I am a workplace rights attorney turned career strategist and workplace consultant. For years I helped legal clients navigate workplace issues. From bakers and graphic designers to college professors, inventors, and doctors, I helped hundreds of people from a variety of industries and career backgrounds resolve their most challenging workplace problems.
Recently, I received some questions on social media regarding my advice for new freelance writers. For those unaware, I have freelanced for over five years. It began as a hobby and outlet when I was an associate attorney working for a law firm. In fact, my trademarked brand name “The Mom at Law” was born as a pen name that I used to publish my first paid articles on Scary Mommy.
Later, the writing became a true source of income and a bridge to my career as a founder of two companies helping professionals navigate career transitions.
In the span of a few years, I published hundreds of pieces of writing both as a features writer and behind the scenes as a copywriter. I penned over 150 bylines, worked on dozens of creative writing projects for brands large and small and got to influence the minds of millions through creative digital content. I did all this while working as an attorney, blogger, and full-time caregiver for my three kids.
Over time, I focused less on freelance writing as I channeled my focus onto my companies. However, I still work as a contract writer with select brands and I utilize my skills to help grow my businesses.
I know a lot about freelance writing, and I know a lot about starting off in it, too. As such, I have some solid advice for new freelance writers looking to break into the industry.
There are many different ways and reasons to pursue freelance work, some of which I mention below.
Is it to gain media credits to establish niche authority? Build recognition as a thought leader? Spread awareness and education for your business? Let off some creative steam?
Or, is it because you want writing to be your *job*?
Those are all different things and deciding your motivation early will help guide your search and prevent you from wasting your time on opportunities that may be a bad fit.
Do you want to be the kind of writer with bylines in The New York Times, the kind who writes brochures for businesses, the kind ghostwriting manuscripts, social copy, or memes (don’t laugh—there are companies that pay big $$$ for digital creative content). Or, do you want to do all those things (and more)? Knowing your goals will also help you narrow your search.
When it comes to finding new writing gigs, those can come about in several different ways. Here is my advice for new freelance writers looking to find work.
After you have a few writing gigs under your belt, be sure to create an online portfolio (a website). There, you can list your publications and media credits, and detail the services you provide as a writer. Here is an example of one of my online portfolios here. Here is one of my press pages here, and here is a featured-in page that combines some of my press and publications.
So many writing opportunities and relationships are formed behind the scenes based on what you are putting out into the universe. I can’t tell you how many opportunities have come my way because of my online platforms. While there are opportunities I applied for directly, many came from editors or creative directors seeing my work online and contacting me.
This advice for new freelance writers is just one way I can help you navigate the freelance landscape. Helping professionals pivot to other careers, including writing and a whole host of other industries, is my business. I don’t help people follow in my career footsteps. However, I can help you plot yours and also provide some helpful tools and resources to do so. Interested in getting started? Contact me and share your goals.
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