How to get started as a freelance writer

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AS a freelancer I count myself as being a very lucky woman.

I adore freelancing, it is by far one of the best career moves I have ever made and radically changed my life since I took the leap over four years ago.

The team over at Hiive have asked me to share some of my top ‘get started’ freelancing tips with you guys and as I’m all for spreading the freelancing lurve, naturally I jumped at the chance. Hiive is a creative networking site where creatives can post their portfolio, collaborate, learn and find work – www.hiive.co.uk. Sounds good ey?

I work as a freelance writer offering everything from feature writing to copywriting and I’m also an award winning blogger here at Pouting In Heels. Therefore writing is as much a part of me as breathing. I wouldn’t be me without it!

If you’re the same and you’re wondering how on earth you can make a living out of being a writer too, here are my five top tips to get you started.

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1) If you want to do it, just DO it!

Freelancing isn’t easy nor is it for the faint hearted but if you’re serious about giving it a go, then just go for it! (Life is too short not to right?!)

A few words of caution though – you can’t be half hearted about freelancing nor should you think work will magically appear out of nowhere. You will need to work hard and give it your full attention. But if you can and do, I promise you anything is possible.

 

2) Get organised

Do your research and get organised before or as soon as you begin. Do lots of reading, tell the tax man what you’re doing (even if you’re only working part time), set up a business account and sort out a decent office or work space.

Make sure your computer is in excellent working order, set up a phone line if you haven’t got one and get a decent Internet connection. Oh, and don’t forget to put plenty of money aside too, because you’re definitely going to need it, especially in your first few months.

 

3) Promote yourself

As a freelancer, you’ll never earn a normal monthly wage ever again. Scary I know, but that’s the reality. So to find work, you have to promote your talents and get yourself ‘out there’.

Firstly, tell everyone you know what you’re doing and what you’re offering. (You never know who knows who so utilise those contacts!) Next, get to grips with social networking if you haven’t already, making sure you’re on popular sites like Facebook, Twitter , LinkedIn and Hiive. (I can’t tell you how much work has come my way through Twitter alone).

Get some business cards printed and finally, use the web to showcase your work. A well-designed website, blog or online portfolio is the easiest and most impressive way of showing what you can do. And don’t forget your testimonials!

 

4) Start thinking of yourself as a brand

Because as soon as you start freelancing, you are one. After all, what you are selling to people is essentially YOU!

With that in mind, make sure your behaviour, appearance and activity always positively reflects who you are and what you do. And always, always be professional!

 

5) Believe in yourself

Freelancing is a tough ol’ gig. Wonderful but certainly not without its challenges. Therefore, you have to believe in yourself and your talents. Always.

Often this can be easier said than done but I can’t stress how important this is to your success and longevity. There will be months when you may not have any work coming in or you may on occasion find yourself in a disagreement with an awkward client. Both of these struggles are normal and part of the course, but they can take their toll.

You gotta dig deep as a freelancer, hang on to that self belief and remain hopeful. But if you can roll with the punches, work hard, stay positive and believe in your capabilities, all kinds of magical things can and will happen. Freelancing may be a rollercoaster ride but it’s a hell of a lot of fun, if you can stomach it.

Good luck! x

——

What do you think about my pearls of wisdom? Freelancers and blogger pals, have you anything to add? What are YOUR best tips for working for yourself? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Psst – Do remember to check out Hiive if you’re looking to kickstart your creative career. They currently have three £1500 bursaries for personal work up for grabs!

 

With love,

Kate

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Disclaimer – this post was sponsored by Hiive.

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49 Discussions on
“How to get started as a freelance writer”
  • Great tips here. I have always worked with a fixed salary arriving on my account on the last working day of the month, and the thought of not having the security is a scary one. Having money aside and believing in yourself sound like top tips to me.

    • The money angle is always scary but less so if you manage to secure a regular client. It can be done. X

    • Well done Katy. Honestly I cannot recommend it enough. It enriches my life, gives me more time with Elsie and has made me a happier, more confident and go getting person .x

    • Yes, yes, YES ELizabeth! I guess it’s a little bit like when you’re thinking of having a baby. We tend to wait for the ‘right time’ but the reality in most cases, is that there will never be a ‘right time’! Sometimes you just gotta take that leap of faith. It’s certainly what worked for me x

  • Some really great tips. I would say that you also need to be self motivated and determined and you also need to not take ‘no’ as an answer! If you get a ‘no’ first time, go back a while later and ask again!!

