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7 Steps to Crushing It as a Beginning Freelance Writer

Today we have another guest post, this time from Tre McDowall. Tre has been hustling hard to get his freelance writing business off the ground.

He’s got a great article for us today and shares some of his most important steps to succeeding in this business – it ain’t easy, but it is possible! I can identify with a lot of what he shares and think he’s got a bright future! Take it away Tre!

The world of freelance writing offers lots of perks. You may have heard about writers who are able to get out of bed when they want and make more money than you do at your day job that you hate.

Writers who have the ability to do something that they love. This is the world of freelance writing. All of this sounds good, but there is some work that is involved.

I have recently started down this path of freelance writing. Here are seven steps that I’ve taken that can you to CRUSH it as a beginning freelance writer.

Step 1: Develop Confidence

You have to become confident if you want to make it as a freelance writer. You have to know deep down inside if this is something that you want to do. Fear will stop you from taking action and making things happen.

Fear comes from thinking that you have to be perfect. I still struggle with this and told myself that I had to get past it if I wanted to make it as a writer.

All it takes is getting started.

I have learned that you do not have to be perfect, you just have to be able to produce quality that is good enough. My motto is: “Do your best and forget the rest.”

Figure out “why” you want to get into freelance writing. Your why will transform the way that you conduct your business. A deeper purpose causes you take action and gives you the confidence to keep moving forward.

Ready to Kickstart YOUR
Freelance Writing Biz?
Grab two of our most popular workSheets and get started TODAY!

Step 2: Improve Your Writing Ability

Your business is about writing and you have to spend time improving it. As a writer, your job is to deliver high quality content quickly.

Speed is important to making it as a freelance writer. The amount of money that you make depends on how fast you can produce quality work for your clients.

If you are being paid $100 to write a 1000 word blog post and you finish it in an hour that means you made $100 in that hour. If you can continue at that pace you will be able to make $100/hr as a writer.

Spend some time improving your writing. A good book that I have been reading and I learned about from Gina’s course is the Yahoo! Style Guide (Gina’s affiliate link).

Your typing speed is very important also and you can improve it. Two websites that I use are typeracer.com and typingclub.com.

Make writing something that you do every.single.day. The more that you write, the better you will become over time.

Step 3: Create Business Systems

To become faster at writing and running your freelance business you will need to create systems.

Anything that you will be doing in your business over and over should have a system. When you operate using systems, it gives you time to think about other things in your business.

Lately I have been reading more about habits and systems and I have already begun to see improvement.

Getting faster at producing work is the way that you will be able to make it in freelance writing full-time. To do this you have to create a system.

A system is simply breaking things down that you do in your business everyday, into a repetitive process that gives you the same high quality result.

Here is an example of a simple system of mine:

  1. Brainstorm topic or choose from already existing list.
  2. Open 10 websites related to the topic.
  3. Read for about 30 minutes.
  4. Take notes for 5 minutes.
  5. Organize notes.
  6. Write content.
  7. Edit and publish content.

After practicing this system enough times it has become automatic and allows me to focus on other things.

James Clear on his blog has a free eBook that gets deep into habits and systems. Systems allows you to get more work done without thinking too much, which leaves less room for procrastination.

Step 4: Work Hard

If you have been online long enough you have seen ads that talk about making money overnight with just a few clicks of your mouse. I will tell you the hard truth right now, it does not exist.

To make money as a freelance writer you have to work hard.

I wake up at 5am everyday, just to make sure that I can get my writing done before I head off to my day job.

Study any successful person and you will see that they worked hard to get to the level that they are at now. Ask any other writer and they will tell you the same. You have to work harder then you probably have before. This may scare some people off, but it is the truth.

Hard work is being able to push yourself to get your work done and deliver top quality, despite how you may be feeling on a particular day.

I wrote an in depth post on my blog where I talk about the real truth of success. I have learned that if I want to be truly successful as a writer, I have to work hard!

Step 5: Study People Who Have Done It Before

If you’re on this blog reading this, then you are already on the right path.

You have to study people who have made it already. This will give you the confidence that you will need to keep pushing yourself in the long run.

Take some time to read through blogs about freelancing and see what you can learn from them. This blog is one of my biggest inspirations and continues to be.

Bonus tip: To see what books and resources other successful solopreneurs are reading, check out this list.

Step 6: Take Action and Put Yourself out There

There is no way that you will be able to make money from your ability if no one knows about your services.

Its all about the hustle if you want to get some work. Being a writer and making money depends on you.

Start pitching for jobs. And do lots of pitching!

The more pitches that you send out, the better your chances are of getting some work. If you want to get regular work you have to be pitching daily.

Ultimately it is a numbers game and the more potential clients that you contact, the more likely you are to find work.

You can read about how my favorite freelance writer went from zero to $4000 per month.

Step 7: Use Feedback to Move Forward

This is the part of freelance writing that holds people back. Feedback helps you to look at where you are right now and how you can improve.

The more clients and people that you write for the more feedback you will get. Writing a lot helps you to really improve your writing and when you take this feedback and keep moving forward you will only get better and better.

There is nothing to fear with getting feedback. You will recognize that your writing is a lot better than you think. It starts with putting yourself out there and getting feedback quickly.

As a writer you never fail – you just get the opportunity to make it better the next time.


Freelance writing truly is unique and if you love writing it is something that will make you happy. Knowing your reasons will help you to make a better decision. Fear holds some people back from getting started and maximizing their true potential.

Take some time to grow your confidence and know that you do not have to be perfect. Improve your writing because this is your business and this is your passion. Create your systems to enable your business to run smoothly. Work hard every single day! Put yourself out there and get your hustle on.

There is nothing to be afraid about and a whole lot to gain. This is something that I am learning, but I have taken that leap. Just take the first step and get started. I will guarantee you that you will not regret it.

All the best and cheers to your freelance writing success,


Ready to Kickstart YOUR
Freelance Writing Biz?
Grab two of our most popular workSheets and get started TODAY!


Tre is a blogger, freelance writer and productivity junkie. He writes about his journey of leaving the cubicle and becoming a freelance writer full time over at his blog. He is also building his own online mobile ad agency. Connect with Tre on Facebook or Twitter.



Photo Credit: Gerard Moonen via Unsplash


Gina Horkey

Gina Horkey


Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook and loves helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant. Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.

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