How to Start a Content Writing Business

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You have probably heard about the
lucrative side hustles-turned-businesses that contributed to The Great Resignation. As more people depart from corporate jobs, all kinds of small businesses have been created. Content creation has been hot since the internet was born, and as such, companies are looking for creative and savvy people to create content for them on their websites and across social media.

How Freelancing Benefits Independent Content Writers

If you’re a naturally talented writer, you write for the love of it. Although most people who love to write end up writing fiction and fantasy, some of us nerds love to write nonfiction in the form of website content, landing pages, emails, and blogs. There are some huge benefits to being a content writer: flexible hours, great money, and freedom!

No Commute

Freelance writing comes with the convenience of working from home as we do not have to commute to work. This enables writers to save money and time that would be required for commuting to the workplace.

Greater Opportunity

Freelancers also benefit from career advancement, and their writing can take them to create a team of writers and start an agency.

A freelance writer can find opportunities related to any interests once they have launched their career, as they can choose to specialize in one or more niches. Some say that writers should “niche down” to become experts in their field, but this isn’t necessary to become successful, and in doing so they can pigeonhole themselves into areas they might not find interesting years down the road.

Expanding Your Experience

Other options for freelance writers include becoming a technical writer or a ghostwriter. Today, copywriters create lead magnets, e-books, and other materials that can easily be sold or turned into income generation for their clients. Copywriters can find themselves creating landing pages on websites, or full courses such as specialty masterclasses. There are no limits!

Money!

As a freelance writer, you can earn a great deal of money.  

You can receive favorable rates for freelance work nowadays. There are many opportunities and hundreds of companies seeking freelance writers. There are many options for writing, including academic journals, legal papers, and content for websites. Freelancers can often set their rates for compensation. Consequently, the skill they value the most and love to use can be used for their livelihood.

Freedom

Freelance writing offers independence, as they don’t have a boss to answer to. Writers are free to choose what jobs they apply to, and complete and submit their work. The work they choose to complete is completely up to them. That said, this requires discipline and skills in customer service.

Why Should Big Companies Choose Freelancers?

A growing number of large companies are realizing the benefits of hiring freelancers.

One of the benefits of hiring freelancers for one-off projects or ongoing contracts is that they can eliminate deadweight staff members who aren't performing, get fresh ideas from different perspectives, and focus on the best freelancers available.  

The freelance market creates an opportunity for companies and individuals to experiment with short-term contracts to gauge each other's abilities. For the right freelancer, those shorter contracts can often turn into long-term projects. Start-ups or owners of a business of all sizes may find that they need some extra help with their work at times. Hiring a freelancer who can help fill in any skill, staff, or assist with heavier workloads at times can be beneficial for several reasons:

Access to Experts

Many freelancers are available in different parts of the world. Business owners can hire anyone, no matter what their skill level is. Alternatively, they can look for talent online or within their network. Some of the ways people are advertising their skills on the internet include social media and crowdsourcing marketplaces, such as Legiit.com.

Unlike an employment agency, these incredible marketplaces allow business owners to search for expertise by posting a project for freelancers to bid on, or by searching through the user profiles of people who are most suitable for the job based on their skills and experience.

Scale According to Needs

Assigning a team to work full-time entails additional responsibilities for the average business owner. In the start-up world, it's common to hire freelancers based on the project and to add or remove team members as their needs change. By hiring freelancers, oftentimes a business will be able to find a person who is perfect for the job while working remotely.

Flexible Budget

The hiring business chooses how much and how often freelancers should work for them, and they specify the rates and budgets they can afford.  

The advantage to them is that they can hire additional talent only when they need someone. Depending on their budget, newer freelancers may be a better fit for their needs. Before hiring a freelancer, they should check their past reviews and work samples to determine if they are a good match for their project.

Flexible Timeframe

Since most freelancers are usually not tied down to traditional 9 to 5 hours, they can also work within a preferred deadline.  

