5 Expert Tips For Breaking Into A Freelance Writing Career

Amy Suto


Mar. 22 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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Freelance writing has gained popularity in recent years, and creative folks are eager to monetize – whether it be through contributing to online publications or ghostwriting books for celebrities. According to MBO Partners, the freelance revolution now boasts 72.1 million Americans. Plus, since the pandemic, there are now 90% more full-time freelancers with a 130% increase in side-hustlers. For aspiring writers, this surge makes the market feel oversaturated at times.

Amy Suto has built a successful writing career online, offering various writing services and creating multiple streams of income. She is a memoir ghostwriter, Amazon KDP publishing expert, and bestselling author of Six Figure Freelance Writer. She has also had her work published in the Los Angeles Times and NYU Wasserman Blog.

With more than seven years of experience as a freelance writer, Suto knows more than enough about breaking into a writing career. Let’s explore her tips for how to start a writing career in a seemingly oversaturated market:

1. Get clear on the services you’re offering.

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SOURCE: Pexels

Freelance writing is a large umbrella, and many different services can be offered. Will it be blog posts, news articles, copywriting, ghostwriting, or transcribing?

“You have to ask yourself, ‘What is my personal brand? How do I show up authentically? And what services am I offering that are under that umbrella?’ ” she said.

When it comes to freelance writing, you can offer multiple services, as Suto does. Plus, as you gain experience, you will inevitably figure out the writing services you enjoy offering and are skilled at, she explained.

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2. Figure out where to find your ideal clients.

Social media has quickly become the cornerstone of digital marketing. Anyone with a service to offer or a product to sell needs to be on social media. However, Suto doesn’t agree that promoting on social media is the best route for all freelance writers.

“Next to no clients find me on social media, so I think that understanding where your ideal clients hang out is really important,” she said. “Before you get on social media, try to figure out if your ideal clients are even there.”

Many freelance writers overwhelm themselves with more social media platforms than they can keep up with, Suto added. “I think that it’s important as freelancers to know where to focus your energy and not just blanket everything because you’ll just be spread too thin.”

Think about the clients you dream of working with and how to get yourself face-to-face with them. She encourages budding writers to figure out if their dream clients are even on social media before investing a lot of time into efforts there.

“For example, I spoke at a bunch of conferences where my ideal clients were. So, figure out if it’s even worth it to spend time on social media,” Suto said.

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3. Pitch, pitch, and pitch some more.

Suto advises beginner freelance writers to put themselves out there by pitching their writing services.

“As a freelancer, you have to start by putting yourself out there and spending a lot of time pitching. Cold pitch and offer your services at a lower rate. Build up with every single client and start offering your services at a higher and higher rate as you get busier,” she said.

“I used to set three to four hours a day on Upwork and LinkedIn for cold outreach.” Suto continued, “You have to set a volumetric for yourself and build the habit of pitching people on X, Y, and Z platforms where your clients hang out.”

Consistent pitching is especially important if you’re trying to scale full-time, she advised, acknowledging that putting yourself out there as a beginner is the hardest part of the process and where a lot of people give up.

“In reality, you have to get over that hump, build a portfolio, build social proof, get your rate to where it needs to be, and then start building those inbound marketing channels,” Suto said.

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4. Build your inbound marketing channels.

Suto understands firsthand how challenging the early days of freelance writing are. Pitching is the hardest part of breaking into a writing career – and where a lot of people throw in the towel.

“In reality, you have to get over that hump, build a portfolio, build social proof, and get your rate to where it needs to be – and then you can start building inbound marketing channels,” she explained.

Building strong inbound marketing channels only helps attract potential clients through your writing skills and expertise. A freelance writer, for example, may build a blog or email newsletter for their inbound marketing channels. “It’s important to have those vetted pathways for people to find you passively so you don’t have to go and constantly pitch people.”

5. Offer competitive rates.

“I got my first freelance writing job within a day of being on Upwork, literally for $15. You have to start building up social proof,” Suto revealed.

When starting a writing career, it can be a slow build-up for experience and reviews. The key to a successful writing career, however, is raising those rates. She did not keep her rate at $15 forever, and in fact, charged around $150 for her second project.

“You just have to stand out and have a competitive rate when you’re getting started and then slowly raise your rate from there. If you aren’t being competitive in your rates or competitive in the volume of pitches you’re sending, it can be really hard for you to compete with other more established freelancers.”

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Kelsey Kryger
By: Kelsey Kryger

Kelsey Kryger is a writer specializing in lifestyle, health, fitness, and business/entrepreneurship. Her work has been featured in Parade, UNATION, SimpliFaster, Beyondish, Planet Protein, and more.

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