How to start a freelance writing business
Are you looking to start a freelance writing business but have no idea how? Have you already started a freelance writing business but have no idea how to grow?
When I started, I read EACH and EVERY post on how to start a freelance writing business on the first 10 pages of Google in the hope of learning something valuable. But, UGH!
Making money as a freelance writer is DEFINITELY possible. It took me a month to reach my first $500+ and now, I make a full-time income. Freelance writing changed my life, and it can yours too.
If you are a newbie, I highly recommend you to sign up for my course on how to start a freelance writing business
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If you are a new reader, let me tell you something about this series.
Relevant interview – Freelance writing for beginners interview #5: Meet Lisa Tanner
A lot of my readers are looking for remote jobs and a few of you may be struggling to grow your online business. I receive emails where a lot of you have asked me questions on how to find remote jobs, start working from home, are work from home jobs scam, what are my options for at home jobs etc
The purpose of this interview post is to tell you how others have successfully created a dream job of their own, earning a full-time living (at least $1k-2k+ a month) and staying at home to work.
Today, we have Kevin Meng with us. He is a freelance writer and will be telling us how to start a freelance writing business.
#1 Tell me something about yourself
I’m originally from Connecticut. Studied a few years but dropped out and moved to the Czech Republic to be a teacher and travel Europe.
I’m 30 years and now living in Asia most of the year. Other than writing I enjoy playing sports and playing music.
As far as work is concerned, I am a freelance writer who is transitioning to the agency side of things. I have a few core clients that I work for.
My content is mostly focused around eCommerce or affiliate site writing. I do a lot of those product reviews you see around the web like “10 best standing desks 2018”. I do some copywriting here and there but it’s not my biggest strength.
#2 How did you start a freelance writing business? How do I start a freelance writing career? How do I become a freelance writer with no experience?
I’ve always been a good writer. I used to write essays for other kids in school (sorry mom, hope you don’t hear this).
While teaching English I was struggling to make ends meet.
Also, I was kind of tired of being a poor English teacher. I think you can make decent money abroad by teaching or use teaching to supplement your income, but it’s really hard and not what I wanted in life.
I remember it vividly actually. My girlfriend at the time called me a poor English teacher as a joke (I didn’t really mind), but I took a long look in the mirror and realized that it was actually true. I had always dreamed of writing and traveling, I just never knew how to get started or had the courage to do it.
I Googled “how to start a freelance writing business from home” and found a site called location rebel and a post by a guy Kevin Cole. His post was “how to make 3k in two months with SEO writing”. I used his method and crushed that mark pretty quickly.
I remember when I got my first full-time job making about 3k a month with a Canadian company – there’s no feeling to compare to that kind of high I felt. I owe him a lot (actually, I’m gonna email him now….)
#3 Did you have any inhibitions about working from home? If yes, how did you overcome it? Did something help (any online resource)?
Like I said before, Kevin’s Location Rebel article really helped me. As far as inhibitions, it was basically laziness stopping me from doing it. Also, there’s that feeling of self-doubt that was hard to overcome.
Honestly, though, it’s amazing how sometimes what you think is your greatest weakness is your biggest strength. I was so unsure of myself as a writer and had so many doubts about my abilities that I would constantly ask for feedback – To the point of annoying clients. But so many of my clients kept telling me they were happy to have a writer who actually cared.
Most writers either made excuses or just disappeared when the going got tough.
I chased my clients relentlessly for feedback and even rewrote articles for free just to get the job done and shut up that guy in my head who kept telling me I wasn’t good enough to make a living this way.
#4 When did you start seeing money coming in? How do freelance writers get work?
I saw money coming in almost off the bat.
My first ever PayPal transfer for like $250 from a client tacked up in my room but lost it during my last move :(I wonder where it is now….I’ve been doing this about 4 years now.)
Note: If you want to learn how to find and pitch clients your freelance writing services, you should check this out.
