12 Tips for Becoming an Online Freelance Writer

By: Rafal Reyzer
Updated: Sep 28th, 2023

becoming an online freelance writer - featured image

Remote work has changed over the last couple of years. People who never thought they could write before are now trying their best at freelancing writing.

In fact, with so many people involved now in the writing business, you’ll think it’ll be harder to get your foot in the door. While the freelancer’s life isn’t for everyone, there’s still plenty of room for any individual who is seriously considering becoming an online freelance writer. The key is knowing how to get started and the best ways to make a name for yourself in the biz.

Why Write Online?

By all means, you can make a living by freelance writing for local publications, nonprofit organizations, and businesses within your neighborhood or city. But cyberspace blew it wide open for professional writers to get jobs or contracts from employers in other parts of the world. The proverbial market pie got bigger for hundreds of thousands of writers to get their slice. And in case you haven’t noticed, even the titans in the world of publishing, even those who have been around for over a century, have planted their stakes in online publishing. Factor in the independent websites and blogs that are constantly hungry for new content, and you have yourself a vast sea of writing opportunities.

12 Tips for Becoming an Online Freelance Writer:

1. Educate Yourself

Even the best writers need ongoing education. If you are transitioning from another line of work, the more you need to study to polish your writing skills. The good news is there’s no shortage of free online resources. However, if you’re looking to go the extra mile, you might want to go back to school. Earning a degree in creative writing or literature will help boost your resume and portfolio. If paying out of pocket is an issue, you can research student loans and see which ones would work best for you.

online course on writing

The internet is teeming with helpful courses for aspiring and established freelance writers. Explore them!

2. Apply for a Staff Position

Even though your goal is to work freelance, you could start as a staff writer. Yes, it might seem like the low end of the totem pole. However, you can gain valuable expertise and have bylines to showcase your work. Keep in mind that as a staff writer, you may have to work long hours and must produce two to three articles a day. On the other side of the coin, you get lots of training in the art of writing.

3. Look at Job Boards

A lot of successful freelance writers got their start on job boards. A quick online search will bring up a variety of boards where you can post your resume, apply for writing jobs, and interact with potential employers. If you choose to go this route, it’s important not to get discouraged. The competition can be fierce, so it’s a good idea not to limit yourself to what the platform offers.

build a website

There is probably no better way to promote yourself as a writer than by building your website or blog that will showcase samples of your work.

4. Market Yourself

As a freelance writer, you also need to market yourself. Create a website that houses examples of your work, bylines, and a short introduction. If you want to become a freelance travel writer be sure you are marketing yourself towards that niche specifically. Always highlight what you specialize in. It’s a good idea to hone in on what you do best and use that to generate a buzz. You can also create social media accounts where you can talk about how your skills can help others. Then, you can post those links on your website as well. This will build your credibility and show potential clients that you’re serious about your new career.

5. Start Small

If you’re a newbie, reach out to local businesses for small jobs. You can ask about who’s in charge of their copywriting and ask if they could avail of your services. In addition, you can explain how having content on their blog or even on their website can help increase web traffic. Often, small businesses don’t have the time to maintain an active blog, so this is where you can help the most. Pitch your ideas to a few establishments or organizations and see if anyone responds. If they don’t, just keep targeting other places until someone says yes.

6. Freelance Platforms

No doubt you’ve heard about Upwork and Fiverr. These platforms are great marketplaces you can sign up with to land work. All you need to do is create a profile, upload examples, and set your price. You can also link to your website and social media channels to further build your credibility. There’s also a tremendous amount of competition on these platforms, so don’t let that get you down. You should focus on making sure your profile highlights all of your strengths and how your services can help.

networking with fellow writers

Networking with people within the freelance writing industry, whether online or in-person, can help inspire you and open doors of opportunities for you.

7. Network

There are several writing communities online and offline you can join. There are various freelance writers’ groups on Facebook. Reach out to them and become a member. TikTok also has a large community of writers with members you can learn from or provide you with writing gigs. If you’re an expert in a specific niche, create content and post it on TikTok too. This will generate free traffic to your website.

8. Create an Account on Medium

Prospective clients would want to see samples of your writing style first before even giving you the time of the day. If you’re just starting, it can be tough getting your first byline. You can offset this by creating an account on Medium. By writing about things you’re passionate about on this platform, you’ll get a byline, which you can then include in any applications you submit. Using Medium is an excellent way to show off your style and get used to constructive criticism as well.

9. Perfect Your Pitch

If you plan on pitching to magazines, your elevator pitch needs to be impeccable. Research examples of how to write a pitch to editors before you hit submit. You need to make them want to reach out to you based on your ideas and merit.

10. Broaden Your Horizon

The lifeblood of a long-term writing career is ideas. To avoid drying up your fountain of ideas, you need to keep on expanding your horizon. And there are many ways to do that. For starters, read regularly. You can also watch a lot of educational films, attend writing workshops or retreats, and enroll in writing certificate programs. Be more open-minded and observant of the latest happenings in your neighborhood, city, country, and the rest of the world. Everything you hear, see, touch, smell, and taste can be a source of inspiration for your next piece.

11. Keep Up with the Trends

Just like everything else, the art of writing is continuously evolving. The rapid development of technology is giving birth to new words every year. To give you one glaring example, the word “cryptocurrency” was not in our vocabulary before 2008. Much in the same way that our great-grandparents (and writers of the time) never heard of penicillin in the early 1920s. As technology, science, fashion, art, and everything else expand, so our vocabulary and writing style should be. Our choice of topics and tone of voice should also keep up with the time.

signs of the time

Your willingness to adapt to the changing times will help you grow in your creative profession.

12. Keep Improving

Professional writing can be a cut-throat industry. As new writers are minted every day, the competition grows fiercer. If you do not commit to continuously improving your craft, you will lag in the writing race. Or worse, your readers will lose interest in the suddenly monotonous compositions you are churning out. Education, practice, exposure, open-mindedness, and accepting constructive criticism, are just a few of the tools you can use to improve your aptitude as a writer.

Wrap Up

Becoming an online freelance writer can both be financially rewarding and mentally satisfying. It will give you a sense of freedom that you rarely enjoy as a nine-to-five employee. However, the competition can be ferocious, so you must equip yourself for the long haul. I hope that the tips I gave you here can help you in your journey in freelance writing.

Rafal Reyzer

Rafal Reyzer

Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time entrepreneur building two companies, a digital marketer, and a content creator with 10+ years of experience. I started RafalReyzer.com to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to become a proficient digital marketer and achieve freedom through online creativity. My site is a one-stop shop for digital marketers, and content enthusiasts who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things. Explore my journey here, and don't miss out on my AI Marketing Mastery online course.