For as long as I can remember, I have always loved reading and writing. When I was a little girl, my imagination was vibrant and colorful, and I used to spend so much of my free time dreaming up and writing down little short stories. If I could only get my hands on those stories now, I would love to see what my younger self was writing about back then.
As the years went on, my writing went from little journals to online spaces in the form of blogs, articles, and more. While I have always had a passion for writing and telling stories, it wasn’t until recently that I ever considered making money from it. I always loved reading other stories from full-time bloggers, columnists, and magazine editors, but for some reason, the dream always felt a little too far-fetched for me.
Would people be interested in hearing what I have to say?
Could I really make money from my writing?
Am I a good enough writer to be a part of someone’s writing staff?
These were all questions that I asked myself as I was considering taking on writing as a side-hustle.
It wasn’t until I became a new mom and went back to a full-time day job that I hated that I started thinking about using my writing to bring in a second income in a serious way.
If you’re not familiar with side hustles, they are jobs or hobbies that you have alongside another occupation. Some people have a passion side hustle that they do just for fun or as a creative outlet, and others choose to turn their side hustles into an additional income—as I did with my writing. While it’s not always the case, many side hustles are jobs that you can do from the comfort of your own home, which is why turning writing into a side hustle can be such a convenient option for many to consider.
My very first paid side hustle as a freelance writer was this role right here, writing for The Everymom as a Contributing Editor. So, how did I land the role?
I had been following The Everygirl, which launched in 2012, since the very beginning and always loved their relatable articles and the overall vibe of the brand. After a few years of consistently reading their articles, I had pitched a story or two to The Everygirl but I never heard back. Fast forward to last year, when I was returning to my full-time job from maternity leave, I was eager to find something fulfilling that allowed me more time at home with my new family.
About a month or two later The Everymom, which launched six years after The Everygirl in 2018, posted that they were looking for a Contributor Editor to join their staff. This was the moment I had been waiting for! That evening, I spent several hours writing out my application and cover letter to the team. I poured my heart and soul into why I was the perfect person for the role. I pulled together some of my best writing samples and made sure my professional resume highlighted how I’ve used my writing skills throughout each step of my career.
Since landing this role, it has always been a goal of mine to help other people who are trying to climb the freelance ladder. So, here are a few tips and tricks on what you can do right now to help you get your next freelance gig.
1. Start writing now—every day
For me, if I go too long without writing something, anything, the energy around me feels off. Writing is a part of who I am as a person, and it’s something that brings me happiness, calms me down, and makes me an overall better person. When I stop writing, whether it’s due to a full schedule, life circumstances, or I get the dreaded writer’s block, I can tell that I need to sharpen my skills from my time away once I come back to writing.
If you’re looking to start a freelance writing side hustle, I suggest you start writing every single day. You can start a newsletter and share some personal essays or an idea that you’ve been thinking about. Start a blog that details the ins and outs of your life, opinion pieces, or even recipes. Or buy a new journal and start writing your thoughts and feelings each day.
Writing every day can seem like a big task, but you can start out small. Write two paragraphs in a journal, write 500 words for your first newsletter, or share a short story on your new blog. However, you choose to start writing more frequently, just start writing so that you can get a feel for how you like to speak and learn the quality of your writing. This is important because as writers, we’re always looking at new ways to share a story and that comes from improving our writing each and every day.
2. Take a creative writing class
This is on my list of goals for this year and something I highly recommend to any other writers who ask me for advice. Taking a creative writing class is a great way to challenge yourself and your writing. I enjoy learning from others who have been where I am and constructive criticism can be a healthy way to continue to improve.
Plus, now is a great time to consider enrolling in a writing class as many classes are being offered online and you can find so many that are really inexpensive or possibly even free.
3. Pitch yourself
This can be a scary first step to take if you’re just starting out, but I think that it’s probably the most beneficial step you can take for your freelance career. Oftentimes we create a beautiful website about ourselves, post a few things on our social media profiles, and sit and wait for someone to come and hire us. Unfortunately, that rarely works for most people.
All of the freelance opportunities I’ve received have been from me reaching out to a brand or small business and pitching my ideas and services to them. I once got a small $500 email marketing project just from me sending a direct message on Instagram to a small marketing studio in town.
If you’re not quite sure what to say in your pitches, I’ve taken the liberty of digging up my exact email I pitched to The Everymom so that you can tweak it to your own style and use it for your next pitch—click the button banner below to download!
4. Take on writing opportunities at your day job
If you are currently working, I urge you to find ways to weave in writing opportunities within the work you’re already doing. Thankfully, you’re already getting paid to do work at your job right now, and I’m sure your boss would love that you’re asking to explore more creative opportunities.
When it comes to writing opportunities, think outside of the box a little bit. Maybe you can write the next company memo, ask to draft up slides for the next department presentation, write a brief for the project idea you’ve been hoping to kick off, see if the company is interested in starting a blog or newsletter, or ask the email marketing or social media teams if they need any additional help that you can take on if you have downtime.
Finding these opportunities to write while you’re already at work will give you the chance to get real-life experience in a professional setting. Another bonus is that as people review and edit your work, you will get (hopefully constructive) feedback so that, again, you can continue to improve your writing as you go along.
5. Keep applying
Getting a “no” can be one of the most defeating things to hear, especially if you’ve been applying and pitching yourself for a while, but don’t give up. If you want to be a writer, you have a story to share, and you’re willing to put in the hard work to improve your writing skills, then you must keep applying.
Take a few moments to write down the top ten places you’d like to see your writing or people you’d want to hire you for writing services. Then, one by one, start applying to any writing positions they have available or feel free to shoot them an email or social media DM (if you think these channels are appropriate) with your ideas. If you hear no, make a checkmark next to their name and follow back up with them in six to nine months to see if their minds have changed.
Right now is a perfect time to consider a freelance writing career. So much of the world is shifting to an online lifestyle which means many businesses and brands are looking for more qualified writers to keep up with the demand. While it can seem dreamy, and sometimes is, being a writer is hard work. Coming up with constant content and finding new ways to tell similar stories takes skill, an open mind, and creativity. I am so happy I have followed my passion for writing all these years, and I know that little girl, all those years ago, is happy I did too.