How I Became A Full-Time Freelance Writer In My Spare Time

I wasn’t always a full-time freelance writer. There was a time when I didn’t even know what “freelance” meant, let alone think of myself as one. Sure, I had dreams of being self-employed and pursuing my own path. 

But the closest thing I could imagine to that kind of life was being a blogger, or maybe something that involved the arts in some way. 

Becoming a freelance writer wasn’t even on my radar until much later and it happened almost by accident! Before writing became my full-time job, here’s how things played out:

My Story: How I Became a Freelance Copywriter
Balancing Act: The journey to full-time freelance writing often requires effective time management and finding ways to utilize spare moments for writing.
Strategic Planning: Developing a plan that outlines goals, milestones, and actionable steps can pave the way for a successful transition to full-time freelancing.
Networking Pays Off: Building a network of contacts within the writing and freelancing community can lead to valuable opportunities and collaborations.
Consistency Matters: Consistently dedicating time to writing and improving skills, even in spare moments, contributes to gradual growth and skill enhancement.
Overcoming Doubts: Addressing self-doubt and embracing the learning curve is essential for building confidence and pushing forward in the freelance writing journey.

Get Started Straight Away

Get started straight away. The longer you leave it, the more time and effort it will take to get going.

If you’re not sure where to start, start with a blog post. You can even put one up on your own website if you want but I would recommend writing a guest post for someone else’s site first.

A great way to get some of those early articles under your belt is by finding sites in your niche that accept guest posts and looking for opportunities there. 

It may be difficult at first but as long as you are willing to work hard, there will always be sites out there who are happy to feature writers like yourself!

If you’re looking to become a writer and earn six figures, our comprehensive guide offers actionable strategies and insights to help you reach your writing goals.

Write For Free

If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to start by writing for free. This will help you build up your portfolio and reputation, and it’ll also give you valuable experience that can set the stage for future paid projects.

Don’t be scared of writing for free it doesn’t mean that all of your work will be unpaid from now on. 

When I first started freelancing, I wrote a lot of content for free because I was just trying things out and didn’t want to commit myself to anything too soon (especially since I had no experience with online writing or English-language editing). 

But if someone hires me now with only one piece of content in my portfolio (and even if they don’t ask me any questions about it), they know that they’re getting quality work from someone who knows what they’re doing.

Make Use Of Opportunities

I’ve always been a little shy, so the whole idea of networking and going to events seemed intimidating. But once I overcame my fear, I realized that opportunities are everywhere. 

There are a lot of ways for writers to meet each other and build relationships you just have to be open to them.

So don’t be afraid of rejection! You can always say no if something doesn’t feel right or isn’t in line with your goals or values. 

And even if you can network effectively in real life (which requires more planning than just showing up at an event), there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t do it online as well (unless you’re anti-social).

Keep Applying

As you keep applying for jobs, you’ll notice that some of the job applications will get deleted from your inbox. 

Don’t be afraid if this happens. Maybe you applied for a position that was beyond your skill set and/or experience level, or maybe the company wasn’t hiring at that time anyway. It’s totally fine! You can always reapply later when they do have openings available.

I know it can be intimidating to apply to jobs when they’re well outside our comfort zones, but it’s important to remember that rejection isn’t something we should fear it’s just another opportunity for growth and improvement! 

Remember: If we don’t try new things often enough in life, how can we ever expect our skills or knowledge base to grow?

Embarking on your writing journey? Learn from others’ experiences with our article on 11 things I wish I knew during my first year of writing. Gain insights to help you navigate the challenges ahead.

Get Over Your Fear Of Cold Outreach

You can get over your fear of cold outreach.

It’s just a matter of practice.

If you’re like me, and you have trouble sending emails to people you don’t know well (or at all), then here’s how I did it: 

I started with people I knew. When I needed something from someone, whether it was advice on how to get freelance writing clients or advice about my resume and cover letter (both times), I sent them an email asking for help. 

When they responded positively or even if they didn’t respond at all my confidence grew incrementally each time. Eventually, after months of practice, I was able to send out one email a day without feeling anxious or nervous about it in any way whatsoever!

Take A Step Back And Figure Out What You Want To Do

It’s important to take some time to figure out what you want to do. If you don’t know what your goals are, how can you hope to achieve them?

It’s also important to do this in a way that doesn’t feel like homework, because otherwise, it’ll just make you dread doing it again and again. Instead of thinking about how many hours or days until this task is done, think about it as an adventure into the unknown! 

I was really happy when I did this the first time because it felt like an adventure for me too: I got paid by someone who liked my writing enough that they trusted me with their business!

Think About Niches And Specialisms

A niche is a specific area of interest that you can write about. When I started blogging full-time, I decided to focus on social media marketing because it was the only thing I knew anything about. 

