A College Student's Guide to Freelance Writing
by Patrick Young
Accumulate Practical Writing Experience
Your career as a freelance writer begins long before you land your first paid gig. It starts when you write something that can be placed in your writing portfolio. Anything you write in a personal blog or during your university coursework can be used to hone your skills and showcase your proficiency. If possible, try to focus on writing with a specific niche in mind that you want to appeal to when you start searching for jobs.
If you want a college degree that will really work in your favor as a freelance writer, there are specific fields to consider. Earning a bachelor's degree in English, journalism, or communications will impress upon potential clients that you have deep experience with writing.
Find Your First Paid Gigs
If you have a portfolio with several quality examples of your writing work, it might be time for you to start searching for your first gigs. Freelance job boards will probably be your first stop. You may face much competition in vying for gigs on these boards, but they are great resources for scoring your first paid jobs as a writer. Once you've built up some confidence, try pitching your services to businesses or contacts in your own network. With some luck, you might even find amazing opportunities right on your college campus.
Build Your Web Presence to Attract Clients
After getting some paid work under your belt, you will be ready to start marketing your freelance writing business. Setting up your own writing website is crucial for hosting your portfolio and showcasing your services to potential clients. If possible, collect positive testimonials from previous clients and post them on your website to generate some beneficial word of mouth. Let the power of social media marketing take over from there as you expand your network to include businesses and other writers who may seek to hire you.
Establish a Business Structure
As your writing work evolves into a bona fide business, you might consider forming a limited liability company. Under an LLC, you will operate with certain benefits including limited liability, tax advantages, less paperwork, and certain flexibilities. Different states have their own rules around the formation of LLCs, so be sure to check local regulations before proceeding. To easily ensure compliance and save money on lawyer fees, you can use a formation service to establish your business as an LLC in Utah.
Freelance writing can be a great opportunity for college students, as well as graduates trying to find their way after earning their degree. A career in freelancing offers flexibility in many ways. Not only can your freelance career conform to your other life goals, but it can also grow alongside you and become as big or as small as you need it to be.
For writing inspiration and submissions, explore Timber Ghost Press.