How To Start A Freelance Writing Business: Advice For Beginners

So, you’ve maybe been freelancing for a few months. You understand the business, and you know that you enjoy writing. You have maybe found it incredibly easy to get work and because you have an entrepreneurial streak in you, you are thinking that it makes sense to try and branch out and earn some extra cash off the back of other people.

The first thing that I would say is that you are not alone. This kind of setup is becoming increasingly popular and while it is a good thing that so many people are doing this, it can also be a negative as in some quarters it is making it very difficult for anyone to get decent rates of pay.

Here is my simple advice for beginners:

  • Be prepared to work long hours
  • This is not a quick fix, get rich scheme. You will have to put in long hours initially generating work and also finding people to work for you. You will then need to be prepared to meet any shortfall at short notice should any of your freelancers let you down. If you are not prepared to put the hours in then think again.

  • Know how you are going to source your work
  • A lot of people do advertise for “teams” of writers on the big sites. Sometimes this can lead to regular work, but it can also be a headache as the client will generally expect you to bid low per article for the volume of work. This can pose a challenge when you are then trying to figure how much you can pay your freelancers while still making a profit. These sites are great for cutting your teeth but ultimately you will need to look to other, better-paid avenues for sourcing your work.

  • Try and find Native English writers
  • This is not being racist. It simply makes sound business sense. If you end up hiring a load of none native English writers then unless you are willing to edit and rewrite their work to bring it up to an acceptable standard then you are on a hiding to nothing. Clients get irritated. So, unless you are prepared to submit sub-standard work, and then you need native writers. However, this brings me onto another problem.

  • Decide how much you can pay your freelancers
  • None natives will usually work for a much lower rate. However, the quality of their work is poor. Natives generally want a higher rate of pay, and their work is (But not always!) a lot higher. I would suggest that you need to set different rates of pay for each job. For example, on the jobs that only pay me a few dollars per article, I have no option but to pay a low rate per article to my freelancers. However, I compensate for this on the jobs that pay say $20 per article by paying my workers say $15. You have to be able to square how much you pay out with your conscience and I have found that by balancing it, and paying above average rates on the jobs that I can, my people stay with me.

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