New to freelancing?
You’ve come to the right place!
Listen, I’ve been where you are. Fifteen years ago, when I started my freelance writing career, I was a college student in India. That I’d one day live in London, travel to a dozen countries, or write for top publications like TIME and The New York Times didn’t even seem possible to me.
But I did it.
Let me show you how you can, too, in a step-by-step way that will make it simple.
Step 1: Know that it’s possible
Because it is. If a college student from India can do it, anyone can do it.
It will take hard work and a lot of persistence, but it’s possible. In this series of case studies, I show you how I broke into TIME and The New York Times, became a contributing editor at ELLE magazine and made more than $10,000 from a single story idea.
Then go read these blog posts:
Step 2: Learn how to write a good query letter
The query letter is the very basic tool that you need in your arsenal as a freelance writer. The better your queries, the better your chances of landing the plum assignments. We’re big on queries here at The International Freelancer and think that if you get this piece of the puzzle right, the rest flows pretty much automatically.
Here are some articles I’ve written on writing good queries:
If you want to see some examples of queries that sold to top publications, I’ve shared 21 of mine here.
Step 3: Get the right tools
Repeatedly, I’m asked about the tools that I use in my freelance business, what things are worth paying for and what aren’t, and which products I’d recommend. I should tell you right off the bat that if there is a free or cheaper alternative to something, I’m all in. But that may just be the Indian in me.
If you are willing to shell out a few bucks, these tools below can help make your freelancing life easier and save you a ton of time. I use them all and recommend them highly. Please do note that some of the links below are affiliate links and if you make a purchase through them, I’ll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
I love Scrivener so much, I wrote a whole post declaring my love for it. In fact, I can honestly say that my writing life has completely changed and been simplified immensely as a direct result of using Scrivener to organize my work. Read the post here.
You can try Freshbooks for free for a certain number of clients, so if you’re looking for an invoicing and bookkeeping system, this one certainly gets my vote. What I like most about Freshbooks is that once you’ve entered your client information into the system, it literally takes about two minutes to generate and send a new invoice.
Two features that may seal the deal for you: (1) They have a partnership with Paypal, so if you have a US Paypal account, you only get charged 50 cents each time a client pays you using Paypal. (2) The system can generate a non-intrusive feedback form for your client when they pay the invoice so that you can get all the testimonials without the discomfort.
Writers read. And writers with fluctuating incomes read cheaply. Scribd allows you to pay a very affordable monthly fee to access all the titles in its database, which is actually a very large and growing collection. You won’t find the latest releases on the site, but you will find hundreds of bestsellers, Booker prize winners, and even self-published titles. You get a free month at the beginning, but here, use this link and have two free months on me.
Step 4: Set up your website
Finally, yes, you definitely do need a website and it is an investment you must make in your career. I wrote a basic tutorial for those of you who’re just starting out in which I talk about how I’ve built my websites (all for less than $100 each). You can read that here:
Step 5: Make a plan
Or just use mine. Because, fortunately, I put together a step-by-step roadmap that will guide you through those first three difficult years of the freelancing life.
Read it here: The Freelance Writing Three-Year Plan
Step 6: Think big
Finally, yes, I know that you’re just getting started, but you should start dreaming big right from the beginning.
I suggest that you start thinking about a six-figure income starting today, right this very moment. It will take a while before you get there, but you can learn the habits of six-figure freelancers and learn their strategies so you can start changing your mindset right away.
And yes, of course I already put all that together for you.
Download my free ebook here: The Secrets of Six-Figure Freelancers.
Want more? How’s this for inspiration:
Check out our courses and trainings for even more detailed and specific advice on how to make your freelancing career be both profitable and fun.