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Budding Freelance Writers: The 16 Most Vital Tips For Success

The world of freelance writing is competitive and at times it can seem like an impossible endeavor trying to make your way in it. However, making the decision to follow your passion and talent for writing could be the first step needed in cracking open your dream career.

These expert tips have been gathered to showcase the ins and outs of one of the most volatile and unforgiving sectors of work in the world.

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#1 Find A Niche

Find a niche, the narrower the better. I've written figure skating murder mystery novels, soap-opera tie-ins and interviews, and an education column. Just make sure it's something you're truly interested in. Because, with luck, you'll be writing about the same thing for a very long time.

Contributor: Alina Adams from

#2 Start YOUR Own Blog

If you're new to writing and trying to get more clips, start your own blog! Editors want to see your wordsmith abilities, your idea generation skills and your consistency. If you want to write travel, start a travel blog. If you're into beauty, write about makeup and skincare. Wherever you want to target your career, make an effort to write at least 2-3 blogs a week and share them online. That way when you pitch, you have samples of work to illustrate your writing.

Contributor: Lindsay Tigar from

#4 Perseverance

The best tip I can offer is not to give up. You have to keep pushing forward no matter. If you already have a 'day' job keep it until the money you earn, or your own name, is nationally recognized. There are literally thousands of articles, books, and workshops that will tell you how to be successful, but the key is, and always has been perseverance.

Contributor: Robert Sollars from

#5 Attend Networking Functions

Early in my career, I went to each and every industry event I could find. Through this, I was able to meet countless editors and build relationships. As those editors moved from publications, they took me with them, building my bylines. It is important to maintain this relationship, following up and being polite and gracious. Kindness gets you far!

Contributor: Lindsay Tigar from

#7 Reach Out To Blogs

Avoid freelance marketplaces – This seems counter-intuitive, but clients that use sites like Upwork are usually looking for the lowest fee. The competition is too fierce making it hard to land work at reasonable rates.

Reach out to blog owners - Two of my longest tenured writers initially reached out to me. I wasn't looking to hire at the time, but their enthusiasm for the subjects I was covering combined with their fanaticism of my site made me create positions for them.

Contributor: Steve Razinski from

#8 Cold Emailing

Cold emails work best for websites. If your writing is good and you have relevant expertise, most websites will be interested in receiving your pitch. A simple email that's to the point and has links to your published content is more than enough.

Contributor: Matthew North from

#9 Start With Easy Bylines

The trouble with freelance writing is that if you don't have bylines and published content already then it can be hard to land your first writing gig. But, there will always be some sites that will accept contributors without having a portfolio first. These sites will help establish your reputation and track record you can leverage to land your dream site.

Contributor: Matthew North from

#10 Start Writing

This sounds too basic of a tip and yet it has to be said. You cannot imagine a swimmer not swimming, a painter not painting. Writers can stay with their ideas in their head for a long time. So, the best advice ever is to start writing. Write about anything that interests you and you absolutely cannot write anything (writer's block) then pick up a piece of writing that inspires you and write that piece by hand.

Contributor: Sudiksha Joshi, Ph.D. from

#11 Read More

You cannot write when you are out of ideas so you have to make reading your daily routine. Also, reading will have layers to it now that you are writing. You will start to notice the punctuations and the line breaks that the writer has used. You will also notice how stories start, transition, and end.

Contributor: Sudiksha Joshi, Ph.D. from

#14 Agree On Pricing Beforehand

If you choose to fix a price by an hourly rate you are able to categorize your work in your final invoice. This means that on the occasion where you may have underestimated the amount of work something will take, the client is still able to track your progress. Alternatively you can agree to a lump sum. Lump sum is a gamble because it could either work out in your favor, or you're left with hours of work unaccounted for in the original lump sum quote. If you are realistic about your goals, this should not be a problem.

Contributor: Caleb Backe from

#15 Put Yourself Out There; Know When To Hold Back

Promote yourself at any opportunity. As a freelancer your product is you, so there is no inappropriate time to offer your services. This does not mean taking every brief that comes your way. The work you do all contributes to your folio, or these days, your online presence. Don't put your name on work that you don't feel comfortable being associated with. Not only will it create a bad reputation in terms of choices, but you're less likely to produce good work.

Contributor: Caleb Backe from

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Written by James Metcalfe

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