How To Start A Writing Career Without Starting A Business
Recently I posted one of my freelance writing articles on my Facebook page, and one of my dear friends responded, “I’ve been thinking about freelance writing as a way to make some extra money, but I’m not interested in having a company. Is it possible to do it in smaller amounts?”
This is a great question and, thankfully, there are ways to make money on the side as a freelance writer without having to go through all the steps of starting your own small business.
Start a Blog
The first step in starting a freelance career without having a business is to just start a blog. Starting a blog is easy, cheap, and keeps you relevant as a writer. Blogging gives you the ability to practice writing, and it shows potential clients that you are able to write well. Most clients don’t care about whether or not you have tons of experience writing. They care about whether or not you can write. To prove this to your clients, start a blog and post some writing samples.
Take My Word For It Blogging Tips
- Blog about what you are interested in.
- Your samples can be links to real published works or specs.
- Start a WORDPRESS blog (not Blogger, not Tumblr, etc.). Everyone who is anyone uses WordPress theses days.
- Buy a domain name and hosting. Domain names are about $12 for a year. If you buy hosting from Bluehost, however, you can get a domain for free. Hosting is about $135 for 3 years. It’s a large initial investment, but a paid WordPress site is much more versatile than a free blog. For a step-by-step guide on how to start a paid WordPress blog, click here.
- If you are unsure about starting a paid blog, it’s TOTALLY OKAY to start with a free WordPress blog. If you find you love blogging, you can always merge your blog to a paid WordPress site that allows for more flexibility and advertising opportunities later.
- If you are not a grammar professional or don’t have an editor, use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker & proofreader to make sure your blog posts are error free.
Work as an Independent Contractor/Sole Proprietor
There are plenty of benefits to registering your business as an LLC (mostly tax benefits), but it is also perfectly acceptable to just work as a sole proprietor. All you need to work as a sole proprietor is a W9 (which takes 2 seconds to fill out) and a social security number. At the end of the year, your clients will (should) send you a 1099 for tax purposes.
Take My Word For It Tips About Working as an Independent Contractor
- Keep track of your income. You can be fancy and do this in QuickBooks, or you can just keep track of your earnings on an Excel spreadsheet.
- Remember you only have to report earnings from companies that total more than $660.
3. Sign up for a Content Mill (Freelancer, Fiverr, Upwork, etc.)
Content mills like Freelancer are highly competitive, but they are also a great way to start a writing career to see if you even like it. You won’t get paid as much at first, but, again, it’s more about gaining experience and growing slowly.
4. Sign up for LinkedIn and Post Content on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great way to show off your writing skills to business owners. Anyone with a LinkedIn account can post blog updates (see my profile for an example). LinkedIn is a great way to acquire contract writing projects and to establish yourself as an industry expert.
5. Apply for Jobs on LinkedIn and Ask for Referrals
LinkedIn is a great way to get small contract jobs. Many companies are looking for help from contract writers just like you. Take the time to apply for a freelance writing job on LinkedIn here and there. Many of my clients have actually sought me out on LinkedIn. It’s awesome. You can also start by asking your friends if they know anyone who needs help with contract writing. I do this all of the time.
If you are looking to start small, really all you need is a blog (paid or free) to show future clients that you can write well, a LinkedIn profile, and to keep a small spreadsheet of your earnings. You can invest as much time as you want or as little into your freelance writing business and the tools you need are minimal.
Good luck! For more information about how to start a writing career, or to ask questions, contact Ashley R. Cummings today.
If you are interested in starting a full-fledged business, I explain exactly how to do this in my $2.99 amazon book, or you can read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited. Short read. Informative. Enjoy.