Truth be told, writing is hard. It is tedious and on bad days, can be difficult. If anyone had told me a couple of years ago that I would end up writing, I would have side-eyed them and asked, do you mean me well?
I’ve been getting some requests on freelance writing and it’s only right that I share my knowledge and experience with others. After all, our gifts should be a blessing to others.
Let’s get right into it!
Make a decision
Before you become a freelance writer, you need to make up your mind. Have those difficult and uncomfortable conversations with yourself and decide what you want. If you have been writing fiction or short stories all your life, you need to decide if you’re ready to make that transition – because you might not have time to write as much fiction anymore.
Choose a niche
When you’re fully convinced of your decision, it’s time to choose a niche. Yes, I get that writers should be flexible and knowledgeable enough to write on any subject. That has never worked for me and I do not know anyone that does that. In these times, your best bet is your niche.
It can be something you’re skilled at, trained at, passionate about or simply knowledgeable about. I believe the best work comes from a place of knowledge and passion. So, make a list according to these factors and pick one or a few related ones.
Build your portfolio
Now that you know what you stand for, it’s time for you to build your portfolio and let people notice you – because trust me, the jobs will not look for you. The fastest and easiest way to go about this is guest posting. Here, you are going to need to research a list of authority sites in your niche. When you’re done with that, send articles to them. It is not the time to think about money. This should not be a problem especially if you have a good knowledge of your niche. This is also the time to create a blog. Writer or not, everyone should have a blog. Your blog would serve as a portfolio for all your guest posts which should be as frequent as possible.
At this point you have established yourself as a freelance writer, now it’s time to put yourself out there.
Rebrand your social media accounts
No matter what anyone has told you, social media is key. This is why your accounts should be consistent. Let it reflect what you do and the services you offer.
Follow the relevant brands and influencers in your niche.
Here, you are going to need social media to work for you.
You might be followed back and you might not. That is the least of your problems. What’s important is, these accounts are on your timeline which means your chances of getting a job from these accounts has increased because you will see those unexpected vacancies that pop up randomly. If you’re so bothered about your following/follower ratio, make a Twitter list.
At this point, if you play your cards right, you should be getting a few offers. If you haven’t, don’t lose hope.
Make a list of potential clients
Everyone has dream jobs. Companies that we’ve spent our entire lives desiring even when we were not qualified. This is the time to be proactive.
Of course, I do not need to tell you that your research skills come to play here.
Perfect your cold pitch and go for it
Remember when I said that the jobs won’t look for you? Well, except you have somehow risen to the ranks of a digital influencer, you will have to pitch yourself. That list of potential clients comes in handy now. It is time to contact them and pitch yourself. Sell yourself and your expertise – which is backed up by your portfolio (remember your guest posts and blog?) and experiences. Most of them have websites. Look for their contact details and offer your services. Trust me; you might never know where you get lucky. Sometimes, some clients might not realize that your services are needed until you reach out to them and if you are rejected, do not be discouraged.
Keep at it and be consistent
If you’re diligent in your business, you will eventually succeed. Don’t forget to start small and grow from there. If there are additional skills you need to learn to attract more income, do not think twice. Clients usually appreciate freelancers that bring extra to the table. Also, do not chase clients away by overcharging because you’re broke, you will only play yourself.
Register a business name and make it official
Don’t be like me. Don’t wait until you have hammered before making it official.
I think this guide also applies to other skills and not just writing. Whatever your hands find to do, with consistency and dedication, you will definitely reach your goals.
Originally published on Bellanaija