…And Begin a Freelance Writing Career
The UK lockdown has effected every single person across the United Kingdom. While everyone plays their part by staying at home, the government has announced that they will pay 80% of the wages for the employed and self-employed who are unable to work from home. We are incredibly lucky to live in a country which is able to support itself in a crisis such as the Coronavirus pandemic, however, there are still some of us who find ourselves in a situation where we are unable to work or receive financial help.
I have friends on zero-hour contracts who are now receiving no hours from work and are not eligible for any financial help. Then there are the friends who are self-employed and their business relies on continuously gaining clients or taking bookings and now, pretty much all bookings and calls have ceased. Despite receiving their 80%, they are worried about how they will support themselves when we are entering back into normality and they are fighting with other competitors for work.
At the end of February this year, before most of us anticipated the current lockdown situation, I quit my full-time job working at a hotel to give freelance writing a proper shot. Now, had I predicted the lockdown, I certainly would have held on for a little while longer so I could have a little financial support during my first few months, but I am a writer, not a seer.
What I have learned, however, is that freelance writing is the perfect way to provide yourself with a steady income. The more work you decide to do, the more money that you can earn and the best part about it? It is the ultimate lockdown-friendly job. If you want to know how to become a paid writer, then read on!
Knowledge and Experience
You may think that you need qualifications or a background in writing to make it freelancing, but all you really need is the following:
A passion for writing
I have recently started learning that there are some folk out there who are freelance writing purely for the money. These people often set low prices for their work in order to take more on. The prices seem impossible for us looking for a living wage to compete with, however, for £6 per hour, they are probably not providing well-researched, engaging, informative, and spell-checked content. These writers are looking at quantity over quality and this is certainly something that you want to avoid doing in order to become an established freelance writer.
A passionate writer is (usually) a good writer and this will come across in your work.
To be a good writer of any kind, you must be passionate about what you do. The reason that I wanted to become a paid writer was so that I could leave my full-time job and have more time to write, regardless of the subject. Writing blogs and articles on behalf of other people is a welcome and refreshing break from my own writing, which gives me a unique chance to improve and learn about new subjects and products. I bloody love it!
Know how to write
This might sound obvious, however, there are so many freelance writers out there who may know the fundamentals about writing but are unable to write engaging or entertaining content. To be successful with freelance writing, you will have to constantly improve your writing skills, this includes punctuation, clarity, engagement, etc.
As long as you take care and pay attention, research and edit, you will be able to write an article that you are proud of.
Whilst being able to provide well-written content is essential, we all need to start somewhere. Even the most experienced writers will look back at the beginning of their writing career and cringe at some of the proposals they sent out and some of the articles they wrote.
A want to learn
If you are somebody who loves to learn something new every day, then becoming a freelance writer is for you. Since I began freelancing full-time I have learned about Teran wine and its fascinating origin, how to combat jealousy in a relationship, how to buy or rent a campervan in Australia, how to travel the world on a budget (not that we will be doing much of that any time soon)…
Writers are renowned for being human encyclopedias and there is a very good reason for that!
The point is, that you will need to be researching the articles that you write and if studying random and unpredictable subjects in great detail each day does not appeal to you, then freelance writing may not be for you. The client may be kind enough to provide you with information and examples of how they would like the finished article to look. However, it is always best to go out of your way to provide the client with 100% authentic and well-researched content, within their specification.
What is Your Work Experience?
Whilst you may not have work experience as a freelance writer, any work experience in other industries can support your writing career. If you have previously worked for a travel agent, you may be able to easily and knowledgeably write about travelling. This is called a niche-subject. You can often get paid more when you are writing about your niche as this is where your expertise lies.
Any work experience is good work experience.
Perhaps your previous role was in administration, you can promote your organisational skills and ability to commit to deadlines. Any work experience is good work experience and you can adapt the skills from these roles to your freelance writing career.
Similarly, if you did go to college or university, this is another advantage. Your course subject could become your niche subject, or you could decide to emphasise what you learned throughout studying and how it will help you and make you stand out as a freelance writer.
What are Your Hobbies and Interests?
Just like with your work experience and education, your hobbies and interests can become your niche. The best part about this is that you will be combining your passion for writing with your beloved hobbies.
I love to read (I don’t know if you knew this) so one of my niche subjects is reading. However, a niche subject can be anything, from automobiles and fishing to parenting and puppies.
When becoming a freelance writer, your niche can be your comfort zone whilst you begin to get the gist of the writing world. Writing about something you already know a lot about will give you the confidence that you need to enter more unchartered territory while getting paid a little more than you would get for less interesting work!
You may not have previous experience writing on behalf of another website or person and that is okay! Perhaps you have a personal blog or maybe you have written short stories or poems for yourself. These are all things that you can add to your writing portfolio.
When I first began freelancing, I had only done a small amount of content writing on behalf of other websites before, so I bulked my portfolio up with some of my favourite blog posts from Raggie Writes and some writing-related images I had taken (I just thought it made it look pretty, to be honest, but clients seem to like pretty pictures too!).
Write something you would like to read!
If you do not have any writing material to begin a portfolio with, that is okay too! Spend some time coming up with ideas for articles that you can write, that will showcase your writing style and highlight your talent. Choose a subject that you know a lot about and write something that you would like to read about it.
Research and Learn!
What kind of writer do you want to be? A copywriter, content writer, SEO specialist, etc? Take time to figure out what kind of writing you want to do and what you are capable of doing.
Whilst you may get more work being able to cover all bases for clients, do not say that you can provide SEO content if you do not know what SEO means (search engine optimisation). It is much better to hone the skills for one specific area before you try and take on work that is too challenging.
If you are unsure, stick to content and bog writing to begin with, and always be honest with your clients about your capabilities. Promising to deliver work that you are not able to complete will only leave you with poor feedback and unhappy clients.
So read books, scour the internet and make lots of notes!
You have done your research and you are ready to take your first step into the world of freelance writing, now you just need to know the best places to find clients!
There are many different ways that freelancers can build up client lists, however, the fastest and safest way for beginners is to set up a profile on a freelancing site such as Upwork or People Per Hour.
On these sites, companies and individuals who are looking to hire writers, photographers, website designers, etc… post jobs which freelancers can apply for. Whilst the sites do take a percentage of the freelancer’s earnings, they save so much time on finding the clients and earnings are kept safe, so a client can never shorthand you. If you play by the rules and put in the effort, these sites can start earning you a decent wage.
Simply start looking for work and send out proposals to projects which you feel like you are a good fit for and you will soon get your first job!
Time and effort
At the end of the day, the amount of money that you will earn from your freelancing career all comes down to the amount of time and effort that you put into your work. Now is the perfect opportunity for you to start getting paid for your writing and by the end of the lockdown, you could have saved yourself a nice sum of money or built the foundations of a successful writing career.
Find more writing tips on Raggie Writes…