7 Tips to Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business
If you have a talent for writing, you’ll find that many who lack the talent will pay for it. You can make a comfortable living freelance writing, and the best part is, you can do most of it from home.
This is a good basis for starting a business. No operation should begin without thorough planning, however. Here are some essential steps to launch a productive freelance writing business.
- Choose Your Writing Niche
A lot of self-proclaimed writers are out there, but those who have established a niche and stuck with it are the most likely to prosper. You certainly can straddle multiple niches, but sticking to one offers better odds for success.
Many different niches are options for writing, but some of the most common and sought-after include:
- SEO content
- Web content
- HTML emails
- Industry-specific content (for example, medical, scientific, etc.)
- Law writing
- Grant writing
- Marketing/persuasive content
- Social posts
You might have discovered an additional niche where you have a particular knack, and that could form the basis of a great business. What’s essential is to choose a niche that you can hone and use to attract clients.
- Incorporate Your Business
To follow proper legal protocols when you launch a business is crucial, even if you’re expecting to be the only employee for a while. By incorporating your business as a sole proprietorship or limited liability corporation (LLC), you can protect your personal name from liability and limit your tax obligation.
A sole proprietorship usually makes the most sense for freelance writers, but you might consider forming an LLC. If you end up attracting more work than you can handle, you’ll want to be able to outsource to other writers and still make some money from these jobs.
- Know What to Charge
Freelance writing might not seem like a cutthroat activity, but if you study the supply and demand, you’ll see plenty of heated competition. Such being the case, setting competitive rates for your services becomes a primary issue.
The rates you can charge depend on a variety of factors, including your location, the type of writing you do, and the nature of your competition. If you can establish a consistent pattern of quality and reliable delivery, that can increase the value of your services.
- Create a Web Portfolio or Website
You’ll rarely encounter a potential client who doesn’t want to see samples of your best work. Uploading a collection of PDFs on your application can be impressive, but it fails to display the level of professionalism that some clients expect. It also limits the number of samples a prospective client can study.
A web portfolio, or website that has your headshot, a list of services and prices, and your very best writing samples is the best way to display your services. This approach will impress prospective clients, and you might even score a few organic clients with such a professional presentation.
- Invest in Marketing
Money is probably going to be tight at the outset. Nevertheless, marketing is an essential early investment. You’ll spend most of your time actively seeking clients, but you might reel in a few big fish with a well-placed marketing campaign.
Start with business cards to share with firms around town or individuals who show an interest in your career. You’ll be surprised by how much business you can attract this way.
Other useful marketing metrics for your new business will include:
- Social Media Presence: At the very least, you need updated LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, so clients can get to know you.
- Social Media Ads: This is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to reach a broad audience.
- Print Media: Aside from business cards, print out a few flyers with takeaway-tabs to post on bulletin boards around town.
- Set Yourself Up for Success
The most successful companies can describe their plans, strategies, and goals. Begin with a business plan that describes your work, identifies your clients, strategizes ways to adopt clients, outlines your marketing plan, and shows your profit potential. An informal business strategy is fine, but having something on paper will guide your growth.
You should also set goals and adjust them continually as you go. Goals keep you motivated, which can be a challenge when you’re a self-propelled business. Ask trusted friends and family to help you stay accountable to your goals.
- Continue Your Education
Some facets of writing will never change, but others are in flux. The kind of writing that addresses the digital landscape (as well as takes place within it) is always evolving, and continuing education courses will keep you on track.
You might also invest in courses that will sharpen and hone your skills or teach you new ones. Don’t presume you know everything about your craft. Clients will look for the best, and further training can help you achieve that level and maintain success.