When I was in high school, I planned to go to college for journalism. During my senior year, fear struck, and I chose a college major that felt safer. Fast forward twenty years, now a wife and mom to six, I discovered the path to becoming a freelance writer.
Thoughts of having a freelance writing career began consuming me. Eventually, I realized that the ‘thinking about it” stage had gone on long enough. I either needed to take action and make it happen or get a “real” full-time job that would provide a stable income for my large family. I rearranged my schedule to allow time for freelancing and opened my business bank account.
Unfortunately, many writers get started by writing for pennies in the content mills, or perhaps, by building their sample base writing guest posts for free. It doesn’t have to be that way. As a mom to six, now paying for daycare, I simply could not afford to write for free. My hours spent working needed to produce an income for my family from the first month. I concentrated my efforts on cold pitching and referrals.
I was soon busy with writing assignments.
I believe I was successful in my pitches because I was looking to make genuine connections and placed my emphasis on the value I could provide. My pitches were authentic and personalized. I was very selective; my interests aligned with their interests, and I had the life experience and knowledge that would benefit them. I allowed my excitement for their projects and my willingness to go the extra mile for them to show.
For a potential client, with whom I could see a long-term relationship, I was willing to guarantee my work; I was confident in my abilities and offered to write a sample for their approval. For me, this was different than writing a random guest post for free as “social proof;” I was confident that, if given a chance, I could exceed their expectations. If they passed, I would have a piece ready to offer someone else. This strategy led me to multiple assignments, but also to securing ongoing assignments from two clients within a month of officially starting my business.
I highly recommend spending time building genuine relationships with other freelance writers as well, from the moment you start to think about a freelance writing career. My relationships with other freelancers and the knowledge I gained interacting with them were invaluable when it came time to pitch.
Stefanie Williams is a freelance writer and proofreader with an educational background in communication sciences and disorders. She is a wife, mom to five boys and one rowdy princess, and an aspiring minimalist.
The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication
Practical resource outlining the self-syndication process, step-by-step. Packed with detailed information and useful tips for writers looking to gain readership, name recognition, publication and self-syndication for their column or articles.
Peek over the shoulders of highly successful freelance writers to see how they earn thousands per article! The query letter is the key!
In these pages, you'll find real query letters that landed real assignments for national magazines, websites, and corporations.
- Abbi Perrets' form letter that brings in $30,000-$45,000 annually
- Sample phone query from Christine Greeley
- The Six Golden Rules of Queries and Submissions...and How I Broke Them! by Bob Freiday
- Your Rights As a "Freelancer"
- and ANGELA HOY'S SECRET for finding ongoing freelance work from companies that have a stable of freelancers, yet never run ads for them!