    • Wise words Vicki! Very true. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Freelancing has definitely taught me that x

  • I agree it isn’t easy.You don’t just decide one day and then sit and wait for work.When I left my full time job in 2009 after baby number 2 to start my consultancy business I sent about a million emails… I would add that thinking outside the box is key to freelancing… at least in the early days :) After having 2 more babies, I work the way I do because of my children, it is the best thing for them but it is not the easy option at all.

    • It’s certainly NOT the easy option at all, I agree! Amazing though how many people think freelancing is a doddle though! When I first started I could’t believe how fearful I felt pretty much every day – as you wait to get paid, keep your fingers crossed work will come in etc – however I’ve since realised that the fear is part of freelancing. You’ve got to embrace it and just keep on going. Well done for making it work for you and your family. From one freelancing mum to another, I salute you! x

  • These are great tips.
    I do a lot of writing in my business life and I love my blog, but I lack confidence (and time!) to branch out into freelancing. As scary as it is, it is also one of my 2015 goals so I’m going to check out the Hiive!
    Thanks
    Xx

    • It’s very scary! But..fear is always a brilliant indicator of what you need to do. Go for it and best of luck. Confidence will come in time. x

  • Some great tips here. I’m also a freelance writer (see, I took on board your point 3!) and I think believing in yourself is key. There’s so much competition and so many knocks you receive, but you’ve just got to have self belief. I also like your point about getting organised – too many people forget about all the business and tax related stuff. If you start thinking of yourself as a business, you’ll start being seen as a business #brilliantblogposts

    • Well done you! And you’re right about the knocks, you definitely need to acquire a bit of a thick skin too at times. (Should have added that on the list!) Love hearing from other writers. Thanks for popping by. x

  • V interesting & useful post. Not something I’m necessarily thinking about right now but always helpful to read about as you never know x

  • Fab tips darling, you know how much I love being a freelancer too-self belief, honing talent and tenacity are crucial to success. I love like me you are great at your own PR, so important to be able to tell the world what you can do! Love this and I really enjoyed working with Hive too, meeting them in London soon, such an exciting way to network, discover companies and courses. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts xx

    • Thanks Vicki! When it all boils down to it, self-belief is definitely the key isn’t it? Without that, nothing will work. And yes Hiive is fabulous! x

  • Hi Katy, thank you for sharing this great post I’ll be sure to look at the Hiive. I’m quite new to blogging however I feel that if I find my subject (Parenting and Early Years) I could really make a go of this. Best get started, I’ve nothing to lose.

  • Thanks for sharing Katy! I am at a cross roads where my boys have all gone to nursery and I need to decide what I want to do long term with my (now non-existent) career. Unfortunately, there isn’t much work that I fancy that fits around school hours. I would love to write and make money from my blog so perhaps now is my chance :) I’ll definitely take your tips on board. x

  • I quit my job to be a freelance writer four months ago and, honestly, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Sure, not heaving a steady paycheck is scary, but it also spurs me on to find more, better work. I started planning my change a few months beforehand, securing some good contracts before actually going freelance – I’d highly recommend this just to make sure there’s a small element of security!

    I’m now earning more (and sometimes double) than I did in my regular 9-5 office job. If you really want to do it and you’re willing to work hard, it’s totally possible to have a successful career as a freelance writer!

  • Found you on #TheList
    Nice to see you making it work. I am getting in slow and steady. Confidence is where I let myself down (oh, and over-committing!)

  • Great tips, my aim is to be a Virtual Assistant. I am currently working and feel secure having a guaranteed income each month. I have looked into being a freelance VA but I have been told because I work in the day already, I would find it hard getting work. Shame really.