But after two years of writing about social media, I realized other topics interested me more than just social media.

I started looking at my skills and realized that writing wasn’t my one skill – it was just the one I had been practicing the most recently! 

So while my blog had always been focused on social media marketing, it wasn’t a niche because there were plenty of other writers who could do what I did much better than I (and for less money).

An example would be if your friend’s dog had just died and she asked if anyone knew any good dog trainers in her local area. 

It wouldn’t make sense for another friend who was an expert gardener to offer their services as a trainer when they don’t know anything about training dogs! This could cause problems if they tried to train the dog and ended up hurting it instead!

Effective communication is a vital skill for freelancers. Discover valuable tips for having meaningful conversations that can enhance your writing career and personal relationships.

Become A Master In Your Niche

You have to become a master in your niche. You have to learn everything there is to know about it, and then some. 

You need to read a lot of content in your niche, do your research on the subject matter, ask questions and get answers from experts in the field and find mentors who are willing to share their knowledge with you.

You also need a community where the people are all interested in what you’re working on, like an online forum or Facebook group dedicated specifically for that purpose. 

And don’t forget: find someone else who’s already doing what you want to do (or at least started doing it) and ask them for the advice!

Figure Out How You’re Going To Make Money Blogging

I started with a basic premise: I would blog about what I loved. I was a writer and had been writing for years, so it seemed natural that my first blog would be in the same vein.

I knew that my target audience was other writers, but this didn’t limit me at all because there are many ways to monetize your writing. 

For example, if you’re looking to make money as an author (and who isn’t?), then you can do freelance editing work or blog writing jobs on the side. The possibilities are endless!

To figure out how much money I could make from my content creation efforts, I did some basic math based on what other freelance writers were charging for their services:

$0-$5 per page copywritten $10 per article $25 per short story/biography with photos

Use Content Upgrades To Build Your Email List

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: content upgrades are the best thing since sliced bread.

They are an opportunity for you to give more value to your readers, build your email list and brand, and increase credibility. So how do you use them? 

Well, it can be as simple as creating a checklist based on something you wrote previously or creating templates that your readers can use for themselves. 

It doesn’t have to be hard although I will admit that there is some strategy involved in creating content upgrades that resonate with your audience.

Ready to turn your passion for writing into a business? Our guide on starting a freelance writing business from scratch provides step-by-step insights to help you establish a successful venture.

Realize That SEO Is Your Friend And Doesn’t Have To Be Hard Work

SEO is a broad term that stands for search engine optimization. It’s the process of optimizing your content to rank higher in search engines like Google.

The main goal of SEO is to increase traffic and visitors to your website, which means more customers or clients for you, but it does take time and effort. 

You don’t want people coming across your content by accident or because they were redirected from another site you need them to find their way there from Google searches specifically!

Write Longform Blog Posts Around 2,000 Words Each

When you write a long-form blog post, you should use your knowledge and expertise to inform the reader. You know what it’s like because you’ve experienced it! If you’re looking for an example, check out this post on how to get started freelancing with no experience.

Keep in mind that writing long-form content is not only good for readership but also for search engine optimization (SEO). 

Longer articles are more likely to be indexed by search engines, which means they’ll be easier for people who don’t know about you yet to find. That’s great news since those are the people who will end up hiring you!

Do Keyword Research Before Writing Anything

When you’re writing, make sure to find the right keywords. I’m going to show you how.

To get started, look at the keywords that people are using in Google when they search for content similar to yours. This is called “keyword research.” 

You can use a tool called SEO Spyglass or another tool such as SEMRush or Moz Analytics if you want more help with keyword research (Moz has a trial period).

When deciding which words or phrases to target with your content, think about what people would be searching for if they wanted to find out more about your topic. 

Also keep in mind that many search engines don’t like it when sites include too many exact match terms (for example: “How To Write Articles”.) So try not to fall into this trap when deciding what keywords will help attract readers who are looking for exactly what you have to offer!

Use The Right Tools For Effective SEO

You need a suite of tools to help you with SEO, content creation and management, social media marketing, and more. Luckily there are plenty of free tools out there that can help you do all these things easily.

Here’s a list of my favorite free tools I use every day:

website hosting – Bluehost or HostGator

keyword research – Ubersuggest or

content creation and editing – Grammarly (a grammar checker), Hemingway Editor (a readability checker), or Google Docs / Office 365 for creating documents in Word format and then uploading them to WordPress via the “Add” button in the editor toolbar; 

Also Canva (to create infographics); Evernote (for managing images/videos).

