Guest Post by Christopher Haymon
If you have a knack for wordsmithing, a career as a freelance writer — either full time or as a side hustle — can be a profitable way to earn a living.
It’s a great fit if you’re in journalism school or a recent post-grad and looking for work. Freelancing can help you pay the bills, explore your own creativity, and develop a diverse portfolio that accurately showcases your skills. And, of course, writing is the most portable of work-from-anywhere careers.
Today, Anywhereist offers some tips and resources to get you started.
Benefits of Freelance Writing
- You can write from anywhere. Freelance writing can typically be done from anywhere, offering a significant amount of freedom in terms of location.
- You can take on per-project or long-term assignment work, depending on your unique needs.
- If you’re exploring a career in journalism, taking on freelance gigs allows you to fully develop your writing chops, particularly if you take on assignments that challenge you as a writer.
- Early in your career, freelancing is also a good way to learn about the type of writing work you most enjoy – you may find you prefer political commentary to features, or that you like long-form storytelling rather than on-the-spot reporting. Try a few different jobs and see which ones suit your skills, and don’t be afraid to accept some gigs that are a little out of your comfort zone.
Types of Work
There are a wide array of opportunities available to freelance writers, allowing you to pick and choose those suited to your skills. For example:
- Reporting, which includes covering news stories for newspapers, magazines, and websites
- Feature writing
- Copywriting for advertising agencies, marketing firms, and direct clients
- SEO – search engine optimization writing, typically employed by bloggers
But that’s not all! Freelance writers also write jingles and slogans, or ghostwrite books, scripts, or speeches.
Do you ever send greeting cards? Somebody has to write those things.
Or how about technical manuals, newsletters for nonprofits, or grant writing.
Do you love to travel? Maybe you should think about writing travel guidebooks.
There’s a huge demand for people who can write conversational content for blogs and social media. Many marketers and entertainers employ smart, witty, and talented writers to compose tweets and Facebook posts, and interact with users.
If you’ve got an academic focus, editing theses and other types of higher-ed papers is another option.
Where to Find Work
According to the Write Life, many online job boards feature freelance writing sections, including part-time, full-time, and gig opportunities. There are also websites strictly aimed at those in the writing profession. In addition, you can reach out to advertising agencies, public relations firms, and local and regional publications and ask if they hire writers on a project-by-project basis.
Many entertainment websites look for writers who can produce list articles about everything from food to television shows. You can also pitch story ideas to different media outlets, but be sure to read editorial guidelines before submitting.
Lastly, having an online portfolio can be another asset when it comes to showcasing your talents and attracting new business. Use platforms such as WordPress to create a website dedicated to showcasing your work; sites like WordPress Building Blocks can help you put this together piece by piece.
Publications like Writer’s Market, as well as in the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, are good resources for what writers can typically earn as freelancers.
Growing in Your Craft
The more you write, the better you get, and the more styles you learn, the more versatile and in-demand you can become.
Increase your value to clients by taking courses that focus on writing, and attend writer’s conferences that feature programs and presenters you can learn from. Always ask for feedback and constructive critiques so you can continue to grow as a writer. Strengthen your grammar and vocabulary. There are lots of websites and instructional videos — many of which are free — that can help you improve your writing skills.
Also, don’t forget the writing-adjacent fields of editing, copy editing, and proofreading. Companies often hire freelancers for these roles, and they’re great options for those with an eye for detail. It’s another way to put your writing knowledge and skills to work in a different, but satisfying, way.
Setting Up Your Workspace
Freelancing gives you the opportunity to work from anywhere, but you’ll probably spend a lot of time working from home. While it’s easy to work from your bed or the living room couch, you may find that the distractions (and discomforts) keep you from being truly productive.
So, instead of setting up shop at the dining room table, carve out a little section of your home as your workspace. Items to consider for this space include a sturdy desk, a comfortable, ergonomic chair (this one is a must!), and any supplies related to your business. While having a room dedicated to your business is ideal, you can easily create this space in a corner of your bedroom, for example.
Wherever you decide to set up your workspace, make sure you’ve selected an area with minimal clutter and distractions. Also, if possible, grab an area that allows for plenty of natural light.
Managing Your Money
When you’re working as a freelancer, you’re essentially an independent contractor or owner of your own small business. As such, you’ll want to have a business plan, a business bank account, and an EIN, also known as a tax ID number. You’ll need to keep track of all business-related expenses you incur while writing.
According to Freelance Taxation, you’ll be able to deduct these from your income when you file your taxes. If you find this aspect of your freelancing work to be a little overwhelming or confusing, it’s best to find an accountant who can help keep everything organized and on track. This way, you’ll know all the paperwork has been completed and filed correctly, and that any money you owe to the government has been paid.
Work from Anywhere
As a freelance writer, you can work from literally anywhere. While most of us rely on our laptops and a good internet connection, you can work, at least in the short term, with nothing but a notebook and a pen. You can write in your home office, a coworking space, on a park bench, at the beach, at the coffee shop, on a plane or a train, or even a car as long as you’re not driving.
Freelance writing offers a wealth of unique opportunities for creative expression, storytelling, informing the public, and expanding your own writing repertoire — all you have to do is start looking for the gig that best suits you.
Creator, Adulting Digest
Christopher Haymon has learned the value of saving and budgeting the hard way. He created Adulting Digest to help others who need help navigating the world of adult finances.
Other Articles You’ll Like
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