#5 How much money can you make as a freelance writer? How much does a beginner freelance writer make?
It varies but I think I make anywhere from 3,500 – 4,500 per month when I work full-time.
If you are a freelancer, you should sign up with Flexjobs.
It will help you go through great flexible job listings from legitimate employers quickly, easily, and safely. Every single job on FlexJobs is hand-screened for legitimacy, with no ads or scams mixed in, and every single job offers work flexibility such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time or other flexible options.
6. What were the top 3 challenges that you faced while getting started? How do I break into freelance writing?
- Finding my first client
- Working hard with no guarantee of income
- Overcoming the voice in my head telling me to quit and keep teaching
#7 If you could go back in time, what would you change that would help you get where you are (now) faster?
Honestly, just work more. In the beginning, I worked hard but I would take days off. Especially once I had a steady stream of clients.
I was making decent money and didn’t really have the drive to add new clients. Now I work a lot harder than I did then and it has paid off.
If you’re a new writer, don’t get complacent. Add as much work as you can handle, then add more than that. You never know when a client is gonna drop off or there’s gonna be a dry spell.
Also, you never know who’s gonna come out of the woodwork or recommend you to someone.
WORK WORK WORK.
I worked for a guy who wanted to pay me $5 for a 500-word article. I had little to no experience and just wanted something in my portfolio. He recommended me to a guy that paid triple that.
That guy had a contact at a marketing company in Montreal that needed a full-time writer and I got the job after the first sample article.
He read it and his reply email said “Kevin, can you come to Montreal and work for me full time?”. If I hadn’t been in a relationship at the time, I’d probably be working in Canada for him now.
You never know who knows who or can put you in contact with who. Take on work and don’t feel bad about it.
#8 What does a typical day of your look like? How much time in a day do you spend on this?
I work now more than ever but still like to take my time and relax. I’m up about 9 and just chill, get a coffee, watch basketball highlights (religiously).
I start work about 1030 or 11 and work till the evening. But I take lots of breaks to recharge my brain, go to the gym, play my guitar, take a walk or meet friends. If something good comes up I shut the laptop and go out.
Sometimes I take a day off and work all night. It really depends. Working from home is a blessing. Totally worth the effort.
Relevant read: 7 simple ways to increase productivity as a freelancer
#9 What types of skills and/or tools are needed to run this online business successfully? How do I become a good freelance writer?
To a start a freelance writing business, you just need good writing skills, write in a clear voice, avoid fluff, have a personable tone, etc.
To keep money coming in you need self-discipline and the ability to keep clients happy. I routinely give discounts to clients and reach out to ask them how things are going. People are people and they appreciate when you don’t see them as a dollar sign.
#10 Do you recommend any course, blog etc to start a freelance writing business? How do I become a freelance writer online?
Eh, not really, to be honest. There’s probably some good resources out there to help with writing but I just learned everything in the trenches. Read a lot, listen to feedback, talk to writers, etc.
#11 Last but not least, what should be the learning process (or steps) for someone aspiring to be a freelance writer?
WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE.
Start writing about topics you know a lot about. I chose to live abroad and travel. I wrote some stuff about music. I showed those samples to clients.
From there, I just started writing as many articles as I could and listening to what clients told me. Once I got a job with a company, the head writer gave me a lot of helpful feedback. As I got to higher and higher paying jobs, the feedback became better.
Just keep your chin up, listen to feedback, and keep striking the keys. That’s really all I can say.
There you go. If you are looking to start a freelance writing business, take action today and if you have doubts, comment below and we will get back to you
Relevant read on freelance writing career from home
Resources that can help you with land work from home jobs
How to find and pitch clients your freelance services– You can find my strategies to find high-paying freelance writing clients.
Become a work at home mom– A FREE training session that comes along with a workbook and guides you through the entire freelancing journey.
FlexJobs You can find 100% legitimate work from home jobs and freelancing gigs on this platform