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How to Start a Freelance Writing Career in Less than 24 Hours for $0

I receive anywhere from 5-10 emails a week (a couple a day), asking me the same question, “How do I get started as a freelance writer?” The short answer is to just do it. But, many wannabe freelance writers hold themselves back by simply not starting. They put roadblocks in the way that just astound me, eg:

  • I need a website.
  • I don’t have any writing samples.
  • I don’t have any clients yet.
  • I don’t have any experience, etc.

There’s Never Been a Better Time to Be a Freelance Writer — Truly!

If you want to be a freelance writer, it’s time to start being a doer – not a planner, a talker, or a dreamer – a doer! Especially with the explosion of content marketing, there’s so much work out there. Proof?

Content Marketing Driving the Need for Freelance Writers

  • 60% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot)
  • On average, B2B marketers allocate 28% of their total marketing budget to content marketing. The most effective allocate 42%, and the most sophisticated/mature allocate 46%.(Content Marketing Institute B2B Report)
  • Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. (HubSpot)

What is “Content”?

Content is not just limited to blog posts and web articles. It consists of everyting from slideshares  to infographics, and all that’s in between, eg:

  • Ebooks
  • Interviews
  • Memes
  • Press releases
  • Podcasts
  • YouTubevidoes
  • White papers
  • Case Studies
  • Newsletters
  • Email auto responder series
  • Landing pages
  • Sales letters
  • Long-form content
  • Social media posts/writing
  • SEO articles
  • Product descriptions
  • Etc. (this list could go on and on)

Why the Need for Content Is So Great

Because consumers use the web for everything nowadays — not jsut to make restaurant reservations, book a plane ticket, or send an email like in the past. Consumers use the web to research products and services before they buy — some consumer experts estimate that over 80 percent do. And, many start their shopping search (60%) on the web.

So brands/companies must be visible on the web. And how do companies compete for consumer eyeballs on the internet? By content. Whether it’s an explanatory video, a teaching tutorial, to annoucne sales and discounts, etc. — it all starts with some form of content. And the need is ongoing.

Many companies don’t have the in-house staff to keep up with their content needs, so they outsource it. That’s where you come in. And you don’t need a degree, experience, or any the probably 101 other things that you’ve heard that you need to succeed as a freelance writer.

What you need is drive, a plan of action, and a willingness to stick with it. Oh yeah, and good writing ability. You don’t even need to be a “great” writer; just one who knows how to write well. With that being said, following is plan of action you can take to start a freelance writing career in 24 hours, or less. Stop over-thinking it and just do it!

Get Help to Get Started Quickly

If you don’t feel comfortable going it alone and want some help, here’s a way to get started — fast. And, ongoing help is offered.

3 Steps to Take to Start Your Freelance Writing Career

Just three little steps can have you on your way to marketing for freelance writing jobs. The first one is to …

1. Get a Blog

Instead of a website, put up a blog that you can use as a website. Use one of the free ones like blogger.com or wordpress.com. The whole point here is to get a web presence up and going. A blog is just a website, it’s just used different.

So that not having the time, money or knowledge to build a website doesn’t hold you back, use this blog as your web presence for now.

You can migrate everything over later when you can afford and/or have time to get our own hosted site (which you should definitely do at some point if you’re serious about building a long-term freelance writing career).

What to List On Your Website/Blog

On your website/blog, you will list your:
(i) services;
(ii) writing samples;
(iii) a short bio; and if you want
(iv) rates (some do, some don’t).

I always err on the side of providing rates, that way, clients have all the info they need to make an informed decision when they’re on my site. After all, either they can afford you, or not.

Cost: $0; Estimated Time to Complete: 30 minutes to 1 hour (keep it simple).

2. Compose Some Writing Samples

This is the one area that really stresses wannabe freelance writers – no samples. Well, don’t let it. If your writing cubbard is dry, sit down and write three articles (500-750 words each, no longer). This is enough to start.

If you want to be a health writer, then write health articles to use as samples. If you want to be a technology writer, then write on technology issues; a finance writer, compose some samples on finance; real estate, then write something on that subject matter; etc. Get the idea?

While some clients will ask you for samples of previously published works, most will not. All they want to see is your writing ability. Whether a sample has been published/used before is irrelevant. You still wrote it, right? It’s still evidence of your writing ability. This is all the vast majority of clients want.

Cost: $0; Estimated Time to Complete: 3-5 hours (depending on how in-depth your samples are and/or how many niches you plan to target.).

Writing Samples Note: If you plan to target more than one niche, write up a few samples for each niche you plan to market to.

3. Create a Marketing List

Now that you’ve got your web presence and your samples, it’s time to put together a hit list – ie, a list of prospects you plan to market to.

Go to the internet, do some searches and come up with a list of 20-30 prospects you can pitch your writing services to. Again, if you’re a health writer, target websites, ezines, and publications that need this type of content.

Think logically about marketing – it’s not rocket science. Who needs the type of writing that you provide? The other part of that equation is who comes into contact with these types of clients. For example, web design firms get a lot of clients – across many different niches. So, no matter what type of writing you do, targeting web design firms would be a good idea because they have all types of clients.

Take a two-pronged attack with your marketing. Market to those who need your specific type of writing, and those who come into contact with those who need your writing skill.  Make 20-30 contacts a day, and pretty soon, you will land a client – guaranteed.

To really jumpstart your freelance writing marketing campaign, check out How to Find Unpublished Freelance Writing Jobs. You’ll lessen the competition and find leads quicker, leading you to freelance writing success that much sooner.

Cost: $0; Estimated Time to Complete: 2-6 hours. You should be able to find 5-10 contacts per hour.

Conclusion

If you spend a 6-12 hours doing all of this, you will have done everything you need to do to start a freelance writing career. Keep your marketing consistent, and you will grow a fabulous, work-from-home career that you can do from anywhere.

Starting a freelance writing career is not rocket science. Don’t over think it – just do it!

BTW, if you like this post, I’d appreciate it if you’d save it to Pinterest.

P.S.: Here’s an Almost Fail-Proof Way to Start a Freelance Writing Career

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