freelance writer

How to Start a Content Writing Business and be a Professional Writer

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Learn what it takes to start a freelance content writing business. Become a professional writer and offer freelance content writing services.

According to LinkedIn, freelance content creator jobs were one of the top five jobs in 2021. Making money as a freelance writer or web content writer is one of the hottest side gigs today.

A freelance content writing business also happens to be one of the best recession-proof businesses because professional writing services will always be in demand by businesses that need writing help.

Freelance content writing is a job you can do from anywhere in the world and many freelance writers and digital nomads work successfully from distant locations often enjoying a better lifestyle than in the countries they were born in.

If you’re a quick learner and a great reader, you can learn everything you need to know about freelance writing and web content writing in the comfort of your home.

If you’re planning to get started with it now, your best bet is to ease into it. If you jump in before you know what you are doing, you may find it hard to get online writing jobs and end up giving up too soon.

In this article, you’ll learn about the business and writing skills you need to learn before you start your own freelance content writing business.

sustainable online business

How much can you earn as a freelance writer?

Can writers make a lot of money? The answer to that question depends on your writing skills, as well as your business skills.

According to this article on the Jasper AI writer blog, freelance writers charge anything from $50 to $1500 per long-form article.

Freelance writers charge anything from $50 to $1500 per long-form article.

While a majority of web content writers charge less than $600 per article, a small percentage charge more than $1000 per article.

Charging per word is also common with freelance content writers charging anything from $0.01/word to $2/word.

Freelance Writer

What sort of experience do you need as a freelance writer?

You don’t really need previous career-related experience when you’re trying to make money as a freelance writer, because you can learn the ropes as you go.

That said, you can’t really break into professional writing without learning the skills you need to be successful as a freelancer and still expect to make a good income  - or any income at all.

Writing services list

Here is a list of professional writing services you can offer, along with relevant writing courses to learn new competencies to add to your content writing skills resume:

To earn more as a freelance writer, you must stretch your wings and be open to learning different types of writing skills as a web content writer so you can expand your writing repertoire.

You can specialize in website content writing for SEO, but need to be adaptable enough to expand into new content writing formats, such as social video content.

The more you expand your knowledge and learn about web content and copywriting, the more marketable your skills will be!

content and copywriting

Writing business courses

It’s also a good idea to learn about the business side of freelance content writing from an expert who teaches freelance writing. This will help you avoid the mistakes that writers tend to make when they first start out.

Here are some freelance writing courses to help you learn how to start a freelance writing business:

  • The Content Transformation System – Watch this free training to learn a comprehensive roadmap to help creatives completely avoid burnout, steadily build their own seven-figure online brand, and expand their digital firm to whatever size they want it to be in just 90 days.
  • Write Your Way to Your First $1k™ – Learn the exact blueprint for setting up your freelance writing business and the exact tools and strategies you need to attract clients, land clients, and retain clients.
  • Freelance Blogging in a Weekend – Learn how to start blogging for money in this step-by-step guide to blog writing for businesses for those who want to become freelance bloggers and write blogs for clients.
  • Udemy Freelance Writing Online Course – In this bestselling freelance writing course, you’ll learn how to market your freelance writing business using Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest, to establish a strong reputation as a writer without any experience or a portfolio.
  • Fiverr Freelance Course – If you want to list your writing services on the Fiverr website, this course will show you how to sell Fiverr gigs like the top 1% of freelancers on the Fiverr website and grow your freelance writing business.
  • Roadmap To Your First Writing Client – In this free webinar, John Morrow covers the skills clients expect you to have, where to get your first glance, how to build your credibility – all kinds of good stuff.
  • The Highly Paid Freelance Writer – Join freelance writing expert, John Morrow, in this free webinar and learn the new way to make six figures as a freelance writer, working from home whenever it suits your schedule

The hardest part about becoming a content writer is getting your first paying client. This is where it can help to join a writer’s community where up-and-coming writers get the training and support they need to kick-start their writing careers.

“Careers, like rockets, don’t always take off on schedule. The key is to keep working the engines.” ~ Gary Sinise

freelance content writing

What skills do you need to build a content writing business?

The world of content writing changes as fast as new technologies and writing mediums emerge. While online writing tools have made it easier for writers to get work done, others could even make us redundant.

