Want to start a freelance writing career? Here are 8 things every freelance writer needs to know to succeed in their writing career.
So you long to call yourself a writer and see a writing career as a freelance content writer as your dream job?
Today, freelance writing jobs are one of the most coveted remote jobs because you can easily get writing jobs from home and do them from anywhere in the world.
According to the World Economic Forum, digital content producers are in high demand in India and digital content jobs are on the list of LinkedIn’s predictions for the hottest jobs of 2021.
In fact, freelance writing is one of the best online jobs for students and the perks of work-from-home writing jobs – that includes sitting in your comfort corner and earning while in your PJs – are enough to make one want to be a freelance writer.
However easy and comfortable that may sound, keep in mind that becoming a freelance writer without experience will demand a lot of hard work and patience on your part.
When I first started my freelance writing career, I was an amateur without the least bit of knowledge in the field. I had to learn the craft of writing for the web and had no idea how to get paid to write anything.
Today, there are so many freelance writing niches you can get into. You could take up technical writer jobs or blog writing jobs. You could become a ghostwriter, resume writer, online essay writer, screenwriter, or start your own copywriting agency.
8 Things Every Freelance Writer Needs To Know
If you’re thinking of ditching your day job and starting a freelance writing career, here are 8 things every freelance writer needs to know.
1. Freelance Writing Rates & Payment
While freelancing has its merits, the bigger challenge is that of getting paid freelance writing opportunities. Your freelance writing rates can be on the basis of rates per word, per write-up, or per hour of work.
You can use this to your benefit and charge according to your convenience. Also, make sure that the rate you charge is neither too high (which will fetch you no writing opportunities) nor too low (to suffice for your efforts).
Since freelancers in India charge lower rates for freelance writing services due to the low cost of living, you may have to charge lower rates when starting out, so that you find work for yourself.
However, do keep in mind not to settle for less than you deserve and increase your freelance writing rates as you become better at your work and specialize in a freelance writing niche.
You can do some freelance writing courses to learn how to set up your freelance writing business and the exact tools and strategies you need to attract clients, land clients and retain clients.
2. Maintaining Accounts & Paying Taxes
When seen from the perspective of paying taxes, freelancing comes with a significant benefit of several exemptions. Even if you’re just starting out as a freelance writer, you need to maintain your books and accounts properly.
Although this can be tedious, it will pay off when you finally have to file taxes. Ask your accountant whether you need to pay professional tax as a freelance writer or if you are exempt from paying it.
Keep a proper record of all the invoices of your expenses so that you can calculate your deductions while filing for tax returns.
3. Know Who You’re Writing For
When you become a freelance writer, the first and foremost thing that you must have a clear understanding of is your readers.
Since most newbies start with web content writing and SEO content writing, you must remember to write in a voice and tone that is most appropriate to the targeted audience.
For example, if you’re writing for a youth magazine, then you should use a more casual tone with the colloquial dialect. If you take on creative writing jobs for a creative publication, you can get into your most creative zone and write your heart out.
But if you’re taking on freelance medical writing jobs and writing an informative medical piece, you must make it factual, accurate and formal as you know the readers will have a medical background or be people looking for accurate medical information.
To get a better idea of the audience you’re writing for, go through the published content on a site before you start writing.
4. Stick To The Writing Brief
When you start your journey as a freelance writer, you’ll be told that writing skills are the biggest asset you can have. Although this is partly right, there are more important things you must keep in mind before you kick start your writing career as a freelance writer for hire.
For one, you must learn to stick to the requirements of a writing contract and deliver work as per your employer or editor’s brief. If the requirements are for a freelance blogger, make sure you keep your writing informal and easy to read.
At the same time, pay attention to detail. Make sure you’re abiding by the publisher’s writing style and guidelines and maintaining the word limit for the content that you’ve been paid to write.
5. Do Extensive Research
As a freelance writer, one crucial skill you must have is knowing how to access reliable sources to conduct extensive research on the topic that you’re being paid to write on.
Just browsing search engines isn’t everything! You must know how to carry out a detailed research and know the right places to look for data relating to your content, even if you have to visit a public library for it.
And, while using Google and other search engines, you must know which sources to trust for factual and accurate information, as well as how to avoid fake news sources and blogs.
For example, if you’re writing an article on monetary and financial topics, then the official website of the World Bank and business papers like The Financial Times or The Economic Times, or authoritative blogs would be the ideal news sources to conduct your research.
Include facts and updated statistics to make your piece more credible and relatable. And if you’re not sure about some data, double-check it on Google instead of including inaccurate information in your article.
6. Learn SEO Copywriting
In this era of digitalization online content is taking over printed publishers. Search engine optimization (SEO) has become crucial to ensure that a piece of online content gets a higher search ranking to attract more readers.
According to Assignmenthelp, “it becomes vital that you learn the various techniques to make your writing SEO compatible. Before you start pitching for work, do make an effort to know more about keywords and the different rules relating to them.”
Learn how to use SEO content writing tools to research and use keywords, and place them for maximum impact so you can write SEO friendly articles that both humans and search engines will love.
Remember that people (not only search engines) will be reading whatever you write it. So make sure that your content is not stuffed with so many keywords that it becomes unreadable.
Many clients are looking for freelance web content writers who have good SEO copywriting skills, so learning this skill is essential for writers who want online content writing jobs.
7. Edit Your Writing
As a part-time writer, your work doesn’t end after you’re done writing a piece of content. Editing is the key to good writing, so you should get into the habit of re-reading your copy as many times as you can.
Revising your writing helps you to make changes to the tone and style and make improvements. When you’re composing an elaborate piece, it is quite likely that you’ll include typos or miss words inadvertently.
Editing your work helps you fix such issues so that you can deliver error-free writing. Also set aside some time to proofread your writing and use a writing tool to avoid grammar and spelling errors.
While you can use many writing tools online, there’s no substitute for editing your work yourself, because the human brain can catch errors that the writing software fails to catch.
Once you’re done revising the content, give it one last read to make sure that it is coherent and reads well.
8. Absolutely Avoid Plagiarism
Plagiarism can destroy any writer’s reputation, freelancer or not, and have fatal consequences for your writing career. So when you have an online content writing job, make sure you don’t copy or borrow material from someone else’s article.
There are several online plagiarism checkers that can detect even the slightest hint of plagiarism in your writing. So, beware! I’m not telling you not to be inspired by someone else’s ideas. But if you do that, make sure you do it legally.
If you’re wondering how to borrow ideas legally, the answer is citations. Simply cite the references of the sources that you’ve taken information or ideas from in your content and provide a link back to the original source.
Another way to use ideas is by quoting the author. This will make your work more credible and get you more work as an established and ethical writer.
While becoming a freelance writer can be a dream job that allows you to express all the creativity within you, it comes with its share of challenges.
Unlike full-time work, your income may be a lot more inconsistent as the availability of freelance content writing jobs can vary seasonally. At times, there will be a huge surplus of freelance writing projects and at other times you may have very few freelance writing gigs.
The key to having a consistent flow of freelance writing assignments is to always be marketing your services. Cultivate good relationships with your clients, ask them for referrals and publish a regular blog that will showcase your writing skills.
The fact that freelance writing jobs from home help you avoid the commute and allow you to work from the comfort of your house is the best opportunity to grow as a writer.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for real online jobs from home without investment, kick start your writing career today, whether it’s with part-time writing jobs or as a full-time work-from-home career.
Nathan William is an engineer by fate and a writer by choice who offers to do my assignment for students. Besides being an active blogger, he loves honing his culinary skills.