Become a Freelance Writer — Without a Blog, Website or Cold Pitching
You can become a freelance writer without a website, cold calls or even a blog.
For many aspiring writers, entering the freelancing world can be daunting. From emailing potential clients to shelling out significant sums of money to create a website, it can often seem as if starting your own freelance business isn’t worth the trouble. But what if there was a way to get started without a website, without sending those anxiety-inducing cold pitches and even without launching your own blog?
As it turns out, there is. While there isn’t one right path for every freelancer — as it is with most careers, the financial, professional and personal goals and circumstances of each writer vary widely — following the five simple steps below allowed me to dip my toes into the content creation waters and start building up writing samples, experience and money in a short amount of time.
1. Write Guest and Contributor Posts
Why is it a good idea to write guest posts? In short, you are building up a portfolio filled with bylines. Some writers find it beneficial to have a portfolio filled with high-quality guest posts that are close to client-level or journalistic content. Start with sites such as YAYWORLD that don't require a wealth of prior writing experience to start publishing — that's what I did.
2. Build a Strong Portfolio
Once you have a few writing samples to your name, it’s time to post them on your shiny new portfolio website. The tech-averse need not fear. Websites such as clippings.me and JournoPortfolio make it easy to publish your writing samples — for free, in many cases.
3. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, now is the time to make one. LinkedIn is an important tool for networking and finding clients. Make sure you have all of your relevant work history updated, fill out all sections and upload a professional profile picture. If you already have a profile, now is the time to review and update all of your information, including targeted keywords as needed.
4. Use a LinkTree
If you don’t want a freelance website, but still want to round up your other links, consider creating a LinkTree. LinkTree allows you to post links to many different websites all in one place. You can share your LinkTree with potential clients, post it to your LinkedIn profile and more. I've moved on to a more fleshed out website on Carrd.co, but my LinkTree served me well for quite some time.
5. Apply to Writing Gigs
If you thought that cold pitching was the only way to find writing jobs, think again. Job boards such as ProBlogger and BloggingPro are frequently updated with freelance contract opportunities. These sites give you the peace of mind that comes with talking to clients that are actively looking for freelancers. I have yet to send a cold pitch and have a significant roster of clients from job boards alone.
It's important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to starting your freelance business. What worked for me may not work for someone with a vastly different life story. It may take a few tries, some different approaches and a great deal of experimentation to start making a comfortable living and meet your professional goals.