This is part 2. For part 1 – Five Questions You Need To Ask Yourself – click here.
I began blogging with no intention of getting paid to write. Just under a year later, a shift occurred.
A few months ago, I realised I needed to start taking bigger steps toward becoming self-employed and location independent. Consequently, I set myself a goal of achieving this by the 20th November 2016. Over the past year, I have developed a passion for writing through blogging. To achieve my goal, freelance writing seemed like the best and most tangible option.
I started reading resources
A friend referred me to a website called Writers in Charge, where Bamidele Onibalusi, Nigerian-born, provides practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your freelance writing career. Bamidele’s story is an inspiration. As a non-native English speaker, he has built a hugely successful freelance writing company.
I read many resources on his site: from free resources – like 110 websites that pay you to write, tips when pitching to clients and lists of job boards – to a paid resource, the Freelance Writer’s Success Starters’s Guide.These resources have helped me immensely in landing my first paid gig. I am going to show you exactly what I have done to land my first freelance writing gig. But first the foundation. If you do not develop a foundation, your chances of success will be greatly diminished.
The Foundation of Freelance Writing Success
I launched a blog and started writing. I launched it with the help of the Rennaissance Business. This resource also helped me decide what to write about. At the time I wrote about travel, personal development, philanthropy and I also interviewed people.
Granted I didn’t do this with the idea of becoming a freelance writer. It was more a personal project. But before you even think about applying for jobs, you need a fairly solid foundation. This starts with deciding what to write about.
Decide what to write about
A few pointers:
1. Write about things you enjoy: sports, travel, nature, gardening, business etc.
2. Write about your passions: consider what you are really passionate about.
3. Draw from past experience: e.g. I travelled. I have written about travel and launched an eBook.
4. Write about personal experiences: this can be daunting, especially if you are making this available on a public blog; but personal is raw. Personal is good. Writing from the heart creates content that is shareable. It creates content that is engaging.
Gina Horkey, owner of Horky Handbook has a five lesson e-mail course, which can help you kickstart this process. Why not sign-up and give it a go?.This may all seem very overwhelming. To start I would suggest writing for yourself. Don’t force the issue. Do research on topics you are interested in. Let things flow.
Compile your writing samples
If you are a total beginner you probably don’t have any samples. When I started actively looking to get paid to write and sourcing jobs, I referred back to samples on my site and a couple of guest posts I had written for the DailyZen. Here are a few ways to get samples out there.
Launch a blog
Launch a blog and start publishing content. This is not a blog post on launching a blog, but if you have any questions about this, feel free to contact me. The four key ingredients you will need are:
- Domain: purchase a custom domain; do this if you want people to take you seriously
- Hosting: use Blue Host; they have some great offers for WordPress users.
- Content Platform: I recommend WordPress; although there are other options like Squarespace and Wix.
- Theme: choose a paid theme; free themes have too many limitations. I use Divi that is a website builder and also gives you access to 90 themes.
Take note: Using WordPress.com will mean your site will be hosted on their servers. Use WordPress.org; this allows for a custom domain.
My first guest posting opportunity happened by chance. The DailyZen enjoyed the content I was publishing and personally asked me to create some guest posts. Having guest posts provides you with social proof. It is a lot harder to have your content published on someone else’s site, so people look favourably toward this.
Search for websites that publish content you are interested in. Reach out. Send them an e-mail. Here is a list of small businesses that accept contributions.Otherwise, feel free to scour the internet and find others sites.
Write a few samples for yourself
The above may seem daunting. There is also the option of putting together samples for yourself. Save to your Google Drive.
Display your portfolio
Where are you going to display the writing samples you have? In my quest to land my first freelance writing gig, I could’ve linked backed to this site and also to guest posts, but I decided to display all the articles in one place: on my Pinterest portfolio. I am busy working on my own personal website where I will have links to my samples, a hire me and a contact me page.
Once your foundation is set, It’s time to consider sourcing jobs and pitching to clients. We will discuss this next week.
Are you a beginner freelance writer like myself? Leave your comments and questions below.