Business owners like that freelancers are willing to work nights and weekends if needed.  

Hiring someone for online work that needs to be done during downtime hours is handy if they can hire someone in a different time zone. For example, if they need a webpage built for a new product launch, it might benefit them to hire someone based halfway around the world that can work while their customers wouldn’t normally be browsing their site. Alternately, if they need a virtual assistant for day-to-day tasks, they should pick someone based in their time zone for timely responses.

Lower Overhead Expenses

In most cases, the rate a hiring business agrees on with freelancers is exactly what they'll pay.

As they consider hiring full-time employees, they need to factor in any additional overhead costs, such as employee benefits, office equipment, and space. They only have to worry about compensating freelancers for the work they do since they can work from anywhere and already have their own tools. This ensures that they get the right person or team with the right knowledge without added costs.

Faster Results

An overwhelming task can be challenging to complete for a business owner.  

The time they would have taken to do the job can be cut in half by hiring a freelancer, which allows them to focus on other aspects of their business. Recruiting full-time employees requires posting a job ad, reviewing CVs, and conducting interviews. Hiring freelancers allows them to avoid the tedious hiring process, as well as test out several candidates without having to hire them full-time.

Access to Talent and Skills

The benefit of working with freelancers is that business owners will be able to access new talent and ideas, increasing their ability to innovate. Diversity brings new perspectives and ideas, especially if people come from different places. In a multicultural world, races, education, experiences, and other factors are intertwined to produce surprising outcomes.  

Freelancers can help businesses grow their business quickly, cost-effectively, and innovatively. In addition to saving time, finding the right freelancers will also save money, allowing them to focus on other tasks and not do everything.

How to Start Your Content Writing Business

Before Seeking Out Clientele

Freelance writers have many options for finding clients. Getting your first few assignments can unfortunately be a challenge when you're starting out. To become a freelance writer, there are a few tasks you need to complete first:
  • Decide what kind of writer you want to be. Are you going to create marketing material or blogs? Are you interested in specializing in a topic (eg. cryptocurrency) or industry (eg. healthcare). This will evolve and change, and that is okay!
  • Prepare a list of topics about which you are knowledgeable. Starting with topics you're familiar with will make it easier for you to break into the industry. Make a list of your qualifications which can often lead to higher pay. Have you obtained a university degree or are you an expert in your field?
  • Establish your writing pricing. Sometimes your pay for a job can be negotiated, even if there is a set fee. Be prepared to start at a lower rate to gain some five-star reviews.
  • Prepare a few sample pieces related to the writing style and topic you want to explore. You can also submit clips of your writing that you have already been paid for so that you can demonstrate your skill. If you’re just starting, begin building a portfolio with samples of your writing.
  • If you want potential clients to learn more about you, you may want to set up a LinkedIn profile or website. Online resumes and profiles are critical for getting hired.

Where to Get Clients

Next, you need to find work if you want to market yourself as a writer. Check out these suggestions:

Legit.com

 

There are a wide variety of freelance marketplaces, including Legiit.com, where freelance writing jobs can be found. There are many freelance writing jobs posted on Legiit.com, which is a great place to network for jobs. Additionally, Legiit has an extremely supportive team, not only on the platform itself, but across many of its social media platforms as well!

Social Profiles

Freelancers often find work through Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks as well. Be sure to fill out all of your profiles professionally and post content often. Make sure you have your contact information readily available for prospective clients.

Referrals

Referrals are a great way to generate new business. Successful freelancers rely heavily on referrals to build their business. Make it a customary practice to check in with your clients and see if they know of others who can benefit from your exemplary work. Read our article on How to Get Referrals for more tips.