But if you learn the skill of writing for the web, know how to keep up with new technology, and work with it to create better content, you will always have a career as a web content writer.

Here are some more content writing skills for beginners that you will need to succeed as a web content writer in the coming years:

#1. Learn AI content writing

In 2014, robot-written content made its debut and in 2021, the world of web content writing was changed by the growth in artificial intelligence and the use of AI content writing tools.

AI-generated content is the future of writing and writing with AI has become much easier and more intuitive with access to the best AI content generator tools for writing AI content.

Today, web content writers are expected to learn how to use AI content writing tools to write educational, original, keyword-rich, plagiarism-free blog articles.

To ensure that the AI writing software generates the most relevant text for your goals, you must learn how to use the most strategic writing prompts and suggestions when writing AI content.

In this course on Writing Blog Posts Using Artificial Intelligence, you’ll learn how to be very strategic about the content writing prompts that you feed into the AI writing software program to ensure that the AI gives you the most useful text for your purposes.

jasper blog writing templates

You can generate an AI-written article outline with unique paragraphs with Surfer’s Free AI Article Outline Generator, one of the many free resources available to writers to save time, optimize their workflow, and improve their content.

As a web content business owner, these AI copywriting tools can help you scale your content marketing, write articles fast, repurpose existing content, and generate new content without having to hire junior writers.

They can also help you write creatively and clearly in multiple languages, so you can break through the language barrier and provide content in different languages, no matter your native tongue.

But even though AI writer tools can write content, it is not yet as good as the content written by a human. So, you may get clients who will give you AI-generated content and ask you to edit it and improve the quality of the writing so it is more useful to their readers.

As a professional writer, it helps to know how to use these AI writing assistants to become a better and faster writer so you can scale your web content writing business.

As a freelance content writer, AI copywriting is one of the most important writing skills for content writer resumes. These AI writing courses will help you learn the art of writing AI content.

best ai writer

#2. Learn SEO content writing

It’s simply no longer enough to have written compelling copy on your website. If your content is not expertly optimized, your site will never be found by search engines or by consumers.

One of the most highly-valued skills for web content writers is to start writing with SEO in mind and know how to write SEO-friendly articles that will rank on the first page of Google.

As a web content writer, you should learn SEO writing for beginners if you want to offer SEO content writing services to help your client’s websites rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

This SEO Copywriting Course will teach you how to master SEO copywriting, start driving high-quality traffic to your client’s websites, and get measurable results for them.

free seo classes

Some tips for writing SEO-optimized content include using keyword-rich titles and headlines, incorporating relevant keywords throughout your article, and making sure that your content is well-researched, useful, and informative.

To offer SEO blog writing services to clients, you must learn how to use SEO content writing tools to choose the right keywords that will help your client’s websites get a good amount of traffic.

In this SEO Copywriting Certification Course, you’ll learn all about defining your target audience, researching and identifying keywords, utilizing those keywords in your copy, developing a content strategy, and implementing a strategy to optimize your client’s websites.

You must also know how to use editing tools for writers to check for errors in spelling and punctuation online and improve your grammar and readability.

You can also get fresh article ideas weekly with personalized recommendations, bite-sized tasks, and weekly data-driven SEO insights designed to maximize your SEO efforts with Surfer’s Grow Flow free SEO automation tools.

Writing SEO Articles

#3. Learn how to pitch clients

The success of your freelance writing business will depend on how well you manage to pitch, onboard, and retain clients. Success comes from asking, pitching, and advocating for yourself.

Most freelancers are nervous or uncomfortable when pitching their ideas or their services to clients. They also worry about whether their pitches will come across as boring or awkward.

If the idea of pitching clients for your content writing agency sends you running in the other direction, Sagan Morrow’s step-by-step training guide for Pitching Clients will help you learn how to market yourself well, identify prospects and land your first client.

In this Udemy Pitching Yourself Course, you’ll learn how to present yourself professionally when pitching yourself in person, over Zoom, or in social media videos.

Having excellent negotiation skills can help when you want to negotiate with clients for a better freelance writing fee or monthly retainer.

In this Negotiation Skills MasterClass with former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, you’ll learn 12 proven negotiation tactics to use every day at work, for big meetings or small moments, and learn how to ace high-pressure situations.

