Getting Started as a Freelance Writer

You've decided to take the plunge,
but you have no idea how to
get started as a freelance writer.

That's okay - none of us did.

There are a million things you need to know about getting started as a freelance writer - but let's start with just five.  If you'd like to learn more about anything in particular, click the links in each paragraph.

Remember, my way isn't the only way - all I can tell you is what worked for me when I was getting started as a freelance writer.  You'll find several different resources around the Web, and you should make use of the ones that sound like they know what they're talking about.

Getting Started as a Freelance Writer: Must-know #1

Freelance writing won't make you rich overnight.  Especially your first night.  Things may start out slowly - and even if you've got the ball rolling, you're likely going to hit bumps, slow down, speed up too much and all of that before you have the perfect balance of self-sustaining momentum and cash flow.

Prepare yourself financially and emotionally before you quit your day job.  Of course, if you don't have a day job, you still need to be ready for the ups and downs of freelance writing.

You also need to remember that freelance writing is not a job - it's a business that you own, operate and advertise.

Getting Started as a Freelance Writer: Must-know #2

You need to be a fantastic writer if you plan on making a living doing it.  Before you get started as a freelance writer, make sure your grammar skills are intact and that you understand the different types of writing services you can offer.  It wouldn't hurt to make informed decisions about pen names and writing at content mills before you start, either.

Getting Started as a Freelance Writer: Must-know #3

You will only make as much as you charge - so you need to know how to set freelance writing fees that work for you.  Set your freelance writing fees before you begin marketing your services.  You'll also need to know how to incorporate them into a freelance writing contract and how to create invoices so you can get paid.

Getting Started as a Freelance Writer: Must-know #4

Before you can get started as a freelance writer, you'll need to set up a marketing strategy and learn how to advertise your services.  You might consider ordering or printing your own freelance writer business cards, starting a business blog and cleaning up your Internet presence.  You'll need a website to house your portfolio and enable potential clients to find you.

Getting Started as a Freelance Writer: Must-know #5

The last thing you need to know is that you should never have to pay to get started as a freelance writer.  There is a lady out there charging people hundreds of dollars for the promise that they'll become successful copywriters in 7 days.

Ain't gonna happen.  Don't waste your money or your time.

There are so many resources out here to help you while you're getting started freelance writing.  Check out:

Of course, these are just a few resources; once you find one you like, take the advice you want.  It never hurts to ask, either - and that holds true here.  If you have any questions, shoot me an email and I'll be more than happy to answer or address it on my blog.

What were your favorite resources when you were getting started in freelance writing?  Do you have any helpful advice or other things new writers need to know before they take the leap?

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© Angie Papple Johnston, 2010; if you are reading this anywhere but on, it's stolen.

Creative Commons License

Freelance Writing Tips by Angie Papple Johnston is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at

"Crazy People" image courtesy of Benipop at stock.xchng.