My name is Kristy and I'm a 30 year old stay at home mother of two. I have always been told I am a good writer and great with my words. I am trying to make some extra money to help around the house and thought I would give freelancing a try. I am in the process of researching online and reading books along with working on my punctuation and grammar.
I was hoping to get some advice on how to start and any help you can offer me. I am pretty nervous that I am not good enough or that I will give up before I get started. My idea was to read as much as I can, improving my writing by reading books on punctuation etc., and to start by writing a query letter to the towns local newspaper.
Hi, Kristy, you're about the same age I was when I started my freelance journey! I would strongly suggest you start out with building an online profile and portfolio on a site such as Guru.com (Elance is also an option, but it can be a little overwhelming at first). These are good places to at least get a feel for the types of content clients want right now. By all means pitch local organizations - but online projects will probably help you build your business faster.
Don't pay attention to the posted budgets for projects on the freelancing platforms. There are plenty of people looking for cheap, low quality work on these sites, but there are also many good clients who just pick a number out of a hat since they don't know how much written content should cost. The key is to have excellent samples of your writing (even if it's just published on your own blog or website) that are relevant to their industry. For example, cosmetic dentists and plastic surgeons tend to pay professional rates for web content. So, it doesn't hurt to have a couple of articles in your portfolio on those topics.
Business to business clients are also high paying, so figure out what industries are hopping right now (again, reviewing posted projects can help). Technology (software, IT, gadgets) is usually a good bet. Professional services firms such as attorneys and accounting firms are often excellent clients. Many of these small businesses are looking for ghostwriters to create content for their blog as part of a larger marketing/branding process. That can be a good way to get your foot in the door with a project that doesn't make you feel overwhelmed.
If there's a topic you know about from a previous career, your educational background, or just a hobby, take a look to see if there are any "adjacent" topics that you could learn about as well. For example, I started out writing content for HR consulting firms since I used to work in HR. Then, I started writing about HR onboarding software. Now, I write about cloud computing, mobile development, and all sorts of IT topics.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Please feel free to ask more questions here, PM me, or visit my blog for more strategies.