health and wellbeing.

Make some time for yourself, relax, and enjoy quality time with family and friends. It’s important.

Freelancing could be a great career choice if you are committed, organized, and confident in your skills.

Whether you are 20 or 60 years old, you can be successful and make money. And you can start anytime, even now.

Lastly, check out this proven blueprint to get started with Freelancing…

...My Freelance Paycheck – Click Here To Learn More