Before I walk you through the first few vital steps towards successfully starting a freelance writing business, I’m going to share the biggest mistake I ever made:
Failing to consciously commit to the process.
Fortunately, being temporarily homeless (long story) ignited a burning desire for independence and shifted my commitment into gear.
I acted in the face of discomfort. And the ensuing guest posting campaign I launched propelled me from a disoriented beginner barely cracking $50/post, to commanding rates of $300-$500+.
This more than quadrupled my hourly rate (and even generated thousands of website visitors per month without me knowing any Search Engine Optimization!)
- How to pick your freelance writing niche
- How to verify that there’s a market for your chosen niche. As you can imagine, going from a £4/hour pizza boy to a £20/hour freelance content writer while in college unlocked many opportunities.
- Empower you to work for yourself remotely from anywhere in the world with a profitable, in-demand trade
- Choose who you work with and how many hours you work
- Switch to a more satisfying and rewarding career
- Pave the path towards a career in marketing (if you choose to pursue it, of course)So where should you start?The answer is simple
Pick your freelance writing nicheWhich specific 1-3 subjects or industries do you want to write about?
Now, this isn’t a permanent decision. You can pivot or expand to other niches in the future.
But when you’re revved up at the starting line with little experience, a lack of strategy behind your samples, niche, and topic selection will slow you down and make building a distinctive personal brand harder.
If you’re struggling to think of relevant niches to write about, use these prompts to brainstorm ideas:
- What do you do for a living?
- What hobbies and passions do you have outside of work?
- What interesting things are you currently learning about?
Be thorough with your list and don’t judge yourself.
Take the time to explore multiple niches and sub-niches.
How to verify that there’s a market for your chosen niche
…So I based my initial niche around passions and learning interests such as copywriting and marketing (here’s one of my early guest posts from 2015!).
After identifying the niches you’d like to write about, ensure that there’s a market for them.
Demand is pretty consistent in the “big three” niches (health, wealth, and finance), but obscure hobbies and subjects can also pay pretty well.
In general, the more complex, boring, or closely related to B2B/enterprise a topic is, the better the pay and the higher the demand.
Another way to verify that your niche has a market is to use Google search.
Type “write for us” +[your niche] and you’ll find a list of sites that are inviting writers to submit content.
These are great places to start when building samples for your portfolio or pitching editors for paid work (more on this later).
You can also browse for sites that are similar to authority sites in your niche on Google by searching:
So what if you’re still unsure of your niche?
There’s no need to stress. Feel free to start with a reliable niche that pays well, and that you don’t mind writing about.
You could also write across a variety of subjects and see which topics you prefer.
For now, comb through your list and research the niches you’d like (or might like) to write about.
B2B content strategy that gets traffic is now table stakes. What’s your winning angle once your content is in front of your customers? Or in other words, how does your content marketing:
1. Differentiate your brand with storytelling 2. Connect with core customers and ICPs 3. Position your product in a competitive market
…to deliver compounding ROI that fuels demand generation?