#4. Learn cold emailing skills

Cold emailing is an excellent way to find new clients looking for freelance content writers. But you don’t want to waste time crafting and sending shoddy emails that receive no response.

Whether you’ve tried cold emailing before or you’re just getting started, this Cold Email Marketing course will teach you how to do cold email “The Right Way” so people thank you for emailing them.

You can also automate your cold email outreach with SmartWriter’s AI-powered personalized cold email outreach tools to create tailored emails that help you build 1-on-1 relationships with prospective clients at scale.

content writing for project

#5. Clarify your content writing scope

As a freelance web content writer, you’re exchanging time for money, so you need to know how long it takes you to write or rewrite an article, and send your clients a content writing proposal that covers the content writing scope of work.

Make sure your client sends a clear content brief that outlines what the freelance writing job entails before you agree to take it on, and mention that your price may change, should extra work be involved.

If you work on multiple projects at any given time, you need to pin down a deadline from your clients and ask for a specific timeline for when the job should be completed, even if one is not stated.

#6. Streamline your agency workflow

How promptly you respond to your client’s demands is indicative of how well you work with your clients.

To streamline your agency workflow and make things run more smoothly, make sure you have a clear and concise content brief for every project. This will help everyone on the team know what needs to be done and by when.

Use a freelancing logistics tool like the Fiverr Workspace tool, that’s designed to help freelancers, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs keep track of deadlines, assigned tasks, and progress reports.

The Fiverr Workspace project management system will help you streamline your freelance content business with time tracking, invoicing, payments, proposals, contracts, task management, and income and expense tracking.

Also, hold regular team meetings to touch base on current projects and any new developments. By taking these steps, you can help keep your content and copywriting agency running like a well-oiled machine.

freelancer workspace

#7. Grow your content writing agency’s revenue

If you only want to offer SEO content writing services and keep writing articles for money, then this tip is not for you.

But if you want to increase your SEO content writing agency’s revenue, you must go the extra mile to add value to your SEO content writing packages and help your clients achieve measurable results in terms of traffic and conversions.

This means expanding your content writing scope of work by including the SEO task list below in your deliverables to help your clients increase their rankings and traffic:

If you can include both on-page SEO content writing, as well as off-page SEO tasks, and blog promotion services in your freelance writing packages, it will significantly boost the revenue and profits of your SEO copywriting company.

Become an SEO Specialist is a comprehensive SEO course that will give you an in-depth practical understanding of SEO fundamentals, from performing a technical audit to researching and applying the most effective keywords across your platforms.

And for the tasks you can’t do yourself, or don’t want to do yourself, you can always hire SEO freelancers.

hire freelancers

#8. How to work with nightmare clients

Short answer: You don’t!

All freelance writers have had clients that have more than likely been refused service from other freelancers, either because they pay too little for the quality of work they expect or are never satisfied.

Don’t take it personally. Even the best writers get clients that are never satisfied.

These clients refused to be pleased with any work they are presented with. They have an ideal writer in mind, but sadly that writer does not exist.

It could be that you’ve provided numerous rewrites and the client remains dissatisfied. At that point, you may need to stand up to the client and ask for payment or to be released from the obligation.

On freelancing platforms like Fiverr, you can specify how many rewrites you will provide. Even then, you may get clients who give you a poor rating.

However, Fiverr clients also get rated by the content writer on Fiverr they have worked with, so you can always avoid working with clients that have a poor rating.

As far as possible, try to end the relationship with your client gracefully, even if it means incurring a loss. And watch out for the red flags, so you can avoid nightmare clients in the future.

bad clients

#9. How to ask happy clients for referrals

According to SEJ’s State of SEO report, freelancers who earn the most often rely on reputation and word-of-mouth to generate work.

“Freelancers who earn the most often rely on reputation and word-of-mouth to generate work.” ~ Search Engine Journal

So, when you do hear from satisfied customers, don’t hesitate to ask for a brief recommendation on LinkedIn or a testimonial via email that you can use for the benefit of other companies that need freelance writers.

In the How To Naturally Double Your Referrals course, you’ll learn how to build trust, respect, and value in your customer’s eyes and inspire clients to bring you a continuous and predictable stream of referrals.

