How to Get Started as a Freelance Writer


freelance writingThose considering launching a solo career in freelance writing may wonder where to start. Here's how to step into the waters of online article writing.

Freelance writing is alluring to many who would like to make money from the comfort of their own home. In days past, freelancing meant sending dozens of queries and articles to publishers, hoping to get picked up with a byline that appears in major newspapers and magazines across the country.

Today is a different story. With the accessibility of the Internet, freelancing has moved online with numerous blogs, websites, and news organizations employing the services of freelance writers. So how does one start as a solo writer on the web, and what does it take to succeed?

Freelance Writing Career Overview

Freelance writing simply means the writer is working solo to develop articles and other content for anyone who needs it. As opposed to staff writers, freelancers have the freedom to work at home and make their own schedule. However, freelance writers must also have the persistence and discipline to ferret out new projects on a daily basis while growing and maintaining their client base.

Who Can Become a Freelancer?

Writers working solo come from all walks of life. High profile journalists, unemployed persons, housewives, subject matter experts, and a range of others all have a chance to become a successful freelance journalist. However, the freelancers who enjoy the most success

  • are good communicators
  • have a natural knack for the English language
  • are skilled at writing clear, concise, readable online copy
  • can quickly adapt to differing writing styles
  • are thorough researchers
  • can accept criticism from editors and readers
  • are well versed in journalistic standards and ethics
  • have a good working knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) and how to write articles for the web

How to Become a Freelance Writer

Most people believe that in order to become an online writer working solo, the person must possess years of experience in a given subject area. While such credentials certainly have their place, future trends indicate that an author’s ability to collate and summarize vast quantities of data from varying sources in a clear, concise, accurate manner eclipses the need for advanced expertise.

In order to become an online freelance writer when the person has little to no experience in writing for the web, the idea is to start small and formulate a long-term vision for success. As in any creative endeavor, success won’t happen overnight; but with patience, persistence, and dedication, freelancing on the web can become a solid source of income.

  1. Develop a strong byline. The byline is essentially an introductory summary of the writer’s background, expertise, and current projects. For example, “John Smith is a licensed attorney with several years of experience in real estate law. He is currently litigating mortgage fraud cases at the law firm of Joey, Josey, Jerry, and Jonie in San Francisco.”
  2. Begin writing on revenue sharing content websites including Helium, eHow, Triond, Associated Content, and Bukisa. Using Helium, writers can connect directly with publishers looking to pay freelance writers anywhere from $20 to $200 for well written pieces.
  3. Once the writing style is refined, apply to be a freelance writer for Suite101, Demand Studios, and About.com. Each of these websites require writing samples and a resume to be qualified. Use articles written on websites listed in Step 2 for the writing samples.
  4. Register on freelancing websites including Sologig, Guru, oDesk, and GetAFreelancer.

Bottom line, becoming an online freelance writer takes patience, persistence, and a knack for the English language. When the freelancer starts small, refines the writing style, and then steps up to more advanced journalistic endeavors, doors will open to new opportunities.