When it comes to making the transition to freelance writing, it can be tempting to just throw caution to the wind and dive headfirst and blindfolded into an unstructured and flexible lifestyle. That’s (more or less) how I did it.
Don’t do it. It’s harder than you think.
Freelancing is competitive and tough to break into, the biggest hurdle being that no one wants to hire you until you’ve proven that you already have experience. but how do you get experience when no one will hire you?
Because I’ve already made the jump, I’ll let you in on some strategies I’ve learned to make the transition easier (i.e. what you should do).
1. Try Out Content Mills
I know, they get bashed a lot by most successful freelancers, and why shouldn’t they? Odds are you won’t get any credit for the work and it will involve a lot of mundane SEO writing.
So why do I recommend it?
Content mills are a source of reliable and consistent work, and they can easily help to supplement your income during dry spells. For beginners who don’t have many clients, this can be a quick way to secure work until the pipeline starts flowing.
One decent content mill you can try is textbroker. With their star-rating for authors you can climb your way up to rates as high as 3-4 cents per word.
2. Don’t Quit Your day Job. Try Part-time Work Instead.
A part-time job can be a great way to secure payment for your monthly expenses, while leaving freelancing as a way to make decent money on the side. this strategy can help to take a bit of the pressure off when first starting out.
Not only can a part-time job help by giving you a bit of extra money in your pocket, but depending on the industry, it can lead to gaining potential clients that can help you transition into a full-time freelancer.
3. You Need to Already Have a Website.
Don’t go making the transition to freelancing unprepared. Setting up an author website is one of the first steps you should take when seriously considering freelance writing. You need to have a web presence, as most clients will ask for a link to your site or portfolio.
Most people have personal blogs written through WordPress, but if you want to attract professional clients, you need to present yourself as a professional. That means owning your own domain and being open to inbound work when it comes up.
If you haven’t already heard of it, Upwork is an online platform for freelancers where they can set up their own profile and bid on any job that strikes their fancy. If you’re still working on that website, the profile page in Upwork can serve as a decent stand-in.
There are many great ways to make yourself stand out on Upwork, including pinning previous projects to your profile, taking qualifying tests on a wide variety of subjects, and setting your own rate per hour.
For the just-budding freelancer this is one of the most valuable resources I can recommend, as it was the way I landed my first clients. The pay might not be great at first, but like a snowball, once you get it rolling, it will grow.
5. Local Opportunities
Don’t spend all of your time trolling the internet for jobs. While there can be more opportunities, there’s also significantly more competition.
Try taking the time to get plugged in with local organizations or groups. Volunteering can be a great method to develop connections. At the very least, try hooking up with other writers in your community, and see what methods they have used. You never know when an opportunity will present itself, so keep your eyes and ears open.