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7 Steps to Become a Paid Freelance Writer

Write, get paid, stay in pjs.

1. Pitch all the time. All. The. Time.

It’s a numbers game. The more you pitch, the more work you’ll get.

I cannot overstate this. Whenever I see people posting questions online about finding work, or complaints about work drying up, my initial thought is — you’re not pitching enough. You’re not looking hard enough.

Pitch and follow up like your paycheck depends on it.

2. Stop trying to pick a niche, just get started.

If you want to niche, you can do so by industry OR expertise, or both. But it doesn’t have to be either.

You might not have enough experience or you might not know what you like. Try everything. Try it all. Learn about yourself while getting paid to write for someone else. Just get started already.

After you’ve been hired, if you find that sales pages are your glory, niche. If it’s the tech industry or the healthcare industry, go ahead and niche.

If you decide you love it all, don’t niche. Generalists make good money too.

3. Set rates you’re comfortable with.

When you first set your rates, pick whatever you’re comfortable with. Some people say the industry standard is $0.10/word, some say $1/word. I started at $0.04/word and now charge per post, I make approx $120/hr.

Don’t stress over this part. People will— most often— not reject you because of rates alone, so don’t stew over what to charge just to get the job. Set your rates and stick to them.

When you start getting more work than you can accept, it’s time to raise your rates.

4. Stop fussing over a portfolio or a website.

You don’t need a website or portfolio. I still, to this day, share google docs and PDFs as writing samples.

Just write some samples and share them.

Here’s how you can come up with writing samples in three steps:

Then use that sample to pitch similar companies. Or find other industries and repeat until you have at least three samples.

5. Be super non-invasive.

When you pitch, be short and concise. Focus on what the client needs, not your background or qualifications, or hopes, dreams, and desires.

Write your pitch, edit it, edit it again, take out lots of words— more than you think you need to— re-edit it, and then send it.

If you get a client on the phone, ask lots of questions about what they’re expecting and what the desired results are. You’re more likely to get hired if the client believes you’re going to offer them instruction and ideas, rather than ask for guidance. Take the lead.

If your pitches aren’t landing they’re either too long or too focused on you.

6. Look up marketing agencies in your area.

Start looking for work by reaching out to local places.

I googled agencies in my area and would reach out to each one. I’d send my super short pitch and then follow up at least ten times.

Ten times.

If you haven’t sent ten emails to one agency, you’re not pitching and following up enough. Circle back up to step one.

7. Always be writing.

Always be writing even if you’re not getting paid. It’s a skill and it has to be practiced, just like any other skill.

Pitching and landing work are also skills that must be practiced. Evaluate and refine your process. If something’s not working, adjust. Keep trying.

This is not a get rich quick opportunity but there’s a lot of money to be made and a lot of freedom to be had if you can stick with it long enough.

Remember, it’s just a numbers game.

Good luck! ✨


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