05 March 2013

How to Start Your Freelance Writing Career

Becoming self employed and going freelance with your writing career is becoming increasingly popular. Although the work is initially less stable and a good work ethic is a must to be able to work from home, once a freelance writer is established, the rewards can be great. Working from home offers the luxury of added flexibility and to be paid for doing something that you love from a comfortable environment is very appealing. You can also save on travel costs which may result in thousands every year if you need to commute every day. Some freelance on the side for extra money whilst others work full time, sometimes transitioning from a full time desk job to freelancing. If you are new to the business, you need be able to know the fundamentals to be able to kick start your career.

Firstly, you will need a strong portfolio of work to be able to show to employers. If you have been to a  university or college, high grade past essays can be included in your portfolio if you are lacking published work. Lack of a portfolio can be viewed as the equivalent of writing a CV and leaving out past employment.
Look online to see if there are any volunteer groups or non-profit organizations in your area. Contact them asking if they need your writing services. If you or your parents know people which own their own business, ask them if they need any online content written for example. You can also send well thought out and topical articles to a local newspaper in the hopes that these will be published.
Starting your own blog as soon as you decide that you want to be a writer is useful to you and any future employer. As you continue to write articles, you will find that you prefer some subjects to others which you can then specialize in. Writing about niche subjects makes you desirable to people which want that content as you will have built up a bank of knowledge through your blogs.

There are also many blogging sites such as MonĂ©tisez votre Site where people can submit their work and get paid if the articles are published. If you are starting out, don’t be put off if some websites offer small payments, your main focus is getting your work recognized and published.

Whilst you are in the process of building a portfolio, it is also a good idea to learn IT programs such as Indesign, Photoshop, and Microsoft excel and publisher. As the publishing industry shifts to digital, even a freelance writer can benefit with these programs being on their CV’s alongside a portfolio of work.
Gaining work experience can be tough, especially if you have little funding. Many work experience placements are unpaid so make sure that you have enough in the bank for travel and food expenses as some companies do not offer this. Many placements are advertised alongside paid jobs on search engines. Adding a work placement to your CV will make you more of a credible candidate to a business looking for extra writers.

If you want to work for a particular publication or sector in the industry, go for a more personal approach. Many publishers and writers have profiles on LinkedIn. Although many are private, you may come across an email address of someone high up in the company. Email them stating your passion for wanting to work with them, and what you can offer them. Work experience will offer you insights into how a publishing business is run and structured as well as learning new skills and inside information. Similarly you can look at company websites and email them using their ‘Contact Us’ details. You may even be offered a job by the end of the placement.

English Literature graduate Laura Comben is a writer from Brighton who has worked with Soundsphere Magazine and Event Magazine. She is now a freelance copywriter and loves learning about anything and everything for her articles.

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