Alissa Kumarova / Shutterstock.com This story originally appeared on Dollar Sprout .
I’ve been a freelance writer since 2011 — but I consider my first five years in the business a practice round, because I was so unsuccessful.
I spent those years making low five figures annually. After I landed a full-time writing job, I was terrified to ever go back to freelancing for a living. I thought I was just bad at it. Then I got laid off.
In December 2019, I was suddenly without a job and only had about one freelance assignment every other month. But this time, I kicked up my freelancing game — and went from making almost nothing to matching my full-time salary in less than 90 days.
If you’ve got the basics of being a freelance writer down and are ready to make more money, try these steps that’ll boost your value and get clients knocking on your door. 1. Learn to write for the web
Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock.com Content marketing and online publishing drive some of the greatest demand for writers. Companies need writers for blog posts, social media, email marketing, e-books and landing pages.
If your background is in print journalism or creative writing, bone up on how to write for online platforms, including search engine optimization (SEO) and social media, to vastly increase the gigs you qualify for. 2. Develop a niche
fizkes / Shutterstock.com I attribute a lot of my success gathering clients quickly to my focus on writing about personal finance, a sought-after niche. I’d worked full time for five years in the space, honing an expertise in complicated topics.
I initially didn’t want to “niche down” because I like writing about so many things. But labeling myself a “personal finance writer” and leaning into my greatest knowledge base helps me attract clients searching for that expertise. It also helps my network think of me for referrals.
Finance, health, and law are all lucrative niches that always seem to have open writing opportunities. They each cover complex topics that have a major impact on readers’ lives, so expertise from writers and editors is crucial.
I don’t have a certification, such as a Certified Financial Planner or CPA, but those would add authority and boost your value as a niche writer. Legal blogs often want to see a law degree or education in addition to experience writing about law. 3. Be referable
Through full-time jobs and freelance side gigs over the years, I developed strong relationships with editors and fellow writers.
Networking has never been my strong point. I developed relationships instead on the strength of my work — I turned in clean copy, met deadlines, and proposed good ideas. When my friends and colleagues knew I was available for work, they were happy to refer me to clients and pass opportunities my way.No matter how much you’re getting paid for your work now, put your full effort behind it. Showing up and doing a killer job will set you up to see referrals roll […]