Lusting after a life more varied? Bored of the desk-bound 9-5? Then there’s a whole new world out there just waiting for you – all you have to do is unlock its potential.
Sounds simple enough, eh? Trust me, it really is.
So you’ve got your qualifications, done some work experience at a top newspaper or magazine, but decided there’s got to be more to life than lining somebody else’s pockets and working to their rules.
It sounds like freelance writing is the job for you, you little rebel you.
Get up at midday and work till midnight. Do it from the comfort of your bed in your PJs in the winter, or head to the rooftop pool at Shoreditch House come summer – all you need to do is get enough commissions to pay the membership fees.
And that’s where I can help.
I’m going to ask you something. And be honest. What would you say if I told you that you could nab a freelance writing job, and not just any freelance writing job, but a bucketload of good-quality freelance writing jobs for beginners, just by reading this blog post?
You’d read on, right?
You’d be silly not to!
By the time you reach the end of this post, you’ll be an all-singing, all-dancing, freelance writing go-getting expert! The tips you’re about to read will drastically help improve both your portfolio and your bank balance.
F: FIRST THING’S FIRST
You need to let your potential clients know that you exist and exactly why they should hire you. Yes, it’s time to sell yourself – and by that, I mean really pimp yourself out.
Don’t be shy, it’s time to go big or go back to the 9-5.
Create your own website shouting about what you can do that’s better than anyone else out there. Update your Twitter and LinkedIn bios to say you’re open to commissions and remember to blow your own trumpet when you get a big client win – no one else is going to do it for you.
Don’t just sit there zonked out in front of Jeremy Kyle every day, if you’ve got no work on, start your own blog. This way, you have an outlet for your creativity and you’re showing any potential clients what you can do.
American freelance writer and blogger Elna Cain started out four years ago and has clients coming out of her ears – and she’s happy to share her tips, too.
Have a little read.
She advises you “stalk” your fellow writers. Not literally, though, that would land you in jail and as far from a desk job as you can possibly imagine.
R: THE RIGHT JOBS FOR YOU
You probably already know that your work is better, and you enjoy it more, when you’re writing about a subject you really care about or know inside out.
Search out specialist mags – Readly is a great site to subscribe to. With almost 4,000 titles, and access to just as many commissioning editors’ contact details if you scan through the mags for the staff list, it’s definitely worth the subscription fee.
Email every single mag you’re interested in and tell them why you’d love to write for them. Attach your killer CV, tell them your availability, ask if they accept freelance pitches. Hell, send a couple on the off-chance they have a space to fill in the next issue.
You don’t know if you don’t try.
Explore the wonder of the worldwide web, too.
Google “your niche + write for us” and you’ll stumble upon site after site that are looking for guest posts. It’s a goldmine, in terms of pay and exposure – popular sites will quickly get you, Mr or Mrs Unestablished Blogger, in front of an audience of hundreds of thousands.
E: GET SOME EXPERIENCE
Which leads us onto E… That all-important experience.
I know what you’re thinking. Who’s going to employ me when I have zero experience?
Well that’s not the attitude.
It’s time to think outside the box. And if you’re finding that a struggle, then it’s lucky that we’re here.
If you’re still in college, plump for a job on the college newspaper – even if that eats into your time in the student union. If you’re looking for your big break, hit up your local newspaper – they are crying out for articulate, well-educated, hungry journos.
It’s all about laying the foundations on which you’ll build a successful freelance career.
E: EXPLORE SOCIAL MEDIA
It’s full of people who really do want to help you out.
Take UK-based journalist Sian Meades, for example. She’s realised she can’t do it all so sends out a weekly newsletter full of paid freelance writing opportunities, and some are brilliant freelance writing jobs for beginners.
Then there are Facebook groups like the No 1 Freelance Ladies Buddy Agency – an invite-only secret group where you can respond to pitch requests, make new contacts and ask the advice of respected, established journalists.
There are groups for all kinds of journalistic interests, so get social!
L: LEARNING NEW SKILLS
Whether you’re fresh out of uni or your exams are a long distant, fading memory like mine, it never hurts to further educate yourself. Learning something new could potentially open you up to a whole host of workable opportunities.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: the internet offers a wealth of writing opportunities. And the possibilities are endless if you’re up to scratch with the latest technology.
WordPress powers almost a quarter of all websites, so it pays – literally in this instance – to know how to work it.
Sites such as Forbes and Entertainment Daily are always keen to feature new writers, and the ability to use WordPress is a must – luckily there are gazillions of online resources willing to teach you how – for free.
A: YOU ARE NOT ALONE (BUT LUCKILY MICHAEL JACKSON ISN’T HERE WITH YOU!)
Let me guess. You’ve started to establish yourself as a freelance writer but long days at home with just the cat for company can be a little dull.
You’re craving office life. Having actual people to talk to. Colleagues who exist in a form other than email. Co-workers to go for a cheeky pint with when you clock off.
Fear not. With freelance writing you can have it all.
Who said you had to work solely at home?
Send your by-now bursting CV off to some magazines, newspapers or websites and ask them to get in touch should they need an experienced writer to cover staff absence.
Make yourself readily available during the school holidays and you’ll be quids in.
N: NO THANK YOU, I’M TOO BUSY
Picture this. You’re up to your eyes in work and could only take the commission that’s just landed on your desk if you work till 2am, have two hours sleep and start all over again.
You’re going to be as good as a chocolate teapot – and your work will be much the same.
It’s career suicide. You’ll never get booked again.
Refer them onto someone you know, a fellow freelancer who’ll do a brilliant job. And next time they’re swamped, they’ll do the same to you.
C: CRACK INTO COPYWRITING
Want to know all of our industry secrets? Well you’re in luck. We’ve written an entire blog post telling you how you can break into this goldmine of an industry.
And if you’re good, and why wouldn’t you be after you’ve followed all of our money-can’t-buy tips, drop us a line about joining our team.
E: EXPLORE THE WORLD (AND MAKE IT PAY)
What if I told you that you could travel the world for free. The only catch? You’d have to write about all the fun you’re having.
Don’t get me wrong, travel writing isn’t easy to break into. If it sounds too good to be true it usually is, and this old adage can be easily applied here.
The key is to not give up.
Pitch stories and ideas to everyone and anyone. Write your own travel blog.
Travel writing is notoriously hard to make a living from, but boy what a lot of living you’ll be doing if you manage to pull it off.
Remember, words are everywhere – from newspapers, websites and magazines to soup tins, advertising billboards and the side of a double-decker bus.
Get out there and write them.
And if you want to write to us, there’s a comment form below 🙂
Let me know if you have any other ingenious ideas when it comes to finding good freelance writing jobs for beginners, or if you’ve won a new client on the back of my advice – I’ll only take a small commission, I promise!