In this article, I’m going to tell you exactly how to become a full-time freelance writer this year because the truth is, this is one of the easiest side hustles to start. You can start making money literally right away.
How do I know this? It’s exactly what I did!
Right now I’m a full-time freelance copywriter and editor, but before that, I used to work full-time in hospitality. And despite not having any writing qualifications, no track record, and no network, I managed to become a full-time freelance copywriter in just a few months.
So in this article, I’m going to show you how you can do the same.
Step one: Get some skills
Now before you can go out there and start charging people for your writing services you need to learn some writing skills.
So where do you get these skills?
There are so many self-paced courses online to learn the art of copywriting. In fact, there’s heaps of free content on YouTube as well. Another way is to read books on copywriting, there are lots and lots of books as well. Just do a quick search on Amazon and you’ll find plenty. I’ll leave some links here as well.
So what you want to do is spend a bit of time learning the art of copywriting. Now, you don’t need to spend a lot of time on this; in fact, I would say one to two months is plenty of time. But make sure you have a solid understanding of common copywriting terms and how to create different types of copy.
For instance, you’ll want to know what a call-to-action is, what a headline is, how to structure a sales page, etc. Once you’re feeling confident in your ability to produce some decent copy, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step two: Create your writing samples
The second thing you want to do before you start pitching for work is to create a portfolio of samples.
Now you can create these samples on spec. And what that means is that no one is paying you to create this piece of writing, it’s not for a real client. So you’re creating some copy for a pretend business to show prospective clients what you can produce.
Transparency is always advised so make sure you tell any prospective clients that your samples are spec pieces and not published work.
You also need to decide what kind of writing you want to do.
So when it comes to copywriting there’s a lot to choose from. You could write sales pages, email campaigns, social media ads, website copy, etc. If you want to focus on content writing, then there are blog articles, YouTube scripts, podcast scripts, and so on.
Decide what type of writing you want to do, and then create some samples for that type of writing.
So if you want to do emails, then create a nurture sequence, create a product launch sequence, and create a few different email sequences to show prospective clients what you can do.
Step three: Host your portfolio online
So what now? It’s time to get your stuff online so that you have an easy way to pitch clients. Now you don’t need to build a fancy website and you don’t need to spend any money at all at this stage.
I just created a basic website with a Wix template. And that was enough to get me started and get the ball rolling.
So just start with what you have and get scrappy, and then you can refine and get better as you go.
You don’t even need to have a website at all, actually, you could just have a Google folder on your Google Drive with your samples and that and send that to prospective clients.
That’s literally enough. All you need is a link to send out with your pitches.
Step four: Start pitching
Okay, so now that you’ve got some skills, you’ve got some samples, and you’ve created a little portfolio. Now it’s time to start making some money.
So where do you go to find writing clients?
Well, I recommend just starting on one of the freelancing platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. You can create a profile for free and start pitching prospective clients that are actively looking for writers right now.
You can also send businesses what’s called a cold email or a cold pitch, which basically just means that they don’t know who you are before you contact them. You can send them your portfolio and say, “Are you looking for a writer? If so, I’m here!”
(Make it a bit better than that.)
But essentially, that’s another way that you can start getting your clients. In fact, the very first client I landed was from a cold email.
I think if you want to hedge your bets, start on Upwork or Fiverr. There’s no shame in starting there. That’s where people are looking for writers, so that’s gonna give you the best chance of getting some money coming in quickly.
Step five: How much to charge?
The other thing you need to know is how much you’re going to charge.
So I started out at $25 USD an hour. But I was looking for jobs where I could charge a flat fee. So it didn’t matter how much time it took me to create the piece, I would still get the same amount.
How much you feel comfortable charging is entirely up to you.
Once you’ve got some testimonials under your belt, then you’ll be able to charge more. In the beginning, I would focus more on getting the testimonials and not worrying too much about how much you’re making.
And once you’ve built up a good reputation, then you can raise those prices.
Step six: Push through the imposter syndrome
The last thing I want to say on this is that half of the battle in getting a side hustle off the ground, especially when it comes to freelance writing and working with clients ‘one on one’ is to just get over the imposter syndrome.
Because it happens to everyone and there’s really no secret to getting rid of it, you just have to push through it by taking action again and again and again.
When I first started pitching clients, I had no experience, I had no track record, I had no qualifications. And I would feel physically sick when I sent out a cold pitch to a business. I would have to close the laptop and go for a walk because I just felt horrible. I don’t know where it came from.
But as I landed more clients and delivered more work and got good feedback, that impostor syndrome just disappeared and within a couple of months, it was gone.
So just know that it happens to everyone. And all you can do to get through it is to just keep taking action and just keep collecting evidence that you know what you’re doing. Good luck!