How to Be a Writer: Frequently Asked Questions by Those Who Want to Start Freelancing
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Freelance writing is a work-from-home career that thrives no matter what the economy is doing? Why? Because when the economy is not doing so well, companies cut jobs and look for freelancers to pick up the slack. When the economy is booming, companies have extra money to spend and look to expand. Lots of times, the current staff is overwhelmed, so freelancers again pick up the slack. This may help to explain why so many want to learn how to be a writer. But many newbies who want to start freelance writing careers are stumped. Following are three of the most commonly asked questions about how to start a freelance writing career.

Frequently Asked Questions about Starting a Home-based Freelance Writing Career

1. Where do I start? Many who want to learn how to be a writer – one who freelances from home -- overthink this process, so let me simplify it. To start, ask yourself three questions:

(i) What type of freelance writing do I want to do? Careers in writing run the gamut from corporate (eg, writing white papers); to web (eg, writing SEO articles); to artsy (eg, writing poetry). Note: If you want to make money, focus on commercial freelance writing, ie, writing for businesses.

(ii) What services will I offer? A tip – only offer those services you are extremely comfortable with. You can always expand as you gain more experience and/or can afford to hire help / outsource to other freelance writers.

(iii) How much will I charge? Freelance writing jobs run the gamut when it comes to rate. And, this is a particularly sticky situation for newbies who are learning how to freelance and who to be a writer all at one time.

My advice here is to research what others – in your niche – are charging. Once you examine 10 or 15 sites (yes, at least that many), you’ll start to get an idea for industry highs/lows.

As an aside, this is why it’s important to figure out what type of freelance writing you want to focus on first. It’ll go a long way towards help you come up with your freelance writing rates.

Once you’ve looked at individual freelance sites, consult industry sites like the Editorial Freelancers Association (The-EFA.org) to see what they say about what to charge. Once you aggregate all of this data, you should be able to comfortably set your freelance writing rates.

2. How do I find freelance writing jobs? While you can use many of the major freelance sites like Guru and eLance, I don’t advise it. One thing you’ll find out very quickly in your quest to learn how to become a writer is that you’ll make the most money by clients you find on your own (eg, small business owners).

And, there are many ways to market, eg, email, cold calling, networking via chamber of commerce meetings, etc. Figure out one to three methods that work for you, then consistently use those methods. Consistency in marketing is the key to success as a freelance writer.

3. How much can I expect to earn once I learn how to be a writer who freelances? This depends a lot on the niche you decide to specialize in, your rates and how effective you are at marketing.

I will say this – it’s relatively easy to earn $35,000 to $50,000 your first year as a freelance writer; again, if you know how to market for the work.

Conclusion: How to Become a Freelance Writer

Learning how to be a writer who freelances is not difficult at all. Where many get stuck is fear – fear of starting, fear of failure, fear of success, etc. Overcoming this mental barrier is 90 percent of the battle when it comes to building a successful freelance writing business.

About the Author: Yuwanda Black has been a freelance writer since 1993. She publishes InkwellEditorial.com, a site devoted to how to become a successful freelance writer; has written dozens of ebooks on freelance writing; and has taught hundreds of others how to be a writer – and build thriving, work-from-home, freelance busineses. She says, “With the right training, anyone who can read and write can have a thriving freelance writing career.

Keywords used in this article: freelance writing jobs, freelance writing career, how to become a freelance writer, how to be a freelance writer, careers in writing

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