How to Start Freelancing Successfully
The benefits of freelancing as a side hustle

If the instability of the COVID years was not bad enough, many around the world have also had to deal with rising inflation, global climate problems - and even war in Europe! Financial insecurity has become a worrying result. Millions of people across the world are struggling more than ever with money, with everything seeming to be getting more and more expensive. 

Some people may spend eight hours a day, five days a week working to achieve only a minimal amount of money at the end of the month. They may find themselves counting their last pennies, worrying about how they will provide for their family, or have enough to make rent. 

That’s why people begin looking at side hustles. A “side hustle” is a job that people take on alongside their other full-time or part-time commitments. This can include self-employed work or work completed as part of someone else’s business. It can include anything that brings in a little bit of extra income on the side. This could be in the form of babysitting, odd jobs, DIY arts and crafts, or another part-time job like waitressing. The truth is, not everyone has the time for a side hustle. Not everyone is able to work 15 extra hours a week, getting minimum pay and risking their mental health for the sake of a few extra coins. And let’s be honest: although it sometimes feels like it, money isn’t everything.

But what if there was a side hustle you could do without risking your mental and physical health? Freelance writing is one of the most successful side hustles out there that doesn’t put your mental or physical health at risk. It allows you to be your own boss, set your own rates, and take on projects that you’re interested in. For those without a steady income, it can be extremely helpful to combat the money troubles you may have. You don’t have to make freelance writing your full-time job; for many people, it’s simply an enjoyable side hustle that provides some extra benefits (such as money!).

So how do people start freelance writing successfully?

person writing on white paper

Do I Need Experience to Be a Freelance Writer?

To start as a freelance writer, writing experience is a bonus but is not required. When applying for a freelance writing job, make sure you list any experience you may have that attracts employers; this includes writing skills, anything you have written as a hobby, and your interests. While no specific qualifications or experience is required to start freelancing, an excellent work ethic, writing ability, time management, and dedication are!

Where Can I Find Work?

One of the main questions aspiring freelance writers have is, “Where can I find jobs?” Freelance work is out there—you just need to search around for a job that suits you. You may try massive freelance websites such as Upwork and Freelancer, or smaller content creation agencies, local or global. It goes without saying that DCP Global is an amazing place to look for work that matches your criteria. Register on the website for more information about jobs. Another tip is to join LinkedIn— you’ll find many potential employers and job advertisements there, so it’s a good idea to promote your work on the site!

How Do I Build My Portfolio?

The answer is pretty simple: just keep working. Not every article or content you create will be word-perfect, and that’s okay. Apply for any job you can find. Some websites pay for single articles within their niche, so research websites in your favorite niche and see if any pay for written pieces. It will take time, but eventually, your portfolio will grow larger. Just make sure you keep writing consistently on a range of different topics to show future employers that you have a range of interests. Employers want to see your work, so put all your best work together, paid or unpaid—if you worked hard on it, it deserves to be shown! 

Tip: Attach a contact form with your portfolio to allow potential employers to easily get in touch with you. This could include your email and phone number to maintain a good means of communication with potential clients. 

How Do I Set Rates?

Some sites have fixed rates for freelance writers. But if you want to set a general hourly rate, it’s really up to you and how much you think your work is worth. Many freelancers start by charging low and then raise their prices as their quality of work improves and they gain a good reputation. 

You may wish to have a look at what others in your position are charging to give yourself an idea, but it’s important not to charge something because the next freelancer is charging that; charge what you think your work is worth. A tip to set your own rates is to think about your monthly expenses and how much extra money would make a difference to your outgoings and give you more leniency when budgeting. Consider if your skillset is in demand and if you are likely to make more money from having a certain special skill or attribute, such as knowing another language. 

How Do I Stay Motivated?

It can be hard to stay motivated when freelancing, as it’s not the most reliable source of income. It may take a long time to find work, clients may let you down, and you may be wary of internet scammers. Despite these negatives, freelancing is still an amazing way to make some extra cash. 

Stay motivated in yourself to keep going by thinking about the end goal. How good will you feel when the work is complete? How good will you feel when you’ve made a few extra dollars this month? How good will you feel when someone compliments your work? Life isn’t a race; it’s important to go at your own pace—this includes when freelance writing. 

How Do I Pitch My Ideas to Different Companies?

There are different ways to go about this. If you have a set idea for an article, many freelancers begin “cold pitching,” which essentially means sending out emails to companies to connect with them and discuss their idea. It gives the companies a chance to see if they like it, and it gives you a chance to see if you want to work with them. A downside of cold pitching is that publications usually have their own rates, and some publications may pay less than you would like. Despite this, it is never a bad thing to keep going, complete the work to the best of your ability, and get it published. Although it may bring in less money than you wanted, the benefit would be having a published piece of work, a win in itself.

How Do I Make Time for Freelancing? 

Freelance writing as a side hustle can take time, and when people are paying for top-quality work, they want it to be of the best standard. So if you don’t want to even risk submitting work of an unimpressive quality, it’s recommended you spend a good amount of time perfecting it. Even if you have a full-time job, you still have a number of free hours in the week. Freelancing for even an hour every evening adds up to seven hours a week, and that’s plenty of time to cash in a little bit of extra money on the side, perfecting your own ability to write well. 

Freelancing appeals to people because of the independence it gives. And this includes people who like freelance writing as a side hustle or a hobby. Not always answering to a boss, working at your own pace, and having a say in placing deadlines while doing something you enjoy: writing topics that interest you, from any location. That’s right—you can complete freelance work from essentially anywhere, your bed, a coffee shop, a park, or on vacation. What could be better? 

So if you take anything from this, it’s that freelance writing is worth considering as it allows people to do what they love and become their own boss. Have confidence in yourself and your writing, and believe that you are up there with the best. Believe in what you can achieve! And who knows, maybe someday you’ll be so successful that freelancing writing can become your main source of income!

Written by Rosa Hasson 

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