You’ll also learn how to create and magnify desired emotions within your clients, and know the proper time to ask for referrals to create a consistent stream of authentic referral business.

Did you know that it costs 5 times as much to find new clients as compared to keeping existing clients? The Keep Your Clients course will help you learn best practices for client communications, client retention strategies, and how to make the most of every client relationship.

linkedin followers

#10. How to build your personal network

Building relationships online and offline is a skill that freelancers need to learn because most freelance writers who are just starting out tend to get their clients from personal network referrals.

LinkedIn is an important professional network to be on. You can find companies looking for freelance writers on LinkedIn by subscribing to alerts for new freelance writing jobs and growing your connections.

Here are some Udemy freelancing courses to help you build your network and find clients on LinkedIn:

In addition to finding clients online, you can use these local networking tips to start building your professional business network locally and find new clients in your own neighborhood.

In Keith Ferrazzi’s Complete Guide to Building Your Network course, you’ll learn what a personal network is and how it benefits you, both professionally and personally.

You’ll also learn how to develop the strong personal relationships that you’ll need to achieve your goals, develop deeper, stronger, more mutually beneficial relationships, and create a strategy for maintaining these relationships.

Before you attend in-person networking events for entrepreneurs, learn how to perfect your elevator pitch so you can impress potential clients and get more customers for your freelance writing business.

freelance writer masterclass

#11. Create a content writing business plan

The best reason to incorporate your content writing business is that you can command higher freelance writing rates as a business than as a freelancer or solopreneur.

When starting a content writing business, the first step is to create a content-writing business plan. This will help you determine your goals, target market, and how to best reach them.

To get started, research the writing rates for content writing for projects, or the average hourly rate for writers with your skills and experience. Then, set your rates based on your experience and the type of content you can provide.

The how-to start a business checklist written by the business attorneys at Corpnet will help get you and your new writing business started on the right track. It includes everything from naming your writing company to writing a marketing plan.

CorpNet filing experts will help you incorporate and create popular business entities like a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, or Limited Liability Company in the USA, based on your content writing business requirements.

You can also use these e-business and small-business finance tools to manage your business finances, taxes, and more.

If you’re not working with a client on a freelancing website, you need to ensure that you get paid on time and that all of your financial and legal interests are completely protected as a freelancer.

As a freelancer or independent contractor, you can get your client to sign this Independent Contractor Contract Template as a written contract to protect your legal and business interests.

 writing company

#12. Build a professional writer platform & brand

If you want to get more freelance writing gigs and increase your freelancing earnings as a professional writer, you also need to learn how to market your freelance writing business and position yourself as the best content writing service for your niche.

As the top freelance websites are saturated with freelance writers, it’s essential to have your own writer’s website and blog to showcase your writing skills and show potential clients that you’re serious about your content writing business.

On your writer’s website, you can display your professional website content writing portfolio, sell your freelance writing packages, and build your writer platform.

This is one of the best ways to build your writer branding, stand out from other freelance writers and get more freelance writing gigs. Here are some more personal branding courses to help you build a powerful writer brand:

As you build more traffic to your writer’s website and blog, you may even be able to earn money blogging with advertising and affiliate marketing or by selling your own courses and books.

So, get started on building your writer’s website and improving your writer’s branding, so you can start and scale a successful freelance content writing business.

content writing company

#13. Learn how to avoid writer burnout

One of the most common challenges in a profession like writing, where you’re exchanging time for money, is creative burnout, which is very common among writers, artists, and other creative people.

As a writing business owner, it’s important to prioritize your mental health and practice good emotional self-care so you can avoid writer burnout, maintain your productivity, and grow your freelancing income.

You can also start building resilience at work by learning stress management and self-regulation techniques to control your emotions, be composed and stay calm under pressure.

The best ways to scale your writing business sustainably (and without losing your sanity) are to:

  • Increase your freelance writing rates so you can work less without loss of income
  • Use AI writing generator tools to scale your output and improve productivity
  • Hire junior writers, editors, and proofreaders to deliver high-quality content

The Content Transformation System is a step-by-step mentoring program with a comprehensive roadmap to help creatives completely avoid burnout, steadily build their own seven-figure online brand, and expand their business to whatever size they want it to be in just 90 days.

get paid to write

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© 2022, Priya Florence Shah. All rights reserved.

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