This post contains affiliate links. The commissions made from the purchase of affiliate products helps support this blog. There is no extra charge to you. 🙂
So you have heard others do it or you may be wondering how I got my first freelancing gig, or maybe you want to know how to get started freelance writing from home.
It almost seems like it’s a movement. Many stay-at-home moms and dads have been making full-time incomes by writing.
One thing that they don’t tell you is the main issue with freelancing. A great number of all freelancers experience this major dilemma.
What truth they don’t tell you about freelancing…
So many writers have a difficult time finding work as a freelance writer in the beginning. It’s hard to know where to start and how to get new clients. Often times you don’t know if you’re good enough to be able to charge for your services.
We have all been there. You can get training all over the web on how you can improve your writing skills to gain more confidence. Tools such as Grammarly. I have the browser plugin and the software installed on my mac so it helps me keep the mistakes to a minimum. It’s free but they also have a premium version.
Getting your name out there and finding people and businesses to hire you is the number one challenge.
Because of freelancing becoming increasingly popular, it is getting more difficult to stand out amongst the crowd.
I used to see ads everywhere saying how easy it was to be a freelancer and how much $$ you can make. Let me tell you, it’s not easy, but you can make money. You need to prove yourself and build a portfolio. You need good reviews.
How do you get good reviews as a beginner freelancer?
You can give away some of your services to get a couple of customers off the bat. A lot of people don’t want to do something for free like that BUT it is one way to get your first couple reviews.
How I Got My First Freelancing Gig
When I first started freelancing, I did what everyone else starts out doing to try and land a freelancing gig. Going right to Fiverr, or Freelancer, and of course Upwork. Signed up, set up my profile and went and just dove right in trying to get hired for something right away everywhere. I should have done a couple of things differently before going right in trying to get hired. I will mention these later in this article.
(read below: 5 Things That I Would Have Done Differently To Land My 1st Freelancing Gig)
These are great places to get started and get a feel of how freelancing works. The major downside is that it is pretty saturated with so many people that unless you get someone to give you a review right away, it’s difficult to win bids.
One tip that I’d recommend doing is participating in contests. This gets you exposure, lets you get used to freelancing and what it’s like to do freelance work.
*[Important] Pro Tip For Participating In Freelancing Contests:
If you wait until close to the end of the contest, you can use the comments made from the client to the other participants and really create something they want and will allow you to stand out.
You will notice that some of the participants don’t listen or understand the client’s original description of the order/job. What you always need to do is really thoughtfully read the job/order description. Deliver to them exactly what they are asking for and give it your all. Really try and wow them. That’s how you stand out and win the bid. There will be a lot of other freelancers going for the same bid so you need to try and one-up the competition by being authentic, professional, and show the client that you understand their vision.
The downside to contests is that you do the work before you even can get paid, and you most likely won’t win. There are so many people that are super talented and probably do better work for less $$. You still should participate in contests.
It is great practice and like I said it can help get you exposure and give you a chance to add your work you complete into your portfolio to show prospective clients.
You have to really make yourself stand out and really give the customer exactly what they are asking for.
My first freelance gig was a regular bid. The order was to create a script copy for a product promotion video as well as the voice-over script for the same video.
I think I won the bid because I was the lowest price on the bidding scale, but also because I was very specific in my bid proposal.
I explained exactly what I was going to deliver and I included everything they described they needed for the order. I also introduced myself and let them know I wanted to help them grab their customers’ attention and convert more sales.
The reason they are hiring you is to in the end-use your writing to get them customers, and customers equal MONEY. If you let the client know why they should hire you and how it can help their business they will be more likely to hire you.
I wish I saved the actual proposal to share with you. I tried finding it somewhere in my history but had no luck.
My first job went well, so well that she then hired me again for a 2nd project!
That is a nice goal to have when you start getting clients. Land clients that want to hire you again and then you start to build a relationship with them. You understand what they want and build trust in each other.
I find it easier to find clients through Facebook groups. Find groups for small businesses and areas where people need help finding answers. You can provide them with your writing skills to solve their specific problems. You need to visit the groups often and offer to help people. Giving away free advice or consulting work helps them to gain your trust.
Be genuine and really try and help them. Let them know you are a freelance writer or graphic designer, OR both if you do both like me. You can even have it in your Facebook description so people know you are available for hire. (Freelance writer/graphic designer available upon request/for hire)
I offered free graphic design work to a woman’s small business group to get seen and meet people. I love graphic design and didn’t mind working for free to help some fellow entrepreneurs out in the beginning. I’ve also done some free writing gigs just to get better at writing. I felt uncomfortable charging for my services without knowing if I would be any good.
5 Things That I Would Have Done Differently To Land My 1st Freelancing Gig
1. I would have asked some friends on Facebook if they needed the services I offer, and see if they wouldn’t mind being my first clients and give me my first reviews. This will greatly help your chance of getting even looked at. Most people look at ratings and they usually don’t want someone with no reviews.
2. Started a website right off the bat and focused on creating content to show clients, and showcase my graphic design portfolio.
3. Spread the word everywhere that I am available for freelance work, put it in all my social media profiles.
4. Made a business plan and focused on one step at a time. All the tasks that you need to do and you add to the to-do list can be overwhelming. Planning things out ahead of time and then focusing on one thing at a time is the ONLY way to successfully accomplish anything. You need to focus on what makes the most impact on your business and give it all of your attention until its complete. Then move on to the next task.
5. Focus on one freelancer platform at a time and just rock it out. There are so many places you can spend your time but in the end you just become overwhelmed and accomplish nothing. Just pick one, and learn everything about that one platform.
Check out these related posts:
I just recently stumbled upon this awesome looking service, Writers Work LLC. I haven’t tried them yet but may in the future if I want to focus on freelance writing more.
They have an awesome professional portfolio, training, search tools, and project management tools, to help you stay on task while creating your writing projects. The biggest perk they offer is a nice convenient way to find clients, even high paying clients ($2,000 projects). I wish I knew about this service sooner. That’s why I’m excited to share this with anyone who wants to get started freelance writing but doesn’t know where to start.
Their service had a one time fee and they never take any commissions from your projects. The other services I am a part of, end up taking a commission on every freelancing gig, EVEN if you get scammed and the employer never pays you! (Yes that happens so be careful, it happened to me, always get a milestone payment before you start work.)
I think this is perfect for anyone who wants to seriously make freelancing into a thriving business.
If you’re interested in checking it out, Sign up for a Writers Work Account Today!
Leave me a comment below if you have any questions about anything and if there is anything else you wish I could cover about freelancing.
What is freelance writing?
Freelance writing is when someone who is self-employed provides writing services for a fee, with no expectation of a permanent single client, although the working relationship can be ongoing.
How to start freelance writing?
To just start. Stop thinking about it and trying to plan how to do it. Just start talking to small business owners and ask if they need some writing projects taken care of. Do some free work for friends and have them be your first testimonials. Then start advertising yourself as a freelance writer and start charging for your services. There you go! You’re a freelance writer.