Video: How I started my freelance writing career

It's easy to assume that successful freelance writers always knew how to do things like find clients and send invoices. But here's a secret: we're still learning too.

In this video I explain how I found my niche, landed my first clients and built a stable business. 

Video transcript

Hi. This is Amy. Today I want to talk to you about a question that I get asked a lot, and that is how I got started freelancing, and how I ended up doing what I'm doing now, and all of the obstacles and things that I learnt along the way.

I have been freelancing for four years. Not full time for that whole time. I first started freelancing when I got my first journalism job while I was still at uni. I was writing for a business and management magazine, and just you know, freelance, doing press releases for friend's businesses on the side. It was kind of enough.

I felt comfortable building up experience. Kind of figuring out the business side of things while I also had the guaranteed income, and I was learning a lot at my other job, and it was fine.

But I knew I didn't want to work for somebody forever. For the next few years as I moved between jobs I slowly started building up my freelance business. I thought when I first started freelancing that I would focus on freelance writing for publications.

You know I really wanted to write for the weekend lift outs in the newspapers, and that sort of thing. I'd pitch, and I'd hear back, and I'd pitch. The budgets were small. There was heaps of other writers like me who wanted to do the same thing, and there just wasn't enough regular demand.

While I was focusing on that I thought gosh, I will never be able to freelance full time. What am I doing? And slowly I discovered that I had a pretty unique skill set. I had worked in software marketing. I thought technology was really interesting, but I also had that journalism background.

My freelance career didn't really take off until I thought okay, well what are my strengths? What can I do that other people don't know how to do?

I thought okay, I will combine technology and journalism, and I will be a tech writer, but not for publications, for businesses because I know that they are willing to pay for that sort of work. It wasn't until that shift where I started picking up more clients.

I had a really strong pipeline. I knew that I could quit my job and pay my bills for the next six months. I had a big buffer. That was maybe two years or eighteen months ago that I figured that out.

Since then it has been really easy. You find the niche. You find people willing to pay for your work. I think the main take aways are:

Firstly just start.

Secondly, don't expect things to happen overnight, and thirdly don't quit your day job until you have something to support it, and you have the income to kind of build that up. That's how I got started.

Tell me in the comments how you got started too.