  • Wonderful tips. I think a lot of people would lack the confidence, it is a huge deal to give up a job to ‘try’ freelancing when you rely on the income. But you are right self belief and confidence are key. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

    • True. Absolutely true. Freelancing never really has the same safety net you have with employment but somehow you do get used to it! Honest! :) x

  • Oh Kate, amazing advice!! I’m definitely going to check out Hive. Your writing is so impactful and passionate, I love it. Thanks for linking up to #SundayStars x

  • You are such an inspirational flag waver for freelancing! I must say, it’s in huge part thanks to you and VIcki that I have braved the jump and begun to think of myself and work towards freelance. My only other tip would be to be realistic – be clear with yourself about what work you can do in the time you have, and plan in down time too. Oh, and make sure you have childcare that covers your planned working hours! Wonderful post, thanks so much for linking to #AllAboutYou x

    • Thanks darling! You know how much I love freelancing. I’m sure I can speak for Vicki too when I say that it really does transform your life for the better. It’s certainly made me a happier, more confident and go getting person. Great tips – I can sense another post coming on – and keep up the good work. You’re a natural freelancer if you ask me. The world is your oyster my beautiful friend. :-) x

  • Katie I love this post because you’re so positive about the benefits of freelancing. It really is wonderful to work for yourself because you can work on your own terms but it is WORK and you right that you have to put yourself out there and KEEP putting yourself out there all the time. Just this week I put myself forward for something that scared the living daylights out of me but I just swallowed my fear and said ‘I can do this.’ As you so rightly say – confidence is key!

    I’d also add that it’s really beneficial to network and collaborate with others – there’s often strength in numbers and we can help each other to achieve even the biggest and hairiest of goals! x x

    Thanks so much for linking up at #sharethejoy – also visiting from #brilliantblogposts and #allaboutyou – it’s a linky triple! ;)

    • Thanks Michelle. Sometimes I think I drive people bonkers talking about the wonders of freelancing but it transformed my life so much, I just want to spread the love! ;-) Well done for putting yourself out there this week! So proud of you. It takes real guts and ambition to thrive when you work for yourself so well done darling. And yes to the networking tip! This is brilliant and you know I completely agree x

  • Excellent advice. I’d like to think I was capable enough but I really don’t think I am. Think I’m still trying to find my voice. Also time seems to be a commodity I serverly lack. But if I ever get the confidence to go for it, I’ll be sure to follow your advice. Xx

    • Oh you are Kat, you truly are! It is all about the confidence. As for your voice, all I can suggest is, humbly, from my own experience, to write as much as you can, read tons and just be brave. Write with soul, write simply and your voice will come alive. x

  • Such a great list of tips, that will be so useful for anyone looking to get into freelance work. I’m not a freelancer, but I am a writer and a blogger, working from home, and I would add – get dressed and go to your office, even if that’s just a desk in the corner of a room at home. If you’re dressed for work your head will be in the work mindset too, staying in pyjamas will put you in a duvet day mindset! Other than that, working for yourself is so empowering :-)
    #ShareTheJoy

    • YES!! You’re so right lovely. I always get dressed up when I’m working from home. Some might say I even dress ‘overdressed’ but it definitely makes me feel more professional and ready to tackle work head on! x

  • This is a fantastic post, thanks for sharing! I tried going freelance a few years back but hardly knew anything about the process. I am again thinking about it as I wrap my head around my recent redundancy and so I shall certainly be checking out Hiive!

  • Thanks Katie and to everyone else for all your great advice and tips.
    I totally agree with many points on here. I’ve really started to push myself more with self promotion – with my own website and on social media. But it’s very daunting and takes a lot of confidence. I’m still learning and trying to get myself ‘out there’.
    Childcare continues to be an issue! My 3 year old is at pre-school but I’ve had to take my 18 month daughter out of the child minder as it wasn’t working out and so I’m now doing most of my work in the evening which isn’t ideal. Freelancing is definitely a good option but it’s not easy, it takes a lot of hard work!

  • Brilliant advice and a #brilliantblogpost yet again – thank you! Freelancing is so measured in equal amounts of Talent and Confidence and one doesn’t automatically follow the other – you’re absolutely right, it take a lot of hard work! These are wonderful tips :)

    Mim at http://www.mamamim.com

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