Blog management – WordPress dashboard inside a browser window so you don’t have to log in to different accounts on different platforms; also Feedburner for sending emails when new posts go live without having to log into MailChimp etc., 

Feedly is an app for reading RSS feeds from other websites quickly without having to open up MailChimp/MailPoet etc., Buffer (for scheduling tweets), Sprout Social for Twitter analytics and monitoring mentions across multiple accounts at once; 

Hootsuite for scheduling Facebook posts by category rather than individual post type like Instagram Story vs Instagram Photo Post vs Facebook Link Post vs Facebook Video Post etc.; Tailwind App Tools which lets me schedule pins from Pinterest easily too!

Organize Your Content Creation With An Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar isn’t just a to-do list. It’s a way of creating structure and consistency in your content, which means you can focus on the quality of your writing instead of scrambling to meet deadlines.

Most people know what an editorial calendar is: it’s a planning tool that helps you organize your content creation process by allowing you to think ahead and plan out what topics or types of posts will be published at certain times. 

As well as being great for keeping track of deadlines, it also makes it easier when thinking up ideas, because now they have a place in the schedule where they should fit to align with previous publications and avoid overlap between articles.

Benefits include:

  • Being able to focus on one thing at once without being pulled away by other commitments or distractions;
  • Avoiding stress caused by missed deadlines;
  • Achieving more productivity due to greater clarity on how much time each piece will take;

Navigating the world of niche writing? Gain valuable insights from our article on lessons learned from writing articles for a niche blog, helping you tailor your content for targeted audiences.

Optimize Each Post With Several Different Keywords In Mind

When you’re writing your article, think about how you can use keywords to optimize each post. Will it help to use several different keywords in the title? Maybe some of them are more important than others.

When using a keyword research tool, try to find relevant keywords (i.e., “how-to”) that people might search for when looking for a piece of content like yours. 

These are often called long-tail keywords because they have more words in them than just one or two; they usually include specific details about what someone needs help with and where they want answers from.

Make Guest Posting A Priority

Guest posting is a great way to get your name out there, build your brand and grow your audience. It can also earn you money in the form of affiliate links or referral commissions (especially if you’re writing for large sites that pay writers). 

And it’s a great way to meet other bloggers who may be interested in collaborating with you on other projects down the road.

Here’s how to make guest posting happen:

Find websites that accept guest posts. There are lots of great websites out there that will gladly accept submissions from talented writers like yourself! 

You just need to know where they are. The best places are ones where people already read before they visit any other site (think Yahoo Answers rather than CNN). 

That said, don’t worry too much about how many visitors these sites get as long as they’re accepting submissions and have been around for several years, they should work fine! If possible though, try aiming higher than just starting at Yahoo Answers…

Write something good enough so people want it on their website! This sounds obvious but I’ve seen people spend months trying their hardest only then realize no one cares about what those people wrote because it wasn’t very good at all.”


The main thing is to just go for it. You might think that you’re not ready and that you should wait until your blog gets a little more popular or you get a little better at freelancing, but I promise that the best time to start doing what you want is right now. 

If you’re serious about becoming a full-time freelance writer, then all the advice in this post should help you get started today!

Further Reading

For more insights and guidance on becoming a successful freelance writer, consider checking out the following resources:

From Side Hustle to Full-Time Freelance Writing: Learn about the journey of transitioning from a side gig to a full-time freelance writing career.

Your 5-Step Plan to Becoming a Freelance Writer and Still Paying Your Rent on Time: Explore a comprehensive plan to successfully venture into freelance writing while managing your finances.

How I Built a Full-Time Career as a Freelance Writer: Gain insights from a freelancer’s personal journey on building a full-time writing career.


How can I transition from a side hustle to full-time freelance writing?

Transitioning from a side hustle to full-time freelance writing involves careful planning, building a strong portfolio, and networking within the industry. Consider leveraging platforms and resources that offer job opportunities and guidance for freelancers.

What steps should I take to become a freelance writer while managing my finances?

To become a freelance writer while effectively managing your finances, start by creating a detailed budget and savings plan. Gradually build your freelance client base while maintaining a stable income source. Use financial tools and resources to track your progress.

What strategies can help me establish a successful freelance writing career?

Establishing a successful freelance writing career involves consistent networking, continuous skill development, and delivering high-quality work. Focus on building a reputable online presence, honing your writing skills, and exceeding client expectations.

How can I overcome challenges and build a full-time freelance writing career?

Overcoming challenges in freelance writing requires resilience and adaptability. Seek mentorship from experienced writers, diversify your writing niches, and embrace a growth mindset. Consistency, persistence, and a willingness to learn are key factors for success.

What lessons can I learn from a freelancer’s personal journey to a full-time writing career?

Learning from a freelancer’s personal journey can provide valuable insights into the challenges and strategies for building a full-time writing career. Discover the steps they took, the obstacles they faced, and the pivotal decisions that contributed to their success.