How to Create a Writing Portfolio

Your freelance writer portfolio is a great place to start if you're having trouble standing out in the crowded market. The question is, how do you build an appealing writing portfolio that attracts clients? To help you attract content marketers and land more jobs, your writing portfolio needs to include six things:

Writing Samples

Ensure that your portfolio includes enough samples to demonstrate your range of writing skills and expertise. Keep it to less than 20 samples. Your portfolio should be able to be viewed by prospects without having to read through everything you've ever written.

A user-friendly website

The organization and design of your portfolio should make it easy for visitors to navigate through the entire collection. Clients shouldn't have to struggle to find the information that's most relevant to their business. Optimize your website for SEO and make it easy to navigate. A thoughtful SEO strategy is important not only to get ranked higher in search engines but to marketers who evaluate your work. Going forward, SEO will be an increasingly critical aspect of landing content creation jobs for freelance writers. Make sure you are proficient in on-page SEO so you can help your clients achieve their keyword goals.

A brief biography

Set the stage for your writing samples by giving a brief description of who you are and what you do. This section should remain brief.

Social media links

Provide links to your social media profiles, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, to highlight your online presence.  

You are constantly developing your brand as a freelancer. The use of social media for building credibility, authority, and a network gives off a sense of confidence to potential clients. Prospects should learn more about your work from your social media profiles. If you are seeking freelance writing opportunities, do not link to Instagram or Pinterest.

A Call to Action

Contact information should be prominently displayed.  

Your writing portfolio will receive more conversions if you use it as a call-to-action instead of just listing your contact information. You should emphasize another skill in your portfolio - your understanding of digital marketing techniques.

You should be able to weave calls-to-action, buyer personas, and value props into your writing portfolio from a marketer's perspective. It is becoming increasingly important to have marketing skills.  

As such, you should be familiar with these terms and be constantly educating yourself on the latest in marketing, SEO, and other related markets as they will pertain to your clients and the work they request from you.

Recommendations

How do so many of the top freelancers succeed? Included in their writing portfolios are numerous high-quality reviews and recommendations.  

With social proof in your portfolio, prospective clients are more likely to trust you to deliver. Having a variety of client recommendations is a bonus since not every freelancer is so fortunate. Make a habit of requesting reviews after completing a project to improve your portfolio's value. The pieces of the puzzle for building a writing portfolio have been identified.  

What are you going to do with these elements to help you win new business? It might be a good idea to take a look at some of the more prominent freelance writers' portfolios and get an idea of their style. It's free to check out your competition, and you should take inspiration from what the most successful and prominent writers are doing.

Being Successful as a Freelance Writer

Organizing and sticking to a workflow will help you maintain steady work and make sure you get things done on time since you'll need to market and juggle multiple clients at once.

You can build a successful freelance writing career by following these tips: Be customer-oriented. It’s nice to be nice to your clients, but you need to think like them. You also need to think like their clients. What do their customers want? What information do their readers come to their website for? If you’re not sure, ask. Once you completely understand your client, their products/service, and their end-user or customers, you’re setting yourself up for success.  

In addition to making sure you understand your client, you must deliver quality work ON TIME, EVERY TIME.

This can be difficult with a client who is not as responsive but understand their requirements as soon as you receive the job offer so there are no questions later. Be available, be responsive, and communicate professionally.  

Establish an invoice and accounts receivable system right away. We tend to get wrapped up in our writing and we forget to send invoices or follow up on people who haven't paid.

Final Thoughts

The freelance writing market is booming right now. It is no secret that the gig economy as a whole is booming, and outsourcing content creation is a major part of that.  

Approximately 40% of organizations outsource all or part of their content creation, with 53% of that work being done by freelance writers.* Although there are plenty of jobs out there, the competition has never been greater than it is now. A growing number of companies are seeking freelance writers who can deliver exceptional work. 57 million Americans work as freelancers, making up 35% of the workforce in the United States. Compared to the 4 million freelancers in 2014, that's a massive increase. To stand out, you need to work hard to deliver high-quality work 100% of the time. *Source: (1)  

Related: How To Sell Yourself On The Internet

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