I’ve seen a lot of fellow freelance writers asking how to begin their freelance career. I’ve only been in this game for six months now, but I remember when I first started out.
I was confused, overwhelmed, and honestly, quite panicky.
Well, there’s a lot of resources available online for beginner freelancers to take advantage of. Some of these resources are super complex and aimed at more advanced or niched freelancers.
I remember reading one post from an established freelancer who went in-depth about the analytics behind her client’s posts and how she measured and tracked that data to help upsell clients and more definitively highlight the growth her blog posts were responsible for. This is an awesome benefit of the services she offers, but it’s also something that Beginner Freelancer Dan knew he wasn’t capable of.
At least at the start of his freelance career.
So reading advice like that overwhelmed me and had me feeling like I was in over my head.
For the first week of my freelance career, all I did was read about freelancing. I read advice from everywhere and everyone. I compared myself to new and established freelancers. I read Reddit, Twitter feeds, and dozens of blogs from people like Neil Patel and Seth Godin.
There I was, “established” with my “brand” and “presence” and I didn’t feel any closer to being a legit freelancer than when I began.
I was awash with the overwhelming sense that I was in over my head in a world where I’d never get a client because I had no professional experience, no complex method of proving my ability or the outcome of my work, and no idea how to get started despite how much I read.
The start of a freelance writing career can be terrifying, but here’s the three resources that helped me stop feeling overwhelmed, believe in my ability, and to start earning:
1. Carol Tice’s Make A Living Writing
Make A Living Writing has a wealth of information and advice for freelance writers and was one of the few resources I stuck with after discovering it in my first week of freelancing. I’ve written about Make A Living Writing before when writing about setting goals for myself and it’s still a resource I refer to frequently. I would caution not to fall too deep into the rabbithole here, though. Carol provides a lot of information, so make sure you don’t keep researching just to put off getting started with your own writing.
2. Jorden Roper’s Writing Revolt
Writing Revolt, run by Jorden Roper, has had the most significant impact on my freelance career, by far. Jorden provides information, advice, and knowledge in a no-nonsense fashion that really resonates with me. More importantly, her explanations are blunt, direct, and honest. Writing Revolt is responsible for kicking me in the ass more than any teacher ever has because the information here is so easy to follow and act upon.
As someone who generally hates newsletters and mailing lists, I actually have to recommend Jorden’s free email courses. I think her newsletters were the first newsletters I’ve ever read in their entirety, at least in recent memory.
3. Elise Dopson
Elise Dopson’s blog was also one of the first resources I stumbled upon. For the longest time, I struggled with proper SEO until reading Elise’s easy-to-understand post on SEO practices that, for whatever reason, finally “clicked” and helped me to understand how best to utilize SEO for the benefit of my clients. Unlike many of the resources that overwhelmed me in the beginning, Elise’s information was easy to digest and understand and helped me to firmly establish my freelance career.
Find a Community
The most important fact to remember about freelance writing is that even though we can sometimes be in competition with one another, we’re all in the same game together. Unlike more traditional jobs, we don’t work with co-workers. In fact, most of us probably work from our homes.
The freelancing community has been nothing but friendly in my experience.
We can all help one another by working and sticking together.
So find a community to become part of, make friends, commiserate together, and, most importantly, learn. Share your tips and tricks and help others the same way I’ve been helped by Carol, Jorden, Elise, and the dozens of writers I follow and interact with on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The feeling of community has done much to keep me positive on the stressful days and I’ve learned a ton from people at every stage of freelancing.
In this age of constant political talk, I’ve found myself staying off of Facebook for the most part. One notable exception is Jorden Roper’s Writing Revolters group. The discussions, advice, and sharing of resources that takes place there has truly helped me to not only remain positive about my career, but to take it to the next level. Freelancers of all levels can be found there and it’s a community in the truest sense – one in which everyone is out to help one another.
Doing My Part to Share Resources
In addition to my blog, I’ve gone ahead and published a contract template for you to use for all your clients. You should never begin work until a contract is signed, and I know how difficult it can be to find a contract template. Feel free to use mine and start earning!
Connect With Me
Like I’ve talked about, connecting with other freelancers is a huge boon to your freelance career. Go ahead and give me a follow on Twitter and send me a message! I’d love to hear how you’re doing with your freelance career and goals!