I have been getting this question a lot lately…what EXACTLY is freelance writing?
Simply put, a freelance writer is a “pen for hire”. You exchange your time, effort and words for money! Sounds simple right?
As a freelance writer, you are considered an independent business owner. You work with clients to produce a written project they need, all in the comfort of your own home. Or at your local coffee shop, the library, or an office. Where ever you have a comfortable and productive space to work.
Are you considering a career in freelance writing?
Personally, I love it! Freelance writing is a great way to provide extra income, work around my family and uses my passion for writing. It is not all smooth sailing; setting up your own business can mean a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. But it is worth it.
What is the difference between a freelance writer and a blogger?
As a freelance writer, there are many names you can call yourself depending on the service (or services) you offer. You could be a freelance writer who offers blogging services, therefore you can market yourself as a “freelance blogger”.
Other “freelance writer” specialties include:
- Content Writer: someone who focuses on different types of content such as eBooks, whitepaper, blog posts.
- SEO Writer: a freelance writer who specifically focuses on providing highly optimized content to rank higher on search engines such as Google.
- Technical Writer: a freelancer who writes instruction manuals.
- Grant Writer: a freelance writer who writes proposals for businesses and non-profits with the aim of winning funding.
- Ghostwriter: a freelance writer who produces content and projects for others without credit to their name.
I tend to stick to the general term of “freelance writer” as rather than only blogging I offer a range of services from blog posts, emails and eBooks to product descriptions, ghostwriting and website content.
Different types of writing services you can offer:
You don’t need to limit yourself to one specialty if you do not want to. As I mentioned earlier, I stick to the loose term “freelance writer” because I offer a range of different services.
When you first establish your freelance writing business you may find it easier and less overwhelming to offer just one type of service. As you grow your business and become more comfortable with your career choice, you can add more services.
So what services can writers offer potential clients?
- Blog Posts: Blog posts are a nice easy way to start your freelance writing career. They are generally not word heavy, labour intensive or too hard to write. Although this can depend on what niche you market yourself and whom you work for.
- Magazine articles: depending on the type of magazine these can be more labour intensive, as they require a more formal and journalistic style of writing.
- Editing: If you have an editing background this is a great service to add! Even if you don’t have a degree in editing you an offer basic proofreading and editing.
- Press Releases: a compelling document to send to the media to garner publicity.
- Ghostwriting: you can write blog posts, eBooks or other content however it is under your clients’ name, not yours.
- Copywriting: Use your persuasive skills to write website content or other copy for your client.
- Product Descriptions.
- Social Media: you can offer to manage clients’ social media accounts with regular posting, photos, and curated content.
You are only limited by your imagination, client needs and the type of writing you are most comfortable and adept in.
I do suggest when you are first starting out that you stick to only offering a few different services. Once you feel you are proficient enough in those, then add in more.
Will you be offering B2B or B2C writing?
One thing that may influence what services you offer is whether or not you will be writing for business or consumers. That is Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C) writing.
B2B writing is where you write content aimed at other businesses, for a business. It may require a more formal tone of voice and the use of business lingo. It could be blog posts, whitepaper or guides.
B2C, on the other hand, is where you write content on behalf of a business aimed at their customers. This can be blog posts, website content or product descriptions.
Depending on what you offer can change the way you market your business, the skillset you offer and your target audience.
What are freelance writing niches?
Once you have decided what services you are going to offer if you will be doing B2B or B2C writing than you need to pick a niche.
Why do you need to pick a niche?
It is easier to market your business and target potential clients if you “specialise” in one area.
When picking your niche you need to ask yourself a few simple questions.
What am I passionate about?
Where do my interests lay?
What areas am I knowledgeable and skilled in?
Once you have your answers you will have your niche!
In the meantime, some areas to think about are:
There are many different ways to be a freelance writer.The great thing about being a freelance writer is YOU choose how, when and where to write.Click To Tweet
You determine how many clients you take on and how many hours per week you work.
You can be a freelancer on the side, full-time or anything in between.
As a side-project freelancer, you run your freelance business on the side to supplement the income from your main job.
This is a great way to start and grow your business until you are ready to make the leap into full-time freelance, or to simply earn extra bucks!
Full-time freelance writer:
This is self-explanatory!
You hustle your butt off to onboard enough clients and projects to earn a full-time wage, or whatever benchmarks you have set for yourself.
Anything in between!
You can be hired for a one-off project, or jump between full-time writer and side hustle depending on your wants, needs, and phase of your life. You make it work for you.
While you think about what type of freelancer you are going to be, subscribe to our email list and grab a FREE copy of “12 steps to kickstart your freelance writing career”.
Do you need formal qualifications to be a freelance writer?
If you can string a sentence together, write persuasive copy and effectively market your skills then you can be a freelance writer.
I have a Bachelor of Applied Science (Nursing), a Bachelor of Health Promotion and an Advanced Certificate in Critical Care (cardiac). I do NOT have a degree in journalism, creative writing or any other writing degree.
Does that stop me from being a freelance writer? NO.
Does it stop me from attracting high quality, repeat clients? NO.
It is simply a matter of packaging your skills and marketing them effectively.
Having said all that, I have completed some short writing courses and researched freelance writing before I began. Whilst not necessary, it does help to have a starting point and a solid foundation. There are some AMAZING courses out there.
Elna Cain has several fantastic courses to help get you well on your way to a successful freelance writing career.
Jorden Roper tells it like it is. She has amazing resources to jumpstart your freelance writing
Gina Horkey, a successful VA and freelance writer, has developed some fantastic courses and resources to get you where you want to be.
The pros and cons of being a freelance writer.
Just like anything, there are good things and bad things about being a freelance writer. Before I started out freelance writing, I sat down with paper and pen and wrote out a for and against list. Obviously, the positives won!
I suggest before you embark on a new career as a freelance writer that you do the same. Make sure you weigh up the pros and cons, and that it is a change that will suit you and your current lifestyle.
Benefits of a freelance writing career:
- You can leave the daily grind of 9 to 5 behind and choose your own hours. Or in my case, it was a matter of being able to decrease the amount of shift work I took on.
- You get to be your own boss!
- No daily commute. No crowded public transport or traffic jams.
- You can choose your own music! No boring office tunes.
- You can choose your own hours, working schedule, clients and type of projects you take on.
- Can choose when you can take holidays without having to fit in with other employees.
- For me, the most important benefit of being a freelance writer was choosing a career path I could work around my children that used my passion for writing.
Disadvantages to being a freelance writer:
- It can be a lot of hard work, crazy hours and stress to set your business up.
- It is a steep learning curve to create and maintain a website. Or it was for me as I am not very tech minded.
- You do not have paid benefits like sick leave or holiday pay.
- Inconsistent pay. Some months will be better than others depending on what types of contracts and clients you have onboard.
- The biggest thing I struggle with is separating home and work life. As I work at home it can be difficult to switch off and be 100% present with my family.
What is stopping you from pursuing a career in freelance writing?
Now you know what a freelance writer is, the types of writing and the pros and cons of being a freelance writer. What is stopping you from going out today and starting your new career?All you need is a computer, reliable Internet connection and a writers’ platform to get you started. Passion, determination, organisation, and motivation will see you the rest of the way.Click To Tweet