How to set yourself up for massive success as a newbie freelance writer

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I hear it all of the time.

Newbie freelance writers talk about how they’re overwhelmed by everything they “need” to do. And as a result, they struggle to set up their business and find clients.

Some of them even think about returning to their 9-to-5 because of information overload.

Does that situation sound familiar?

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

If so, know that you’re not alone.

It’s tough getting started as a freelance writer. You don’t have a boss standing over you telling you what to do next.

You have to figure everything out on your own.

But today, I want to give you some guidance in the form of actionable advice you can use to start winning clients.

You'll also enjoy this episode of our new podcast...

Because in four steps, you can put yourself on a path to success as a newbie freelance writer.

Let’s start with step one.

Get your mind right

I’d be willing to bet that one of the reasons you started freelancing was to avoid working for some unreasonable jerk who barks out orders all day long.

But you know what?

If you don’t get your mindset right, you could end up working for freelance writing clients who are just as difficult to work with as a bad boss.

Yikes.

Don’t let that happen. Instead, make sure you’re in a mindset that sets you up to be respected and paid well by your clients.

You can do that by:

  • Reminding yourself that you’re a business owner – not an employee. The last thing you want is to be treated like an unappreciated employee. That’s why it’s so important to position yourself as an expert business owner to clients.
  • Working on your confidence. Remind yourself that no writer is perfect – everyone starts somewhere! Do your best to become more confident in your abilities, and make sure that confidence comes across when you interact with clients.
  • Setting concrete goals. If you don’t wake up every day with a solid plan in mind, you’ll probably end up binge-watching Netflix on your couch instead of working. Avoid that situation by setting concrete goals (for example, sending 20 cold emails every day until you land 3 new clients) and focusing on achieving them.

Also, don’t let a fear of failure stop you from taking action. Realize that you will screw up at some point. The most important thing is that you take action anyway and learn from your mistakes!

Pick a profitable niche

Let me guess – you’ve hesitated to pick a niche in the past because you’re afraid that specializing in one area will make it harder for you to win clients.

If that’s the case, it’s time to overcome your fear. Picking a niche doesn’t make it harder for you to win clients – it makes it much easier!

That’s because specializing helps you come across as a perfect fit for the exact kinds of clients you want to work for.

Compare that to a general “freelance writer” who isn’t really a perfect fit for any specific type of client, and it’s easy to see why niche writers often find it easier to get hired and paid well.

Bottom line:

Picking a niche positions you as a subject matter expert with the specific knowledge your ideal clients are looking for. And that makes them much more likely to hire you. 

Set up your freelance writer website

Do you have a freelance writer website yet?

Before you answer, let me clarify my question.

I’m not asking whether or not you have a personal blog or a portfolio hosted on a writing platform.

I’m talking about a website you created specifically to sell your freelance writing services. Because that’s exactly what you need if you want to land high-paying clients.

Your freelance writer website should:

  • Clearly state your niche.
  • Include copy that entices your target clients to work with you.
  • Display trust-building elements like testimonials.

You’ll also want to show off some niche portfolio pieces on your site. You can self-publish or write guest posts at first if you’re struggling to find clients!

And make sure it’s easy for clients to contact you. You don’t want to miss out on business just because your client couldn’t find your contact information.

Go after your target clients

You’re going to have to market yourself if you want to land high-paying clients. There’s no way around it.

Sure, signing up for a content mill or bidding site might be easier – but neither of those methods will set you up for long-term success.

The method I recommend for newbie freelance writers?

Cold emailing your specific target clients based on your niche.

Here’s how:

  • Get clear on the clients you want to target. For example, if you decide that your niche is going to be writing healthcare website content, you’ll want to target healthcare providers.
  • Make a list of those clients and their email addresses. Use LinkedIn or Google to figure out who’s in charge of hiring writers at the business you want to target. Then, create a spreadsheet with their information and email addresses.
  • Start pitching like crazy. Go down the list you made in your spreadsheet, and cold email your target clients – one-by-one. Try sending at least 20 customized, high-quality emails to your target clients every day.

I know what you’re thinking – and yes, this process can be a little tedious. But it works.

And I’m not just saying that – I made $800 in my first month of using this strategy as a newbie freelance writer. (You can replicate my work by clicking the link in my bio under this post and downloading my free guide.)

Whatever you do, don’t think that you have to resort to content mills and bidding sites just because you don’t have much experience.

If you’re a good writer and market yourself the right way, you should be able to find and land your own high-paying clients – no “one penny per word” gigs required!

Do you have questions about getting started freelance writing? Ask away in the comments below!

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About Jorden Roper

Jorden Roper is the fuchsia-haired founder of Writing Revolt, where she shares no-BS advice for freelance writers and bloggers. Get her free, in-depth course on how to build a highly profitable freelance writing business (even if you’re a total newbie) here!

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