How to Become a Freelance Writer Online

Nov 12, 2019

Becoming a freelance writer requires highly developed writing skills as well as dedication to building one's own business. Read on to learn more about becoming a freelance writer online.

Freelance Writer Career Overview

Freelance writers may work on a variety of projects, such as book manuscripts, blog posts, web articles, advertising copy, magazine articles, or social media posts. With the plethora of resources available online, it's easier than ever to become a freelance writer.

Required Skills Copywriting, editing, proofreading, social media knowledge, marketing skills
Job Growth* 0% for 2018-2028 (for all writers and authors)
Median Salary (2018)* $62,170 per year (for all writers and authors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Freelance Writer Online

Writing well requires a specific set of skills that can be learned online, though these skilsl can be greatly enhanced by studying at a university. Online degree and training programs are available from a number of schools, but these can sometimes be costly.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree is not required to become a freelance writer, but having one could greatly increase your chances of finding stable freelance employment. Those interested in writing could consider degrees in English, creative writing, journalism, technical writing, advertising, or communications. These degree programs are offered at many universities around the country, and some schools even offer the degree programs entirely online.

Step 2: Improve Your Writing Skills

Whether you get a degree or not, you can always improve your writing skills by reading books and blog posts or taking online courses. Some companies offer writing courses online, and many colleges and universities allow students to take specific courses without pursuing a degree. Reading other works can also help you develop your skills, especially in the medium that you wish to work, as well as grammar and style books that can help you improve your technique.

Step 3: Build a Portfolio

Portfolios are imperative for all writers. Start gathering pieces you write in college and, if you don't go for a degree, volunteer your services for a local non-profit or community organization. Keep copies of any articles, newsletters, or social media posts you write and host them on a website. Hosting your samples on a website will make it easy for you to send your work to potential clients. Continue to expand your portfolio with different types of samples, such as marketing copy, web articles, social posts, and formal communications.

Step 4: Begin Apply to Freelance Jobs

After boosting your skills and gathering a portfolio, start applying for freelance jobs. Freelance writing can be done entirely online, but if you live near publishing houses, you may occasionally be asked to come in to an office. Freelance writers send pitches to editors online and often work for multiple clients at once. Some websites have dedicated freelance writing job boards where writers can send in a cover letter and resume to potential clients. After obtaining a few clients, you can ask for referrals to other potential clients.

Step 5: Boost Your Career with Additional Training

Freelance writing requires more than just writing. As a freelancer, it's important to learn the basics of social media, marketing, and website creation. Try taking online courses or webinars that focus on building a marketing strategy, creating an author website, or running social media accounts. By expanding your skills, you'll create a more stable freelance career.

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