Freelancing to Freedom: The First Steps of Becoming a Freelance Writer
Through my year of freelancing, I’ve learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. In the beginning, I spent hours upon hours scrolling through the internet looking for advice, reading every blog post, watching every webinar, even buying into one or two self-proclaimed “expert” masterclasses. In the end, none of that crap helped me land my first high paying client. You know what did?
If you’re just starting out odds are you’re doing exactly what I did in the beginning. Reading everyone’s blog about starting a freelance business. Stop! You already have the first thing you need.
The second thing you need?
A lot of drive.
I’m going to cut straight to the point because I can’t tell you how many hours I wasted skimming through the fluff of everyone’s blog looking for the answers. I’m not here to waste your time. I’m here to give you content that could possibly make you money 💰 !
Get yourself incorporated.
Trust and believe incorporating yourself is the smartest step you’ll take for your business. This way any earnings you make freelancing will be tax through your company instead of through your personal social security number. Essentially, you’re going into business for yourself, why not get registered as a business?
As a freelancer you’re not going to be filling out a W2/W4, you’ll have a nifty little formed called the W9/1099. Plus, it’s badass when you tell people “yeahhh… I have my own company…” I’m not going to go into the logistics of the steps to get incorporated. One, because I don’t fully understand the taxes and everything and two, well it’ll take too long. Therefore, I’ll provide you with a number of companies that will explain it better than I ever could.
Build a web presence
Do you have an online portfolio?
Well why not?
Get started by building your “company” website. This part is vital! You’re website is where you showcase what you’re all about. Your samples, bio, and contact info should live here. Sure having a LinkedIn profile is nice but, your website is like your business card. It should display your personality and what you to offer. FYI my business cards have cats on them…
If you don’t have a website, stop reading right this second and get started!
Additionally, your site shouldn’t be one of those generic templates that’s hosted through WordPress or Weebly or [insert hosting site here]. Sorry love, you’re going to have to spend some money on your site and while it may hurt now… You’ll hopefully make the money back with all the clients you’ll rake in. Plus, you can always write it off on your taxes :).
BUY A DOMAIN! I’ve done consultations with friends and past colleagues and the first thing I tell them is, if you’re website is blank.wordpress.com then you’re not getting the job. Think about it, if you were using a business and their company website was evident of a free hosting site… would you take that company seriously? I sure wouldn’t. I’d think they were cheap.
Once you’ve launched your website, you need to get some samples up on that bad boy to display your talent. Samples that should tell your potential clients that you’re voice is one they need for their business! Are you fresh to the game and don’t have samples? Never fear, it’s as simple as picking a topic and writing about it. There are so many platforms that allow you to self post for mass audiences, anyone can be published now-a-days.
In the past I’ve written a number of samples and articles for companies, whether it’s for writing tests or just simply showcasing my voice. I’ve collected every single one and either published it online or I send it off as a word document when asked for examples of my writing style. Some of my articles, I’m even saving for a rainy day to post on this very blog.
I’ll go into more detail on how to make samples later on.
For now, take advantage of some of these sites that will host your samples:
Create some buzz through social media. No lie, one of my clients came from a random facebook post. When I first got started, admittedly I was all over the place. I had no plan of execution and I had an unrealistic understanding of what a freelancer was. After the first month of complete failure and realizing I needed to get things popping QUICK! Baby girl had a car payment due… I made list of all the resources I wasn’t tapping into. Surprisingly enough, I was utilizing these resources every single day.
Social media is your friend, your Good Judy, your ride or die. Every major business has an online presence. You need to think of your freelancing as a business instead of a job.
A job consistently provides you with work to do in exchange for payment. Your business, is reliant on your effort and savvy to succeed. In other words, you are 100% responsible for the leads and clients you bring in.
Create a Facebook page for your freelancing, create an Instagram, LinkedIn company profile, hell even make a Twitter. Within all these sites, potential clients are waiting, having these profiles makes you searchable and proves to everyone you’re serious about your brand. Now what you post is up to you.
Just keep it professional.
Last but, not least:
Stop comparing yourself to other freelancers.
Comparing myself to other writers was probably the biggest contributing factor to my stress this past year. Whilst searching the internet for that magical antidote to my freelancing failure, I would see other writers posting blogs about “HOW I MADE 5,000 DOLLARS MY FIRST MONTH OF FREELANCING” and all that jazz.
I was left thinking “well damn I barely made $1,000, I must suck.” The truth is I didn’t suck and neither do you. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. As cliché as that sounds, it’s true. Hard work pays off. For some it pays off quicker and others, well it takes a while.
As long as you’re giving this you’re all, the clients will come.
But for the love of all things holy, make sure you check your grammar.
Check out some of my other entires for my new Blog Series: Freelancing to Freedom
Share this post with the freelacners in your life 🙂